The White House had this to say:
"I believe it is very important ... for people making suggestions to
recognize that the best military options depend upon the conditions on the
ground," he said.
The idea by itself isn't a bad one. Think back to a time you started a new job, and the person you replaced still worked in your office. How easy was it to just head over to Eileen's and ask her a question about good ol' Hyperion, instead of figuring it out yourself? Why put in an hour on a problem when you know that that person can solve it in 30 seconds? But once they are gone, and you have nobody to go to, you end up learning more than you would have otherwise. Some things may get broken in the process, but eventually you get it figured it out.
In my opinion the issue lies in the getting the timing right. We do need to step back at some point and force the Iraqis to step up, take the training wheels off so to speak. But the risk here is more than just the numbers not adding up at the end of the month. What do you think happens if we leave too early and the country disintegrates? Thousands (hundreds of thousands? millions?) of innocent Iraqis die due to widespread sectarian violence and extrajudicial killings. Or
someone else Iran swoops in and fills the power void. Would that be better for America? I don't think so. Now, if we can set up Iraq to govern themselves we lessen the more radical nation's influence on the Middle East which I believe is a good thing. Which of course is the challenge in front of us. I don't think you can say we are stepping back in 4 months and have this thing work. The Commanders on the ground need to make that decision.
I guess I'm not surprised with the timing. After another brutal year of attack campaigns (one of the very few things I didn't miss about being home) it is hard to believe that the 2 parties have any common ground. I don't know what the answer is, but until our country finds a way to come together and end the incessant arguing, our problems will never get solved. Immediately after 9/11 the country was united, but along the way this spirit got lost and we are now more divided than ever.
I think part of the reason is that the general public was never really asked to do anything other than sit in longer lines at the airport. I know this isn't WWII, but where are the War Bond tours, Rosie the Riveter, and rationing of consumer goods? The American public was ready, willing, and able to support the war on terror, but instead a pretty small portion of our population, the military and their families, has been asked to do the heavy lifting over and over again. I think looking back 5 years that is probably the biggest fault of the current administration, that they failed to engage Americans to become partners to help protect our great country. Instead, most don't understand what we are doing here or how they can help, and just see the body count piling up.