Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another Mission Accomplished

Oh boy, Barack Obama is in trouble now. While in Baghdad, he got Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to affirm support for the 16-month troop withdrawal timeline that Obama has proposed.

The Bush administration is in a rage as they feel they have been undermined in their ongoing negotiations for an agreement with the Iraqi government about future American military presence and obligations. John McCain keeps reminding anyone who will listen that the only reason Obama can be talking about timetables is because the troop surge McCain advocated is working. And I saw David Gergen on CNN lecturing that Obama has made a serious mistake because we have a tradition in this country that we only have one President at a time. David, please get yourself another banana and go lecture Dick Cheney.

Now we are 18 months into the surge. And it is 6 more months until the new President takes office, which will make it 24 months and counting. And 16 more months to withdrawal will make it 40 months. So all that Obama is saying that we are 60% done. If you add the 46 months of war before that, Obama is saying that we are 81% done. John McCain, on the other hand, says that violence in Iraq is down 80% from 4 years ago and Iraq has now met 15 of 18 benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress, which is 83% done.

Is it wrong to ask the Iraqis to do the last 20% themselves? If you apply the old engineering rule, it takes 20% of the effort to get to 80% done. And 80% of the effort to get the last 20% done. That suggests with 5.5 years behind us, there could be 22 years to go. If you count back to the start of the first Iraq war in 1990, we have 18 years behind us, and 72 years to go. That's starting to get close to the 100 year mark that John McCain mentioned last January would be fine with him.

Of course, I’m remembering that banner that flew above President Bush on the USS Abraham Lincoln back on May 1, 2003. I think we did have the war won then. It’s winning the peace that is so hard.

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