In his most recent column Washington Post Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Charles Krauthammer criticizes President Obama’s decision to withdraw all of our troops from Iraq by December 31, 2011. In a piece titled: “Obama Has Blown Lasting Gain In Iraq” Krauthammer states that by pulling all of our troops out of Iraq Obama has thrown away our victory and paved the way for Iranian influence in the region. He says that Obama opposed the war from the beginning and placed his vindication for opposition ahead of his obligation to defend the security of the nation. And then Krauthammer jumps the shark saying that the President was obligated to defend the strategic gains that we had achieved because the country had paid such a terrible price in blood and treasure to achieve those gains.
Krauthammer is a world renowned columnist; but in this piece he is twisting the facts to fit his ideology. He seems to forget that Iraq belongs to the Iraqi’s. (We wonder how Krauthammer would feel about several thousand foreign military personnel patrolling his neighborhood with immunity.)
Krauthammer chooses to ignore that the December 31, 2011 deadline for the withdrawal of all our troops was negotiated by Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush. Obama is merely carrying out the agreement. He also chooses to ignore the fact that the democratically elected Iraqi government wants our troops out by December 31, 2011. Last but certainly not least, Krauthammer chooses to ignore that 75% of the people that pay Obama’s salary want our troops brought home by the end of the year.
The President’s promise to bring our troops home was not just some throw away campaign slogan; in fact it was the central issue of the 2008 election. The President opposed the war from the very beginning while his chief opponent, Hillary Clinton, supported the invasion. If not for that one vote it can certainly be argued that Hillary Clinton would be sitting in the White House today. The American people want out…now. The President’s obligation is to the American people not the Iraqi government.
And as for the brave men and women who fought and died or were wounded in this war…the burden of their sacrifice lies on the shoulders of those who sent them to fight a war that should never have been fought. To lay that guilt on the shoulders of President Obama is unconscionable.
Will Iran attempt to insert its influence into the region once the American troops leave? Absolutely! Is there a chance that all that we have accomplished in Iraq will be lost in an ensuing civil war? No doubt! But unless we are willing to occupy Iraq forever there is the very real possibility that these events will occur if we leave in 2011, 2021, or 2031. These are the consequences one should consider before raining “Shock and Awe” down on a foreign power.
Krauthammer, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and their conservative brethren just cannot bring themselves to the realization that although we may have won the military battle in Iraq we will never really be victorious.