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Iraq withdrawal: Can we declare victory?
President Obama says U.S. troops are mere weeks away from clearing out of Iraq. Time for "mission accomplished"?
 
Sgt. Patrick Hopkins kisses his fiancee as he returns from a year-long tour in Iraq.
Sgt. Patrick Hopkins kisses his fiancee as he returns from a year-long tour in Iraq.
Getty

President Obama said Monday that his pledged "responsible end" to the Iraq War is proceeding "as promised and on schedule." Speaking to disabled veterans, Obama said that all U.S. combat troops will be out of Iraq by Aug. 31, and the remaining 50,000 will be gone by the end of 2011. He did caution that there will still be some "American sacrifice in Iraq," but after seven years, can we finally declare "mission accomplished?" (Watch Obama's Iraq announcement)

Savor our success: All U.S. combat troops will be out of Iraq in four weeks, says the Chicago Tribune in an editorial. "Take a moment to absorb that good news." Those troops aren't leaving a fully stable and prosperous Iraq, but it will be "a nation steady enough to control its destiny" by 2011. If that's not complete victory, it looks much better than all the "doomsday predictions."
"Out of Iraq"

What kind of victory is this? "Iraq is stabilizing," and that's been great for American troops, says Daniel Stone in Newsweek. But actually, "Iraq is a more dangerous place for civilians than Afghanistan" these days, especially in rural areas. If anything, "Obama's veiled claim to success" isn't that we've won, but that we "trained someone else to keep up the good fight." That's "a strange way of declaring victory."
"Ending a war"

It is a victory — just not Obama's: Iraq is a "victory" for America alright, says Don Surber in the Charleston, WV, Daily Mail. But it's disingenuous for Obama to take credit for it. He said the war was lost in 2007, voted against funding it, and "opposed the surge." But now it's clear that "the surge worked." That's a big win for George W. Bush.
"Obama to take credit for Iraqi victory"

We'll take what we can get: Saying we've "achieved victory in Iraq would be an exaggeration," at best, says Jay Bookman in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. What we have achieved — "after seven years, hundreds of billions of dollars, and 4,400 American lives" — is a temporary lull in which Iraq can give democracy a go. And that's "simply the best we can expect from a very bad mistake."
"In Iraq, the best we can expect from a very bad mistake"

 

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