June 14, 2014

JAMES TARANTO: Obama Keeps a Promise: What he said in 2007 about withdrawing from Iraq.

As this columnist noted in a 2007 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, then-Sens. Obama and Kerry were so eager for America to pull out of Iraq that they dismissed the possibility of catastrophic results.

Obama was asked by an AP reporter if preventing genocide was a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces in Iraq. As he often does, he took refuge in a false dilemma: “Well, look, if that’s the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now–where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife–which we haven’t done. We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven’t done. Those of us who care about Darfur don’t think it would be a good idea.”

True, it is impractical to intervene everywhere. It does not follow that it is wrong to intervene anywhere, much less that it is right to end heedlessly an intervention already undertaken.

Today the president acknowledged that the Islamic State’s advance “poses a danger to Iraq and its people, and given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat eventually to American interests as well.” In 2007 he promised to withdraw regardless of the danger to Iraq and its people. He kept that promise.

As for Kerry, he invoked Vietnam, as he often does.

For some people, “another Vietnam” is a favored outcome.