While President Bush was sacrificing his presidency and his reputation to remove a criminal regime in Iraq, a young South Side punk was making his bones doing everything in his power to scuttle that effort.
Even up to the United States Senate, where he publicly and proudly opposed General Petraeus’ surge that won damn thing once and for all (well, once, anyway).
It’s worth remembering what was accomplished at the cost of so many lives:
The American people, our coalition allies and especially the Iraqi people have paid an enormous price. It is important to remember why.
For over two decades, the regime of Saddam Hussein had threatened the national security of the United States, its key allies and the stability of the Middle East. It had invaded some of its neighbors (Iran and Kuwait) and threatened others (including Saudi Arabia and Israel). It had produced weapons of mass destruction, used them on its own people and the people of Iran, and threatened to use them against others.
It had actively supported terrorist groups of various stripes. It had brutalized and suppressed its own people. It had invaded Kuwait without provocation, leading to the 1991 Gulf War. It had violated the terms of the cease-fire agreement that ended that war. And it had defied the will of the international community by violating no fewer than 16 U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning its activities and calling on it to stop them.
One small point: it did more than threaten Saudi Arabia and Israel. As I recall, Saddam’s forces briefly moved into SA; and according to the BBC, he launched 39 Scud missiles at Israel during the Gulf War (to which Israel never responded).
And what did we leave behind?
From a national security perspective, the U.S. objective for a post-Saddam Iraq was an Iraqi government that would not pursue weapons of mass destruction, invade its neighbors, support terror, or oppress its people. That objective has been achieved. The governments that have followed Saddam—and those that are likely to govern going forward—have and will continue to meet these criteria because the Iraqi people have concluded that doing so is in their interest.
The U.S. objective was also to leave behind an Iraq that would be able to govern itself, defend itself, sustain itself and be an ally in the war on terror. That objective has also been achieved.
To repeat: Bush started this war, and he won it. President Brooks Robinson Obama entered office when the war was already on third base, and thought he was the one who hit a triple.
But he can still get thrown out at the plate.
A stubborn al Qaeda presence is still capable of spectacular terrorist attacks, but those attacks are neither a strategic threat nor a harbinger of renewed sectarian violence.
To his credit, President Obama has built on this success. As promised, he is continuing to bring our troops home but without jeopardizing what has been achieved. His next task is to realize a long-term diplomatic, economic and security partnership between Iraq and the United States. As he does so, it will help Iraqis achieve a brighter future and make the U.S. effort in Iraq a hard-won success for all Americans.
The author is more charitable than I am. Omoeba (and most Democrats) worked tirelessly for failure, and inherited success. (He won the nomination over Hillary partly based on his unequivocal devotion to failure.) He should have the decency to acknowledge that, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t.
But he could pay tribute to that success by committing to its perseverance. But he’s against that, too. He wants the snapshot, the moment in time that portrays success without the effort that guarantees it. The soldiers have to leave because his vanity demands it. The facts (and blood) on the ground might argue otherwise, but I’m repeatedly surprised by how deaf those big ears of his are.
PS: Michelle Malkin sets the punk against the president:
Barack Obama, 2002:
What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.
What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income, to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.
That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.
Wolfowitz and Perle… they wouldn’t be Jewish by any chance, would they? Just wondering.
Barack Obama, 2010:
In a radio interview with CBS News, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said President Obama will emphasize that “We are putting the Iraqis in control of their history and their future. They’ll have responsibility for security and responsibility for providing for the citizens of that country. That is a milestone worth barking.”
Just hours before the president speaks from the Oval Office, Gibbs said the speech would emphasize “the milestone of the end of our combat mission,” and said Mr. Obama will say, “The story of the Iraqis will be written by the Iraqis.”
Gibbs also had a terse response to Republicans challenging the president to give credit to the troop surge ordered by former President George. W. Bush — a move opposed by then-Senator Obama.
Gibbs acknowledged that “the surge improved security conditions in Iraq.” But, he added, “I think the only question that matters for them (Republicans) today — we can look back in history, but the question that matters today is, where are you on bringing more than 90,000 troops out of Iraq right now? Do you support the president’s timeline for ending our combat operation in Iraq? That’s the question I’d like to hear answered by those Republicans.”
And where will you be if security goes to hell because Americans left prematurely? It’s so easy to be a bad winner when someone else had done the winning for you, Gibbsy. Remember that.