Obama and Iraq

Iraq is a mess. If things improve and Iraqis get their country under control and implement peaceful, representative, secular government no one will be happier than me. I have never had the goal of watching Bush and his administration fail. Even if Iraq does improve and stabilize, it will not in any way excuse Bush of the major mistakes and the major unnecessary loss of life in Iraq.

What’s funny, though, is that Bush sent the bull in the China shop and now people are hard as hell on Obama, as if he should alone have all the answers and make all the right predictions about Iraq. It’s obvious to everyone, McCain included, I think, that it is time to get out of Iraq. Obama has suggested a policy of a reasoned withdrawal. This is a view that many, many people share. I believe the Iraqis themselves are suggesting it. Said the Obama camp:

“It is hard to understand how Sen. McCain can at once proclaim his support for the sovereign government of Iraq, and then stubbornly defy their expressed support for a timeline to remove our combat brigades from their country,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

If Obama is elected President he will be inheriting Bush’s mess and it may not go 100% smoothly. Given how unsmoothly it has gone so far, and how tolerant the Right has been with it, I’m sure they will be very supportive and tolerant of Obama’s efforts.

Yeah right.

8 thoughts on “Obama and Iraq

  1. From the NY Times:

    The surge, clearly, has worked, at least for now: violence, measured in the number of attacks against Americans and Iraqis each week, has dropped by 80 percent in the country since early 2007, according to figures the general provided. Civilian deaths, which peaked at more than 100 a day in late 2006, have also plunged. Car and suicide bombings, which stoked sectarian violence, have fallen from a total of 130 in March 2007 to fewer than 40 last month. In July, fewer Americans were killed in Iraq — 13 — than in any month since the war began.

    The result, now visible in the streets, is a calm unlike any the country has seen since the American invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in April 2003. The signs — Iraqi families flooding into parks at sundown, merchants throwing open long-shuttered shops — are stunning to anyone who witnessed the country’s implosion in 2005 and 2006.

    Sorry Michael, the surge worked. Iraq is not “a mess.” As the above article notes the gains made are fragile and will require an ongoing presence of US troops for a while but our success is undeniable, even by the NY Times. You look at the situation and see failure. I look at the situation and see a tremendous success. Unfortunately it appears that success in Iraq does not fit your narative.

  2. And you point is? There will still be ongoing violence, everyone admits that. If Al Q’aeda or other bad guys know that all they have to do is blow up soft targets with cowardly attacks, they’ll continue to do it. We and the Iraqi Army are chasing them down, and taking them out. Their numbers are dwindling and they will evetually be totally defeated. These attacks are down tremendously but they still happen. The article you cite above doesn’t negate one thing I said.

  3. I sort of wish you would have read past the first 4 words of this post. Iraq is not Obama’s fault. If what you say is true, you should agree with Obama that it is time to talk about a phased withdrawal. The Right acts as if Obama has the worst ideas imaginable in regards to Iraq. He doesn’t, he is right where the smart people are on the issue.

  4. Everybody agrees we need to get combat forces out of Iraq eventually. I think the main sticking point is a date-based timetable. I think it’s a stupid idea. We should withdraw based on benchmarks.

    The left argues that if you don’t set a date, the Iraqi’s are not motivated to take control for themselves.

    The right argues that if you set a date, the enemy just sits and waits and regroups until that date.

    There is truth in both views. The fact is that I believe the Iraqi’s are motivated to take control on their own just so they can have their country back 100% and get US troops out. I don’t blame them. I think most Iraqis realize we are still needed for the time being.

    But wheneverthese debates come up, I always ask, when can out troops come home from Japan, or Germany? They are still there aren’t they. I would argue that a US troop presence in the middle east is a good thing indefinitel;y as long as we aren’t getting killed.

  5. Here you go, from CNN:

    Deal would have U.S. troops out of Iraq by 2012

    It’s a timeline but certain conditions would have to be met and I’m sure we would be prepared to go back in on short notice in need be. This seems reasonable.

    I just don’t buy into your notion that Iraq is a mess, or that we broke it.

    I think we fixed it and Obama (if, God forbid, he’s elected) will be the benficiary of a more stable middle east with an increased US presence and a large, friendly (at least quasi) democracy because of what Mr. Bush & Co. have accomplished.

  6. Iraq appears to be less of a mess than it was. We are a long way from seeing a peaceful, representative, secular government. Like I said, I hope we get there.

    But a point I’ve made several times is still germane: we need Iraq to be peaceful with less troops. Having it seem more peaceful with more troops will give us a false sense of accomplishment.

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