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Obama withdraws troops, but who gets credit?

By Michael Ahearne ’14

We are all familiar with the War in Iraq in some way, shape or form.

Some of us look at Iraq as a success, while others look at it as a failure.

The Iraq War began March 20, 2003, with the U.S. invasion of Iraq under the administration of President George W. Bush.

America invaded to make sure Iraq wasn’t going to create new weapons of mass destruction, and some U.S. officials claimed that Iraq was harboring Al-Qaeda agents. But there was no meaningful evidence found.

The invasion of Iraq later led to an occupation of the country and the eventual capture of President Saddam Hussein, who was later tried by an Iraqi court of law and executed by the new Iraqi government.

Violence against coalition forces and among various sectarian groups soon led to the Iraqi insurgency, conflicts between many Sunni and Shia Iraqi groups, and the emergence of a new faction of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

As public opinion favored troop withdrawals and as Iraqi forces began to take responsibility for security, member nations of the original coalition withdrew their forces, including the United States.

Seeing that Obama has started withdrawing troops from Iraq, the question arises; who really deserves credit for bringing this war to an end?

In my opinion, Obama is currently withdrawing troops from Iraq because he is following the timetable that President Bush set.

On the other hand, others argue that President Obama is just simply fulfilling his campaign promise.

Firstly, Obama, during his remarks at The Disabled Veterans of America Conference in Atlanta, made it clear that by Aug. 31, 2010, America’s combat mission in Iraq would end. It hasn’t fully ended yet.

Secondly, according to Obama’s campaign Web site, Organizing for America, it said that if he was elected, the war would end in May 2010 and that date has passed, showing that he is not fulfilling his campaign promise.

Thirdly, according to, in late 2008, the U.S. and Iraqi governments approved a Status of Forces Agreement, which has been negotiated since 2007, setting a timetable calling for most U.S. troops to leave Iraqi towns and cities by June 30, 2009, with about 50,000 troops left in place until the final withdrawal of all U.S. military forces by Dec. 31, 2011.

In late February 2009, newly elected President Obama announced an 18-month withdrawal window for combat forces, with approximately 50,000 troops remaining in the country, matching the numbers Bush asked for.

Finally, on Oct. 21 of this year, President Obama announced all U.S. troops and trainers would leave Iraq by the end of the year, which would bring the U.S. mission in Iraq to an end following what Bush has set.

Another argument against Bush receiving credit is why should he be thanked if he started this war?

Bush started this war due to fear that Iraq was creating new weapons of mass destruction, and some U.S. officials believed Iraq was harboring Al-Qaeda agents.

Through the years, Bush has been saving our country from the threat of both weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.

Bush needed to send troops in and even though he started it, he is technically ending it. That is why he deserves credit.

Obama is only following the presets set before him by former President Bush.

Even though Obama is doing a good for his country and moving soldiers out, he is still just following Bush, meaning that both should be thanked, but Bush should receive credit.

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