The propelling force for Obama’s successful election campaign was his promise of getting out of Iraq quickly. He failed to do it quickly when reality trumped idealism after his election, but he continued to make it a prime goal. The far left was not happy with the delay, but they will surely celebrate when August 31 rolls around because Obama has confirmed that all American combat troops will withdraw from Iraq by that date.
It is doubtful Obama will utter the words “mission accomplished”, but it will certainly be an accomplishment and a make/break point for his presidency. If all goes well in Iraq, it may help him get re-elected in 2012. If all does not go well, it could be the end for his administration because Obama’s eggs are in the Iraq basket.
Even if the Afghanistan war (aka “Obama’s war”) begins to sour badly, it will be the outcome in Iraq that will determine Obama’s standing with American voters. He has taken credit for the successful Bush surge and he will now have to shoulder responsibility for the outcome in Iraq.
Deadly attacks and violence increased sharply this past month in Iraq, probably due to the expectation of the US withdrawal. There will be a power struggle and it may easily get out of hand quickly. If it does, chaos will reign and all that has been achieved in Iraq will have been useless. The only success will be that we have left Iraq.
Our “successful” withdrawal from Vietnam directly resulted in the deaths of almost 3 million people. This withdrawal from Iraq could very well challenge that benchmark if it goes bad. We should all hope it doesn’t because it would be a huge loss for the US and not just a political failure to be spun for partisan purposes. Our country may never be able to recover from another loss of that magnitude, so a successful withdrawal resulting in an independent, non-violent Iraq should be the hope of all.
David J. Hentosh