The white House Watch
Remember when Barack Obama personally flew to Copenhagen to try to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago and failed? Remember when his embarrassing attempts cozy up, all of which Iran ignored before (if you believe Obama’s word — and I don’t) plotting an incredibly inept assassination attempt in the nation’s capital? Remember when the nation’s opposition only rose as he stumped endlessly for ObamaCare, cap-and-trade, amnesty, and his “jobs” bill? As columnist George F. Will put it recently, “There is no evidence that the man has rhetorical powers.”
The Great Condescender is at it again.
On Friday, Obama puffed out his chest — “chiseled pectorals” and all — and boasted, “I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year.” As has this author reported two years ago, the agreement Obama trumpets as “his” promise was brokered by the Bush administration in late 2008, in part to prevent an immediate withdrawal. The Washington Times adds the announcement “caps months of unsuccessful negotiations” between the Obama administration and Iraqi officials over Obama’s desire to keep thousands of U.S. troops stationed in the land of the Tigris-Euphrates even longer. The president wanted to leave between 3,000 and 5,000 troops behind through 2012. In fact, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Stars and Stripes in August that the Iraqi government had already agreed to an extended U.S. presence. A spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki immediately replied, “We have not yet agreed on the issue of keeping training forces.” A month later, The Washington Post reported the Obama administration had “not yet begun formal discussions with the Iraqis about the size or makeup of the force.” Thanks to Friday’s braggadocious speech, we now know the results of our president’s brilliant rhetorical powers. Zero U.S. troops are staying beyond New Year’s Eve.
Of all people, Keith Olbermann realized Obama’s press conference was an admission of defeat presented by and a compliant media as a triumph, a campaign promise kept. He was right about something. Honest. I hope he played the lottery that day.
The reality is, as American troops leave, Iraq will sink back into the primoridial chaos Saddam’s repression long suppressed. A war, launched to punish a dictator with WMDs and ties to al-Qaeda in hopes of remaking the entire Middle East, results in a an ascendant Iran emerging as a full-fledged regional power.
Obama could not have halted the process, but boasting about it seems uniquely masochistic.