WSJ: US will stay in Iraq, no matter who wins the presidency

An article in Friday's Wall Street Journal, notes that the Democratic nominees will not have a a full withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

Despite the rhetoric of the Democratic presidential candidates, significant numbers of U.S. troops will remain in Iraq regardless who wins in November .... senior adviser said that Mr. Obama was comfortable with a long-term U.S. troop presence of around five brigades, which -- depending on the numbers of support troops and other personnel -- would likely leave around 35,000 troops in Iraq. Sen. Clinton takes a similar approach

This will not surprise anyone who follows US foreign policy closely. As Steve correctly observed in his excellent piece, The Obama Doctrine:

"there will certainly be a long-term US presence in Iraq. The money that was poured into the war in the interest of securing permanent military basing in the heart of the world's remaining energy reserves will not have been spent in vain. What will happen, however, is a gradual troop reduction over the course of the next administration amid much fanfare from the media and academia.

It is, I think, worth the effort in reminding readers that of the reality of this situation as the democrats (and much of the media) often portray the race in a way that might give people the false impression that Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton will end the war while in office. The reality, however, is they will just scale back on troop levels and sell it as an end to the war. This is obviously preferable to John McCain's position on the war who calls the war a success and says he would be willing to keep US forces there upwards of "1000 years". He also made the absurd claim that a US withdrawal would result in al Qaeda taking over the country. This shows that McCain is either a liar or a complete idiot. I suspect it is the former, but in either case, it does not reflect well on the Arizona lawmaker (Juan Cole has more on this, here).

But, despite the obvious contrast between the Democrats and McCain, voters ought to know that Obama and Clinton do not have any specific plans to bring all the troops home. This means that it will be the responsibility of the anti-war movement to raise hell, and demand a troop withdrawal, now, all the way through the conventions and into the next presidential term -- no matter who is in the seat of power.