Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category
John McCormack’s article on Sen. Paul’s change from dove to hawk exposes Sen. Paul’s temper. First, here’s Sen. Paul’s evolution:
On June 19, a week after Mosul fell to ISIS, Paul was very skeptical of airstrikes. On August 11, after Christians were forced to flee Mosul and Yazidis were massacred, Paul was ambivalent about the limited airstrikes the president had just ordered. On August 29, after the beheading of American James Foley but before the beheading of American Steven Sotloff, Paul suggested he still hadn’t made up his mind about bombing ISIS:
I think the strategy has to be that you have an open debate in the country over whether or not ISIS is a threat to our national security. And it’s not enough just to say they are. That’s usually what you hear—you hear a conclusion. People say, “Well, it’s a threat to our national security.” That’s a conclusion. The debate has to be: Are they a threat to our national security?
In a statement to the AP later that same afternoon, Paul said that he would “seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily” if he were president.
Sen. Paul isn’t a hawk. He’s a politician who got caught on the wrong side of an important issue. He’s a politician who made a political decision to be acceptable to presidential primary voters in 2016. We don’t need an unprincipled presidential candidate. We need someone who’s thought things through. Our presidential nominee needs to get national security right. We don’t need someone whose default position is to shrink American influence.
We’re already suffering through that type of administration.
Sen. Paul said that saying ISIL is a threat to our national security is a conclusion, not a discussion. This isn’t a time for a lengthy discussion. It’s time for deciding. Further, deciding that ISIL is a threat to our national security based on the beheading of 2 reporters, however tragic and shocking they were, isn’t sound thinking. It sounds more like the type of thinking that comes from getting caught.
Sen. Paul isn’t liking getting pressed by the press:
I asked Paul twice if he was no longer concerned, as he wrote in June, that bombing ISIS may simply turn the United States into “Iran’s air force.” He didn’t respond to the questions and indicated he wasn’t happy with this reporter as well as a local reporter who repeatedly suggested Paul is an isolationist.
“All right, thanks guys. Work on that objectivity,” Paul said, as he walked away.
What a snotty reply. John McCormack is one of the best reporters out there. He’s objective. His articles are filled with solid logic and verified facts. That Sen. Paul would whine about John McCormack’s objectivity speaks volumes about Sen. Paul’s temperament (temper?), not McCormack’s objectivity.
Last night was Jay Carney’s first night as a senior political analyst for CNN. After watching this video, I hope CNN isn’t paying him much:
Frankly, Sen. McCain beat him like a drum. It was a flashback to the daily Carney fetal position daily briefings. This exchange is exceptionally decisive:
McCAIN: No, facts are stubborn things, Mr. Carney, and that is his entire national security team, including the Secretary of State said he want to arm and train and equip these people and he made the unilateral decision to turn them down. The fact he didn’t a residual force in Iraq, overruled all of his military advisers, is the reason why we’re facing ISIS today.
So the facts are stubborn things in history and people ought to know them. And now the president is saying basically that we are going to take certain actions, which I would favor, but to say that America is safer, and that the situation is very much like Yemen and Somalia shows me that the president really doesn’t have a grasp for how serious the threat of ISIS is.
CARNEY: Well, again, Senator, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. And I think on the question of the residual force, there was another player in that which was the Iraqi government. A, and B, it was the fulfillment of the previous administration’s withdrawal plan. And it was also the fulfillment of the president’s promise to withdraw from Iraq and not maintain a true presence, in perpetuity, which is pretty consistent with what the American people wanted and believed it was the right approach.
McCAIN: Mr. Carney, you are again saying facts that are patently false. The fact is because [Senator] Lindsey Graham, [former Senator] Joe Lieberman and I, we were in Baghdad, they wanted a residual force. The president has never made a statement during that or after that he wanted a residual force left behind. The Iraqis were ready to go. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the number cascaded down to 3,500. That was not sufficient to do anything but to defend themselves. And you in your role as a spokesperson bragged about the fact that the last American combat troop had left Iraq. If we had left a residual force the situation would not be what it is today. And there would be a lot more.
It’s worth repeating that President Obama took the position of I-know-better-than-my-national-security-team what’s needed in Iraq. That’s characteristic of a man with great hubris. That’s fine. History will judge him for that decision.
