Obama’s Poll-Tested War and Why It Won’t WorkPosted: September 16, 2014
People will argue whether or not the U.S. should have invaded Iraq in 2003 until the cows come home.
Those on the left will say that removing Saddam Hussein from power was a mistake (even though most Democrats at the time voted for this course of action, including Hillary Clinton).
On the right, most agree that Hussein was a major troublemaker on the world stage who was working toward acquiring nuclear weapons (Israeli aircraft destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981; while most official statements made by political types were of condemnation of Israel’s actions, behind the scenes, many were breathing a sigh of relief).
After the ‘surge’ in 2007, the U.S. had for all intents and purposes beaten the enemy in Iraq and Iraq was in a place where peace and stability had a chance to take hold. In fact, Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden, predicted that Iraq would be “one of the great achievements” of the Obama Administration (!)
In 2011 President Obama pulled out essentially all troops from Iraq, and in 2012, Obama campaigned on the fact that he “ended the war” in Iraq.
But Obama’s decision to pull out U.S. troops from Iraq created a power vacuum that allowed Islamist totalitarians (in this case, ISIS) to grow and flourish. When Obama saw the disaster his failed policy had caused, he attempted to walk his decision back and blame-shift, saying that it was the Iraqi’s refusal to agree to a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that drove the decision not to leave a residual force of U.S. troops in Iraq, but since Obama campaigned on the fact that he pulled out all troops, this is hard to take seriously.
Recent polls show that Americans are concerned about the threat that ISIS and other totalitarian Islamists groups pose to U.S. interests, along with the possibility of attacks on U.S. soil.
So Obama, being the poll-driven politician he is, gave a speech on 9-10-14 outlining his response to the totalitarian Islamist threat, which called for air strikes while emphasizing no U.S. ‘boots on the ground’ in Iraq.
But Obama’s ‘no boots on the ground’ is already a fiction, because at this moment some 750-1500 U.S. troops are already in Iraq, performing intelligence gathering, reconnaissance, and logistical support activities.
The salient question is this: Will President Obama’s policy in Iraq result in meeting the best interests of the U.S.? I don’t think so. Obama has no heart for this kind of thing (he campaigned on ending wars) and he is kicking the can down the road in a poll-tested way until he is out of office, which means that Obama will be leaving a terrible mess for his successor (and us) to grapple with.