Cal  Thomas

In his Oval Office address Tuesday night announcing the end of combat operations in Iraq, President Obama said "It's time to turn the page" and start focusing on rebuilding the American economy.

That would be fine with me if we could be certain about what was on the next page, or whether the "book," which is about more than just Iraq, was finished. Have you noticed that those who would undermine what has been accomplished in Iraq and who are part of a larger war to conquer the West have not announced they are ready to turn the page and move on to other things?

"Our combat mission is ending," said the president, "but our commitment to Iraq's future is not." What does that mean? Does it mean that if Iran floods Iraq with suicide bombers and other agents of democratic destruction -- as it has done in the past -- we will resume combat operations? That seems unlikely with this president.

In a speech earlier in the day to troops at Fort Bliss Army Base in El Paso, Texas, the president said all the effort and bloodshed in Iraq was not in vain. He then said that because of U.S. efforts in Iraq, "America is more secure." How can that be if, as then-senator Barack Obama claimed, the war was a mistake and the surge wouldn't work? Then-senator Joe Biden said the same thing. As House Minority Leader John Boehner noted in a speech to the 92nd American Legion National Convention, congressional leaders who opposed the troop surge that led to advances in Iraq are now taking credit for it.

The president apparently felt obliged to say something nice about former President Bush after faulting him for seemingly every problem America now faces. He called Mr. Bush from Air Force One and then said of him in his address: "no one could doubt President Bush's support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security." That was probably the best Bush could expect and no one should look for more of this rare expression of civility between now and the November election.

For the president, the next page is Afghanistan. He said winding down the U.S. presence in Iraq would allow us "to apply the resources necessary to go on offense." Well, yes, but Afghanistan now has its own deadline for troop withdrawal. Our enemies know this and are simply biding their time.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

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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