Remember the “Mission Accomplished” speech?
You know, the one where the president declared the war in Iraq over, only to have to eat his words as he sent the U.S. military to fight terrorists in Iraq who were taking over vast swaths of the country?
No, I’m not talking about President George W. Bush’s May 1, 2003, speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. I’m talking about President Obama’s speech at the White House on Oct. 21, 2011, in which he boasted about his decision to withdraw all U.S. troops and bring “the long war in Iraq” to an end. It’s still on the White House Web site under the (now ironic) headline “Remarks by the President on Ending the War in Iraq.”
“As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end,” Obama solemnly declared, “[And] today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”
“The last American soldier[s] will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success, and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops,” the president continued, adding “That is how America’s military efforts in Iraq will end.”
He said this Iraq withdrawal was only the beginning. “The end of war in Iraq reflects a larger transition,” Obama intoned. “The tide of war is receding. Now, even as we remove our last troops from Iraq, we’re beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year. The transition in Afghanistan is moving forward, and our troops are finally coming home.”
So much for receding tides. As a direct result of the withdrawal he announced that day — a decision he made over the objections of his military commanders on the ground — the terrorists the United States had defeated during the 2007 surge were able to recover, regroup and impose their brutal rule of over a swath of territory in Iraq and Syria the size of Britain.