Iraq: The speech that should have been
A recent satirical column about GLOAT vs. RESPECT drew favorable comments stretching from Alexandria, Virginia, to Stillwater, Oklahoma, and some points in between. With satire in mind, letís examine a recent speech by Mr. Obama during which he claimed victory in Iraq, sort of. Here is what Mr. Obama should have said, but did not:
ďMy fellow Americans, back when my predecessor was in office, I was opposed to the toppling of the regime of Saddam Hussein by force. Even though I was merely a freshman U.S. Senator from Illinois with no foreign policy or military service experience, I figured it was good politics to be against whatever the Republican president was doing. So, I said loud and clear that we should pull all of our troops out of Iraq immediately.
Later, when I started running for president, it did not seem like good politics to be against everything. I needed to be for something. So, I said our troops should be fighting in Afghanistan and, possibly, in Pakistan as well. Folks, you can check the record. Iím sorry, but that is what I said.
Now, Iíve been in this job for 20 months. And I have to tell you Iíve learned a lot. For example, that nutcase, Saddam Hussein, really was in the process of producing some atomic weapons. After U.S. troops got inside Iraq, they discovered several caches of highly-enriched uranium, the only purpose of which was to produce weapons-grade uranium. Fortunately, all that uranium was quietly moved, via Canada, into the United States. Again, you can check the record.
I have to admit Saddam was one bad dude. Saddam was a menace to Middle East peace. He invaded Iran in 1980. He invaded Kuwait in 1990. He slaughtered over a million of his own people, to include using poison gas on the Kurds. So, yes, Saddam caused serious humanitarian concerns. But the real reason Saddam had to go was because he was determined to raise his own nuclear umbrella over Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and, eventually, get to decide who gets oil out of the Persian Gulf, and at what price.
Saddam had tried conventional forces against Iran and Kuwait and failed. So, the only logical course left for Saddam was to keep ignoring the 17 U.N. resolutions against his acquisition of nuclear weapons, to keep playing hide the uranium and lab facilities from the bumbling U.N. inspectors, and then do like Iran is doing today Ė continue on the path to a nuclear arsenal.
So, my fellow Americans, what has happened in Iraq? What was once an anti-western dictatorship is now a neutral nation struggling toward democracy. Iraq holds elections. Women get to vote. Iraq has a written constitution. Iraq has an elected parliament.
The Iraqis are struggling to find a middle way between radical Islamic extremism and modern secularism. They still have a long way to go and that journey requires security. So, rather than snatch defeat from the jaws of the victory for which so many young Americans have already bled and died in Iraq, I am reversing course.
Tonight, I am ordering a careful withdrawal of our forces from Afghanistan. This is nothing new. I was going to pull all our forces out of Afghanistan by next summer. Besides, no outside power has ever defeated the Afghan war lords, anyway.
Troops who are at the end of their current tour of duty in Afghanistan or Iraq will be coming home. Units that still have some time remaining on their Iraq and/or Afghanistan deployments will be consolidated in Iraq. This, my fellow Americans, is my version of the ďsurge.Ē
So, rather than be the president who lost both Iraq and Afghanistan, I am reinforcing success in Iraq. I am avoiding an eventual defeat in Afghanistan. Good night. And God bless the United States of America.Ē
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska and Harvard University.
©2010. William Hamilton.