CHICAGO - Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, who is contemplating a run for the presidency, on Monday called for a "gradual and substantial" reduction of U.S. forces from
Iraq that would begin in four to six months.
The basic content of what Obama is saying, divorced from the larger debate, is fine, but as to how it plays in the current debate it's not fine. It allows us to wait around one more Friedman... and then something will happen. Except it won't happen. Troops will not start coming home 4-6 months from now. And, most likely, 4-6 months from now Obama won't be saying "bring them home now," though I've put him on my little calendar and will make sure to check back then and let you know.
The thing is that "bring them home now" doesn't really mean now. It doesn't mean that thousands of troops start boarding transport planes for the trip home. It just means that the focus shifts from staying to leaving, and the latter slowly begins to happen. Every time someone punts that action for yet another Friedman, it helps to ensure that the end of the war will always be a Friedman away.