Obama Deserves Benefit of the Doubt on Iraq Troop Withdrawal

30,000 to 50,000 troops remaining? Might be high, but let Obama make his case.

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By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

President Obama will, reportedly, soon announce an Iraq withdrawal plan that will get most U.S. troops out of the Middle Eastern quagmire in 18 months (19 months, if you date it from his inauguration). "Most" is a critical and elastic word here: 30,000 to 50,000 U.S. troops will apparently remain that country a bit longer.

There are warnings of grumbling from the left ends of the grassroots: Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination in no small part because of the Iraq war and he promised to get our troops out within 16 months.

Everyone needs to take a deep breath and give the president some room on this one.

We did not elect a plan in November, we elected a man. He had a plan for Iraq, but as importantly he had demonstrated good judgment on Iraq and a host of other issues. Remember: Judgment was the trump over inexperience. So let him judge.

Even the fiercest critics of the Iraq war owe Obama this: Let him announce his plan and then let him make the case for it. By all means ask tough questions. But hold your political fire: At this point he still deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Let the policy play out and see what happens. If it's a bad call we've got plenty of time to turn on Obama and excoriate him for grievous errors. But for right now let's let him do the job for which he was elected.

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