Iraq Victory Has a Thousand Fathers

On January 10, 2007, then Senator Barack Obama expressed his opposition about a US troop surge in Iraq to create a security window within which the Iraqis could begin secure their own country, `’I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”  This was not an off-the-cuff analysis offered without serious consideration.. Four days later, Obama he explained:

“We cannot impose a military solution on what has effectively become a civil war. And until we acknowledge that reality — we can send 15,000 more troops, 20,000 more troops, 30,000 more troops, I don’t know any expert on the region or any military officer that I’ve spoken to privately that believes that that is going to make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground.”

That same month, 86 Americans and 1800 Iraqis were being killed in Iraq. The surge was not in place until the summer of a 2007, and by that time nearly 2,000 Iraqis and 100 Americans were loosing their lives each month. But Obama was certain “…that the surge has not worked and we will not see a different report eight weeks from now.”

By the time President George Bush left office, American service deaths were down to 16 per month, many of these were non-combat related. Perhaps more impressively, Iraqi civilian casualties were reduced by more than an order-of-magnitude. The situation had turned so dramatically, that the Bush Administration and the Iraqi government signed the Status of Forces Agreement, whereby American forces would leave Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and US forces would be completely out of Iraq by December 31, 2011.

Reluctant to give the Bush Administration credit for its judgment but required by events to concede the improvement in Iraq in late 2008, Barack grudgingly offered that, “I think that the surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated — by the way, including President Bush and the other supporters. It has gone very well.” May all presidents be praised with the assessment that their policies were more successful than even they expected.

However, this last week came the final turn around when Vice-President Joe Biden claimed credit for the success in Iraq when he said,

“I’m very optimistic about — about Iraq, and this can be one of the great achievements of this administration. You’re going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the, uh, end of the summer. You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.”

This was particularly amusing coming from Joe Biden’s mouth (an orifice through which many odd words have passed). Biden’s solution had been to divide Iraq into three. As President John Kennedy famously quipped,“Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” Biden’s proud assertion of achievment put Iraq in the category of victory, when everyone claims credit for it. When things go badly like the economy, it was Bush’s fault. When things go well its the Obama Administration that succeeded.

Even after the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed, the Left refused to acknowledge that President Ronald Reagan’s policies were part of the cause of that victory. Despite, what the Left was saying in the 1980s, we are now told that the Soviet Union was ready to collapse of its own weight and Reagan was just fortunate to be president at the time. Whatever Reagan’s  policies their effect was imposed over a decade so any  cause and effect are more difficult to link. In the case of Iraq, violence was growing so rapidly in 2007 and was quelled so quickly after the surge that therelationship between the surge and the improvement in Iraq is impossible to deny. While the surge may not have been a sufficient condition for the improvement in Iraq, it was certainly a necessary one.

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