U.S. officials welcomed on Wednesday Iraq’s decision to negotiate with Washington on keeping some U.S. troops in the country into next year ... Iraq’s top political leaders agreed late Tuesday that the Iraqi military needs to continue training programs with U.S. forces, marking the first step in a process that still could take months to resolve.On the one hand the U.S. has good reasons for retaining a military presence in Iraq, which are laid out in the article. But the problems lie in the details.
Significant details that remain unresolved include the length and focus of any training program, how many U.S. troops such training might require and how Iraqi leaders would formally request and approve a new partnership. Mullen and his colleagues also want legal immunity for any troops who stay behind.One huge detail not mentioned is who is going to pay for the continuing U.S. presence. If Iraq wants and needs U.S. troops to remain in its country beyond the agreed upon withdrawal date, it should provide the financial support for that presence. With our fiscal situation as it is, we should not continue to maintain large foreign deployments, plus the aid programs that go with them, at our expense.