President Barack Obama announced Friday that the last American troops in Iraq will return home by the end of December, bringing to a close a deployment of nearly nine years and allowing the United States and Iraq to begin "a normal relationship between sovereign nations."The shadow of Mr. Obama's predecessor is evident whenever the discussion of U.S. troops in Iraq is discussed. Set aside whatever feelings you have about whether those troops should have gone to Iraq for a moment and let's acknowledge a couple truths.
"Today I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays," Obama said in a statement in the White House press room.
First, few would have predicted that the U.S. military operation in Iraq would have lasted almost a decade. Whether that was naivete or believing that the U.S. military could have completed the job more quickly is irrelevant; the fact remains that the toll this operation took on the nation and its military will be analyzed for years to come.
Second, the surge worked and it explains why the U.S. can claim some degree of success in that country. Yes, it was an expensive victory, but only the most ardent critic of the Bush administration would attempt to make a case for failure.