When Senator Obama ran for the presidency he promised, among other things, to end the Iraq war. Upon achieving the office, President Obama made it very clear that he had no intention of keeping that promise. It was the peace vote that formed a very solid vote in his favor, even though Candidate Obama had promised to escalate hostilities in Afghanistan. He did promise to end the occupation of Iraq, and won a Nobel Peace Prize for the achievement of being someone other than George W. Bush.
The final insult to those who vainly supported President Obama in the hope that he might, eventually, possibly keep his Iraq promise was when he declared that all "combat troops" were leaving Iraq, and that the 50,000 remaining troops were "non-combat troops." It was a clear signal that President Obama had absolutely no intention of even pretending to end the occupation of Iraq.
Since then, the Iraqi government has directed the United States government to withdraw all troops.
This puts the United States government in an awkward position. The rhetoric is that the current government of Iraq is legitimate and democratically elected. This legitimate and democratic government voted that the United States military should depart. If the United States government refuses the directive it puts to lie many of the already shallow claims about the Iraq war.
So in spite of not wanting troops to depart, in spite of all his efforts to keep troops in Iraq, President Obama has reluctantly decided to declare victory instead. He is claiming that he worked to keep his campaign promise, when the truth is that the promise was kept in spite of his best efforts otherwise.
The broader implications of this move are yet to be determined, as Iraq is a central launching ground for attacks throughout most of the Middle East and obviously a front in the evitable war with Iran.
Sadly, most of the Republican candidates will likely not only allow the lie by President Obama, but will encourage it. Their rhetoric will be that President Obama withdrew troops too early and is leaving behind a fragile Iraq, so that they may appear to be strong and determined on foreign use of the military. Only one candidate, Ron Paul, has the credentials to actually challenge President Obama on the actual facts of the Iraq withdrawal.
It is a good thing that the Iraq war is finally ending. It is unfortunate that President Obama will get credit for achieving that which he opposed simply because he happened to be in office at the right time.