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Hey! Pundits! Bob Gates Is Pretty Much OK With Withdrawing Combat Troops From Iraq on a 16-Month Timeline!

I was on the phone during Bob Gates’ first presser since being reappointed as defense secretary by President-elect Obama, but my man Matt DeLong kept me covered

Jul 31, 2020
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I was on the phone during Bob Gates’ first presser since being reappointed as defense secretary by President-elect Obama, but my man Matt DeLong kept me covered and sent along his notes. And look at this! Gates is OK with Obama’s timetable for withdrawing combat troops from Iraq in 16 months!
I’ll update when the Pentagon emails me the transcript, but Gates was asked about the timetable, and he said working within Obama’s 16-month-ish timetable, with appropriate adjustments along commanders’ recommendations, is an “agreeable approach.” Gates noted that the Status of Forces Agreement compels a full withdrawal by Dec. 2011 and a withdrawal from Iraqi towns and cities by next summer, and said commanders in Iraq are exploring a “potential acceleration” of any drawdown. “I’m less concerned about a timetable,” he said. (All quotations are my extrapolation from DeLong’s notes. Errors are mine, not his.)
All this really speaks to the political wisdom of keeping Gates. The Republican defense secretary who implemented the surge just endorsed withdrawing combat troops from Iraq according to a deadline — something that John McCain, the pre-July George W. Bush and a raft of conservative commenters have said for years would herald the apocalypse. What are they going to say now that Gates is in favor of it?
Chances are, not a whole lot, since they can’t seem to comprehend the idea. Here’s Max Boot on the implications of Gates’ reappointment:
This all but puts an end to the 16-month timetable for withdrawal from Iraq…
This is how a new progressive-realist consensus on foreign policy gets forged.
Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke

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Dexter Cooke is an economist, marketing strategist, and orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience crafting compelling narratives that resonate worldwide. He holds a Journalism degree from Columbia University, an Economics background from Yale University, and a medical degree with a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dexter’s insights into media, economics, and marketing shine through his prolific contributions to respected publications and advisory roles for influential organizations. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures, Dexter prioritizes patient care above all. Outside his professional pursuits, Dexter enjoys collecting vintage watches, studying ancient civilizations, learning about astronomy, and participating in charity runs.
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