We’ve officially declared victory in Iraq. This morning, the US officially handed over the reins of power to the Iraqi government, and by December 31 every US troop will be out of the country. President Obama wasted no time in traveling to Fort Bragg (cue the irony) to praise the troops — and, of course, pat himself on the back for pulling it off. This is what victory looks like.
Lord, I hope he’s right. But if he is, it would be pretty much the first time.
Remember when General Petraeus testified before Congress and talked about the “surge” policy to help defeat the insurgents? Then-Senator Obama blasted the policy, said it was doomed to failure, and voted against General Petraeus and the plan.
And don’t forget Joe Biden. He voted against the first Gulf War, in 1991, voted for the Iraqi invasion, and actually proposed his “solution” to Iraq — partitioning it into three states. That prompted a rare unity among Iraq’s factions — they all agreed that Biden was an idiot.
The military wasn’t too confident about pulling out now. They wanted to keep at least a moderate-sized force in Iraq, but the Obama administration couldn’t reach an agreement with the Iraqis. Well, that might not be quite true — they didn’t reach an agreement, but they didn’t try very hard. At one point, they went about six months without no official discussions with Iraq on the matter.
As I said, I hope like hell this works. I hope the nascent Iraqi government can withstand the pressures from within (insurgents) and without (Iran et al). But the cynic in me sees parallels to the Keystone Pipeline issue. In that one, Obama decided to postpone his decision until after next year’s election. I suspect that on his desk is an intelligence report saying that the current Iraqi government can hold things together for about a year, and then will fall apart. In Obama’s calculus, that would let him proclaim victory right through the next election — and that’s all he needs and cares about.
Please, let me be wrong. Let this victory not simply be a facade.