“Today I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays,” President Obama declared Friday, helpfully noting that this withdrawal plan makes good on one of his campaign promises. No doubt what he said strikes fear in the hearts of Republican presidential hopefuls and their supporting casts. Yes, this was a good week in Obama PR.
This announcement may be spun to play like a victory, but the reality of what the war in Iraq was about at its beginning and the state the country will be in when American troops leave aren’t changed by Obama’s rhetoric. The president himself made vague noises about the less triumphant aspects of the Iraqi situation during his speech, gesturing at the future of U.S.-Iraqi relations by hinting that “the United States will continue to have an interest in an Iraq that is stable, secure and self-reliant.” We’ll have to wait until 2012 to start seeing what that looks like. —KA