Mr. Obama’s War: I Told You So

President Bush salutes in front of General David Petraeus
and Admiral William Fallon, September 2007, in Iraq

President Obama today announced an Iraq withdrawal plan that George Bush would be proud to call his own. Actually, it IS Bush’s own.

Don’t be fooled by the lawyerly language in his pledge to complete “the responsible removal of our combat brigades from Iraq” by August 2010. He’s leaving up to 50,000 troops in place until the end of 2011, and I guarantee that they’ll have weapons and the capability of responding with more than battalion strength. I’m not sure how he’s defining “combat brigades,” but he must be dancing close to an outright lie — a brigade is only 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers, it looks to me like he’s leaving three divisions in place.

Thank God.

Fully seven months ago, in July, I wrote the following:

If it’s going to become Mr. Obama’s war, I can take some comfort in the fact that at least he’s showing signs of an ability to think independently of the extreme pacifist wing of his party.

Candidate Obama already was tacking to the right on the war — his clarion call for surrender lost its usefulness as a wedge issue once Hillary Clinton withdrew from the race. The previously hapless George Bush had finally found the right general and the right strategy. Well before the election, even Obama had to acknowledge that the surge had “succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.”

After winning in November, Obama co-opted Hillary and her one-time support for the war by naming her Secretary of State. But the clearest indication that the grown-ups would be in charge of the war came when Obama announced that he was retaining Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, who oversaw the turnaround in Iraq. I feel much better about the Obama Presidency now than I did on Election Day.

The Bush Administration won the war in Iraq just in time, making it too late for the Democrats to surrender. The real test will come with the war Obama says he wants to fight, in Afghanistan. I wish him every success.

(Photo: Associated Press)

9 thoughts on “Mr. Obama’s War: I Told You So

  1. The war in Iraq has been won? I suppose if we define “winning” as the ability to militarily occupy without overwhelming public opposition, then yes, we’ve won. But since our overall objectives changed every time our rhetoric was exposed as empty, it’s hard to see how we have achieved anything that was posed as an objective.

    Obama never intended to go left geopolitically. Anyone familiar with Zbigniew Brzezinski should have known that pacifism was not in the plan. Campaign rhetoric to the contrary was merely marketing to get the young people fired up. The Congressional Dems did the same thing in Bush’s last midterm elections. They moved the voters with anti-Iraq war promises and launched the surge once safe in their seats.

  2. Sushi Freak, I define “winning” as Saddam gone and a healthy democracy in Iraq, allied with the United States. Obviously the democracy is still fragile, but it gets stronger every week, and we’ll be there for another three years as the country gradually takes over its own defense.

    One could quibble with whether the war has yet been “won” — but it certainly is a lot closer to having been won than it was to having been lost when Harry Reid made his treacherous statement.

  3. The war in Iraq is over for the simple reason that the surge worked and the country in on the road to rejuvenation. Maybe not the benchmarks originally outlined, but certainly a much more lofty position than when suicide bombings and provincial strife dominated.

    The far left must be enraged over Obama’s plans for Iraq as well as for Afghanistan. Obviously, he has decided which issues he will side with them on; our ongoing presence in southwest Asia not being one of them.

  4. I still think it’s stupid to announce to the world an exact date and time that we’ll be “out” and this morning I woke up to see an article on Yahoo that said Obama has even said which way we’ll be sending our troops out. I’m sorry, that just seems STUPID to me…

  5. The far left is indeed in for a rude awakening or a bout of denial during this administration. Obama was very clear about his willingness to use force in the region. He spoke of action in Pakistan much more aggressively then most of the candidates on either side. Yet his supporters used the peace sign as part of the campaign as if he was somehow anti-war. They believed what they wanted to believe. In my opinion, this was more caused by anti-McCain sentiment among the left than it was by critical examination of their own candidate.

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