The news came down today: Complete troop withdraw from Iraq will be complete by December 31, 2011. Obama is trying to claim credit, and say that he has fulfilled a promise. Unfortunately, the truth is far less flattering to the President. The reality is the Iraqis told us "we'll take it from here," and we obliged.
We know this is not what the Generals on the ground recommend...you know, those guys who have ever served a day in uniform...recommended troop levels not be dropped any lower than 10,000 at this time when Obama pushed a plan in September to reduce troop strength to 3,000. (1) Now he wants to cut to zero and is claiming he's "fulfilling a promise," rather than admitting what's really going on: the free and soveriegn nation of Iraq feels they are ready to take command of their own security.
Again, we can have a discussion about whether or not it's time to bring our troops home, and frankly those of you who say yes, the time is right have some good arguments. Today, I agree with you for one reason: The Iraqi Government says they are ready to take over their own security.
That said, an American President does not go from "drop down to 3,000" as he was a little over a month ago to "complete troop withdrawl" two months later with no warning, no expectation, just out of the blue. Furthermore, and fare more importantly, American Generals don't go from "no less than 10,000" to "go ahead and let's withdraw all troops" in two months. It just doesn't work that way. It is my best guess that Obama was caught by surprise by this stated desire by the Iraqi government, since once again another nation isn't treating Obama as the annointed one but like the man-child President that he is in reality, and is now trying to spin the egg on his face into a positive. What's really happened is precisely what I said above: Iraq is ready to protect itself. Mission accomplished.
You may not think we should have gone to Iraq, but I believe we made the right decision. I believe that was a good decision for so very many reasons, and no, the fact that we did not find WMD does not faze me for one reason: Dictators want to stay in power above all else. If Saddam didn't have WMD, why didn't he just open the doors and let UN Inspectors see that fact? But I digress. Iraq believes it is ready to defend Iraq, and as a fellow soveriegn nation, it is not our place to argue that point.
Obama wants credit for ending the Iraq War. The truth is we are completing our mission, as planned in 2008 in the waning days of the Bush Administration. (2) Obama gets about as much credit for the completion of the Iraq War as the last relief pitcher who comes in when his team is up 10-0 in the 9th inning gets credit for the win. Obama has been the proverbial mop up man for a victory already in hand.
Yes, I said victory. We won. We set out with a specific goal in mind: Remove Saddam Hussein, the dictator who had defied the international community for years, fight Al Qaeda in Iraq (which we did, I hate to break it to you who decided it was the cool thing to do to be skeptical about that fact...whether or not they were there when we started they were our primary enemy in Iraq...no matter how many times liberals called them "insurgents") and we have left that nation at a point where they feel they can defend themselves.
This is a victory for the United States Military. They got the job done, and now our "exit strategy" of victory has been achieved. We did precisely what we set out to do. Thank you to our soldiers, and nobody else.
(1) Fox News: Sources - Obama Administration to Drop Troop Levels in Iraq to 3,000
(2) U.S. OUT OF IRAQ BY 2011