No consensus exists, and probably never will, concerning the Iraq War. On the right, it was a justified prerequisite to the overall goals of the global “War on Terror.” Perhaps ill-conceived, but essential nonetheless. On the left, it was needless, unwarranted and costly, particularly in the toll in human lives. Obama, sounding astutely presidential, acknowledged this divide that has existed throughout the country since 2003. Yet, with a clear admission acknowledging his predecessor’s intentions and the immediate outcome in spite of unforeseen challenges and setbacks, history is already turning in favor of former President Bush’s legacy over the Iraq War. Obama, much like Nixon in his “Vietnamization” speech at the height of that war’s divisiveness, outlined exactly what needed to be stated: the United States, having fulfilled combat objectives that must now fall to the Iraqi people, will nonetheless continue an involved commitment to the long-term establishment of self-rule principles sowed by the Bush administration, and for which a new generation of brave men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice.
“In South Korea, A Model For Iraq,” by Paul Wolfowitz
“A Dicey Moment,” by Michael O’Hanlon
“Obama Wrecked Iraq,” by John Bolton
Certainly, there are lessons for President Obama from past administrations that dealt with similar situations. Truman, as newly de facto leader of the free world, helped lay the groundwork in reconciliation toward former enemies Germany and Japan, establishing valuable ties in ensuing decades that still exist today. Eisenhower, despite criticizing the failures and quagmire that had become the Korean War, maintained allegiance to and support for South Korea in its struggle against the North, which continues to this day. On the other hand, Nixon, while adhering to campaign promises to end the Vietnam conflict, abandoned South Vietnam without the same commitment, and North Vietnam quickly overran the South only two years later. All one has to do is substitute North Korea and North Vietnam with Iran – no doubt itching to overrun Iraq, and the Middle East in general, if the U.S. commitment falters in the region.
©2010 Steve Sagarra