Further, Carney still sounds like the dishonest partisan hack that conducted the daily White House press briefings. He’s still peddling the BS that Iraq kicked the US out. That’s contrary to what President Obama said during a debate with Mitt Romney. In that debate, President Obamba bragged that he should get credit for keeping his promise of getting the US out of Iraq.
Carney hasn’t figured it out that a glorified desk jockey can’t argue with an eyewitness on the ground at the ‘scene of the crime.’ Sens. McCain, Graham and Lieberman talked with the Iraqi government. They don’t have to accept the Obama administration’s spin. They talked directly with the Iraqi government.
It isn’t a secret that I’m not Sen. McCain’s biggest fan. Still, if he says that he spoke with the Iraqi government and that they told him they wanted to negotiate a status of forces agreement, then I’ll trust him.
Finally, experts understand that ISIL wouldn’t have constituted itself had the US kept 20,000 troops on the ground. They would’ve been demolished before ISIL before they got to Fallujah.
Rick Santorum’s op-ed totally demolishes Rand Paul’s credibility on national security:
In a radio interview in 2007, while helping his father, isolationist Rep. Ron Paul, run for president, Rand actually denied that Iran is a threat to the United States or Israel. He did so despite the fact that the U.S. government designated Iran a “state sponsor of terrorism” as far back as 1984. “Even our own intelligence community consensus opinion now is that they [Iran] are not a threat,” Rand said. “Like my dad says, [the Iranians] don’t have an Air Force, they don’t have a Navy. You know, it’s ridiculous to think they’re a threat to our national security…. It’s not even that viable to say they’re a national threat to Israel.”
Simply put, Rand Paul, like his nutty father, couldn’t identify a state sponsor or terrorism if they launched a ship with a flag saying “State sponsor of terrorism.” People who can’t identify terrorists aren’t qualified to be commander-in-chief. It’s that simple.
It hasn’t dawned on either Paul that Iran’s funding of terrorists pose a mortal threat to western Europe and the United States. Neither has figured out that the nuclear bombs they’re working on creating will be used to destabilize Arab nations to the point that oil prices will spike and throw the world economy into a turmoil that will make the Great Recession look relatively mild in comparison.
This paragraph is mind-boggling:
In January 2014, Senator Paul sided with President Obama in opposing the passage of new economic sanctions on Iran, further evidence he would rather appease the mullahs in Tehran than ratchet up pressure on them to give up their illegal and dangerous nuclear program. “I think while they [the Iranians] are negotiating, and if we can see they’re negotiating in good faith, I don’t think it’s a good idea to pass sanctions,” Paul told CNN.
What idiot thinks that the Iranians will negotiate in good faith? It’s exceptionally and frighteningly naive to think that that’s a possibility.
As frightening as Paul’s beliefs are about Iran, they’re worse about ISIL. Here’s what he said in an interview:
When asked by CongressWatch if he views ISIL and the deteriorating situation in Iraq as a direct threat to the United States, Paul was characteristically candid in sticking to his worldview.
“The vast amount of Americans disagree with that assessment,” Paul said when asked if ISIL poses a direct threat to the US.
“I think that would be conjecture,” Paul said when asked about the view of ISIL put forth by Obama and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “We know that there’s a civil war going on there. And we know that they want to claim a big chunk of Iraq — as much as they can get. But, I mean, anything else is complete conjecture.
“Are they a potential threat to the US? Sometime,” Paul said. “Maybe even at the present. But…is there a US interest in sending US troops into Iraq? Absolutely no.”
There most certainly is a US interest in obliterating ISIL. While they don’t pose a threat to the US homeland in the next couple of weeks, they’re consolidating the things they’ll need to conduct terrorist operations throughout the world. We can’t afford a commander-in-chief that reacts after a terrorist attack. We need a commander-in-chief who obliterates them before they can attack.
Paul’s dovishness is wrong for America because we need a commander-in-chief who will work with allies like the Kurdish Peshmerga to decimate threats like ISIL before they can kill Americans.
