Iraqi officials continue to endorse Barack Obama's plans for Iraq:

Iraqi spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in Baghdad on Wednesday that a U.S. pullout could be completed in several years. "It can be 2011 or 2012," he said. "We don't have a specific date in mind, but we need to agree on the principle of setting a deadline."



This, I should say, is why even though Obama's determination to maintain some wiggle room throughout the primaries gave me some concern, it's also not a crazy idea. If the Iraqi government has some strong desire for the last American troops to leave in January 2011 instead of May 2010 I think it's common sense to at least consider accommodating that. Meanwhile, the hawk line here seems to be that the Iraqi government doesn't really want a timeline for American departure, they're just pretending to want one because public opinion is so hostile to our presence that they need to demand one.

That set of facts may be true, but the implicit interpretation of them is crazy. If public opinion to our presence is so hostile that Iraqi political leaders feel compelled to set a timeline for the departure of the US military then we should set a timeline as there's no sense trying to wage counterinsurgency under those conditions.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.