The public will judge the president's judgment, not his ability to fulfill campaign promises. I suspect most Americans don't want to lose another war and most certainly don't want our soldiers to have died in vain.
President Bush was clearly premature in claiming "Mission Accomplished" on May 1, 2003 when he stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and declared the end of American combat operations. He corrected himself with the surge and if a completely stable Iraq has not yet been achieved, it is closer than ever. A premature pullout would undermine progress and possibly invite Iran and others to establish another terrorist base in the region. It surely would inspire legions of recruits into terrorist ranks.
There is something else. President Obama could do wonders for reducing the polarization virus in Washington by crediting President Bush for the surge and making another promise; that the United States will not allow Iraq to devolve into chaos with a new set of terrorist dictators that will equal or surpass Saddam Hussein's brutality. The alternative is too terrible to contemplate, for Iraq and for America.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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