President Obama did not initiate Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 2003 invasion that toppled the Baathist regime and led to Saddam Hussein's capture. However, when Obama became commander in chief he inherited OEF and the serious national security issues that go along with that. Iraq has made considerable progress from the days when it was ruled as a brutal police state. Like Japan, Germany and South Korea, where the United States has maintained large numbers of troops for decades to promote regional stability, Iraq is in need of a continued U.S. presence to help prevent Shiite and Sunni factions from dragging the country into civil war and discourage Iran from spreading its influence even further.
To put it bluntly, U.S. national security interests are more important than Obama's campaign promises or his desire for a second term. More than 4,400 American lives were lost, many thousands more seriously wounded and about a trillion dollars was spent to ensure victory. Too much has been sacrificed in the Global War on Terror (overseas contingency operations) to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for the sake of one man's political fortunes.