Who won the Iraq war? If Barack Obama’s weekend address is any indication, he did it almost singlehandedly — even though he opposed the eventually successful strategy that tamped down the violence and gave Iraqis a chance to take control of their country:
As a candidate for this office, I pledged I would end this war. As president, that is what I am doing. We have brought home more than 90,000 troops since I took office. We have closed or turned over to Iraq hundreds of bases. In many parts of the country, Iraqis have already taken the lead for security.
What Obama failed to mention was that his predecessor, George W. Bush — who actually implemented the victorious strategy over the objections of a Senator named Barack Obama, who claimed it would never work — actually created the blueprint for that very drawdown. Not once did Obama mention Bush, nor did he mention “victory.” In that, Obama actually echoes the Iraqis, who are already voicing their objections over Obama’s declaration of, well, success:
President Barack Obama’s message this weekend that Iraq would “chart its own course” may have been welcome news for war-weary Americans, but it has fueled anxieties about the future among Iraqis.
“The war is not ending. The war against terrorism continues here,” Nuri al-Moussawi, a 51-year-old Baghdad resident, said. … “The American withdrawal is hasty. The capabilities of our army have not been built yet,” Moussawi said.
In his Oval Office address, Obama backed away from “success” and “victory,” too, mentioning neither. If things fall apart because Obama took us out of Iraq too early rather than work with Baghdad to adjust the timelines based on real-world conditions, guess which name Obama will start mentioning instead of “I” then?
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Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!