Obama’s troop levels

It has been clear that the anti-war left is quite angry with the establishment of the Democratic Party. Today, Barack Obama tried to rally the anti-war left to his side. He wants to withdraw combat troops. From USA Today’s blog:

"The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq’s leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year — now," Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama plans to say this afternoon, according to excerpts sent to reporters this morning by his campaign.

What does combat troops mean? Earlier in the year, I was told by an Obama staffer that their plan invovled about 100k troops staying in Iraq. General Patraeus has a picture (that plenty have pointed out has problems). But in that picture, "Leading" maps approximately on to "combat troops".  Perhaps about half of the 170k in Iraq now. So Obama is proposing to start removing troops now… And stopping at 100k.

How different is that really from the Patreaus plan?

On a deeper level, what is the anti-war left going to do when they realize that even the anti-war top-tier candidate is closer to Bush than the anti-war left? While the Republicans have plenty of problems going into 2008, the Democrats have a big one. They are continuously out of touch with their base on Iraq.

On a deeper level, it is going to be harder and harder to tell the difference between Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Mitt Romney on these issues, as Jim Geraghty has pointed out. If Romney is the nominee, which is, at least, very plausible, what are the Democrats going to do if they can’t differentiate on Iraq?