Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama Borrows Heavy on Iraq

WASHINGTON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Six years after U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein, President Barack Obama will announce on Friday the withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces by August 2010, administration officials said. (“Obama to end combat operation in Iraq by Aug 2010”).

I have abandoned all hope that anything can be said, shown, or explained to the average American (who voted for Obama) that will make up for his invincible ignorance when it comes to the War in Iraq: he never knew why we went in there, he never knew what we did there, and even now in February 2009 the word “Iraq” causes to spring into his mind a collage of GIs dying in Vietnam-style ambushes, a mounting pile of American casualties, and a hopeless battle against a shapeless enemy with “no end in sight.”

Nevertheless, it makes me feel better to point out how all the credit the media are allowing President Obama to steal for “ending this war” and withdrawing American forces from Iraq was already accomplished—signed, sealed, and delivered, by George W. Bush last November. It was in November 2008 that Bush concluded the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the Iraqi government. ("Status of Forces Agreement").

Moreover, Bush was already well along with the terms as early as January 2008, more than a year ago. That’s when he and General Petraeus were envisioning a possible outcome of “troop levels to well under 100,000, perhaps to as few as 60,000, by the time the next president takes office.” (“Sorry, Barack, You’ve Lost Iraq.”).

Bush didn’t quite meet that goal by January 2009. But the SOFA that was signed in November specified that all U.S. forces would be withdrawn from “all Iraqi cities, villages and localities. . . no later than June 30, 2009,” and all U.S. forces “shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.”

The June 30, 2009 withdrawal from all Iraqi towns accomplishes the “withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces” that Obama’s announcement calls for by August 2010—14 months earlier. That’s even more ambitious than what Obama has in mind—his plan still leaves 50,000 troops in Iraq “for an additional 16 months”—just coincidentally, until the December 2011 date required under the SOFA. (“Obama to Announce U.S. Troop Withdrawal in Iraq”).

But none of those dates means a thing without the one real accomplishment—winning the war— for which Bush deserves nearly all the credit, and Obama deserves not one speck.

Not that who won the war will matter to those invincibly ignorant Americans who don't know it's all but over, and who still think our guys are getting mowed down in losing battles against superior forces in some place called Fallujah.

And for President Obama and his supporters, wars aren't about victory, anyway. Liberals don’t rally to win wars, but to “end” them. (Except wars on drugs or poverty—and then they still manage to lose them!) And since the media refused to report that America won the War in Iraq, they're still free to give the new Commander in Chief credit for ending it, even though all he’s really doing is continuing the withdrawal plans already laid down by the guy who actually won the thing.

President Obama can hardly take credit for the favorable military conditions that make his announcement possible. Any withdrawal of combat troops would be unimaginable if not for the necessary predicate of having achieved lasting military victory.

As the SOFA was reaching its final stages the Left—sensing it could be a sign of success for Bush and too stingy to credit him with anything good in Iraq—tried to minimize it as being much less than Bush had wanted,. They reported that Bush was effectively horse-traded into all kinds of concessions by the crafty Iraqis—as if Bush wanted Americans in Iraq forever! ("Galbraith: SOFA is 'stunning and humiliating' for Bush"). Then they dropped all mention of the SOFA, in joyful anticipation of handing the closing chapter of the Iraq war to Obama as a gift. You'll find no mention of the SOFA in today's articles trumpeting President Obama's dramatic announcement.

Obama has categorically refused to give Bush credit for the favorable outcome in Iraq. Now he’s trying to steal credit for bringing our troops home and “ending the war.”

He may as well pull our forces out of Japan and Germany and take credit for winning World War II.

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