Unrest In Iraq
Shiite pilgrims were attacked in Baghdad yesterday, killing 20, and earlier this week four US soldiers were killed in Mosul. Let's be honest about this. While the elections are encouraging in that most factions in the country are re-entering politics, we should not see Iraq as peaceful even if it serves ends of a quicker American exit.
And in fact, I don't think it does. Americans must leave as per the status of forces agreement, and the longer they linger the more they become targets. Iraq is not always going to solve its problems peacefully in the near term, but since the surge did nothing for political reconciliation, clearly military forces cannot impact that. US commanders are trying to slow-walk withdrawal, offering 19-month and 23-month pullout plans in addition to President Obama's preferred 16-month plan, but that neglects the reality on the ground. We've already left - it's just a matter of manifesting that physically.