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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Subdued Response to the Iraqi Troop Withdrawal

Last week President Obama killed deposed Kook-in-Chief Moammar Khadafy and announced that the war in Iraq was over and we were bringing the troops home.

If we're not paying attention this was all great news and a banner end of another miserable week for the Campaigner-in-Chief.

But let's just get this out of the way first: Obama didn't kill Qaddafi. NATO flushed him out but that's on the efforts of the British and French. If Quaddafy was killed in March, then maybe Obama could tell us he did it. Freedom fighters on the ground offed Gaddafi. Sure Obama put us in the conflict, but the US had nothing to do with what happened to Kadafy. So stop crowing about what a great foreign policy president Obama is. He's not.

Now, let's talk about Iraq.

I'm not a nation-builder, and I'm not interested in sending our troops to ill-defined countries for ill-defined purposes. I'm happy the troops are coming home, but something about the announcement gnawed at me all weekend. Something just didn't seem kosher, if you'll excuse my mixing of Semitic metaphors. Friday afternoon is the time all administrations use to dump unpopular announcements. They're called Friday News Dumps for a reason. The underwhelming response to this overwhelming news was odd. Even Chuck and Dave over at NBC were decidedly lukewarm in their responses to their hero's actions. Why, they almost seemed objective.

Granted, the troop pullout is on the original timeline put in place by the Bush Administration and not the timeline Obama pledged to during the campaign in 2008, but still, why the reticence over the de facto ending of a miserable war most people agree now we should never have entered in the first place?

Approximately 4,500 soldiers have been killed in Iraq since 2003, and now we're taking down our tents and putting our Hummers on transport planes and getting the hell out of there. Iraq doesn't have a functioning government (I guess they're modeling themselves on us), and it's sandwiched between the seething haters that are Syria and Iran. There was no clearly defined "victory" so it was a war we could not win, but this almost seems like retreat to me.

From what I can see we are abruptly leaving Iraq for the following reasons:
  • the Obama Administration (including that annoying woman named Hillary who Obama stuck in the State Department to keep her quiet and who makes fun of our domestic politics on foreign soil) was not able to negotiate immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law for our troops. This is a simple tenet of international policy that was not a request peculiar to this engagement. This is a massive failure for the Administration. One that will have repercussions for decades to come.
  • Obama, always the campaigner, needed something for his base. The Occupy Wall Street movement has become an embarrassment, along with the economy and the American Jobs Act, so in a desperate attempt to at least get the far Left to vote for him, Obama hastily and without thought removed the only stability Iraq (and the region) has.
A year from now, the Middle East is going to look remarkably different than it does to today because of this decision. That's not a good thing. The Republican candidates for President better get their geography straight because you guys (and girl) just got handed two things:
  1. The Presidency
  2. A worse global situation in terms of our relations in the Middle East than we have today
If I am wrong I will be the first to admit it, but I offer Vietnam, the Korean Peninsula and Eastern Europe as all the proof I need that harsh and immediate troop withdrawals are not the way to sustain peace.

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