Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/washington/news.aspx?id=79833
Story Retrieval Date: 5/24/2013 8:36:21 PM CST
WASHINGTON - The battle for the White House continues among presidential candidates and the war in Iraq is central to their campaigns. Both Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama say they will begin pulling troops out of Iraq as early as 60 days after entering office.
But military experts and strategists contend the situation in Iraq is highly volatile. They say it's not possible for Clinton and Obama to guarantee a timeline of how rapidly those troops could come home.
Whether campaign rhetoric or truth, many questions remain unanswered regarding the strategic military plan either candidate would endorse.
Shawn Brimley, an adviser at the Center for New American Security, a Washington-based non-partisan national security and defense think tank, says much of what these candidates say regarding the war are simply political promises for the primary season because they know withdrawing troops too soon could cause other problems.
"You're seeing a dual narrative. You're seeing a narrative that's constructed for public consumption, for the left wing of the Democratic party," says Brimley.
Some experts say talk of exiting Iraq no matter what is dangerous to that country's stability and the military success attained. Peter Wehner, former director of strategic initiatives to President Bush and currently a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center says "the views of the Democrats are irresponsible and even reckless."
Other experts counter that although the military strategy is said to be working, there are political issues still in need of resolution. "The problem is there is really a mishmash between the U.S. national military strategy on the one hand the U.S. political strategy on the other," says Prof. Kamal Beyoghlow, Ph.D at the National War College.
According to Beyoghlow, American political strategy revolves around the fact that the Iraqis themselves must meet the most important milestones, particularly those to bring about political reconciliation and a new form of national consciousness in the country.
But many Americans may not care about the details of the Iraqi political or military situation. Instead, they may look to the presidential candidates for solutions on bringing the troops home as quickly as possible.