Politics

U.S. Forces May Stay in Mosul Past Deadline

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For those who’ve worried that under the command of President Obama, our military in Iraq won’t be able to adjust to realities on the ground, there’s this story out of Mosul. Conditions in the region are not good and our forces are likely postpone the scheduled withdrawal if Iraqi authorities ask us to stay.

Army Colonel Gary Volesky, commander of U.S. forces in the Mosul area, said U.S. and Iraqi officials are now assessing security in the northern Iraqi city to determine whether his troops should leave by June 30, when U.S. combat forces are due to pull back from towns and cities across Iraq.

The deadline is part of a U.S.-Iraqi pact reached last year that also calls for all U.S. troops to depart Iraq by 2012.

Neither we nor the Iraqis want to leave a terrorist haven/destabilized region in Iraq. If Mosul is too violent for the Iraqis to govern effectively, there’s good reason to keep our forces involved. Such flexibility is necessary if we want to withdrawal from Iraq responsibly. At this point, it’s pretty clear Obama supports the responsible withdrawal side rather than the withdrawal-at-all-costs side many feared he’d follow once elected president.

Since taking office, Obama has tended towards pragmatism in military endeavors, even trending somewhat to the hawkish side, particularly in Afghanistan. For those listening closely during the election, this isn’t a huge surprise, but it is welcome.