Tuesday, June 17, 2014

This President Could Screw Up Boiling Water

From the Washington Post, hardly a conservative mouthpiece:
In 2011, the situation in Iraq was so good that the Obama administration was actually trying to take credit for it, with Vice President Joe Biden declaring that Iraq “could be one of the great achievements of this administration.”

Now in 2014, as Iraq descends into chaos, Democrats are trying to blame the fiasco on — you guessed it — George W. Bush. “I don’t think this is our responsibility,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, declaring that the unfolding disaster in Iraq “represents the failed policies that took us down this path 10 years ago.”

Sorry, but this is a mess of President Obama’s making.

When Obama took office he inherited a pacified Iraq, where the terrorists had been defeated both militarily and ideologically.

Militarily, thanks to Bush’s surge, coupled with the Sunni Awakening, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI, now the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS) was driven from the strongholds it had established in Anbar and other Iraqi provinces. It controlled no major territory, and its top leader — Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — had been killed by U.S. Special Operations forces.

Ideologically, the terrorists had suffered a popular rejection. Iraq was supposed to be a place where al-Qaeda rallied the Sunni masses to drive America out, but instead, the Sunnis joined with Americans to drive al-Qaeda out — a massive ideological defeat.

Obama took that inheritance and squandered it, with two catastrophic mistakes:

First, he withdrew all U.S. forces from Iraq — allowing the defeated terrorists to regroup and reconstitute themselves.

Second, he failed to support the moderate, pro-Western opposition in neighboring Syria — creating room for ISIS to fill the security vacuum. ISIS took over large swaths of Syrian territory, established a safe haven, used it to recruit and train thousands of jihadists, and prepared their current offensive in Iraq.

The result: When Obama took office, the terrorists had been driven from their safe havens; now they are on threatening to take control of a nation. Iraq is on the cusp of turning into what Afghanistan was in the 1990s — a safe haven from which to plan attacks on America and its allies.

It did not have to be this way.


maxutils said...

While I agree with you that Obama has allowed Iraq to become re-really-screwed up? I think it's a little bit disingenuous to say that he inherited a pacified Iraq, or a good situation ... nothing in the middle east, including Israel, is good.

Darren said...

Not that Joe Biden is someone we should listen to, but he *is* an Administration mouthpiece--and I refer you to the first paragraph I quoted.

maxutils said...

The one where the vice President, who has no say over policy, says it 'could' be? I'll let my opinion stand. The middle east has bee screwed up for as long as I've been alive, and we've had a long series of Presidents who have largely made things worse. Obama's police ... arguably among the worst of them. But his predecessors don't get any gold rings, either. We should just admit that they are backwards culture that hates us, and often themselves, and focus on minimizing the damage that they can do to us.

allen (in Michigan) said...

As I've pointed out before, max, when those backward Arabs come to the U.S. they seem to leave a lot of their cultural baggage at the border. Not every last one of course but those that refuse to leave their violent proclivities at the border either get a ticket home or to involuntary government housing.

Either way the more recalcitrant elements are excised leaving those who are more willing to embrace the opportunities they find in America. That story about the Isreali and Palestinian guys who co-own a taxi isn't just interesting it illustrates a widely-applicable principle - left to ourselves we'll look to our own welfare.

What that has to do with the Middle East is that there's not a single Arab nation governed by a representative form of government. Non-representative forms are notorious for keeping their populations occupied with spurious external dangers chief among which are nations that are governed by representative forms of government. That would be Israel, which is nearby so more convenient for fomenting hatred, and the United States which while distant is a dangerous precedent and a constant threat to those Middle Eastern authoritarians.

Dubya made a significant step towards putting the Middle East on the path to peace by ignoring Yasser Arafat which broke Arafat's power. Unfortunately that approach didn't become policy so other, vulnerable dictators weren't deposed. Obama, in keeping with virtually all left wing presidents, is frightened of foreign affairs so we have the result - Iraq falling apart, Russia strong-arming its neighbors and, oh yes, China trying to do the same thing.

maxutils said...

allen... your government argument is interesting, but I don't think that's close to the main reasons why they hate Israel... they hate Israel because it was carved out of "their" land by the super powers after WW II, and because it is a predominately Jewish country, and not Islamic. The only other country in the middle east even close to that proportion is Lebanon, which has a fair number of Christians. Also, Israel regularly kicks their ass anytime they start something. Muslims, and I'm going to be all inclusive, since African and eastern European Muslims count also, do leave a lot of their baggage behind. But we still have a lot of subjugation of women, including genital mutilation, and most (not all) acts of terrorism are performed by Muslims, including 19 Egyptians who did not get involuntary housing, and shouldn't have been able to get a ticket... so, I'm not convinced that coming here is a panacea.

maxutils said...

I'm sorry ... and Saudi. I wouldn't want to besmirch the wrong fine upstanding country.