Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Obama hails end to US combat operations in Iraq.

And so, from the Oval office, Obama makes the end of the Iraq war official.

"Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country," Mr Obama said.

"The US has paid a huge price to put the future of Iraq in the hands of its people," he said.

"We have sent our young men and women to make enormous sacrifices in Iraq, and spent vast resources abroad at a time of tight budgets at home... Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the US and Iraq, we have met our responsibility. Now, it is time to turn the page."
And, showing an understanding of the opposition's position which was never - at the outset or during the time the war was fought - granted to those of us who opposed the war, he stated:

As we do, I am mindful that the Iraq War has been a contentious issue at home. Here, too, it is time to turn the page. This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush. It’s well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one could doubt President Bush’s support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security. As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hope for Iraq’s future.

The greatness of our democracy is grounded in our ability to move beyond our differences, and to learn from our experience as we confront the many challenges ahead. And no challenge is more essential to our security than our fight against al Qaeda.

This is a distinction which many on the right never understood. That it was possible to oppose the war whilst continuing to support our troops. The work the troops did was admirable. Our belief was that they should never have been sent into an unnecessary war in the first place. And the fact that they were takes nothing away from their bravery and professionalism.

Michelle Malkin highlights comments Obama made in 2002 as if there is some political goal to be scored here.

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.

There is, of course, no contradiction between what he was saying then and what he is saying now. The Iraq war was a dumb war, but that doesn't detract from the courage of the men and women who fought it. They were always lions led by donkeys.

For some bizarre reason there are some on the right who think that the ending of the war proves that they were right in the first place.


In advance of President Obama’s Tuesday night speech on Iraq, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, was set to remind thousands of veterans attending the national convention of the American Legion that Mr. Obama and other Democrats had opposed the military escalation credited with gains in Iraq.

“This day belongs to our troops, whose courage and sacrifices have made the transition to a new mission in Iraq possible,” Mr. Boehner said in excerpts of the speech he was to deliver Tuesday at the legion’s national convention in Milwaukee.

“Some leaders who opposed, criticized, and fought tooth-and-nail to stop the surge strategy now proudly claim credit for the results,” Mr. Boehner’s speech said.

Boehner is an idiot. No-one is attempting to "claim credit" for a war which should never have been fought in the first place. And Obama is actually making the same point as Boehner, "this day belongs to our troops".

It astonishes me that there are still some on the right who imagine that this war was a good idea and are worried that others might attempt to steal their "credit" for it.

History has recorded who was for and who was against this war. They are welcome to the position history will accord them.


Montana said...

Honestly, the surge was a battle for improving a War, not winning it (Cheney never wanted to win, what he wanted was to have US in a Perpetual War money in his pockets as well as his friends). Thank God we are getting out, what a waste of our Youth and Treasury set on a bed of lies.

Kel said...

Thank God we are getting out, what a waste of our Youth and Treasury set on a bed of lies.

Montana, it was a waste of both those things. How many young Americans - maimed in this conflict - have seen their lives ruined?

And for what? As you say, for lies. To defeat an enemy which was non-existent. To remove WMD which never existed.