Casey’s remarks flatly contradict President Obama’s promise as recently as February 27, in front of American soldiers at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina: “I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. We will complete this transition to Iraqi responsibility, and we will bring our troops home with the honor that they have earned.”
So has Obama reversed his promise? To any person capable of understanding the English language, yes. But Obama is the Rorschach president; you are supposed to hear only what you want to hear from his mouth. Obama is on both sides of most public issues, often in the same speech. (Consider his speech on “preventative detention” that Rachel Maddow exploded as one of many other examples.)
Obama says he isn’t breaking his promise to the troops in Iraq. After all, in the same speech where Obama promised to “remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011,” he also said:
After we remove our combat brigades, our mission will change from combat to supporting the Iraqi government and its Security Forces as they take the absolute lead in securing their country. As I have long said, we will retain a transitional force to carry out three distinct functions: training, equipping, and advising Iraqi Security Forces as long as they remain non-sectarian; conducting targeted counter-terrorism missions; and protecting our ongoing civilian and military efforts within Iraq. Initially, this force will likely be made up of 35-50,000 U.S. troops.
In sum, he will both remove “all U.S. troops from Iraq” by 2011 and he will leave as many as 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq after 2012. You are instructed to believe whichever position you currently favor. If Obama eventually chooses the option you don't currently favor, you aren’t allowed to get angry because — don’t forget! — the Rorschach President also told you he would do that!
Photo of General George Casey: Department of Defense