Now that we have pulled out of Iraq — on a schedule negotiated by the Bush administration — and as instability and violence are on the increase there — as we feared they would — the very same chickenhawks who got us into this mess are now rearing their heads to blame Obama — as we knew they would.
They are now saying the same they would have said if we had pulled out of Iraq six years ago, or four years ago, or two years ago, and the same they would be saying — if still around one hundred years from now — if we had followed John McCain’s suggestion of a few years ago that it “would be fine with” him if the U.S. military stayed in Iraq for “a hundred years.”
They are now saying that after our “post-surge military victory” in Iraq, that nation’s future has been “rendered uncertain by the premature departure of American forces.” That just a few more years in Iraq would have resolved territorial disputes, would have fully trained and “institutionalized” their military. They compare resolving the thousand-year-old Mesopotamian sectarian and tribal enmities and hostilities to transitioning to strategic partnerships “as in postwar Germany, Korea or Japan.”
They still claim that we should have stayed a little longer in Iraq, not necessarily because Iraqis “deserve” our support — “Who cares,” they say — but because it is “ideal for U.S. interests in the region.”
Rather than admitting that our interests were ill-served by our unprovoked and unnecessary invasion and occupation of Iraq, they now claim that our interests have been “ill-served by the abandonment of Iraq by Barack Obama.”
They conveniently ignore that the bombings presently killing and maiming more Iraqis bear “the earmarks of al-Qaeda, which didn’t even exist in Iraq before the war began.”
They conveniently ignore that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — who rose to power during the Bush administration — “rejected repeated U.S. attempts to extend [the withdrawal date] so that a contingent of trainers and counter-terrorism forces could stay.”
They conveniently overlook that al-Maliki “often acts like the leader of a Shiite faction rather than the leader of a country,” and that he is acting more and more like a dictator.
But, perhaps most poignantly, they forget that … (Well, I believe that USA TODAY says it best):
The charitable interpretation of the Iraq War is that it was a misguided but idealistic bid to establish a democratic beachhead in the Middle East. The less charitable one is that the war was the product of cynical manipulation by men who sought an imperial U.S. role in the post-9/11 world. Both interpretations contain elements of truth. But either way, the war was a tragic mistake, waged at the cost of nearly 4,500 American troops, tens of thousands of severe injuries, and more than $1 trillion.
The official rationale for the war was invalidated long ago. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no alliance between Saddam and al-Qaeda. And as for establishing a democratic beachhead, well, Arabs started doing that by themselves a year ago in Tunisia and Egypt.
USA TODAY has gotten the bottom line darn right: “Too fast to leave Iraq? No, too quick to go in.”
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.