I may well have erred in taking President Obama’s statement on our impending withdrawal from Iraq at face value, as I did in “The big bug-out.” It is impossible to take Obama’s declaration of victory in the statement seriously, particularly in the context of Obama’s evident failure to secure the immunity deal from the Iraqi government that would have allowed some American forces to stay put. In his statement announcing the withdrawal of all American forces by the end of the year, Obama portrays the withdrawal as the culminating success of his strategy. ‘Twas a famous victory.
Obama is apparently availing himself of the Aiken option. George Aiken was of course the Republican Senator from Vermont who counseled Presidents Johnson and Nixon to declare victory in Vietnam and pull out. The left recalled him with great fondness as complications ensued in Iraq. This past June Toby Harnden ascribed the Aiken option to Obama’s approach to Afghanistan, but it applies as well to our exit from Iraq.