American Elephants


All U.S. Troops In Iraq Will Be Home By the End of the Year by The Elephant's Child

President Obama has declared his strategy of removing all American military forces from Iraq by the end of the year a success, and he said “Ensuring the success of this strategy has been one of my highest national security priorities ” since taking office. “Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq, tens of thousands of the, will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home.  The last American soldier will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops.  That is how America’s military effort in Iraq will end.”

Funny, last week he was saying that we are still negotiating with the government in Iraq for American troops to stay longer and help Iraqis to train their military. And in February 2009, to an audience of Marines at Camp Lejune, he stated:

This strategy is grounded in a clear and achievable goal shared by the Iraqi people and the American people: an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant. To achieve that goal, we will work to promote an Iraqi government that is just, representative, and accountable, and that provides neither support nor safe-haven to terrorists. We will help Iraq build new ties of trade and commerce with the world. And we will forge a partnership with the people and government of Iraq that contributes to the peace and security of the region.

That clear and achievable goal has not been met.  Iraq is not sovereign, stable or self-reliant. Their difficult next door neighbor, Iran, keeps interfering.  They had a successful parliamentary election in February 2010, with a not so successful outcome.  There were all sorts of political parties, and the government has not been completely formed, there is no agreement on how the state will be run, or just who will run it. Iraq may not be able to protect its territory or its airspace. The government is not just, representative or accountable, and those new ties of trade and commerce with the world—never mind.  But the surge worked.  We won.

President Obama, back when he was just a senator from Illinois said” I have been a consistent and strong opponent of this war.” Of the surge, he said “I cannot in good conscience support his escalation.  It is a policy which has already been tried and a policy which has failed.”  Harry Reid, leader in the Senate, said of the surge when it was underway “This war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything.” So, there is some confusion here about attitudes and aims.

Democrats simply could not overcome their seething emotion about the Iraq War. The cries of Bush Lied, People Died, they accepted as gospel truth, though Bush lied about nothing. Every cooperating government’s intelligence services agreed that Iraq had WMD. There was a very large coalition that went into Iraq and fought together. The deposing of Saddam and his brutal government followed by free elections were like an earthquake in the Middle East. To assume that the current protest and revolt in the arab Middle East is unrelated to Iraq is naive in the extreme.  Yet the war in Libya, in which we had no national interest whatsoever, entered on a president’s say so without any approval of Congress is a valiant effort with a successful conclusion that Democrats are celebrating.  Consistency is not one of their strong points.

The administration had a real opportunity in Iraq, and they blew it.  They did not focus on helping Iraq to meet the opportunity. I don’t know if they ever understood the difficult position of Iraq situated between Iran and Syria, both bent on increasing their influence in Iraq and forcing removal of the U.S. military from the Middle East. They got their fondest wish.  Now Obama is concentrated on his reelection effort, and bringing the troops home will appeal to his anti-war base. So much for American goals and objectives. Let us hope that the price is not too high.

Here’s the Foreign Policy take on “How the Obama administration bungled the Iraq withdrawal negotiations.” Christian Whiton’s commentary for Fox News: “Obama Ignores that U.S.Won in Iraq—Twice.” Carl M. Cannon’s essay on: “The Obama Doctrine, Made Plain at Last in Libya, Iraq,” is here. Fredrick M. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan were among the most perceptive commenters on the entire War in Iraq, their piece is “Retreating With Our Heads Held High.”




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