Say what you will about Lindsey Graham, but on this issue, he’s spot-on. The South Carolina senator took to CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday to fire away at President Obama’s precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, and he made an excellent point: “Leaders are judged not by the fact that they never make a mistake, but how they adjust to their mistakes.” President Bush was excoriated by the Left for years over his “stay the course” mentality even as Iraq was falling apart. But eventually, the surge strategy was developed by some of the smartest military minds of modern times. And rather than stick to a stubborn, failing strategy, Bush allowed the eventual success to happen, and he did so by appropriately letting outside advice permeate his thinking. Now, the Obama administration finds itself in a similar position, albeit with a very different set of facts. The last thing Barack Obama wants to do is send forces back into Iraq after making such a public declaration of success in the region. But he knows as well as anyone that it’s a straw man argument to charge that anyone is calling for another full-scale invasion. Rather, the president needs to consult with the proper folks who fully understand military strategy. And unlike the Bowe Bergdahl disaster, he needs to bring Congress in on this one. The solution needs to be a very detail-oriented, methodical response to a very complicated crisis.
As Senator Graham rightly points out, the absolute dissolution of Iraq is “another 9/11 in the making.” If Obama wants that kind of blood on his hands, he’ll do nothing. But judging by the remarks he’s made in the past several days, I don’t believe even he is thinking about ignoring this one. The real question is what his actual strategy will be. Will Obama attempt to half-ass a plan that sets us even further back in the Middle East? Or will he try and head off a bold, decisive action in order to send a message? We all know what we’d like the answer to be, but something tells me he’ll pick the path of least resistance. Iraq was, after all, a “dumb war,” to quote Obama himself. Let’s just hope his method of trying to keep a lid on the current chaos over there isn’t so “dumb” that it results in another direct attack on our homeland. At this point, it doesn’t matter how we got into Iraq. What matters is only how Barack Obama chooses to set the tone for our relationship in that region from 2014 onward. Our fate is now completely intertwined with what goes on over there. Radical Islamists hate the West, and they will do anything in their power to destroy us. Let’s all hope the president known most for his own dithering can at least get one thing right before he leaves office. Otherwise, any progress we may have made in the Middle East will have been for naught.
We can try and pretend that what happens over there should be left to the Iraqis and that we have no business meddling in the affairs of centuries-old conflicts. But that conversation was only valid up until the time that we intervened. Now, America’s fingerprints over the course of two presidencies are all over Iraq. We can profess that it’s not our problem, but eventually, this WILL bite the United States in the ass once again. The question is whether Obama wants to be the guy who allows that to happen.
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