“As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end. I made it clear that by August 31, 2010, America’s combat mission in Iraq would end. And that is exactly what we are doing — as promised and on schedule.”
– President Barack Obama, in a speech
before the Disabled Veterans of America here in Atlanta.
By the end of this month, U.S. forces in Iraq will have drawn down to roughly 50,000 troops, and those remaining will no longer take part in combat missions. “The hard truth is we have not seen the end of American sacrifice in Iraq,” Obama said in his speech today. “But make no mistake, our commitment in Iraq is changing — from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats.”
While that’s a step worth noting — and certainly worth taking — any suggestion that we have achieved victory in Iraq would be an exaggeration. We have reduced the level of violence in that country at least temporarily and have given the Iraqi people a chance at some form of democracy, but after seven years, hundreds of billions of dollars and 4,400 American lives, it is impossible to trust the permanence of anything we’ve accomplished there.
This is simply the best we can expect from a very bad mistake.