Exiting Iraq

Spencer Ackerman checks in on the withdrawal. The remaining troops are scheduled to pull out by year's end:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Iraq last week and loudly warned that its fractious political leadership was running out of time to request the U.S. to stay. If that construction seems odd — and reminiscent of a jilted lover — it’s out of diplomatic necessity and bureaucratic reality.  The U.S. and Iraq signed an accord in 2008 mandating a full military withdrawal. To halt that withdrawal requires a cumbersome renegotiation, and the host nation has to initiate it. Clock’s ticking.

Ackerman concludes that "the obstacles to a prolonged U.S. presence in Iraq are the leaders of both countries — one of whom wants to get out in order to stay in power, and the other can’t ask his counterpart to stay for fear of losing power."