03/30/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Democrats Should Support Obama's Troop Plan

Leading Democrats such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Harry Reid are raising some reservations about President Obama's plan to leave up to 50,000 troops in Iraq.
Pelosi told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow: "I don't know what the justification is for 50,000, a presence of 50,000 troops in Iraq... I do think that there's a need for some."

Democrats should stop bickering and rally around Obama by supporting his troop plan. If Iraq remains or becomes even more stable in 2010, then Obama will almost surely draw down troops even more quickly than he's currently announcing. The 50,000 number is obviously a preventive measure, to make sure that the situation in Iraq doesn't deteriorate into factional violence. Imagine the criticism Obama would come under if Iraq is in a lot worse shape a year from now. A "Who Lost Iraq" debate would erupt, with the GOP claiming that cowardly Democratic policies had led directly to defeat.

Consistent with his pragmatic bent, Obama has struck out a middle course, knowing that in 2011 all U.S. combat troops are obligated to depart Iraq. The entire sordid Iraq mess is coming to an end. The Iraq War will rapidly fade from American consciousness, though the damage it has done to that country, including creating millions of refugees living in Syria, Jordan and elsewhere, will not. If Democrats want to worry about something, it shouldn't be Iraq, but Afghanistan and Pakistan, which pose a mortal threat to Obama's presidency.