Iraq: Is Obama holding American citizens “hostage” to force Democrat support?

August 12, 2014
Liar.

Barack Machiavelli?

That’s the startling, even shocking implication of an article in today’s Free Beacon: that the President of the United States is refusing to evacuate American civilian personnel from Iraq, in spite of the crisis caused by the advance of ISIS, because he needs the threat to them to convince his left-wing base to go along with the air strikes underway:

The administration’s decision to bypass Congress before taking military action is reminiscent of its behavior in Libya, where air strikes also were authorized without congressional approval.

“They didn’t provide any firm answers or decisions,” said one senior Senate source apprised of the briefing. “The administration is saying that they’re going to authorize air strikes if ISIS gets close to U.S. personal or stationed personal, which in [our] mind, if there is a threat in the region you get your people out unless they’re military.”

This rationale from the White House is leading some to speculate that U.S. personnel in the region are being left in harms way “as collateral” because the Obama administration “can’t get his party and donor base to support further action in Iraq,” according to the source.

“That’s where a lot of the confusion is coming from” on Capitol Hill, the source added. “When there’s an imminent threat you get your civilian employees out of the region.”

As Noah Rothman at Hot Air points out, the administration is in a difficult spot with its legal justifications for action in Iraq: they’ve argued since the American withdrawal from Iraq that the Bush-era AUMF is outdated and should be repealed, so it’s very difficult to use that as a justification for new action. Instead, they’re using “danger to Americans” as the casus belli:

The White House appears to be claiming simply that the president has the constitutional authority to protect and defend American citizens, and he is legally empowered to execute strikes on ISIS targets if they present an immediate threat to U.S. interests or personnel. American military officials are, however, apparently prepared to interpret that which constitutes an “immediate threat” in a loose fashion.

And that, in turn has lead some to wonder if those personnel are being used as –and there’s no better word for it– hostages. I can almost see the pitch: “Look, we both agree that the Iraq War was stupid and wrong, but we can’t do nothing. You don’t want us to abandon Americans in danger, do you? The Republicans would have a field day with that. Remember how they reacted after Benghazi?”

It’s something so ruthless, so coldblooded, that I don’t want to believe it could be true of any American administration. Bear in mind also that the Free Beacon’s source is anonymous. And yet, on the other hand, the administration has taken such a hit over its failures in foreign policy, especially in the Mideast in the last two years, that some top adviser (Axelrod? Jarrett?) may have convinced the president he can do this to make sure he isn’t seen as the one who “lost Iraq” (newsflash: too late), that he can use the presence of Americans as leverage against a rebellion by his base without too much risk. If there’s one place this generally incompetent administration has shown any competence at all, its in “base politics.”

And, if true, this would be pretty base.

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Memorial Day quote of the day: Iraq veterans edition

May 30, 2011

From the great Walter Russell Mead:

[Osama’s] dream died in Iraq.

But on this Memorial Day it is not enough to remember, and give thanks, that Osama’s dream died before he did and that the terror movement has been gravely wounded at its heart.

Because the dream didn’t just die.

It was killed.

And it was killed by coalition forces.  They killed it by fighting harder and smarter than the enemy and they killed it by winning trust and building bridges better than the enemy.  They did it because they were better, more honorable warriors and better, more honorable partners for peace.  Mostly American and mostly Christian, the coalition forcers were more compassionate, more just, more protective of the poor and more respectful of Arab women than the crazed thugs who thought setting off bombs in the market was fulfilling God’s will.

We must continue to honor and thank the Arab allies and tribal leaders who made the choice for America in a dark and a difficult time.  But especially on this Memorial Day we must honor and remember the American heroes who by their lives and by their deaths brought victory out of defeat, understanding out of hatred and gave both Muslims and non-Muslims a chance to get this whole thing right.

The story of America’s victory over terror in Mesopotamia needs to be told.  In justice to those who sacrificed so much, and for the sake of those who may have to face similar dangers in the future, somebody needs to tell the real story of how, against all odds and in the face of unremitting skepticism and defeatism at home, our armed forces built a foundation for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East.

All wars are tragic; some are also victorious.  The tragedies of Iraq are real and well known.  The victory is equally real — but the politically fastidious don’t want to look.  The minimum we owe our lost and wounded warriors is to tell the story of what they so gloriously achieved.

On this Memorial Day, a truth needs to be told.

We have not yet done justice to our dead.

Read the whole thing.

PS: Guess that resolution went the way of all things…


A liberal explains the difference between Libya and Iraq

March 25, 2011

It’s simple! Obama is awesome!!

Makes perfect sense.

via Jonah Goldberg

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Don’t ever complain to me about the money spent on Iraq, again

September 1, 2010

For years –years!– under George W. Bush, the Democrats and their Leftist allies cried rivers of crocodile tears over the money being spent to first liberate, then stabilize that land. They claimed so often and so loudly to be worried about the debts incurred and the deficits run, that they convinced the electorate that they would actually be better stewards of the public’s money, and partly for that were given control of Congress in 2006.

Well, have a look at this:

In less than two years, the Democrats have made spending on the war in Iraq look like pocket change:

As President Obama prepares to tie a bow on U.S. combat operations in Iraq, Congressional Budget Office numbers show that the total cost of the eight-year war was less than the stimulus bill passed by the Democratic-led Congress in 2009.

According to CBO numbers in its Budget and Economic Outlook published this month, the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom was $709 billion for military and related activities, including training of Iraqi forces and diplomatic operations.

