President Obama has begun turning the end of the Iraq War into a political bonus, spending a week trumpeting the war’s end and seeking to galvanize his campaign apparatus with the news of the withdrawal.
The politicization casts suspicion over Obama’s decision to ignore his military advisers on the ground in Iraq, who wanted as many as 18,000 troops to stay in country in order to keep the hard won peace and rebut Iran’s influence.
Instead, Obama made a fainthearted effort to get the Iraqis to agree to keep 3,000 to 4,000 U.S. troops on hand. The Iraqis – perhaps realizing Americans weren’t serious since they were requesting a force barely large enough to defend itself – balked, and the White House didn’t put up much of a fight.
Now, raising questions about whether the needs of the Obama 2012 campaign are driving military policy, Obama is sonorously trumpeting the total withdrawal of U.S. troops. He could hardly have claimed to have ended the war with nearly 20,000 U.S. servicemen and women still in Iraq.
In a message sent Sunday to his campaign’s vast email list, Obama made clear that they should think of the war’s end in political terms.
Early this morning, the last of our troops left Iraq .
As we honor and reflect on the sacrifices that millions of men and women made for this war, I wanted to make sure you heard the news.
Bringing this war to a responsible end was a cause that sparked many Americans to get involved in the political process for the first time. Today’s outcome is a reminder that we all have a stake in our country’s future, and a say in the direction we choose.
At his press conference last week with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, Obama made sure no one missed the message that he has stopped the war, saying the same thing four times in his brief opening remarks.
After nearly nine years, our war in Iraq ends this month . . .
We’re here to mark the end of this war . . .
Mr. Prime Minister, as we end this war . . .
This is a historic moment. A war is ending.
Note the repeated use of the word “end,” as if Obama was trying to drill it into everyone’s subconscious.
Obama went on last week to visit Fort Bragg with Michelle by his side, where he continued to hammer home his message, and then made the Iraq withdrawal the subject of his weekly address Saturday morning.
One of least classy features of Obama’s War is Over procession has been his complete failure to mention George W. Bush. Even if he disagrees with Bush’s decision to launch the war and thinks Bush mishandled elements of its prosecution, the victory Obama is now celebrating is actually Bush’s.
It was Obama’s predecessor, not Obama, who turned the war around and who has given Iraq a chance at living freely. Failing to mention Bush is either a supreme act of pettiness, a reflection of a commonly held view on the Left that Bush attacked Iraq for his own evil purposes, a calculation that mentioning Bush would interfere with Obama’s ability to politicize the Iraq victory, or – most likely – all three of the above.
Crediting Bush would have made the war’s end an American event, not an Obama event.
But then, there’s an election to be won.