LLR Pages

Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama’s Iraq Withdrawal Plan Calls for Drawdown on August 31, 2010

Obama's "Iraq withdrawal plan" calls for a pull out of the 142,000 U.S. forces (comprising of Marines and Army personnel) on August 31, 2010.

Here's the Fox News story which, in part, describes the unveiled plan to congressional lawmakers yesterday:

The Iraq war will come to an end on Aug. 31, 2010, senior officials said, following President Obama's decision to end all counter-insurgency missions by that time.

Obama told top leaders in Congress on Thursday that he will transition the mission in Iraq to training, advising and engaging in limited counter-terrorist operations, according to congressional sources.

The president is expected to deliver a speech Friday at the Marine base in Camp Lejeune, N.C, in which he will order the immediate drawdown of the 142,000 Marines and Army personnel in Iraq.

Obama's decision reflects his belief that "there have been real advances" in the country and, as result, the U.S. military should now be ordered to carry out "a fundamental change in mission," senior administration officials said.

With 142,000 U.S. forces in Iraq now and counter-insurgency operations conducted on a near-daily basis, "it is a war, no question," a senior adviser said.

And this war, senior officials said, will officially come to an end on Aug. 31, 2010, when the president orders all U.S. troops to focus their efforts on advising, equipping and training Iraqi security forces as well as assisting in reconstruction and political reconciliation.

"This is a plan that responsibly ends the war in Iraq," said a senior official who participated in the deliberations. "He is living up to a commitment he made as a candidate but is doing so in a way that has the support of the inter-agency task force on Iraq."

The president will order U.S. military commanders to leave a residual force of between 35,000 and 50,000 troops in Iraq. Under the Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government, the U.S. must remove all military personnel by Dec. 31, 2011.

This is going beyond the 16-momth plan that Our Great Leader set forth throughout his campaign and even after he was elected to and inaugurated into office, even though some thought it would be "difficult" to implement it. 19 months? It's no secret that he had soft pedaled and somewhat backed off from his plan in the beginning of his term last month, despite what the Obamameter on shows.

I'm not confident that the war in Iraq will end or that Obama will pull the troops out. Perhaps he'll prove me wrong in the final analysis, but I'm not counting on that.

[Cross-posted to The Freeman Chronicles.]

Tucker Carlson Joins CATO

It's official: conservative commentator Tucker Carlson, former host of CNN's now-defunct "Crossfire" and his failed MSNBC show "Tucker," has joined the CATO Institute. Carlson, who briefly flirted with a presidential run by running for the presidency under the Libertarian Party's banner and then decided against it, will be serving as a senior fellow at the think tank.

According to a press release on CATO's website, Carlson will do the following:

Carlson will use his initial time with Cato to focus on writing a book on the state of the American polity. Through other writings as well as media and public speaking appearances, he will also seek to educate the broader public about how the libertarian philosophy differs from the standard liberal and conservative orthodoxies embodied in the two main U.S. political parties.

The next paragraph of its press release caught my eye, enabling me to shake my head in disbelief:

"Tucker Carlson is one of the most effective communicators of libertarian ideas in the nation," said Cato founder and president Ed Crane. "We are delighted to have him associated with Cato as a senior fellow."

First of all, Carlson is not "one of the most effective communicators of librtarian ideas." He's not a libertarian; he's a conservative. He may have a libertarian bent in his conservative thinking, but he's a conservative. It is true that he has come out against the war in Iraq and the War on Drugs, but he's not a consistent defender of liberty. He's not even a radical. Sure, he has expressed his admiration and respect for Ron Paul many times (he had Ron on his show during the course of his presidential campaign) and had been involved with his campaign. (Interestingly enough, one MSNBC toadie who had filled in for Carlson on his old show bashed Paul on December 27, 2007 for openly and truthfully declaring that the United States didn't need to have its own civil war to end slavery.) But he is a conservative of the Barry Goldwater-style variety. His view on independent migrants a.k.a. "illegal aliens" epitomizes my point.

Second, why CATO? Why not the Ludwig von Mises Institute? CATO serves the interests of the beltway "cosmopolitan" libertarian crowd that embraces Milton Friedman's Chicago school of thought. CATO is not truely liberarian; it's libertarian only when a Democratic government and a Democratic president are in power. They were neither libertarian nor attempting to be libertarian when Bush was in power for eight years. In fact, many of its key personnel were (and still are) big supporters of the Republican Party, including Bush. Not a single peep came from them (with the exception of a very few) when Bush dragged us into Iraq, called for and launched the U.S. Department of Homeland Stupidity (I mean, Security), and signed into law the Military Commission Act, the Patriot Act, and the REAL ID Act (among many draconian and pro-state bills).

Carlson may be feeling at home in the think tank's D.C. offices, but CATO's Ed Crane calling him an "effective communicator of libertarian ideas" hardly passes the ideologically pure smell test.

[Cross-posted at The Freeman Chronicles.}