Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Giving Credit Where It Is Due

Amidst a troubling uptick in violence in Iraq we get this report:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday assured Iraq that the Obama administration would not abandon the country even as it presses ahead with plans to withdraw American troops amid a recent surge in violence. Clinton, on an unannounced trip to Baghdad, said the drawdown would be handled in a “responsible and careful way” and would not affect efforts to improve the professionalism of Iraq’s security forces or reconstruction and development projects that are to be expanded.

[. . .]

“Let me assure you and repeat what President Obama said, we are committed to Iraq, we want to see a stable, sovereign, self-reliant Iraq,” she told a nervous but receptive crowd at a town hall meeting at the U.S. Embassy here.

One can scoff at the utter hypocrisy of the Clinton-Obama duo who duked it out in the primary for the title of “Most Ready To Flee Iraq.” Yet one is hard pressed to quibble when reality intervenes and the new administration chooses to pursue a responsible course of action. It is one thing during a campaign to blithely brush off the threat of regional chaos which would follow a premature retreat; it is quite another to preside over it.

As with the economy, this is war is now Obama’s. Whether he will have the judgment and determination to adjust timetables and commit resources based on conditions on the ground remains to be seen. But on this one, he has for now put away “childish things.” Perhaps it will be habit-forming.