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Most important, Mr. Obama failed to forge a lasting security and political partnership with Baghdad. If all U.S. troops leave Iraq by next year, the precious sacrifices will have been in vain. Just as America stationed tens of thousands of soldiers for decades in Germany, Japan and South Korea following major wars, it must do so again today.

A long-term U.S. military presence will preserve Iraq’s young democracy. It also will enable America to project its power in an area of vital national interests. Military bases in Iraq would serve as a strategic deterrent against Iran’s nuclear adventurism and Syria’s growing belligerence. Moreover, U.S. air power and special-operations forces could strike Islamist groups, such as al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas and Hezbollah, at will. Iraq would become a key launching pad in waging the war on terror. In short, rather than rushing out, Mr. Obama should be negotiating to make sure that 10,000 to 20,000 U.S. troops remain behind to preserve American regional hegemony. It would mark a permanent victory for Mr. Bush’s freedom agenda.

That is why Mr. Obama will not do it. He is the anti-Bush; a self-styled liberal transnationalist who believes in appeasement and multilateralism. His goal is not to augment U.S. power, but to reduce it. Hence, he is slowly frittering away the remarkable gains - paid for in precious blood and treasure - in order to placate his antiwar base. More than 4,000 Americans have died in Iraq, and 35,000 have been wounded. Nearly $750 billion has been spent. These enormous sacrifices were made for victory - a liberated Iraq that is fully inside the Western orbit and a major partner in the war against Islamofascism. They were not done to serve Mr. Obama’s anti-American progressive agenda.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist for The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank. He is the daily host of “The Kuhner Show” on WTNT 570-AM ( from 5 to 7 p.m.