Obama Spurns Victory in Iraq

Thursday night, just before John McCain addressed the GOP convention, Barack Obama appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s program for an interview.  Here’s the segment on Iraq:

O’REILLY: I think you were desperately wrong on the surge, and I think you should admit it to the nation that now we have defeated the terrorists in Iraq, and the Al Qaeda came there after we invaded, as you know. We defeated them…We’ve also inhibited Iran from controlling the southern part of Iraq by the surge, which you did not support. So why won’t you say, “I was right in the beginning. I was wrong about [the surge]”?

OBAMA: If you listen to what I’ve said, and I’ll repeat it right here on this show, I think that there’s no doubt that the violence is down. I believe that that is a testimony to the troops that were sent and General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. I think that the surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated, by the way, including President Bush and the other supporters. It has gone very well, partly because of the Anbar situation and the Sunni awakening, partly because of the Shiia military. Look…

O’REILLY: But if it were up to you, there wouldn’t have been a surge.

OBAMA: No, no, no.

O’REILLY: You and Joe Biden, no surge.

OBAMA: Hold on a second, Bill. If you look at the debate that was taking place, we had gone through five years of mismanagement of this war that I thought was disastrous. And the president wanted to double down and continue on an open-ended policy that did not create the kinds of pressure on the Iraqis to take responsibility and reconcile.

O’REILLY: But it worked. It worked. Come on.

OBAMA: Bill, what I’ve said is — I’ve already said it succeed beyond our wildest dreams.

O’REILLY: Why can’t you say, “I was right in the beginning, and I was wrong about the surge”?

OBAMA: Because there’s an underlying problem where what have we done. We have reduced the violence.  But the Iraqis still haven’t taken responsibility, and we still don’t have the kind of political reconciliation. We are still spending, Bill, $10 to $12 billion a month.

From there, O’Reilly moved on to other topics.

Actually, there has been substantial political reconciliation. The process of turning the responsibility for security over to the Iraqis started a year ago and continues.  Last week The Administration reported “satisfactory progress” in 15 of 18 political benchmarks established by Congress at the beginning of the Surge, January, 2001, as a way  to measure progress.  The Anti-Bush, Anti-Iraq Democrats, predictably,  claim progress is too slow.  But the same could certainly be said for the US Congress which will adjourn for the year in about a month without passing a budget or addressing a host of urgent issues.

Democracy is a messy, imprecise business.  To support his untenable position Obama sets a higher standard of efficiency and non-partisan action for a brand new democracy emerging from decades of oppressive dictatorship than could ever be met by the US Congress, or any of the European democracies.  This is a transparent political dodge to avoid acknowledging success in Iraq.

A year ago Al Anbar Province was a violent, lawless no man’s land with Al Qaeda  in control of every significant population center.   Last week, the media sneered and looked away as responsibility for security and protection of the population in Al Anbar was turned over to the Iraqis.  Here’s video from The Department of Defense…
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Anbar Handover

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As we reported March the Iraqi government launched a major military operation against Shiite Militias, with Prime Minister al-Maliki, himself a Shiite, personally in command. Defeating these militias was a major Sunni demand because Militiamen had kidnapped and/or killed hundreds of Sunnis. After only 24 hours, Obama, the Anti-Iraq Democrats and the media dismissed the campaign against the militias as a disaster and failure. But they were, of course wrong.  Eventually the operation succeeded and now, the militias have been pacified.

Now, Barack Obama says the surge “succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.”  Well, it was certainly beyond HIS dreams. At the beginning of the surge  Obama flatly stated there was no possibility of military success, that the new strategies would only make Iraq worse. A month later he introduced legislation that woud have made the surge illegal.

Twice since the beginning of the surge he has voted to cut off funding for the Iraq operation, even as the troops continued their work.  In the interview above he seems to be crediting “the Anbar situation” for the success of the surge strategies rather than acknowledging that the surge strategies brought success to Anbar.

The US military has triumphed in Iraq.  Iraq will become a permanent American ally in the Middle East.  A young generation of Iraqis will grow up with positive memories of American soldiers and a positive attitude toward the United States.

Along the way Barack Obama did everything he could to stop the troops from accomplishing their mission and still cannot bring himself to acknowledge obvious success.  Why?  Two reasons:

  1. He would lose the support and votes of the virulent anti-Bush left, and
  2. He is too arrogant to admit a mistake, as the interview above demonstrates.


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