by John Hawkins | October 17, 2008 12:11 pm
Here’s an email I received this week,
“Hey John, I’m always interested in your opinions, so I hope that you can write on this. Since it looks quite likely at this point that Obama will win the election, what will happen in Iraq? Is there any hope of us winning, it seems like we are almost there, but Obama would love to take it all away. So if he wins, what can we do to ensure that we win if Obama wins? Do you think he’ll lose on purpose to blame President Bush?” — Jeff Poulin
Liberals have split into three groups over the war. The first (and smallest group by far) are the ones that are serious about our national security and want to win the war. I’m talking about people like Ed Koch, Joe Lieberman, and Christopher Hitchens here.
The rest of the libs tend to break down into two large groups: one that is indifferent to whether we win or not and another group that would prefer to see us lose in order to see Bush, the military, and America humiliated. Obama falls into one of those two latter groups, although it’s difficult to know which one.
Now, if the war were going badly, my expectation is that Obama would pull out as quickly as feasibly possible and would blame any problems that were left behind on Bush.
However, since we are now winning the war because of the surge, Obama is going to be in a huge political pickle. Whether he likes it or not, if he wins, Iraq is going to shift from being George Bush’s war to being Barack Obama’s war and that will make a difference.
He is inheriting a war we’re winning, so if he pulls out too fast and Iraq falls apart, the American people will be furious and he’ll get the blame. Additionally, the military will be deeply suspicious of Obama as well and if he starts doing anything that will be disastrous for them or the effort in Iraq, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some generals quit in protest, which would be a PR disaster for Obama.
On the other hand, the rabid Left will be demanding that he pull out as quickly as possible and at a minimum, will expect the overwhelming majority of our troops to be out of the country in 16 months, come hell or high water.
Can Obama thread the needle and get the overwhelming majority of our troops out of the country within 16 months and still win the war? Maybe, because the situation has improved significantly this year.
However, militarily, timetables are a horrible idea because they allow the enemy the hold their strength back and wait for the ideal time to attack. It’s entirely possible that could happen in Iraq, too. So, it’s also entirely possible that his schedule won’t work.
If that happens, does he pull out anyway and hand Al-Qaeda a victory, throw the Middle-East into turmoil, and enrage the American people who’ll blame him for losing the war or does he enrage his biggest supporters, who aren’t exactly known for their patriotism, reasoning skills, or patience on this issue?
Long story short: my hope would be that we do win the war, leave Iraq as a stable and democratic nation, and are able to get our troops out as quickly as possible. If Barack Obama gets elected and can manage that, he deserves credit for it, but it’s not going to be an easy trick to pull off even though we’re on the back side of the mountain in Iraq.
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