Now that ISIL has beheaded journalists and taken over a huge chunk of Iraq, Sen. Paul is suddenly hawkish:
Yet now, with American journalists being beheaded and even President Obama taking reluctant half-measures to slow ISIL through air strikes, Senator Paul is suddenly changing his tune. “If I were president, I would call a joint session of Congress,” he now says. “I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek Congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.” (ISIS is another acronym used to refer to the Islamic State.)
It’s here that Sen. Santorum thrusts in the proverbial knife and gives it a sharp twist:
Did Senator Paul just hire John Kerry’s speechwriter?
At one point, I thought Rand Paul wouldn’t be the nujob that his father is. I still think he isn’t as nutty as his father. I just don’t think that there’s a big difference between him and his father as I first thought.
It’s obvious that Rick Santorum is gearing up for another presidential run. While I think he’s more qualified than Rand Paul, that doesn’t mean I think he’s a top tier candidate. Quite the contrary. I think he’s a niche candidate who appeals to a tiny slice of the GOP, nothing more.
At a DNC fundraiser in New York last night, President Obama said that the world isn’t falling apart, it’s just that social media is making him look bad:
President Obama on Friday said social media and the nightly news are partly to blame for the sense that “the world is falling apart.”
“I can see why a lot of folks are troubled,” Obama told a group of donors gathered at a Democratic National Committee barbecue in Purchase, N.Y. But the president said that current foreign policy crises across the world are not comparable to the challenges the U.S. faced during the Cold War.
There’s no question that social media spreads the news around quickly. That doesn’t explain away the multitude of crises that’ve started during President Obama’s administration or the threat posed by ISIL.
President Putin doesn’t take him seriously. At best, the Obama administration is an afterthought to Putin. America’s allies don’t trust us because of amateurish moves like dissing allies like Egypt in attempting to broker a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians.
Egypt and the UAE hit Libyan targets without informing the Obama administration:
CAIRO — Twice in the last seven days, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have secretly launched airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, four senior American officials said, in a major escalation of a regional power struggle set off by Arab Spring revolts.
The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines. Egyptian officials explicitly denied to American diplomats that their military played any role in the operation, the officials said, in what appeared a new blow to already strained relations between Washington and Cairo.
America’s enemies don’t fear us. Iran and Russia laugh at the Obama administration. Putin keeps trying to rebuild the former Soviet empire and Iran continues on its path to a nuclear weapon.
Worst of all, ISIL is the biggest terrorist threat in history. They’re exceptionally well-financed. They have a military capable of dominating the Arabian Peninsula. They’re training fighters who have European and/or American passports.
No, Mr. President, it isn’t that social media is spotlighting the usual things. It’s that they’re highlighting your administration’s multitude of mistakes. Mr. President, there’s wide consensus that your administration is the worst foreign policy/national security administration since WWII.
Bill Burton’s op-ed about President Obama’s frequent golf outings is a nice attempt to distract from Americans’ chief complaint:
I thought that going on vacation with the president would be a real perk of serving as deputy press secretary in the Obama White House.
Don’t get me wrong: Some elements of it are amazing. When you do find some down time, you can find yourself in one of the most beautiful places on Earth enjoying its splendor with the leader of the free world and your buddies.
That is—when you can find some down time.
As Washington chews over yet another presidential “vacation,” and that most Washington of words—“optics”—let me take you behind the scenes of the last time President Obama took flack for supposedly being “disengaged” while world events marched on around him.
First, let’s dispatch with the word optics. It’s mostly used by liberal journalists who then ignore the problem. Yes, the optics are terrible when the supposed leader of the free world talks somberly about the beheading of an American journalist, then is seen joking and fist-pumping an hour later.
When those things happen, it’s natural for people to question President Obama’s sincerity and his commitment to ridding the Middle East of terrorists.
What actions did President Obama put into action from the sand trap on the 9th hole? Did he finally figure it out that ISIL is a real threat to the American homeland while putting on the 15th hole? If he didn’t figure that out on the 15th, did he get word of Gen. Dempsey’s statement that we’d need to take out ISIL’s command-and-control while driving up to the 18th green? By the time he got back to his compound, had he called Gen. Dempsey and told him to stop talking about ISIL as a threat more dangerous than al-Qa’ida?
