Thomas E. Ricks, the nation’s best-known defense correspondent, writes in a book out this week that many Iraq veterans believe the U.S. is likely to have “soldiers in combat in Iraq until at least 2015 – which would put us now at about the midpoint of the conflict.”
That would mean American forces would remain in danger past President Obama’s terms, into his second term if he wins reelection or the 45th presidency if he doesn’t.
The man who campaigned in large part on his opposition to the war and in dedication to getting troops back home cannot fulfill his promise. Of course, many people knew his ambitions were unrealistic but will those who believed him then call him out now?
Obama advisors have reportedly urged flexibility when it comes to troop withdrawal. In a USA Today piece, Reidar Visser, who runs the Iraq-focused website historiae.org, said "Obama is going to find he has to chart a different course in Iraq than he campaigned on."
In the last month, Obama has proved his presidency is quite a contrast to his campaign in regards to the economy. Iraq policy threatens the same fate. The Wall Street Journal:
Here's the lose-lose scenario: Allow Iraq to deteriorate by withdrawing too soon and push into Afghanistan without a better strategy. Mr. Obama has inherited a victory in Iraq that he can't afford to squander.
I am hopeful he will not squandor the victory but it demonstrates who was honest with reality during the 2008 elections -- and it was not President Obama.