That makes it sound as if Obama and Clinton favor leaving a few Marine guards at the U.S. embassy and a few Special Operations teams based either in Iraq or in a neighboring country.
This is a position so utterly disconnected from the on-the-ground reality I discovered in Iraq during a recent 11-day visit that it boggles the mind. The ability of our forces to rout Al Qaeda during the past year was due precisely to abandoning the Special Forces-centric approach we had utilized in the past. Instead of relying on a handful of commandos swooping in from afar, General Petraeus sent large numbers of combat troops to live in Iraqi neighborhoods. This created a sufficient degree of security to allow residents to rat out Al Qaeda terrorists without committing suicide.
Obviously we cannot keep 170,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely; we will be down to 130,000 (15 Brigade Combat Teams) by mid-July on current projections. And as Iraqi security forces grow in capability it may be possible to withdraw more troops without compromising the security gains of recent months. But it would be the height of irresponsibility to pledge, without knowing what conditions on the ground look like, the withdrawal of all combat troops in less than two years.
Imagine what would have happened in the Korean peninsula if the U.S. and its allies had withdrawn all combat troops in 1955. What are the odds that South Korea would have remained independent? Probably no higher than the odds in South Vietnam, where we did withdraw all combat troops in 1973. Within two years the war was lost.
Again we see that those who understand the reality on the ground in Iraq are certain that the ways ahead planned by the dems will ensure failure.