Numerous pundits and politicians on the right (otherwise known as chickenhawks) have been making the argument that what is happening in Iraq is what President Obama should have expected when he "cut and ran" from that country.
Never mind for the moment it was President Geo W Bush's administration's status of forces agreement that called for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, approved by the Iraqi government on 4 Dec 2008 (before President Obama was inaugurated).
More beneath the orange flames from naval guns below.
Aside from the patently absurd reasons that were advanced for initiating that war, what was never advanced was our victory conditions. What was our goal (besides the removal of Saddam Hussein and the Baathist Party)?
"Cut and run" as a military strategy has a long history of employment. It is used when the perceived gains in a battle or combat are outweighed by the cost or risk. In the case of President Bush's treaty, it was his administration, for whatever reason, that decided that pulling troops from Iraq outweighed either the military or political risk or gains.
Cut-and-run has been used as a political strategy before by our politicians and military.
George Washington cut-and-ran from White Marsh to Valley Forge, as it was more secure. The Union Army cut-and-ran from General "Stonewall" Jackson in the Battle of Bull Run, seeking the relative safety of Washington.
General Custer should have cut-and-run from the Battle of Little Bighorn. We know how that turned out.
One can make arguments whether supporting South Vietnam was a good or bad thing. (My avatar is the Gold Star Family Lapel Button, awarded for the loss my father in that war when I was seven years old. The Gold Star service banner is displayed from my south window, toward the village church.)
But it was the Nixon Administration that decided to end American involvement in Indochina. When South Vietnam was being overrun by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army and President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu begged for US help, US President Gerald Ford declared that the Vietnam War was over, and shortly thereafter the final evacuations from Saigon began.
On a very personal note: In 1983, I was stationed aboard USS John F Kennedy (CV-67), on a training mission with our task force, looking forward to a port visit in St. Thomas. On October 23, around the world in Beirut, two truck bombers attacked US Marines and French paratroopers stationed as part of the multinational peacekeeping force.
President Ronald Reagan call the acts despicable, and vowed we would stay (and exact revenge). The USS JFK was ordered from its training station in the Caribbean Sea with its task force at best speed to the Mediterranean, to cover for the USS Independence (CV-62), then the only aircraft carrier in the Med.
Vice-President Geo HW Bush toured the damage in Beirut and vowed the USA would not be cowed by terrorists.
Along with the battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) attacking Druze and Syrian positions in the Bekaa Valley with its 16" naval guns were aircraft from the JFK and Independence. We gave up any pretense of neutrality at that point.
France attacked alleged Iranian positions in the Bekaa Valley with its air force.
President Reagan quickly changed his position though, and ordered the withdrawal of our Marines while the carriers, battleship, and task force ships provided covering fire.
For that particular cut-and-run operation (in which I'd been looking forward to liberty in St. Thomas, not a trip to Lebanon), the John F Kennedy's crew and embarked squadrons were awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal. (As the name implies, that medal is awarded for special combat expeditions by the Navy.)
My membership in the Veterans of Foreign Wars is based on receipt of that medal, awarded for a mission to facilitate cutting-and-running.
Which brings me back to Iraq: there is no shame in cutting-and-running; it is also known as a strategic withdrawal.
President Obama was following the law by withdrawing troops, as agreed by President Bush's administration. Following the law is not the same as "cutting and running" no matter how the chickenhawks that smuggled us into the last war in Iraq want to spin it.
In my little conservative village I stand as a witness to those who argue against the value of cutting-and-running when there is nothing to be gained by staying-and-dying. We have had enough General Custers.