Obama's Iraqi Makeover — The Facts
Rebuttal from Key Advisors and Military Leaders
After all the blood and treasure our nation sacrificed in Iraq, and after discarding the Bush Doctrine and ordering a retreat and withdrawal from the region in 2011, Barack Obama is now asking for a mulligan, a replay.
Let’s review why Obama is re-launching the war on terror and consider a few of his remarks from his address to the nation.
In 2008, Obama campaigned on “ending the war in Iraq.”
In 2009, he upended our long-term military objectives to establish a forward military operating capability in Iraq in order to maintain stability in a region where we have very critical national interests, and he set a new course for retreat and withdrawal from the region.
In 2011, having rejected the Bush strategy of establishing a status of forces agreement (SOFA) to secure our hard-won gains in Iraq and the region, Obama declared, “Everything Americans have done in Iraq, all the fighting, all the dying, the bleeding, the building and the training and the partnering, all of it has led to this moment of success. … We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.”
In 2012, amid the cascading failure of his domestic economic and social policies, Obama centered his re-election campaign on his faux foreign policy successes crafted around the mantras, “Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. I did,” and, “al-Qa'ida is on the run.”
In the final 2012 presidential debate, Obama chastised his opponent, Mitt Romney: “You say that you’re not interested in duplicating what happened in Iraq, but just a few weeks ago you said you think we should have more troops in Iraq right now. And the challenge we have – I know you haven’t been in a position to actually execute foreign policy, but every time you’ve offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong.”
Despite Obama’s re-election, clearly Romney was right.
Predictably, Obama’s “hope and change” strategy in the region left fertile ground for the resurgence of a far more dangerous incarnation of Muslim terrorism under the name Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, which has displaced al-Qa'ida as the dominant asymmetric threat to our national security. (Read in more detail, The Rise of the Islamic State.)
Thus, on the 13th anniversary eve of the September 11, 2001 attack on our nation, Obama had the audacity of asking the nation for a redo, without a word owning up to his colossal policy failure in the region.
What follows are a few excerpts of his remarks, which at best only serve to inform our Islamist adversaries what we will and won’t do.
BO: “Let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ … And ISIL is certainly not a state.”
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Fact is, more than a third of the Muslim trilogy (Koran, Hadith and Sira) is devoted to Islamic Jihad as instructed by Mohammed. And Obama needs a lesson on Jihadistan, that borderless nation of Islamic extremists that constitutes Muslim terrorist groups around the world.
BO: “I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.”
Well, if nine nations (not including Great Britain and Germany, by the way) constitute a “broad coalition,” OK. But that is well short of the 37 nations that backed us in 2003.
BO: “Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.”
As noted by The Washington Free Beacon’s Aaron MacLean, “Twice [last night], Obama stated that the nation’s strategy towards the Islamic State is to ‘degrade, and ultimately destroy’ it. … The modifier ‘ultimately’ is a dodge of tremendous proportions.”
BO: “I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”
Of course, all Obama has done is hesitate.
BO: “This effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. … American forces will not have a combat mission – we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. … It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.”
Well, unless you count the 1,043 service personnel now on the ground in Iraq and the additional 475 he just ordered up. Fact is, we will probably end up with more combat troops in Iraq to “manage ISIL” than would have been required by a SOFA alternative to Obama’s ordered retreat from Iraq. And for the record, there have now been thousands of combat “boots in the air” flying attack, intel and support missions over Iraq. Our Patriot friends, who strap themselves into flying bomb-laden fuel tanks for missions over enemy territory, have registered strong objections to Obama’s insistence that there are no boots in combat in Iraq. For all our Air Force and Navy aviators flying combat sorties against ISIL – we also count your boots!
BO: “So this is our strategy. … This is American leadership at its best…”
No, this is, and has been, American leadership at its worst.
BO: “This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.”
Few military and intelligence analysts would describe Obama’s strategy in Yemen and Somalia as a “success.”
BO: “America is better positioned today to seize the future than any other nation on earth.”
No, Obama’s domestic and foreign policies have greatly undermined our ability to “seize the future.”
Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism specialist in the Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University, said of Obama’s redo, “It completely lacks any serious counter-ideological component. Ultimate victory against such an enemy will only come when we delegitimize its motivating force – the power it has to recruit terrorists and insurgents, just as we delegitimized the totalitarianism of the Cold War.”
Former Vice President Dick Cheney aptly summarized the problem with Obama’s foreign policy: “[Obama] has demonstrated his own distrust for American power as a force for good in the world. Five years ago this month, he put it this way to the United Nations: ‘No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed.’ This is one sample from a whole collection of such sayings that seem to regard American influence as a problem to be solved in the world, rather than a solution to be offered.”
Cheney continued, “While the president was claiming the tide of war was receding and core al-Qa'ida had been decimated, the threat is actually increasing. From Iraq, Syria and Yemen, over to Pakistan, all the way down to Somalia and Nigeria, in various places under various names, a whole new wave of jihadists was on the rise.”
National Review’s Jonah Goldberg concluded, “It’s obviously the case that he is doing this not because the facts on the ground convinced him he had to do what was necessary to protect America but because the polls and the political climate convinced him he had to plug a hole in the hull of his presidency.”
Former CIA/NSA director, Michael Hayden, adds, “The reliance on airpower has all the attraction of casual sex: it seems to offer gratification but with very little commitment.”
And from Charles Krauthammer, “There’s also something both patronizing and ridiculous for a Western Christian to be telling the Muslim world what exactly their religion is about, particularly a religion with a 1400 year distinguished history… I didn’t know Obama was an Islamic scholar, but that’s probably what he does when it’s raining and he can’t be playing golf.”
Finally, Recall if you will, the prophetic warning issued by George W. Bush in July of 2007: “To begin withdrawing from Iraq…will be dangerous, for Iraq, for the region and for the United States. It will mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al-Qa'ida. It means that we would be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It will mean we would allow terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they had in Afghanistan. It will mean that American troops will have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.”
President Bush took the battle to the enemy in order to keep the front on their turf, not ours. Obama has retreated, opening the door for Islamists to move the front to our homeland.
Bottom line: Forget bombs – we should drop Obama administration policy makers on Iraq and Syria. That would ensure the ruin of the Islamic State in no time!
(Additional Essays on the Resurgence of Jihad Terrorism: “Iran, Iraq and Syria: Jihad Part 2 Coming to a Theater Near You,” “The Obama Model of Foreign Policy Malfeasance,” “The Middle East Meltdown,” and “Iraq: Blood and Treasure for What?.”