How to Leave Iraq

Speaking of the weird Iraq debate inside the Democratic primary, one notable characteristic has been a tendency by some of the candidates to plead logistical incapacity to leave quickly. As Lawrence J. Korb, Max Bergmann, Sean Duggan, and Peter Juul argue in a Center for American Progress report, this is basically BS: "It is certainly possible to conduct a rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces, in perhaps as short a time as three months if the U.S. military (in the words of Iraq war veteran and military analyst Phillip Carter) were to effectively conduct an 'invasion in reverse.'" That said, I also tend to agree with them that a somewhat more measured pace of redeployment would be wiser, if only because it can be conducted in a more orderly manner:

Deciding between a swift or extended redeployment, however, is a false dilemma. While both options are logistically feasible, this report will demonstrate that an orderly and safe withdrawal is best achieved over a 10- to 12-month period. Written in consultation with military planners and logistics experts, this report is not intended to serve as a playbook for our military planners but rather as a guide to policymakers and the general public about what is realistically achievable. A massive, yet safe and orderly redeployment of U.S. forces, equipment, and support personnel is surely daunting—but it is well within the exceptional logistical capabilities of the U.S. military.

The full report is here in PDF and here's an MP3 of a conference call on the report.