It was Christmas Day 2009. Osama bin Laden was still at large. A 23-year-old Nigerian man was caught trying to bring down a passenger airliner headed for Detroit—which would have been the most devastating terrorist attack since 9/11. The day of, and the days that followed, the botched bombing saw the president and his staff, in Hawaii, at the White House and scattered across the country on their own family vacations – snap to attention and drop everything else to make sure we were doing all we could to keep Americans safe.
The president was not a passive bystander. He led America’s response to the apparent terrorist attack, soaking up new information as it came in, running meetings and issuing orders. As a regular matter of course, vacation or not, the president is briefed on intelligence every day. In this instance, he was receiving twice-daily updates on the situation in Detroit as well as three-times-daily updates on matters around the world from the Situation Room. As events developed, the president was directing his national security team—cabinet secretaries, intelligence officials and the military. He was awash in reports from the government and from the media.
Thank God for the Obama administration snapping to immediate attention. If only they hadn’t told law enforcement to read the failed bomber his Miranda rights.
While it’s true the optics have stunk all summer, the truth is that President Obama’s policies have been disastrous. That, Mr. Burton, is what Americans are most worried about. Russia annexes Crimea. President Obama proposes limited sanctions on a handful of Russian billionaires. When ISIL captured Fallujah, President Obama called ISIL a jayvee team. When ISIL threatened to capture Baghdad, President Obama talked about the need for Iraq to sing kumbayah.
When Hamas killed Israelis, President Obama criticized Israel for not being gentle enough on terrorists who then hid behind 5-year-old human shields otherwise known as children. When missiles were found in a UN-run school, he dispatched John Kerry to the region, where Kerry’s plan was immediately rejected by the responsible nations of the region.
Just once, it’d be nice if the administration would get a policy decision right.
Unfortunately for America, it’s more likely that President Obama will hit a hole-in-one on his next vacation than he’s likely to make a solid policy decision.
Whether he realizes it or not, Sen. Rand Paul sounds frighteningly like President Obama. Sen. Paul’s op-ed sounds exceptionally dovish, starting with this:
President Obama has said he might use airstrikes in the future. I have also been open to the same option if it makes sense.
Notice the qualifier-filled statements from President Obama and Sen. Paul. It’d be surprising if President Obama did anything more than token air strikes. With Sen. Paul, we just don’t know, though his record is fairly isolationist and dovish. That isn’t the worst part, though. Sen. Paul’s intellectual dishonesty is frightening:
Said Perry forthrightly during a Republican presidential primary debate in 2012, “I would send troops back into Iraq.” Obviously, this is something he advocated long before the rise of ISIS. At the time, Perry urged the United States to return troops to Iraq to act as a balance against Iran, a country my colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham says we must work with to help beat back the extremists.
Does Perry now believe that we should send U.S. troops back into Iraq to fight the Iranians—or to help Iran fight ISIS?
Why would Sen. Paul ask that question? First, he notes that Gov. Perry made that statement in 2012, when the situation in Iraq was dramatically different. Why does Sen. Paul automatically assume that Gov. Perry’s policy would be the same today as it was in 2012? As intellectually dishonest as Sen. Paul’s assumption is, that isn’t the part that frightens me most. This question is:
How many Americans should send their sons or daughters to die for a foreign country, a nation the Iraqis won’t defend for themselves?
First, it assumes that Gov. Perry would send in troops, which isn’t a safe assumption. Second, it’s the wrong question. Why doesn’t Sen. Paul understand that troops deployed to Iraq wouldn’t be there to “die for a foreign country”? Why doesn’t he understand that they’d only be deployed to obliterate a terrorist training ground in the heart of Iraq?
Isn’t Sen. Paul bright enough to understand that a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East is a huge threat to the United States, not just to our allies?
This statement is frighteningly fictional:
Reagan ended the Cold War without going to war with Russia. He achieved a relative peace with the Soviet Union—the greatest existential threat to the United States in our history—through strong diplomacy and moral leadership.
Sen. Paul, it’s time you talked with people in the Reagan national security team. They’d tell you that he didn’t miss an opportunity to talk with dissidents jailed in the Soviet Union’s gulags. They’d tell you that he beefed up Radio Free Europe to tell dissidents that he was fighting for them. They’d tell you that diplomacy didn’t work until Reagan made it clear that he’d counter anything the Soviets would attempt to do.
