Let’s Be Patient

President Obama in Iraq:

    This is going to be a critical period, these next 18 months.

Three Friedman Units.
from Wikipedia:

    The term [Friedman Unit] is in reference to a May 16, 2006 article by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) detailing journalist Thomas Friedman’s repeated use of “the next six months” as the period in which, according to Friedman, “we’re going to find out…whether a decent outcome is possible” in the Iraq War.

President Obama also said:

    It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis. (Applause.) They need to take responsibility for their country and for their sovereignty. (Applause.)
    And in order for them to do that, they have got to make political accommodations. They’re going to have to decide that they want to resolve their differences through constitutional means and legal means. They are going to have to focus on providing government services that encourage confidence among their citizens.
    All those things they have to do. We can’t do it for them. But what we can do is make sure that we are a stalwart partner, that we are working alongside them, that we are committed to their success, that in terms of training their security forces, training their civilian forces in order to achieve a more effective government, they know that they have a steady partner with us.
    And so just as we thank you for what you’ve already accomplished, I want to say thank you because you will be critical in terms of us being able to make sure that Iraq is stable, that it is not a safe haven for terrorists, that it is a good neighbor and a good ally, and we can start bringing our folks home.

“We can start bringing our folks home.” When? Silly me, I thought that was going to happen right away. (Obama also said the Iraq war “is an extraordinary achievement,” but we’ll let that go, not without noting the million deaths and the four million displaced.)

“It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis.” (Applause.) Gotta love it.
Memories of General George Casey, March 8, 2005:

    Casey had high praise for Iraqi security forces, saying they are growing in competency as well as numbers. Today there are more than 140,000 trained and equipped Iraqi troops and more than 90 operational combat battalions engaged across Iraq, both with coalition forces and, in some cases, independently.

And George Bush, Nov 30, 2005:

    Our commanders on the ground see the gains the Iraqis are making. General Marty Dempsey is the commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command. Here’s what he says about the transformation of the Iraqi security forces: “It’s beyond description. They’re far better equipped, far better trained than they once were.
    “The Iraqis,” General Dempsey says, “are increasingly in control of their future and their own security. The Iraqi security forces are regaining control of the country.”
    As the Iraqi security forces stand up, their confidence is growing. And they’re taking on tougher and more important missions on their own.
    As the Iraqi security forces stand up, the confidence of the Iraqi people is growing, and Iraqis are providing the vital intelligence needed to track down the terrorists.
    And as the Iraqi security forces stand up, coalition forces can stand down. And when our mission of defeating the terrorists in Iraq is complete, our troops will return home to a proud nation.

Donald Rumsfeld
spoke (a lot), November 29, 2005:

    Could I just — stop right there. Please, let me just — stop right there. Anyone who takes those three words and thinks it means the United States should clear and the United States should hold and the United States should build doesn’t understand the situation. It is the Iraqis’ country. They’ve got 28 million people there. They are clearing, they are holding, they are building. They’re going to be the ones doing the reconstruction in that country —
    Think of it. We’ve gone through four Iraqi governments in two and a half years: the Governing Council, the Transitional Government, the Interim Government, the next government. That’s a lot of turbulence and turmoil. They have a chance to get them in place and provide leadership in their country. It’s their country. They’re going to have to grab a hold of it and run it.
    Our problem is that any time something needs to be done, we have a feeling we should rush in and fill the vacuum and do it ourselves. You know what happens when you do that? First of all, you can’t do it, because it’s not our country, it’s their country. And the second thing that happens is they don’t develop the skills and the ability and the equipment and the orientation and the habit patterns of doing it for themselves. They have to do it for themselves. There isn’t an Iraqi that comes into this country and visits with me that doesn’t say that. They know that. They know that they’re the ones that are going to have to grab that country. And it’s time.

“And it’s time,” over three years ago. Where have I heard that, recently? “It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis. . .The next 18 months are critical.”
This isn’t the first time that force has been applied to the Iraq government.
George Bush again, Jan 2007:

    I have made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq’s other leaders that America’s commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people – and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act.

Over two years ago. I guess we’ll just have to be patient.