President Obama announced tonight from the Oval Office that the war in Iraq is over. Via The New York Times:
In an address from the Oval Office – only his second as president – Mr. Obama reminded Americans that, in giving responsibility for Iraqi security to the Iraqis, he was fulfilling a promise he made while running for office. He conceded that Americans are ‘’understandably asking tough questions’’ about Afghanistan, but urged the nation to stick with him on that war.
“We must never lose sight of what’s at stake,’’ Mr. Obama said. Sounding much like his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, he warned, “As we speak, al Qaeda continues to plot against us.’’
But it was clear that, at a time when Americans are anxious about the economy, Mr. Obama also wanted to use the address to pivot toward problems at home. As he praised the courage and resolve of the American troops, he reminded the nation of the blood and treasure that had been spilled during the Iraq war, and said it is time for him to focus on his “central responsibility’’ as president: restoring the economic health of the nation.
So after 7/5 years, that’s it. Hopefully this announcement will mean more than President Bush’s May 1, 2003 “mission accomplished” speech.
Questions about whether religious chasms can ever be crossed in Iraq remain. I just hope that all those years, all those billions of dollars and—most costly of all—all those lives lost purchased something more than a new corrupt and fractured government.