The negotiations didn’t start until Reagan had frightened the bejesus out of President Gorbachev. Once he’d shown President Gorbachev who was the real superpower, then the negotiations started.
Reagan had no easy options either. But he did the best he could with the hand he was dealt.
If Sen. Paul meant that Jimmy Carter left President Reagan with a crappy hand, that’s right. If Sen. Paul means that there was any doubt in President Reagan’s mind that his plan would work and work fairly quickly, the answer to that question is an emphatic no. Reagan knew that the Soviet Union’s economy was on the verge of collapse. He knew that putting pressure on the Soviets would put them on the defensive.
Apparently, Sen. Paul doesn’t really understand the genius of President Reagan’s foreign policy genius. There’s no question whether Reagan was a hawk. It’s just that his foreign policy strategy was multi-faceted.
Sen. Paul’s op-ed is based on supposition, not fact. It’s based on something Gov. Perry said in 2012, not this summer. It’s apparent that Sen. Paul is as accomplished as President Obama in using strawman arguments. I expect that from this president. From now on, I guess I should expect it from Sen. Paul, too.
It’s sounding more and more like Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX), is planning on running for president again in 2016. This op-ed sounds like the first shot against Sen. Paul:
This represents a real threat to our national security — to which Paul seems curiously blind — because any of these passport carriers can simply buy a plane ticket and show up in the United States without even a visa. It’s particularly chilling when you consider that one American has already carried out a suicide bombing and a terrorist-trained European allegedly killed four at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
Yet Paul still advocates inaction, going so far as to claim in an op-ed last month in the Wall Street Journal that President Ronald Reagan’s own doctrines would lead him to same conclusion.
The thing Sen. Paul’s supporters haven’t paid attention to is the fact that President Reagan was a confrontationalist. Though he didn’t fire a shot at the Soviet Union, he constantly confronted them strategically. He put in Pershing II missiles into western Europe. Doves like Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry howled at the move, saying that this would just provoke the Soviets to become more expansionist.
Gov. Perry understands what President Reagan understood then. Gov. Perry understands that a vibrant, growing economy, coupled with the right strategic vigilance and interventionism, will thwart Putin’s expansionism and ISIS’ attempt to build a caliphate where terrorists can train for their next terrorist attack.
Here’s another shot frm Gov. Perry across Sen. Paul’s bow:
Reagan identified Soviet communism as an existential threat to our national security and Western values, and he confronted this threat in every theater. Today, we count his many actions as critical to the ultimate defeat of the Soviet Union and the freeing of hundreds of millions from tyranny.
At the time, though, there were those who said that Reagan’s policies would push the Soviets to war. These voices instead promoted accommodation and timidity in the face of Soviet advancement as the surest path to peace. This, sadly, is the same policy of inaction that Paul advocates today.
It isn’t that Gov. Perry is pushing war. It’s that he isn’t pushing for America to stick its head in the sand. Like I said earlier, Reagan brought the Soviet empire to its knees without firing a shot.
The Soviet Union had a terrible economy. Today, Russia’s economy isn’t much better. Putin is flexing his country’s muscles because he thinks he can get away with it. That’ll end the minute the US economy starts hitting on all cylinders and the right president starts inserting itself in the world.
Again, this doesn’t require going to war, though it’ll require beefed up intel operations in the world’s nastiest corners. That won’t matter to Paul’s most paranoid supporters. Paul’s most paranoid supporters will still hear the drumbeats of war.
Sane people, however, will hear things clearly. Far more people will agree with Gov. Perry than will agree with Sen. Paul. Let the jockeying begin.
President Obama is getting eaten alive by an avalanche of crises simultaneously. I’ve never seen a president getting eaten alive by this many crises. Richard Nixon had Watergate. Reagan had Iran-Contra. Bill Clinton had Monicagate. George Bush had Katrina.
President Obama’s crises are crises of his own creation. The IRS scandal happened because he used the IRS as a weapon against his political adversaries. The border crisis happened because he told the world that he wouldn’t enforce the borders. The Iraq/ISIS crisis happened because he told the terrorists that he was giving them the heart of the Middle East. Benghazi happened becausse he campaigned on the foolishness that al-Qa’ida was dead or dying, therefore, they didn’t need to beef up security at the Benghazi compound. The VA crisis happened because he ignored the administrative corruption and the cooking of the books.
