As Michael Graham recently wrote in the Boston Herald, “In Iraq, where we toppled Saddam just a decade ago and oversaw three national elections, there isn’t a single American combat soldier left. A fact President Obama has repeatedly celebrated.” Because, you know, Bush, maaaan:
Now imagine the world today — the exploding Egypt, sarin-gas Syria, bombs-in-Benghazi world — if Obama had treated Iraq the way America treated Germany, Japan and Korea. Imagine the Middle East with a fully functioning U.S. military base on the border of Iran and Syria, able to project power right on Bashar Assad and the ayatollahs’ doorsteps.
Alas, we can only imagine …
Syria, as bad as it is, isn’t even close to the greatest foreign policy failure of the Obama administration. It’s a symptom of Obama’s abandonment of the region. And the high (low?) point of that policy was Obama’s decision to abandon the moderate, pro-Western citizens of Iraq to the extremists.
Obama’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq will be viewed by history as one of the greatest foreign policy blunders of all time.
Please don’t start the tired “Bush Lied, People Died” nonsense. Forget the faulty intelligence on Iraq’s WMD program. Even if you lie in bed at night sticking pins in your “W” voodoo doll, it’s irrational to ignore the pragmatic value of a U.S. military force in a U.S.-leaning Iraq in the heart of the mess that is Obama’s “Arab Spring” Middle East.
Having 10,000 trained, intelligence-gathering troops bolstering the flagging courage of timid (small “d”) democrats and rattling the nerves of despots and terrorists is a good thing — no matter how we got there.
Nation building requires, as Churchill would say, enormous amounts of blood, sweat, and toil. If our betters on the left side of the aisle won’t allow those nations for which we’ve worked so hard to free from tyranny to maintain their freedom, what’s the point? Better to not get involved at all.
Of course, that also applies to those “humanitarian” conflicts the left wishes to engage in as well. Speaking of which, in Obama’s mercifully brief but tragically ill-conceived* speech on Tuesday he disgustingly said:
And so to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America’s military might with the failure to act when a cause is so plainly just.
To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor, for sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.
Noted – and not soon forgotten. Yesterday, libertarian economist and 2008 Obama supporter Megan McArdle responded at Bloomberg.com:
Maybe this convinced some left-wing Democrats, though you wouldn’t know it from my Twitter feed. But only at the expense of backhanding Republicans. His argument was, in essence: Republicans, you may not care about the freedom and dignity of foreigners, or children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor. But you sure do love war and the military! We’re going to restore dignity, freedom and life to some foreigners by bombing them — couldn’t you overlook the fact that foreigners will benefit, as long as we get to blow some stuff up?
I don’t think that argument is what he meant to make. That’s why it’s so breathtaking. Presumably our tin-eared president, and his blinkered speechwriting staff, didn’t even hear him juxtaposing people who care about freedom, dignity and dead children, on the one hand, and bitter clingers who are committed to military might, on the other. If Obama does need to go to Congress to get authorization, this lead balloon of an appeal will weigh him down every step of the way.
Way to build unity when, as that leftwing cliché goes, the whole world really is watching, champ. Yet another reason to support, at least for now, what Jonah Goldberg memorably described as the “To Hell With Them” foreign policy.
When the driver of the clown car retires from the circus for good, perhaps the nation will respond differently. Or perhaps, like Charlie Brown, it’s seen the football pulled out from under them one too many times.
* Alvy Singer, call your office.