Two massive explosions, the deadliest in over a year, erupted in Baghdad Sunday, killing over 130 people and wounding 520 more. The suicide bombings, just under a minute apart, decimated two critical government buildings, underscoring the fragile state of Iraq's nascent democracy, and serving as a powerful reminder of the extremist militant forces which seek to undermine it as it prepares for its January election.
But, isn't the war over? Haven't we won? Hasn't the United States tasted the sweet nectar of victory? Haven't we successfully liberated the Iraqi people? Try telling that to the families of those whose bloodied body parts have been strewn about the streets of Baghdad these past two months, or to the millions who still feel like they're living in an unsecure, violent war zone. As George W. Bush exited office last January, his administration unilaterally declared "Mission Accomplished" yet again, apparently failing to learn its embarrassing lesson from 2003. Republicans to this day still talk of the Iraq war as if it's a successful footnote in America's military history.
Just as they started this war on smoke and mirrors, Republicans have been trying to end it. But make no mistake: Sunday's bombings, and those in August at the Foreign and Finance Ministries which killed 122, prove that there is no victory in Iraq any more than there were WMD and ties to al Qaeda. We're simply not there. America will be victorious when its troops can come home, and when the Iraqi government and security forces have demonstrated that it can protect its citizens and preserve its Democracy without being propped up by 130,000 U.S. forces. Yet as the continuing and escalating violence there demonstrates, the Iraqi's clearly have a long way to go. If U.S. troops were pulled tomorrow, Iraq's Democracy would crumble.
To be sure, to say President Obama is in an unenviable position would be a colossal understatement. He inherited two difficult wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is faced with critical strategic decisions about the future direction of both as well as what to do with the growing terrorist threat from Pakistan. There's no simple fixes. But it's time for Republicans to stop the "victory" propaganda. No one's buying it anymore, and it's an insult to every American and Iraqi who wants a true and lasting peace.