Saturday, August 28, 2010

Our Mission Accomplished?

Clearly, al Qaeda in Iraq has been waiting for our formal end to our combat role to strike across Iraq. It gets them more publicity this way. But in the end, other than inflicting pointless civilian casualties, al Qaeda (and I assume their Baathist backers in exile who still hope to regain power) will lose this fight. But President Obama isn't going to make the situation easier, apparently.

The terrorists can certainly hide for a while as we help the Iraqis hunt down the weakened al Qaeda which lost their ability to bring down the Iraqi government during the surge/Awakening. But coming out to make these attacks brings attention. And the scale of the attacks brings public outrage to do something to stop the attacks. So despite the corruption--which is common to the region, including the terrorists themselves--the Iraqis will gear up to fight the terrorists:

"We direct the Iraqi forces, police and army and other security forces, to take the highest alert and precautionary measures to foil this criminal planning," al-Maliki said in a statement to state-run television.

A senior Iraqi intelligence official said security forces believe suicide bombers have entered the country with plans to strike unspecified targets in Baghdad by month's end. The official did not know how many bombers or where they would attack, and spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

If suicide bombers are entering the country, the likely path is through Syria as they arrived before. I suppose this puts Syria on notice that Iraq will blame Syria if such attacks continue. Eventually, Iraq will be able to do something about Syrian involvement in the terrorist mass murder that plagued Iraq since 2003.

But this, from President Obama, is a bit discouraging to me:

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, used his weekly radio address to reaffirm his campaign promise to end the war in Iraq and refocus on Afghanistan as home to the top threats against America.

"The bottom line is this: the war is ending," Obama said from the Massachusetts island retreat of Martha's Vineyard, where he was on vacation. "Like any sovereign, independent nation, Iraq is free to chart its own course."

Really? The war is "ending?" Bye Iraq and have a nice life?
Come on, Mr. President! We all know that we will continue to help Iraq--even after 2011. Why act like we're washing our hands of the fight that still rages (even if it is at a much reduced scale)? Why give Iraqis that impression and why give our enemies that hope? Do you really think the "professional left," as your press secretary called them recently, will really learn to love you if you distance yourself from victory in Iraq despite all you've done for them in passing highly progressive legislation? They do not believe that you upheld your campaign promise to get our of Iraq. Then, you promised to lose the war. They believed you.

We won the war before you could lose it and your base can't forget that insult when they spent years claiming that far from betraying our troops in the field, they were the clear-eyed realists who understood that the war was unwinnable and that their dissent was all about cutting our losses and getting out before we lost. They don't want us to win--anywhere--and I hope that you understand that as our president you have a duty--as well as a personal interest if you value reelection or your legacy--to win the wars we are in. Especially a war we have won in Iraq by ignoring the urge to move on and ignore it, thus risking all we've done.
I have hopes of a better presidential speech on Tuesday, but I'm starting to worry that my basic optimism will be betrayed. We've accomplished many missions in Iraq. But we have more missions to accomplish before we can think about resting.