Opportunity Nox

Is this a burden on Barack, or an opportunity?
A new military plan for troop withdrawals from Iraq that was described in broad terms this week to President-elect Barack Obama falls short of the 16-month timetable Mr. Obama outlined during his election campaign, United States military officials said Wednesday.
General David Patraeus recommends taking another couple of brigades out of Iraq over the next six months, but Barack's commitment was to pull one or two a month from the country.
But that would leave 12 combat brigades in Iraq by June 2009, and while declining to be more specific, the officials made clear that the withdrawal of all combat forces under the generals’ recommendations would not come until some time after May 2010, Mr. Obama’s target.
Things are going so well in Iraq that Barack's once irresponsible timetable is now shaping up as reasonable. But Pentagon leadership likes to move slowly and cautiously, and they're looking to accomplish the two brigade withdrawal with accounting games rather than actual withdrawal.
One way commanders say they will try to meet that first deadline is by effectively reassigning combat troops to training and support of the Iraqis, even though the difference would be in some cases semantic because armed American troops would still go on combat patrols with their Iraqi counterparts.
How eager will Barack be to maintain some illusion of allegiance to campaign promises? Judging by his policy shifts after winning the Democratic nomination, he's not going to worry much about promises.
The new military plan allows for the fact that negotiations could eventually call for American troops in Iraq after 2011, but it does not put a number on that force, a person familiar with its details said.