By Jonathan Pine and the College Republicans of Hofstra, Special to The Chronicle
This past week, President Obama announced the full withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Iraq. It would seem that, after eight long years, the war in Iraq is coming to an end.
Ever since Saddam Hussein's capture in 2003, Iraq has been in a state of rebuilding, a process that has included establishing a new form of government. For a nation that had been under the same rule of governance for over 24 years, it is understandable that this process is crucial to the reestablishment of the nation take a substantial length of time. But has it been enough time? Is it safe to pull out the troops? What is at risk?
By pulling all of the troops out of Iraq, President Obama is not only putting Iraq in danger of an Iranian take-over, but also, subsequently, putting Israel in the direct line of fire if that invasion were to occur. No small risk by any means. But maybe after eight years, the fact of the matter is that pulling out now is as safe, or unsafe, as it will ever be, and thus, just as good a time as any. Or maybe, after nearly three years of the Obama White House, it is merely that time of year again in America: election season.
President Obama had his entire presidency to announce the troop withdrawal. What, specifically, is different in Iraq today, since 2008, that deems it safe enough to pull out? Why now? Is it not a coincidence that he chose to announce the troop withdrawal right as he is about to start campaigning for reelection? Is this announcement, just that, an announcement? Another campaign promise?
But will campaign promises work this time around? I think not. If I were one of President Obama's top aides, I would inform him that the only way to get re-elected is to fix the economy. Perhaps realizing this fact and recognizing his own inability positively affect the economy, Obama has become desperate to win over voters in any way he can, even if it is so low as to make swooping announcements, of which unforeseeable consequences are attached.
Meanwhile, the GOP-controlled House has passed a bi-partisan jobs bill that the Democrat-controlled Senate hasn't even looked at yet. The economy, above all else, should be Obama's number one priority going into the election year. That issue alone will determine whether or not Obama will be our generation's Jimmy Carter.
So is it safe to pull out? I can only hope Obama asked that question before crafting his reelection campaign.