President Obama deserves credit for several notable achievements during his presidency; stabilizing the economy, saving General Motors, expanding health care coverage to 32 million Americans, the death of Osama bin Laden, to name a few. However, in this new campaign video, Obama features a young boy named Ian, the son of a soldier, happy to have his father back after two tours in Iraq and thanking President Obama for ending the Iraq War. To people who don't know the full story of how and why the Iraq War really ended, it's a sweet and touching video. To those who do know the truth, it will leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
First off, the timetable for leaving Iraq at the end of 2011 was put in place at the end of the Bush administration. The only adjustment Obama tried to make to that withdrawal plan was to stay in Iraq longer, at the behest of both former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Who Ian should really be thanking are insurgency leader Muqtada al-Sadr, the Iraqi government, and most of all, the Iraqi people.
As the Bush administration's deadline for withdrawal approached, the Obama administration fervently tried to negotiate with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to stay longer. However, Maliki refused because of a combination of political pressure from the general population in Iraq and Sadr's threats to once again unleash the Mahdi army and light the whole country on fire. Had Obama gotten his way, Iraq would have returned to the pre-Surge levels of violence and insurgency that we saw in 2005 and 2006.
After nearly a decade of terror, after watching over 100,000 of their fellow countrymen die, the Iraqi people said enough is enough. They were willing to die for their freedom rather than spend one more day being occupied by the American military so they used every means at their disposal to change the political calculus for President Obama, and ensure peace for all of us. That's the real story of why the Iraq War ended, and shame on the Obama campaign for pretending otherwise.