"We won the war in Iraq, and we're now losing the peace." So said retired General John Keane to Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times, in a scathing critique of the plans announced to the nation on Friday. General Keane was an architect of the Surge, working with General Petraeus.
"Forty-four hundred lives lost," Gen. Keane said. "Tens of thousands of troops wounded. Over a couple hundred thousand Iraqis killed. We liberated 25 million people. There is only one Arab Muslim country that elects its own government, and that is Iraq.
"We should be staying there to strengthen that democracy, to let them get the kind of political gains they need to get and keep the Iranians away from strangling that country. That should be our objective, and we are walking away from that objective."
President Obama's cut and run policy, clothed in the garb of a victory statement, is drawing criticism from many who are worried about handing Iraq over to Iran, which has been engaged in warfare against the United States since the embassy takeover in Tehran when Jimmy Carter was president:
Sen. John McCain of Arizona called the move "a serious mistake."
"I'm very, very concerned about increased Iranian influence in Iraq," Mr. McCain, the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told ABC's "This Week."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said Mr. Obama made a dangerous decision that ignored U.S. military recommendations to keep some troops in Iraq next year.
While President Obama scores points with his base by keeping a promise to withdraw all troops, he may be sowing the seeds of future disaster, as Iran moves toward a nuclear arsenal it will not hesitate to use to bring the 12th Mahdi.