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In november 2008, the Bush administration negotiated a Status Of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government calling for American combat forces to leave Iraqi cities by june 2009, and for all American forces to leave Iraq by december 2011. Within that framework, President Obama set an interim goal for all combat forces to leave Iraq by august 2010. Yesterday, Obama reached his goal. The last combat brigade left Iraq on thursday, crossing into Kuwait. Congratulations to all our brave soldiers who have sacrificed so much. Our politicians may fail us, but our soldiers never do. They always answer the call.
As Col. John Norris led the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, into Kuwait, it was reported he said "Operation Iraqi Freedom ends on your watch" to his troops. As much as I support Col. Norris' sentiment, that is not strictly true. We still have 50,000 troops remaining in Iraq to train Iraqi soldiers and provide support as needed. We're also doubling the number of civilian contractors in Iraq, according to the New York Times. Americans are still in harm's way, though to a lesser degree. Here's Obama in an excerpt from his speech in front of the Disabled American Veterans a couple weeks ago:
As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end. (Applause.) Shortly after taking office, I announced our new strategy for Iraq and for a transition to full Iraqi responsibility. And I made it clear that by August 31st, 2010, America’s combat mission in Iraq would end. (Applause.) And that is exactly what we are doing -- as promised and on schedule. (Applause.)
Already, we have closed or turned over to Iraq hundreds of bases. We’re moving out millions of pieces of equipment in one of the largest logistics operations that we’ve seen in decades. By the end of this month, we’ll have brought more than 90,000 of our troops home from Iraq since I took office -- more than 90,000 have come home. (Applause.)
As agreed to with the Iraqi government, we will maintain a transitional force until we remove all our troops from Iraq by the end of next year. And during this period, our forces will have a focused mission -- supporting and training Iraqi forces, partnering with Iraqis in counterterrorism missions, and protecting our civilian and military efforts. These are dangerous tasks. There are still those with bombs and bullets who will try to stop Iraq’s progress. And the hard truth is we have not seen the end of American sacrifice in Iraq.
And then this from Obama:
Remember, our nation has had vigorous debates about the Iraq War. There are patriots who supported going to war, and patriots who opposed it. But there has never been any daylight between us when it comes to supporting the more than one million Americans in uniform who have served in Iraq -- far more than any conflict since Vietnam.
And while our country has sometimes been divided, they have fought together as one. While other individuals and institutions have shirked responsibility, they have welcomed responsibility. While it was easy to be daunted by overwhelming challenges, the generation that has served in Iraq has overcome every test before them.
As is his narcissistic norm, Obama takes all the credit, while failing to give the previous administration any credit whatsoever for the successes in Iraq. It's perfectly acceptable to blame Bush for going into Iraq in the first place, which Obama has done at every turn. There's no argument there, but when Obama then turns around and takes credit for something that happened due to Bush policies that Obama and his party opposed, that just galls me to no end. Obama opposed the Bush surge strategy that turned the Iraq War around and allowed us to be withdrawing today without leaving behind an Iraq in total chaos. Is it too much for our President to admit that ? Apparently it is, and that is a character flaw I wish he would overcome. It amounts to historical revisionism. For a brief reminder, here's a video from july 2008, where Obama was still insisting the surge was a failure, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary:
Now, of course, Obama is applying a surge strategy in Afghanistan. A pretty dumb idea if Obama thinks the surge in Iraq was a failure, no ? Is he doubling down on failure ? No, he isn't. Obama and the rest of America all know the Iraq surge worked, except for a few hardheaded partisan deniers who wouldn't give Bush credit for anything unless you waterboarded them.