It’s getting to the point that the American people, including some DC reporters, have noticed that President Obama isn’t into governing or solving problems. When President Obama meets with Gov. Perry this week, it won’t be good enough to show he cares. (That’s a phrase Rep. Cuellar, D-TX, kept using in his interview with Megyn Kelly tonight.) President Obama needs to reach a solution by working with Republicans. If he doesn’t solve that crisis, he’ll be exposed as just another cheap politician who isn’t interested in solving problems.
Further, if he continues to get slapped by the courts for his extremist unconstitutional agenda, he’ll be seen as the biggest scofflaw in presidential history. If the Justice Department doesn’t start prosecuting criminals like Lois Lerner, President Obama and Eric Holder will become known as the most lawless president/AG duo since Nixon and Mitchell. I didn’t think that that was possible.
President Obama’s crises are policy-driven crises. He’s made one policy mistake after another. Those policy mistakes have caused crisis after crisis. They’re proof that President Obama is the worst president in US history. This isn’t about the color of President Obama’s skin. It’s about his ideology.
The border crisis is turning the American people off to immigration reform. While they like the thought of immigration reform in the abstract, they’re against the lawlessness that’s led to this crisis. The American people won’t sign onto a policy reform until they’re the administration is serious about enforcing the new laws.
At this point, people from across the political spectrum don’t believe President Obama will enforce law. What’s worse is that they’ve seen that Democrats in Congress and the Senate will protect him even when he’s been exposed. The IRS scandal and Benghazi are proof of that.
When George Stephanopoulos interviewed President Obama, President Obama’s arrogance was on full display:
BARACK OBAMA: You notice that he didn’t specifically say what exactly he was objecting to. I’m not going to apologize for trying to do something while they’re doing nothing.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if you get sued?
OBAMA: You know…the suit is a stunt. What I’ve told Speaker Boehner directly is: if you’re really concerned about me taking too many executive actions, why don’t you try getting something done through Congress? The majority of the American people want to see immigration reform done. We had a bipartisan bill through the Senate, and you’re going to squawk if I try to fix some parts of it administratively that are within my authority, while you are not doing anything.
First, President Obama got slapped around yesterday in the NLRB vs. Noel Canning decision. That’s because he insisted that the executive branch had the authority to tell the legislative branch when the legislative branch was in session. (Apparently, he didn’t pay attention to the constitutional concept of co-equal branches of government.)
Second, getting things done is a two-way street. There are literally dozens of bills waiting for a Senate vote that’ve been passed by the House of Representatives. President Obama and Sen. Reid are pretending they don’t exist because they don’t want to admit that Republicans have constructive, substantive solutions to America’s problems.
In their minds, they think they’re the only people with solutions. In President Obama’s mind, his ideas are the only legitimate ideas worthy of consideration. In President Obama’s mind, anything that Republicans propose isn’t worthy of consideration.
Thirdly, and most importantly, the federal government is based on checks and balances. That’s what the Constitution mandates. President Obama thinks the presidency is really a kingdom, a place where he has the authority to unilaterally rewrite laws that he’s signed. Yesterday, the Supreme Court slapped him down again. Their ruling in the NLRB v. Noel Canning case marked the thirteenth straight time that the Supreme Court told him he’d overstepped his authority.
If President Obama were to speak honestly in his response to Stephanopoulos, here’s what he would’ve said:
BARACK OBAMA: I’m not going to apologize for acting like an autocrat. It isn’t my fault that the Founding Fathers didn’t choose a monarchy. It’s time it became a monarchy.
President Obama is a despicable person who doesn’t care about laws he’s signed or the Constitution he’s sworn to uphold.
The end of his term can’t come soon enough. Ditto with the repeal of his policies. President Obama’s lawlessness can’t come soon enough.
