Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mission de-accomplished

If President Eisenhower had ordered troops out of Korea in 1955, and the Communists took over the rest of the peninsula, would we blame Truman, who started the Korean War? Only if we were pea brains.

Pea brain Eugene Robinson exonerates President Obama of the killing field that Iraq has morphed into these past few months:

As President Obama struggles to deal with the crisis in Iraq, it’s useful to remember who gave the world this cauldron of woe in the first place: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Their decision to launch a foolish and unwarranted invasion in 2003, toppling Saddam Hussein and destroying any vestige of the Iraqi state, is directly responsible for the chaos we see today, including the rapid advance of the well-armed jihadist militia that calls itself the Islamic State.

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Could Obama have found a way to keep more of our soldiers in Iraq if he really wanted to? Perhaps.

No, not “perhaps.” Definitely. Rich Lowry of National Review recaps:

It is true that the Bush administration had agreed to end our troop presence, and if we were going to stay, Obama had to negotiate a new status-of-forces agreement with the Iraqis. Why it didn’t happen is a complicated question, and Iraqi resistance is part of the answer. But Obama was perfectly content with the outcome.

“The leaders of all the major Iraqi parties had privately told American commanders that they wanted several thousand military personnel to remain, to train Iraqi forces and to help track down insurgents,” according to a definitive account in The New Yorker by Dexter Filkins. Obama was “ambivalent about retaining even a small force in Iraq,” Filkins writes. American officials negotiating with the Iraqis were left without guidance from the White House for months, and when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki offered to sign an executive agreement — bypassing the problematic Iraqi parliament — the administration said “no.”

Filkins quotes an Iraqi politician: “The American attitude was: Let’s get out of here as quickly as possible.” And why not? This was the fulfillment of Obama’s defining political promise. When we were out of Iraq entirely, he didn’t say how regrettable it was; he declared “mission accomplished.”

Consider the mission de-accomplished, as jihadists are stampeding across Iraq, intimidating and murdering Christians, and instituting a new caliphate. ISIS makes one yearn for Saddam Hussein.

President Bush took flak for the “mission accomplished” banner he hung on the USS Abraham Lincoln. The years that followed were a lesson that, in terms of securing peace in lands that have known anarchy and oppression for centuries, the mission is never finished. Row up the Mississippi River to Baton Rouge, stop rowing, and see what happens.

That’s what evil is. It’s a river. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t die. It is only prevailed upon for a time when the will to prevail is strong.

Obama’s team stopped rowing as soon as they occupied the White House, and now we’re further behind than we were 12 years ago, before invading Iraq. With a feckless socialist leading the free world, there’s little that can be done now to make up the lost ground. Could Obama have found a way to limit the Islamist movement in Syria before it gained strength and spilled into Iraq? To borrow from Eugene Robinson, “perhaps.”

Could he have found a way to limit the Islamist movement in Libya? Perhaps.

Could he have found a way to limit the Islamist movement in Egypt? Perhaps.

Could he have found a way to limit the Islamist movement in Gaza? Perhaps.

Could he have found a way to support the secular movement in Iran before the Islamists crushed it? Perhaps.

Could he have found a way to limit Russian aggression in Ukraine? Perhaps.

Obama “leads from behind” on foreign policy. He goes with the flow, reacting to events instead of pursuing national interests. From the beginning, his focus has been on fundamentally transforming America, which translated from crypto-Marxist to English means hastening the homeland’s moral and financial rot.

Because he doesn’t want political opponents to paint him as indifferent or negligent, he takes great pains to appear tough in the areas of foreign policy where past presidents have been committed. A lot of effort goes into the posturing and half-measures that the administration routinely does when a crisis is laid at its feet. He is sensitive to pointed criticism of his performance. Don’t you understand how hard he is working to appear he’s working hard?

Pray for Iraq’s Christians. They need more than bombs to survive this persecution.

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