I keep hearing people on the right reiterating that “the surge worked,” so that withdrawing from Iraq would be surrendering. To me, this is a non sequitur.
First of all, there’s the simple question of why we’re at war. We went in as a pre-emptive strike against Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction. We took him out, and although we never did find evidence to support that he was building up his WMD arsenal, we did take out a cruel tryant. I’m a little unclear why we’re still there: the Iraqi threat has been neutralized, and Iraq’s got a sovereign government in place. Al Queda keeps coming to try to attack our troops, but the fact that our troops have become targets is hardly a reason to stay in Iraq.
Now here’s the thing! If the Iraqi government wants us to stay, I’m all for allowing our volunteer troops to keep helping them. But it’s being widely reported that they want us out. While I trust this was an unfortunate accident, it suggests that Iraq has wanted us to leave for some time: “It also bolstered calls from Iraqi politicians to pressure the American military to leave Iraq after this year, when a United Nations mandate expires, unless the United States agrees to permit its soldiers to be subject to criminal prosecution under Iraqi law for attacks on civilians.”
I’d ask: if we’re at war, who are we at war with? It’s the Iraq War, but we’re supposed to be helping Iraq. We’ve taken out Saddam, and most of the violence is directed at our troops: staying in Iraq isn’t going to fix anything.
It’s not “surrendering” or “giving up” to recognize that you achieved your goal a long time ago, and that all you’re doing now is making things worse. It sounds great to try to attack your opponent for that, but it’s simply not true.