The usual suspects are having a collective orgasm at Obama’s decision to intervene in Iraq. In their view, it proves them right about the Obama retrenchment/surrender/capitulation to terrorism, and has them licking their chops at the prospect of “finishing the job”. Mercifully, the American people are likely to resist their insanity. Here is Bill Kristol pushing for greater involvement:
“If you’re going to get in, get in big and get in decisively now,” Kristol said. “If you go in incrementally, in this way, you don’t have the effect you want to have on ISIS; you don’t have the effect you want to have on bolstering your allies; you don’t have the effect you want to have in the region.”
Repeat after me: a whole new war. Give these fanatics an inch and they’ll be in Baghdad before you know it. Jennifer Rubin encapsulates the emerging neocon narrative we will surely see trotted out on TV and talk radio over the coming days:
Virtually every action or refusal to act has now come back to haunt Obama. Trying to reconcile past mistakes with grudging action is impossible, and yet he refuses to admit error or commit wholeheartedly to a different set of policies. As Bolton puts it, “The problem is not just Iraq, but the entire Middle East where state structures are collapsing and terrorism increasing to fill the vacuum. Thus we have moved from the American Century to the Obama Chaos.”
We should be pleased, I suppose, that he acted in some fashion. Now he needs a new policy team, a coherent policy for the region and a recognition that retrenchment failed and is indeed the cause of many of the horrors we now see. That would require adequately funding the military, taking action to prevent Iran’s hegemonic ambitions and ensuring that non-jihadi rebels in Syria succeed — to name only a few significant policy reversals that would be required. Let’s hope that this is the first indication of an about-face on Obama’s entire foreign policy approach.
The idea that what has been happening all over the Arab Muslim world since the Arab Spring is “Obama’s Chaos” just reveals that the neocons still have no idea that the world is more than America’s plaything. Wolfowitz just declared that the Iraq war had been “won” by 2009 – another sign that they have been chastened not a whit by the destruction and disorder and violence they unleashed more than a decade ago. Conor catches John Podhoretz gloating in a similar vein and rips his argument to shreds:
Alternative history cannot be definitively disproved. There’s no way to know what would be happening now if Obama had left more troops in Iraq.
But if you’ve been wrong about Iraq as frequently as Podhoretz, or the magazine he runs, it is perverse to profess certainty that the war was “all but won” by 2009, that Iraq would now be stable if only the president had listened to you, when of course you have no earthly way of knowing whether that is actually true. Podhoretz’s definition of a war that was all but won required the indefinite presence of U.S. troops. His prior positions on Iraq include a belief that firing Don Rumsfeld in 2006 would definitely lose the Iraq War, as well as the notion that perhaps the U.S. could’ve only won in Iraq by slaughtering Sunni men between 15 and 35.
Danielle Pletka insists that there is plenty we can do without re-occupying Iraq, and amps up the fear to make the case – just as the neocons did with the Iraq war:
What could Barack Obama have done, his few apologists and their libertarian cohort ask. This is not our problem, they insist. We know these isolationists and know-nothings — they’re the ones who said it didn’t matter that Afghanistan was taken over by Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. But, they retort, none of this would be a problem if Saddam Hussein and Hosni Mubarak and Bashar al Assad were still firmly seated on their thrones. But of course, those thrones were teetering thanks to the oppressed people of the Middle East, who have noticed that the only parties now talking liberation are the Islamist Shiites and Sunnis from Hezbollah, Hamas and al Qaeda et al.
More than a year ago, Jack Keane and I wrote about what the US could do — none of the straw men’s “boots on the ground” — to stop Assad’s slaughter here. Earlier this year, we wrote about what could — no boots — swiftly cut off IS in Iraq here. These ideas are still relevant today. Remember, Obama’s movement is a lagging indicator of the seriousness of the problem we — yes, we — face in the Middle East. More must be done or the security of the American people will be the next victim.
(Image of “True Chyrons For Bush-Era Iraq War ‘Experts'” from the Huffington Post.)