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Slaughter: Obama starts by sitting down with General Petraeus and the other military commanders and hearing from them directly, not from the press, not from the Bush administration, but from the people on the ground, and also the Iraqis.  He’s got to sit down and hear from [Malakhi] and other leaders in Iraq what would make the most sense.  He had said he wants to withdraw absolutely, but he wants to withdraw responsibly.  He’s line was, “We have to be as careful, you know, getting out as we were careless getting in.”  So, I don’t think he can say anything until he’s actually had those conversations and figure out how both to withdraw but withdraw in a way that maximizes the stability of the country and that it ensures we’re not going to leave and have absolute chaos follow or worse, a worse regional conflagration.  The other thing he’s got to do is make the tour of the region, talk to the Southeast, talk to the Turks, talk to the Jordanians, to the people in the Gulf States, but actually also talk to the EU and I think as far as Pakistan and India and talk about how we stabilize the entire region.  So, everyone has a stake in making sure that Iraq doesn’t fall apart as we withdraw, but everyone also has a stake in ensuring that there is some prospect of greater economic development and political development for the whole region.

 

Anne-Marie Slaughter on Iraq

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