Iraq: Just asking the question…

Iraqi Foreign Ministry after a bomb attack Wednesday.  Source: NYTimes Iraqi Foreign Ministry after a bomb attack Wednesday. Source: NYTimes

The question is:  Was it the right for the United States to announce its withdrawal from Iraq in order to focus on the war in Afghanistan? 

See this link for a video on the bomb attacks in Iraq.  Attacks in Iraq. Source: NYTimes

Arguments on both sides of the issue are convincing.  Obama got elected by single-mindedly attacking Bush’s policy on Iraq including, until recently, the “surge,” which dramatically reduced internecine violence in that country.  Now, just as he must do on health care reform, the President has to follow through on his election pledges or and others on his left flank will never forgive him.  Yet McCain this time last  year said the job in Iraq wasn’t finished, and the Democrats took his “one hundred years” quote out of context to convince the American people that McCain planned on staying in Iraq for, well, a hundred years.  Now, Iraq may be spinning out of control again, and it may be because of a too-precipitous pullout of American forces.  Barack Obama made the point last year on the campaign trail that, unlike Hillary Clinton, he has good judgment, never supporting an invasion of Iraq, even making a speech to that effect in the Illinois state legislature, where grandstanding on the issue had no policy effect at all.  Putting aside whether we should have invaded Iraq to rid the world of this dictator with bad intentions if not bad weapons, it is a legitimate debate whether we should wind down Iraq, a country central to stability in the Middle East — given its location, ethnicity, and oil wealth, and wind up Afghanistan, arguably a mountainous backwater that has bled imperialists from Russia to Britain to the United States for centuries.  True, instability in Afghanistan triggers instability in nuclear-armed Pakistan.  I said there were good points on both sides of the issue.  I merely wish to get under the teflon a little and question the wisdom of President Obama’s foreign policy choices.

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