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June 8, 2009
Now that Obama is in office, Newsweek declares 'Victory in Iraq'
Well, you knew this would happen. Once Obama laid his magic hands on Iraq, victory would be in sight.
Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria makes the handoff from Bush (bad things happened except the surge) to Obama (good, smart policy will keep Iraq viable as a state):
How Iraq evolves in the next few years will define America's legacy there. After all, there were no weapons of mass destruction. The costs-in blood, treasure, anti-Americanism-have already been paid. All that is left to redeem the mission is the hope of a decent outcome-a democratic Iraq that represents a new model of Arab politics, one that does not force its citizens to choose between a repressive regime and an extreme opposition. But for that to happen, Iraq must become an inclusive democracy for all its people. Its potential as any kind of a model rests largely on this evolution.
There is much going on in Iraq that is admirable. Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis are beginning to work out their differences through negotiation, not violence. Freedom of speech abounds. A new economy is taking shape, in which entrepreneurs are creating jobs and a civil society. Elections are punishing thugs and theocrats who cannot deliver services and rewarding more-pragmatic forces. The appeal of radical Islam is waning. But without active American involvement, assistance and pressure, Iraq could well follow the trajectory of so many Third World democracies, where initial promise is overwhelmed by chaos and corruption.
This was not Barack Obama's war. But it might well turn out to be his greatest legacy to the Arab world. Ambassador Ryan Crocker ended his distinguished stint in Iraq with these fitting words: "In the end, how we leave and what we leave behind will be more important than how we came."
That last is rich considering that the MSM and the Democrats have been calling for a pullout for nearly 4 years. But now that Obama is in office, it's time to buckle down and solve these nagging problems like Sunni participation in government and other power sharing issues.
Not that George Bush ever did anything to help that process along. Which is why it will be "Obama's legacy" - and victory.