You’d think that the end of combat operations in Iraq would be a pretty big deal for progressive activists. After all a significant amount of the organizing that occurred during the Bush years was built around ending the war in Iraq. Progressive organizations like MoveOn took bold steps and grew during that time period. Hundreds of thousands of activists marched in the streets during this time period.
It was such a huge issue that it became a point of contrast between the 2008 Democratic Presidential candidates. All of the candidates promised to end the Iraq war by the end of their first term, but Hillary Clinton took significant flack from progressive activists for casting a vote in support of the war. Sen. Barack Obama was not yet in office when the war began and was able to claim the high ground.
And you look around today and there’s just not a whole lot of coverage on this, and certainly not very much excitement on behalf of progressive activists. The Rachel Maddow show did a segment live from Iraq, and there’s been some mention of it on blogs and twitter. But nothing approaching the level of attention it deserves given the organizing energy and resources activists used on it for almost the whole duration of the conflict. At the very least I’d expect an email from an organization like MoveOn.
Yes about 50,000 troops and contractors are remaining on the ground to serve as trainers. But even today there are around 25,000 troops stationed in South Korea, and we’re talking about a conflict that ended over 50 years ago. I’d say it’s in our interest to strengthen the new Iraqi state so that it doesn’t devolve into civil war.
I didn’t agree with Gibbs when he made his now infamous “professional left” comment. But this is in fact the kind of thing he was talking about. And the question I put to all of my peers now working to get us out of Afghanistan, how do you expect the White House to have the courage to do the right thing there when you can’t even get their back for fulfilling a major campaign promise on schedule? If no one even notices this milestone accomplishment, do you really expect them to step out there on Afghanistan when a plurality if not majority of the country still believes we should be there?
Are we so wrapped up in the election, the latest outrage of the day (ground zero mosque!), and the sluggish economy that we can’t be bothered to care?How soon we forget that the Iraq War was the #1 issue in the 2006 AND 2008 election cycles. President Obama has now kept his campaign promise of ending combat operations in Iraq and we are finally at a point where we could say we are "ending" the war instead of "turning a corner" as George W. Bush used to say.
The Iraq War just "ended" not with a bang, but a whimper.