This Sunday, the Washington Post will feature a little advice for President-elect Obama from Lieberman, McCain and Graham, those experts on our occupation of Iraq. Their advice is really simple – just listen to General Odierno – the guy who last week said he would not withdraw US forces from Iraqi cities and maybe, since three years is a long time, skip the 2011 SOFA deadline for complete withdrawal:

To achieve this, the president-elect, his national security team and all of us in Congress should seek the counsel of Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, and Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of coalition forces in Iraq. Gen. Odierno [blah blah hero of the air strikes surge] is the person whose judgment should matter most in determining how fast and how deep a drawdown can be ordered responsibly.

Based on our observations and consultations in theGreen Zone Baghdad, we are optimistic that President-elect Obama will be able to fulfill a major step of his plan for withdrawal next year by redeploying U.S. combat forces from Iraq’s cities while maintaining a residual force to train and mentor our Iraqi allies. By allowing a greater number of forces to remain in Iraq in the short term, we will be able to set the conditions for much deeper troop cuts thereafter.

They also think Bush should appoint a replacement for Ambassador Crocker pronto – but of course, Obama can consult:

As we reduce the number of combat forces in Iraq, our national interests there will depend to an increasing degree on the skill of our diplomacy. That is why we urge the outgoing Bush administration to act quickly, and in coordination with the incoming Obama administration, to put in place an appropriate successor to Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who has announced his intention to leave his critical post in Baghdad early in the new year.

And they suggest that rather than focus on that “unfortunate” “shoe-throwing incident,” we remember:

the remarkable consensus that exists among Iraq’s democratically elected leaders about building a long-term partnership with the United States.

Funny thing about puppets, they have a remarkable tendency to tell you what you want to hear.



Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com