Eli Lake says that “Team Obama was told, over and over, that the Iraqi army couldn’t stop a terror group that was ready to pounce.” More:
Maliki’s requests were rebuffed; McGurk’s warnings went largely unheeded. The problem for Obama was that he had no good policy option in Iraq. On the one hand, if Obama had authorized the air strikes Maliki began requesting in January, he would strengthen the hand of an Iraqi prime minister who increasingly resembled the brutal autocrat U.S. troops helped unseat in 2003. Maliki’s heavy handed policies—such as authorizing counter-terrorism raids against Sunni political leaders with no real links to terrorism—sowed the seeds of the current insurrection in Iraq. [Emphasis added]
Leadership oftentimes — maybe most of the time — means picking the least bad option, doing so quickly, and sticking with it to make it work as best you can. This is why real world experience is something we look for in leaders, as opposed to classroom experience.
Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom (has anyone given him a better nickname?) waits passively for the perfect solution, which of course never arrives. Then he belatedly makes a “little bit pregnant” move which usually accomplishes nothing but to reduce our prestige, confuse our allies, and embolden our enemies.
We’ve seen this scenario play out in Libya, in Egypt, in Ukraine, in Iraq, increasingly in the Pacific. I’m starting to think it might be dumb luck, or that our adversaries haven’t quite grasped the scale of their good fortunes, that we haven’t yet stumbled into a major regional war.