In case you missed it last night, President Obama acknowledged (sort of) that mistakes were made [by everyone but himself] in assessing the threat level that ISIS posed to the stability of Iraq and the entire region. Some low level employees in a rogue office in Cincinnati have once again conspired to create bad headlines for the President, but definitely no one should suggest that Obama himself has done anything wrong. The most galling portion of the interview was when Obama claimed that those who specifically predicted that a precipitate withdrawal from Iraq would create a power vacuum were somehow wrong.
This particular attempt at revisionist history is so brazen and asinine it ought to be insulting even to the servile American press, especially since the history it attempts to revise is so recent. During the time period between 2004 and 2010, there were at least four major federal elections in the United States that centered in varying degrees around the question of withdrawal from Iraq. Republicans are absolutely not playing Monday Morning Quarterback on this issue; the claim that leaving Iraq on an arbitrary timetable would lead to worsening instability in the region which would inevitably lead to terrorists like Al Qaeda (or worse) seizing power in Iraq was exactly the forward looking prediction that was made. The central battle in this particular foreign policy fight was whether this prediction would come true or not. Many Republicans consistently insisted that it would, and paid for it with their jobs in Congress. President Obama, on the other hand, consistently played on Americans’ weariness with the war and pooh-poohed this prediction because (in part) doing so would help him win elections. He cannot now be heard to say, absurdly, that “no one – and certainly not me- could have predicted that this would happen if we left Iraq too soon or too fast.”
The specifics of Obama’s reasons for why he somehow was not wrong about what would happen in Iraq barely merit response:
But he rebutted critics who say his refusal to intervene more directly in the Syrian civil war and his decision to pull all American troops out of Iraq in 2011 had created conditions that allowed the rise of the Islamic State. Instead, he pointed a finger at Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, until recently the prime minister of Iraq. “When we left, we had left them a democracy that was …read more