A few days ago the New York Times reported that we might be trying to fudge the June 30 deadline for withdrawing combat troops from Iraqi cities. Our main military concern was the “troubled northern city of Mosul, according to military officials.”
Today, McClatchy talks to different officials and says it’s not so:
The Obama administration is determined to continue withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq on schedule, despite a surge of violence in two Iraqi cities that shows no signs of abating and could increase in the weeks ahead, administration and military officials said this week.
“We are not even talking about” changing the withdrawal plan, an administration official told McClatchy. “The situation would have to get a lot worse for that to change.”
….In any event, said the officials, who requested anonymity because the administration’s public position is more optimistic, there’s little more that the United States can do to help the Iraqis end their political, ethnic and sectarian feuds; resolve their disputes over oil revenues, political power and other issues; and build a stable, prosperous and unified nation.
(Italics mine. Ever since news outlets “banned” the use of anonymous sources, I’ve been collecting the hilarious excuses their writers are forced to come up with every time they use one. This is one of the best.)
Anyway. This is good news. There’s still wiggle room, of course (what if the situation does get a “lot worse”?) but this is still an encouraging sign. There are always going to be a hundred reasons why we should hold off on withdrawal either from a particular place, or for a particular reason, or for a particular period of time. If we don’t stick to our guns, we’ll never get out. It’s time for us to let Iraqis run their country.