Yesterday the United States combat mission in Iraq officially ended. Of course, American troops still remain, Iraq does not yet have a fully functioning military or government, and IED explosions are an everyday event.
At this point, the price tag includes 4,400 dead Americans, 100,000+ dead Iraqis, vast numbers of wounded, billions of dollars, and massive property damage. Many of the best educated, professional Iraqis fled Iraq and a strong and influential Iran is right next door.
How this will all turn out is still, obviously enough, a matter of considerably uncertainty. Interestingly enough, one of the main focuses of the media is whether Obama will give the Bush administration credit for this mission accomplished moment. This is hardly shocking since the media folks often have a gift for focusing on what really matters least yet can be used to create controversy that will draw eyeballs.
In the interest of playing ball with the media, I’ll address whether or not the Bush administration should get credit for this.
Obviously enough, there would be no war if Bush had not started it. As such, Bush clearly has a causal role in the end of the combat mission. Of course, this is like saying that the person who drove the car into the ditch has a role in it being removed from the ditch.
Of course, the Bush folks did more than just drive the car into the ditch (with Hillary and many other Democrats yelling “step on it, George!”). His people also came up with the surge which has been credited with the reduction in violence that has made it possible to declare victory that the combat mission is over. Let it be assumed that the surge was an effective strategy and paved the way towards the official end of the combat mission. Obviously enough, the Bush folks deserved credit for that strategy. To use an analogy, if the people who drove the car into the ditch come up with an idea to get it out and then start implementing that idea, they do deserve some credit when someone else comes along and gets the car out of the ditch.
Of course it might seem a bit silly to debate about how much credit the guy who drove the car into the ditch deserves when you think that the car should have never been driven into the ditch in the first place.