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Jan. 22, 2015

Obama’s Fantastic Foolishness

Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger writes of the dissonance of having just seen “American Sniper” before watching Barack Obama’s State of the Union: “Watching a movie about a Navy SEAL who served four tours fighting in Iraq was not the best way to enhance the experience of a Barack Obama speech. As a matter of fact, it was pretty unbearable. … ‘American Sniper’ is not a crude paean to ‘our boys’ in the Iraq war. What it does is convey the extraordinary personal, psychological and physical sacrifice of the U.S. Marines who fought al Qaeda in Fallujah, Ramadi and the other towns of Iraq’s Anbar province beginning in 2003 and through the period of the Anbar Awakening, which ended with the Marines pacifying the province. It’s just a movie, so even ‘American Sniper’s’ small slice only hints at the price America paid – some 3,500 combat deaths and another 32,000 wounded – to bring Iraq to a point of relative, if fragile, stability in 2011. Opinions will differ, often bitterly, on the war in Iraq and the reasons for it. … But what is just not possible to choke down is President Obama’s decision in 2011 to reduce the U.S.‘s residual military presence to virtually zero. It was a decision to waste what the Marines and Army had done. … In January [2014] … the terrorist army of Islamic State, or ISIS, seized back control of both Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar province. … [T]he city of Mosul and its population of one million [then] fell to Islamic State, and here we are with the barbarians on the loose there, in Yemen, in Nigeria and in France. … [N]o serious person would want a president to make a decision that would allow so much personal sacrifice to simply evaporate. Which, in his serene self-confidence, is what Barack Obama did. That absolute drawdown was a decision of fantastic foolishness.” More…

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