This NY Times editorial hits all the right notes.
The speech also made us reflect on how little Mr. Bush accomplished by needlessly invading Iraq in March 2003 — and then ludicrously declaring victory two months later.
Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction proved to be Bush administration propaganda. The war has not created a new era of democracy in the Middle East — or in Iraq for that matter. There are stirrings of democratic politics in Iraq that give us hope. But there is no government six months after national elections.
In many ways, the war made Americans less safe, creating a new organization of terrorists and diverting the nation’s military resources and political will from Afghanistan. Deprived of its main adversary, a strong Iraq, Iran was left freer to pursue its nuclear program, to direct and finance extremist groups and to meddle in Iraq.
There was no victory to declare last night, and Mr. Obama was right not to try. If victory was ever possible in this war, it has not been won, and America still faces the daunting challenges of the other war, in Afghanistan.
For this day, it was worth dwelling on this milestone in Iraq and on some grim numbers: more than 4,400 Americans dead and some 35,000 wounded, many with lost limbs. And on one number that American politicians are loath to mention: at least 100,000 Iraqis dead.
Exactly. And most important of all…
President George W. Bush tried to make Iraq an invisible, seemingly cost-free war. He refused to attend soldiers’ funerals and hid their returning coffins from the public. So it was fitting that Mr. Obama, who has improved veterans’ health care and made the Pentagon budget more rational, paid tribute to them.
“At every turn, America’s men and women in uniform have served with courage and resolve,” he said on Tuesday night. He added: “There were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hope for Iraq’s future.”
And yet right-wing media types are complaining this morning that the President did not pay tribute to George Bush for implementing the surge. Amazing. These people will never acknowledge the damage done by Bush’s immoral war.
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