Credit where credit isn’t necessarily due

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT ISN’T NECESSARILY DUE…. The U.S. presence in Iraq is obviously not over, but the developments that began last night are still very important. While 50,000 American troops remain in the country, the last American combat soldiers have begun heading home — two weeks early — and Operation Iraqi Freedom has come to a formal end.

It’s a significant milestone, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wants to congratulate the troops. No, wait, that’s not it. McCain wants to applaud President Obama’s work in making these developments a reality. No, hold on, that’s not right, either.

Now I remember: McCain wants Bush to get credit.

President George W. Bush deserves “some credit” for the last combat units leaving Iraq on Wednesday night, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said.

McCain, one of the foremost supporters of the war effort there, posted a late-night message on his Twitter account, which is followed by 1.7 million people:

“Last American combat troops leave Iraq. I think President George W. Bush deserves some credit for victory.”

Putting aside the premature nature of declaring “victory,” I can’t help but find it fascinating to see how we’re supposed to perceive Bush’s role in current events. If Democrats at any level suggest the failed former president bears some responsibility for the economy or the budget mess, for example, the response from the right is fierce: “Stop blaming Bush! He’s gone! Take some responsibility!”

But if something positive happens, there’s John McCain, insisting Bush get “some credit.”

Tell you what, John. I’ll give Bush “some credit” for developments in Iraq just as soon as you give him “some blame” for the economy, the deficit, and for launching this misguided conflict in the first place.

Also note that McCain’s familiarity with the details may be a little off. The Status of Forces Agreement signed in 2008 reflected the approach presented by Barack Obama. While McCain offered a very different vision, Obama’s policy was embraced by Iraqi leaders, Bush’s Defense Secretary, and U.S. officials negotiating the SOFA terms.

What’s more, while that agreement scheduled the end of U.S. troops’ presence in Iraq for the end of the 2011, the end of the combat mission — the early end of Operation Iraqi Freedom — was on the Obama timetable, not Bush’s.

Still waiting for McCain’s tweet extending “some credit” to this president, not the last one.