Getting Out: Historical Perspectives on Leaving Iraq

By Michael Walzer and; Nicolaus Mills | Go to book overview

11
It Isn’t Over

GEORGE PACKER

MOST Americans think the war in Iraq is over, or should be over, or will be over very soon. Whether we won or lost is less certain and has already become the subject of a debate that will grow more intense over the next few years. One side of this debate is setting up the new president to bear the full blame just in case things should unravel under his administration—a preemptive “Who lost Iraq?” war. According to Charles Krauthammer, writing in the Washington Post just before the inauguration, President Barack Obama “will be loath to jeopardize the remarkable turnaround in American fortunes in Iraq. Obama opposed the war. But the war is all but over. What remains is an Iraq turned from aggressive, hostile power in the heart of the Middle East to an emerging democracy openly allied with the United States. No president would want to be responsible for undoing that success.” In other words, Iraq is looking so good that Obama can only screw it up. In April 2003, just before the fall of Baghdad, Thomas Friedman wrote a New York Times column titled “Hold Your

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