The projected cost of the stimulus, which passed in February 2009, and is expected to have a shelf life of two years, was $862 billion.

The U.S. deficit for fiscal year 2010 is expected to be $1.3 trillion, according to CBO. That compares to a 2007 deficit of $160.7 billion and a 2008 deficit of $458.6 billion, according to data provided by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

In 2007 and 2008, the deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product was 1.2 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.

That’s $709 billion spread over seven years, compared to $862 billion in one-third the time.

In return for our money*, in Iraq we overthrew a brutal, murderous dictator and helped establish what has a good chance to become the first stable Arab democracy ever in the heart of the Middle East, a nation that could, with luck, patience, and skill, become a strong ally against terrorism and the plans of the religious fascists in Tehran. We also crushed al Qaeda in Iraq, forcing it to waste lives and resources there, and exposing its brutality for all the Arab world to see.

In return for the stimulus package, we got… unemployment higher than promised and that may turn structural, a feeble economic “recovery” that threatens to go into another recession, mind-boggling deficits and debt to foreign powers, and, by admission from the President’s own economic adviser, a failure.

You tell me which money was better spent.

And I don’t ever again want to hear a (Social) Democrat complain about the costs of “Bush’s war,” or about fiscal responsibility in general.

*(No, I am not discounting or monetizing the lives lost in Iraq. Any casualties in war are tragedies, however necessary. But this discussion is strictly about the money spent and the Democrats’ rank hypocrisy when they posed as champions of fiscal responsibility.)

via Fausta.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


About Obama’s speech on Iraq

September 1, 2010

I didn’t watch, but I read it. There isn’t much to say about this singularly unimpressive speech, but here are a few observations.

  • A lack of grace and courtesy: Sure, he mentioned Bush, but gave him no credit for the strategy change -the “surge”- that enabled Obama to take credit for leaving a relatively stable Iraq on schedule. No admission that he, Barack Obama, was wrong in his opposition to the surge. And once again he treats our volunteer citizen-soldiers primarily as victims, while nearly ignoring their successes. Our President has no class.
  • Perfunctory: When you look at the speech, it’s clear Iraq and the accomplishments of our military and diplomats merely were the framework for his real goal – another sell-job for his economic program.
  • Boring. Come on, we were sold a “golden orator” in 2007-08, the greatest speaker since Pericles delivered his funeral oration. This flat thing is the best he can do for an address from the Oval Office?

LINKS: For more thorough analysis, have a look at Hot Air; Roger Kimball wonders why they didn’t call for a rewrite; Jim Hanson says Obama has learned nothing about being Commander in Chief; Moe Lane demands Obama be held accountable; Power Line called it limp and boring. Sarah Palin offered some advice Obama would have been wise to take.


Obama: “Iraq was all about me”

August 28, 2010

The Narcissist in Chief President uses his weekly address to comment on the official end of combat operations in Iraq:

(Transcript)

No mention of the victories won by our forces there, either during the initial liberation or in the hard-fought guerrilla war that culminated in the 2007-08 “surge.” No admission that he, himself, was wrong when in 2007 he described Iraq as a total failure even while the results of the surge were becoming manifest. And certainly no thanks to the man who provided the needed political will to see the surge take place at all: George W. Bush.

Instead we get yet another focus on Obama by Obama, as he takes credit for ending a war that was largely over by the time he took office, and a paean to our forces which mostly treats them as victims because it focuses on their sacrifices and the hurts they’ve suffered, but makes no mention of victories won and the good they’ve done. Promising educational benefits and especially an improved Veteran’s Administration is a good thing (Lord knows, VA services are often scandalous), but would it have killed him to admit their overthrow of Saddam Hussein put an end to a living Hell? Or that crushing Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2007-08 made Iraq and indeed the world a better place?

Or simply that they won?

Eh, who am I kidding? “Victory” is a dead word in the Leftist lexicon, unless it’s over conservatives. Instead, “victim” is their touchstone.

LINKS: More from Ed Morrissey, who, like me, worries that Obama may pull the rest of our forces out way too soon; Iraq will need an American shield to protect it from its ravenous neighbors for many years to come, while it develops its own forces and, just as important, the habits of democracy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Victor Davis Hanson: War and History, Ancient and Modern

June 14, 2010

Michael Totten, a journalist I highly recommend who specializes in the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Caucasus, conducts a wide-ranging interview of historian Victor Davis Hanson. It’s long, but read the whole thing; you’ll learn quite a bit.

One item that jumped out at me came at the end, when VDH discusses an exchange he had with a European admiral just prior to Obama’s election. It’s revelatory on several levels of European attitudes toward and dependency on the United States, and their fear of us becoming like them:

I had an interesting conversation two years ago just before Obama’s election with some military people in Versailles. They were at a garden party, and everybody was for Obama. But an admiral said to me, “We are Obama. You can’t be Obama.”

Everybody looked at him. And I said, “What do you mean?”

He said, “There’s only room for one Obama.”

I said, “So we’re supposed to do what? Take out Iran while you trash us?”

And he said, “Right out of my mouth. I couldn’t have said it better. Bush understood our relationship. We have to make accommodations with our public, which is lunatic. You don’t really believe there’s going to be an EU strike force, do you? Nobody here believes that. If you become neutral, what are we supposed to do?

That’s what he said. I was surprised at his candor. And it’s worrisome. On the one hand I like it because they’re getting just what they asked for, but on the other hand, it’s tragic. And it’s dangerous. We shouldn’t be doing this.

Emphasis added.