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    Iraq withdrawal -- Obama's missed opportunity

    This is an excerpt from Obama's North Carolina speech regarding the end of the Iraq War:

    Recalling the roadside bombs and sniper attacks of the insurgency, he said: "Everything that American troops have done in Iraq, all the fighting and dying, bleeding and building, training and partnering, has led us to this moment of success."

    "The war in Iraq will soon belong to history, and your service belongs to the ages," he added.

    Success is not the right word, although the military did an excellent job with the tasks they were given. It's become apparent that America's military is the best in the world. Most of us will never know what some of these men and women have gone through, and most of us couldn't withstand what they've withstood. History will decide whether this war was successful from a leadership perspective. The troops successfully carried out their commands, and that goes without question. But whether the war was a "success" depends on what our leaders hoped to accomplish. If removing Hussein from power was a goal, that was a success accomplished years ago. If making Iraq a stable ally in the region is a goal, then there's no success. Obama missed an opportunity to talk about the Iraq War in grown-up terms that address our confused and misguided foreign policy.

    I could be wrong, but I don't see any evidence that Iraq will approach anything close to stability, but that's not the fault of our troops. Our troops are good, but they could only do so much, and now they are gone. They should have been out of Iraq long ago, and I believe history will show they should've never been ordered into Iraq. I'm not a weak-kneed dove who always shies away from war. Sometimes war is necessary to protect a country's sovereignty and existence, and when war becomes necessary, it's good to have a military like America's military -- however, we weren't protecting our country through the war in Iraq, and if I said differently out of fear of being disrepectful to our military, I'd be dishonest, and our military deserves better. Perhaps it will be shown that our involvement in Iraq had other positive consequences, but Iraq was never going to attack America.

    What we can learn from Iraq is that such drawnout battles in the mideast are misuses of our military. It pains me to say this, because I personally know people who've sacrificed and suffered in Iraq, but,they also know that nothing much has been accomplished that will last. I've seriously considered all the justifications from Iraq War apologists, but these justifications are built on patriotic wishful thinking and not the reality. The movement in the mideast is toward consolidation of Islamist power, and although there are warring factions within Islam, and although there will likely be wars between factions in Iraq, the evolution is toward Islamist unity under the control of a central force which can make the mideast a force on the world stage comparable to Europe.

    The claim is made that the Iraqi people are better off without Saddam Hussein, and that is true for now -- as I said, though, that was accomplished long ago. It can be said that nation building allowed the Iraqis time to build an infrastructure to maintain sovereignty, but this is where I disagree. Iraq will likely fall under the control of Iran, and, depending on who's out of favor, it's not certain at all that many Iraqis will fair better than when under Hussein. It's also far from certain that the volatility from that region will be lessened because of the Iraq War. Furthermore, it's far from certain that our part is over.

    If Iraq unravels and Iran pushes its will on the country, there's a good chance that we'll re-enter Iraq, even if with a reduced number of troops. Obama can't afford to let Iraq implode, although he can't really afford to do much else, either, but the Generals will think of something. Here's an unfriendly article that gives an idea of the anger that still exists over the Iraq War:

    I'm just glad our troops are coming home. Let's keep them from going back. It's a no win situation.

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