Technorati: President Obama, George Stephanopoulos, Recess Appointments, NLRB v. Noel Canning, Supreme Court Ruling, Affordable Care Act, Imperial Presidency, Failed Policies, Iraq Crisis, National Security, Islamic Caliphate, Democrats
Much as Jane Harman tried defending President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq essentially defenseless, the truth is that losing the Iraq War is President Obama’s fault. Appearing on Fox News Sunday’s All Star Panel, Harman tried telling the panel that it’s Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki’s fault:
WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, as we discussed with Mike Rogers, this is our worst nightmare. We’re not talking about a terrorist group, organization. We’re talking about a terrorist army and possible state. How big a threat is ISIS? How much does it go to the Middle East and potentially to the U.S. homeland? And I have to ask, how did President Obama let it get to this point?
JANE HARMAN, D-CALIF., FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: This started a long time with a guy named Zarqawi in Iraq, the head of al Qaeda in Iraq.
WALLACE: Who we killed.
HARMAN: Who we killed, and we thought that we had quieted down that particular group. A guy named Jobi York (ph) is now a scholar at the Wilson Center and is writing about this on the front page of “The Washington Post”. We thought we killed them but they’re back.
I wouldn’t lay this at Obama’s feet. Remember that the Iraqis refused to agree to a status of forces agreement to keep us in Iraq. And it’s one of the reasons —
WALLACE: There are arguments about how hard President Obama pushed.
HARMAN: Well, OK, mistakes were made and supporting Maliki, who is a feckless leader, Tom Friedman called him a jerk today, that’s a little harsh. But hey, and unable to control his country is a bad thing.
Had President Obama gotten serious about negotiating a status of forces agreement, we would’ve had a military in Iraq to stabilize Iraq. Had the US kept 15,000-20,000 troops in Iraq, ISIS wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to establish this caliphate. It isn’t that the US military would’ve continued military operations.
The mere presence would’ve been a major deterrent against the militaristic operations of an ISIS.
As is often the case, George Will summarized things beautifully:
GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, one does wonder, we can hear from Jane on this, what we’re getting if we’re getting the value from the $50 billion we spend on our intelligence service, but General Douglas MacArthur said every military disaster can be explained by two words, too late.
It certainly is too late to think we’re going to condition aid on vast political reforms in Iraq, which are going to mollify these factions that have been at each other’s throats for centuries.
And Julie says, you put heavy weapons in there, when they got the Mosul, the ISIS people, they didn’t just empty the jails and the banks, they emptied the arsenals. Seventy-two tanks they came away with, 700 Humvees, thousands of tons of ammunition that will now be fired at the government of Iraq.
And just to get a sense of the humanitarian disaster that’s engulfing the region, there are today more Syrian children of school age in Lebanon than there are Lebanese children of school age, as the Syrian population scatters to neighboring countries.
President Obama was opposed to keeping a residual force in Iraq. It was always his political goal to campaign on ending the war in Iraq. It isn’t that he wanted Iraq to fail. It’s that that consideration wasn’t important to him. Ending the war in Iraq was everything to his political base going into 2012.
Predicating an administration’s national security policy on purely political considerations is a recipe for disaster. Predictably, that’s what we got.
Brit Hume added these observations:
So, the situation in Iraq that the president described in the sound bite that you played before we started here is now gone, forfeited, in my view, by this administration, and by Iraqi President Maliki, who is, you know, a very ineffective and I think weak leader who has made a multitude of mistakes. However, there’s been no sign that this president has been deeply engaged with him, trying to prevent him from doing so, and I think that the leverage that we would have had, had we been able to keep a residual force there, would have helped him do that, if he’d been interested. He seems not to have been.
Maliki was always an ineffective leader. Ryan Crocker, the US Ambassador to Iraq during the Bush administration, was Maliki’s babysitter. His job, essentially, was to prevent Maliki from doing the things Iran wanted him to do.
The Obama administration pulled the military out of Iraq, then ignored the political situation in Iraq. President Obama didn’t pay attention to Iraq. That’s why they didn’t see ISIS coming until it was too late. Within 5 years, they will have plotted a new wave of terrorist attacks against the US, western Europe and Israel.
That isn’t a bold prediction. It’s trusting these terrorists at their word. They said that’s their goal. There’s no reason not to believe them because they’ve consistently followed through on their threats.
President Obama forfeited the war that President Bush had won. Now he owns that disaster.