The lead editorial in today's Buffalo News -- "At last, a timetable," -- praises President Obama for moving ahead to very nearly keep his campaign promise to withdraw U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office. [Official statement here].
It's "almost" because he's now shooting for 19 months and because the left-behind something-other-than-combat troops, which he had always said would be necessary, will number as many as 50,000. But it's close enough for government work. Work that will be done by Obama and one of his new best friends, Gen. David Petraeus [right].
After more than six years of war, the deaths of more than 4,000 military personnel and of untold thousands of Iraqis, the physical and emotional maiming of many thousands more of our nation’s bravest and most dedicated, an off-budget budget impact approaching $1 trillion and an utterly uncountable cost to America’s moral standing in the world, a three-month fudge factor is more than tolerable.
Other good news, if anything connected with such a long and bloody war can be good news, is the fact that the Obama administration will start being honest about the cost of this war.
The Sunday Viewpoints cover story -- "Invasion of privacy?" -- notes the background of the decision to reverse the Bush administration policy that banned news photos of the coffins of returning war fatalities. Former News Editor Murray B. Light basically agrees.
The Obama budget, also, rolls the fiscal cost of the war into his federal budget, rather than keep it all "off-budget," as it was under the Bush team.
- USA Today: Mission finally accomplished? Is the end in sight to America's costly six-year war? Despite Obama's certitude, the best answer is: maybe.
- The Christian Science Monitor: Obama cannot risk losing Iraq to chaos or dictatorship after the deaths of more than 4,200 American soldiers and nearly $700 billion spent by the US. The region needs a democratic Iraq, especially with Iran's growing influence. Too many mistakes have been made by the US in Iraq. It can't afford one more.
- The National Review Online : It took a couple of years and his election as president of the United States, but Barack Obama finally has acknowledged the success of the surge unambiguously.
- The Globe and Mail offers an interesting learned essay on the different ways the American people judge whether certain wars are worth the cost. [Three American professors in a Canadian newspaper. Go figure.]
-- George Pyle/Editorial Writer