“Who Lost Iraq?”

Center for Vision and Values-My parents originally named me “Victory Japan” because my slightly premature birth resulted from mom and dad dancing in the streets of Saint Petersburg, Florida, on the night of August 16, 1945—the day after the United States won its last war. Seventy years is a lifetime by the Biblical standard of our allotted three score and 10 years. Go back to 1945 and subtract 70 and you are two years away from the end of Reconstruction.

In my lifetime Republicans blamed Democrats for “losing” China to communists and not winning in Korea while Democrats blamed Republicans for losing Vietnam and want to blame the GOP for losing Iraq. In this heated and increasingly bizarre presidential campaign season, with the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, “Who lost Iraq?” has become a key issue. Predictably, Democrats blame former President George W. Bush while Republicans blame current President Barack H. Obama.

It was President Bush who on December 14, 2008, as he was about to leave office, signed a Status of Forces Agreement that stated, “All the United States Forces shall be withdrawn from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.” While former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in her book No Higher Honor claims there was an understanding with then Iraqi President Nouri Maliki that a residual force might remain, it seems Maliki later “reneged.” Bush left it to Obama to negotiate a new understanding.

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