In his official remarks about the end of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, President Obama told an assembly of troops:
The war in Iraq will soon belong to history. Your service belongs to the ages. Never forget that you are part of an unbroken line of heroes spanning two centuries — from the colonists who overthrew an empire, to your grandparents and parents who faced down fascism and communism, to you — men and women who fought for the same principles in Fallujah and Kandahar, and delivered justice to those who attacked us on 9/11.
You’d never know that a signature of Obama’s 2008 campaign was his assertion that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was a terrible mistake. (Actually, it was a crime, but let that go.) This was the main way he sought to distinguish himself as a candidate from his rival, Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize George W. Bush to use force against the Iraqi people on the thinnest of pretexts. True, you didn’t have to scratch very deep before discovering a waffle: At one point in 2008, Obama said he didn’t know how he would have voted on the authorization of force had he been in the Senate at the time.
Nevertheless, it is remarkable to see Obama talking about an aggressive war this way. It is also remarkable he could praise the troops without acknowledging the mind-numbing mess Iraq has been left in.
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Sheldon Richman (photo)