So it begins:
President Obama is nearing a decision that would order American combat forces out of Iraq by August 2010 as he seeks to finally end a war that has consumed and polarized the United States for nearly six years, senior administration officials said Tuesday.
The timetable would give the military three months more to withdraw than the 16-month pullout Mr. Obama promised last year on the campaign trail. Officials said he was prepared to make that shift because he agreed with the concerns of ground commanders who wanted more time to cement security gains, strengthen political institutions and make sure Iraq did not become more unstable again.
Even with the withdrawal order, Mr. Obama plans to leave behind a “residual force” of tens of thousands of troops to continue training Iraqi security forces, hunt down foreign terrorist cells and guard American institutions, as he said he would during last year’s campaign.
I don’t have much to add to this news. We all knew troop withdrawal was coming and we all knew that residual forces would be left there, even when Obama and Edwards were slamming Clinton for supporting residual troops during the early primary. Still, the President’s plan seems to be avoiding the politicization of Iraq that plagued the Bush admistration and domination the democratic primaries this time last year.