Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Obama and Iraq: ‘Through a Glass, Darkly’

By Scott Ritter

"......While the United States military can claim that it did not lose the war in Iraq, it will have a hard time backing up any claims of victory. America was denied its “Missouri moment” in Iraq—the Baathists of Saddam Hussein’s regime were never compelled to line up, as the Japanese had in Tokyo Bay in August 1945, and sign a surrender document. This lack of closure highlights the ever-present reality that while American forces may have defeated Saddam Hussein’s divisions, and ultimately captured or killed the Iraqi president and the majority of his senior officials, the fighting would last for years and continues today......

The Obama administration’s so-called strategy for Iraq lacks any discernable benchmarks for success. Void of any coherent definition of what “success” in Iraq might actually look like, the “withdrawal” of “combat troops” from Iraq can be viewed as little more than an ineffective attempt by a faltering president to improve his image—and that of his floundering party—on the eve of critical midterm elections. By continuing to place American troops in harm’s way in Iraq for no reason other than to prop up his domestic political image, Obama has compounded his mistakes in ways that allow his political viability to be questioned, tarnish his legacy and undermine America’s image at home and abroad. Rather than living up to the promise of his inaugural address to “set aside childish things,” President Obama has given us a glimpse of the future “through a glass, darkly.” "

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