Sunday, August 29, 2010
Suppose that Barack Obama keeps to his current plans in Iraq. So far, he's cut the number of American troops there to just under 50,000, and American casualties have dropped: there were 108 American military deaths in Iraq in the last six months of 2008, 94 in the first six months of Obama's presidency (February through July 2009), 45 in the next six months, and 29 so far in the most recent six months, with a couple days to go in August. So, suppose that American casualties continue to fall without quite hitting zero over the next year, and that Obama continues to withdraw troops, leaving very few ("guarding the embassy") troops but still a significant American civilian presence in Iraq at the end of 2011. If that's the case, how will you grade Obama's performance on Iraq? And, does anything other than the pace of American withdrawal and the numbers of American casualties figure in to your grading (such as the stability of the Iraqi government, the level of violence within Iraq, the degree to which Iraq is allied with either the US or Iran, or any other such information)?