Published on
Grit TV

Accepting Defeat in Iraq

Everyone is spinning the Iraq mission's so-called end but no one seems willing to accept defeat.

Republicans are complaining that the president didn't mention George W. Bush often enough in his speech announcing the end of combat operations. In fact, he did, quite a bit, and in an over-generous way, most sane people agree. As GRITtv commentator Bill Fletcher, Jr. put it Wednesday, "Iraq wasn't a case of a war gone bad with good intentions--it was begun illegally and handled wrong from the start."

The people who got the shortest shrift in the president's speech were the Iraqis. In particular, the Iraqi parliament. Obama made much of the fact that was following through on a promise to bring combat troops out of Iraq (for which he's clearly hoping to score election points) but there was only one oblique reference to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which actually forces US combat troops to leave.

The timeline, terms and the troop draw-down stipulated in SOFA were signed by U.S. and Iraqi officials on Nov. 16, 2008 and have stood as the law of the land ever since. As the U.S. right proclaimed the surge a success; so too, Democrats now claiming credit for a withdrawal they didn't really have much choice about. (Certainly not if they are going to claim credit for Iraqi democracy at the same time.)

And then there's the Left. With over 50,000 troops remaining - and the largest embassy on the planet - some on the left are pushing the claim that the U.S. maintains a grip. Uncle Alexander argues that, to the contrary, in terms of every goal set for the invasion - finding WMD, building democracy, accessing oil, building peace - the U.S. invasion has been a total defeat. (Beat the Devil found Reuters' account of Iraq's oil auctions interesting reading.)

Better we come to grips with defeat than proclaim that a lawless operation in some way made the U.S. stronger.  It didn't. Iraq's in ruins. Afghanistan's next. America's crooked, killer appetite for conquest does us - and the world - no good.


This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders is a best-selling author and broadcaster who hosts the The Laura Flanders Show, where she interviews forward thinking people about the key questions of our time.  The LF Show airs weekly on KCET/LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and in English & Spanish in teleSUR. Flanders is also a contributing writer to The Nation and Yes! Magazine (“Commonomics”) and a regular guest on MSNBC. She is the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). The Laura Flanders Show first aired on Air America Radio 2004-2008. You can find all her archives and more at or via Twitter @GRITlaura

Share This Article

More in: