On the surge, for the record

Yesterday President Obama announced his plan to terminate combat operations in Iraq late next year. In his speech yesterday before a military audience at Camp Lejeune, Obama conceded:

Thanks in great measure to your service, the situation in Iraq has improved. Violence has been reduced substantially from the horrific sectarian killing of 2006 and 2007. Al Qaeda in Iraq has been dealt a serious blow by our troops and Iraq’s Security Forces, and through our partnership with Sunni Arabs. The capacity of Iraq’s Security Forces has improved, and Iraq’s leaders have taken steps toward political accommodation. The relative peace and strong participation in January’s provincial elections sent a powerful message to the world about how far Iraqis have come in pursuing their aspirations through a peaceful political process.

Obama then described the challenges that still face Iraq. Obama provided no retrospective on his own contribution to the debate over “the surge” or any sense of how his “new strategy to end the war” in Iraq differs from the old strategy for victory.

For the record, the video below compiles clips of Obama and Biden criticizing “the surge” immediately after it had been announced by Bush but before it had produced its effects. Despite the banner at the top, the video is not shocking or revelatory of hypocrisy, but it is nevertheless worth a look.

JOHN adds: See also Ralph Peters on Obama’s “phony pullout” in today’s New York Post:

Consider his big sound bite: “Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.” What does that mean?

Will the 50,000 troops he intends to leave in Iraq, the trainers and maintainers, be forbidden to defend themselves? Are they just going to hang out? …

The enemy gets a say, too. The situation on the ground will determine when combat operations end. Obama’s just going to call them something else. …

As for Obama’s claim that “I have chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months,” just watch.

We’re not going to leave 50,000 support troops in Iraq without combat units to protect them. We’ll just ban the word “brigade” and call our shooters “task forces.”

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