Deal Off

Looks like the permanent occupation plan may not go through as intended:

Faced with stiff Iraqi opposition, it is "very possible" the U.S. may have to extend an existing U.N. mandate, said a senior administration official close to the talks. That would mean major decisions about how U.S. forces operate in Iraq could be left to the next president, including how much authority the U.S. must give Iraqis over military operations and how quickly the handover takes place.

Leaving decisions about how U.S. forces operate in Iraq up to the next president sounds like an awfully good idea to me. It'll let us, among other things, debate this issue in our presidential election. My understanding is that Barack Obama, like most Americans, and like most Iraqis, wants American troops to come home pretty soon. John McCain, by contrast, like George W. Bush, wants them to stay for 100 or 10,000 or whatever years irrespective of the cost and irrespective of Iraqi opinion. It seems like a disagreement worth airing.