Let's be clear about the nature and meaning of the mandate we're going to be hearing so much about: President-elect Barack Obama has a clear mandate to end the Iraq war as expeditiously as possible. His campaign was energized by and differentiated from Hillary Clinton's by his emphasis on correcting that horrific mistake. Hillary equivocated, refused to recant her vote for war, and coyly suggested that we might withdraw only as far as Kurdistan. Obama, on the other hand, pledged to get us out in a year, albeit adding weasel words about "residual" forces guarding our bigger-than-the-Vatican ambassadorial compound. He gained his initial momentum by grabbing on to this issue and holding on for dear life, as the Clintons self-destructed and the economy did, too. Obama arrived at this moment not only on the strength of his pledge to end the present war, but also the implicit promise to refrain from involving us in any further hostilities.