The president of RU Democrats' letter argues that President-elect Barack Obama will not renege on his promise to end the Iraq war, and that his appointments to the cabinet will not change his mind on the matter. This is a misguided statement for at least two reasons. The United States and Iraqi governments have already established a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops, making Obama's pledge for a 16-month withdrawal period quite pointless, if not misleading. Mr. Obama claims that combat troops will be out in 16 months, but even after that point there will be residual forces; this is a significantly vague statement, clearly made with lots of wiggle room so that Obama can justify his future decisions about American presence in Iraq. The RU Democrats' president also overlooked the fact that the choices of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense and James Jones as National Security Advisor are equally important to the selection of Sen. Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State. At the start of his campaign, Mr. Obama, who opposed the Iraq war, declared that the Iraq war was the most important foreign-policy decision since the Cold War. He subsequently chose a vice-President who voted for the war. He has chosen a Secretary of State who voted for the war; a national security advisor who, during the election, joined Sen. John McCain in a press conference; and a defense secretary who oversaw the escalation of US forces in Iraq — a policy that Mr. Obama opposed. Secretary Gates would not have signed on for at least another year if he knew that a President Obama would undermine the changes he helped create in Iraq. By suggesting that these selections will not affect the policies of our future president, the RU Democrats' president is either lying to himself or misleading the Targum readers. These appointments, in actuality, represent a complete capitulation on the Iraq war by our president-elect.
Noah Glyn is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student.