Barack Obama is catching heat for seeming to waffle on his pledge to remove U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months. He now says there’s a chance he could have a longer timetable for the pullout, depending on conditions on the ground.
It does look like Obama the campaigner is acknowledging some of the practical realities of governing in his recent moves to the center. But some flexibility on the timetable is a good sign that Obama recognizes the complexities and potential dangers of the Iraq endgame.
And Obama’s shift probably reassures some voters who want out of Iraq but also want, in Obama’s words, to do so “responsibly,” in a way that doesn’t endanger our troops.
It’s ironic, though, that Obama’s move comes at a time when the improved security situation in Iraq is leading to optimism from military analysts about the prospects for major U.S. troop withdrawals in 2009.
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