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Friday, November 7, 2008

Can Obama Make Good On Promises About Wars?

I think that Robert Gates has done a wonderful job at DoD and should stay on as SECDEF for at least a year, perhaps for as long as he wants the job. However, I have not read anywhere whether or not Gates will accept an offer from President-elect Obama to stay on as SECDEF. I have heard the names of Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) being thrown around for SECDEF and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) being thrown around for Secretary of State, but I am sure we will see what the Obama cabinet will look like very shortly. Here is an excerpt from the article:
But can the incoming administration remove U.S. troops from Iraq that quickly?

Anthony Cordesman, a defense analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says that although violence is down in Iraq, Obama may find it hard to withdraw American troops in large numbers given that the security situation is still so uncertain.

"And no one can predict at this point in time exactly what's going to happen with internal civil conflict in Iraq or that al-Qaida will be fully defeated or reduced to such a low level of operations that Iraq can operate on its own," says Cordesman.

He says Obama can withdraw American forces but maybe not as many as he promised his supporters.

Obama could find himself in political peril by removing too many U.S. troops, says Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution.

"Should he make the mistake of withdrawing so fast that he creates a worse security situation environment, you can bet that will be Exhibit A in future Republican criticism of him starting with the midterm elections in 2010," O'Hanlon says...
While on the campaign trail, Obama had said this failure centered on President Bush not having sent enough troops to Afghanistan. And at campaign rallies, he constantly pledged to stop the war in Iraq and turn to the other.

"We will bring this war to an end. We will focus our attention on Afghanistan," Obama said.

O'Hanlon says Obama's campaign focused mostly on sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Occasionally, Obama raised the problem of fighters coming across the border from Pakistan.

"But that's at best only two of five key parts of this problem," O'Hanlon says.

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