Baracks Troop Deception

Barack's adviser says that Barack should leave 60 to 80,000 troops in Iraq until the end of 2010 (see the next post down). Here's what the New York Sun, the paper that broke the story, had to say about this revelation:

"WASHINGTON — A key adviser to Senator Obama’s campaign is recommending in a confidential paper that America keep between 60,000 and 80,000 troops in Iraq as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office."

But wait a minute - this is not a contradiction to Barack's statements at all! He's so shifty on Iraq, its hard to tell exactly what he'll do, so let's break it down.

From the Obama website:
"He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months."

What does this mean? A brigade is a vague measure that seems to represent anywhere from 2000-5000 troops. If you take one or two brigades out a month for 16 months, what do you get at the end? Could be anywhere from 32,000 to 160,000 troops!

In other words, there is no disagreement between what Barack's advisers say and what he's telling us, since he's not really telling us much of anything. Despite the general claim that he is the candidate who will end the war, Barack is not making any sort of hard commitment to do so.

This is further complicated by the fact that Barack is referring to COMBAT troops. How many of those are there in Iraq? This is hard to figure out. In a story last May in the San Franciso Chronicle, it was estimated that there were 52,000 COMBAT troops there in January 2007, which would mean a rough ratio of about 35% combat troops.

If there are 130,000 troops in Iraq come inauguration day, President Barack has committed, it seems, to removing 50,000 or so during his first 16 months in office. Pretty much on track with what Colin Kahl is recommending.