Come again? This administration? Even for the Obama administration, this is a rather audacious claim. To begin with, “this administration” is comprised of people — most especially Messrs. Obama and Biden — who opposed the surge at every point, who said it would make things worse rather than better, and who would have given up on the Iraq war at the very time when things were beginning to turn around in our favor. [I have documented Obama and Biden’s records here and here.]
If Obama and Biden had had their way, they would have engineered an epic American military loss. They would have handed jihadists their most important victory ever. And in Iraq mass death, and quite probably genocide, would have followed.
It was also the previous administration, not the Obama administration, which is responsible for the Status of Forces agreement that is unwinding, in a responsible way, American involvement in Iraq.
More important, the success we’re experiencing in Iraq is due above all to the most remarkable fighting force in the world: the United States military; to commanders like David Petraeus, who implemented a new strategy when it was clear the old one was failing; and to the Iraqis themselves, who are taking impressive, if halting, steps toward self-government.
I’m pleased that the Obama administration, having been handed a situation in Iraq that on every front was getting better, has decided to embrace that success. But to claim they are responsible for it is a bit hard to take. It’s wonderful news if the town prostitute converts; but she should not immediately insist on being credited for the purity of her life or author a book on the virtues of modesty.
Before Biden and Obama claim credit for the success in Iraq, perhaps they can admit — in the honest, transparent, “new politics” way they had promised — that they were wrong. Perhaps they can admit to us how flawed their counsel on the surge was, how massive the damage would have been if we had followed their counsel, and what was at the root of their errors in judgment.
If we are going to have a discussion about Iraq, let’s make it an honest one.
It is quite a thing to behold — Obama and Biden incessantly blaming Bush for problems of their own making while at the same time claiming credit for things they opposed and Bush brought to pass. There is a through-the-looking-glass quality to all of this. Such things have a way of catching up to an administration, as we’re seeing day by day, poll by poll, and election by election.