President Obama officially announced that that United States will be pulling out of Iraq on August 31 in the Oval Office. But in his speech he seemed to have confused goals and ideas.
Both in his address’ to the troops at Fort Bliss and in the Oval Office, he stated that the war in Iraq has made the U.S. more secure. This is surprising when you consider the times — before he was president — when he said that the war in Iraq had made the U.S. less secure. Obviously with this fact in mind, his admittances to the success of the war were uncomfortable and sometimes subtle.
If we took Obama’s advice in 2003, Saddam Hussein (Hussein is not Saddam’s middle name by the way) would be murdering and oppressing Iraqis, and fueling more terrorism throughout the Middle East. Had we followed his advice in 2007, there would have been no surge (which was widely successful.) He said that the surge would do the complete opposite of its intentions (which sounds a lot like some of his own policies.)
President Obama observes in his speech, “As we speak, al Qaeda continues to plot against us, and its leadership remains anchored in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We will disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda, while preventing Afghanistan from again serving as a base for terrorists. And because of our drawdown in Iraq, we are now able to apply the resources necessary to go on offense.” (Wait, so the last 9 years in Afghanistan were on defense?) While this statement has some truth in it, that al Qaeda is plotting against us, we are leaving Iraq ripe for the picking.
The French ambassador Boris Boillon says that Iraq is the “laboratory of democracy” in the Middle East, and has the potential to be a political model for its neighbors “thanks to the American intervention of 2003.” What has been happening in Iraq recently is seen as a threat to the goals of the terrorist groups. President Obama is leaving Iraq in this very fragile stage. By pulling out of Iraq we are opening up the very likely possibility that Iraq will once again be a terrorist nesting place threatening our national security and wasting the years and lives spent there. Our mission in Iraq becomes a waste and a threat if we pull out now.
Then things became confused, “[A]s we wind down the war in Iraq, we must tackle those challenges at home…Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work. To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve [which they aren’t getting now?], and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy.”
My question: how are we redirecting resources to go “on offense” in Afghanistan, and redirecting resources to boosting the economy at the same time? We can’t have two “most urgent” tasks.
On the economy the President continues, “This will be difficult. But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as President.” First, didn’t he also say that we will “disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda”? Wasn’t his “central responsibility” part of national security? Second, at what time did it become a part of the president’s job to be responsible for the economy? While one could say that he is partly to blame for the recession, isn’t that because the government tried to take charge of the economy? Whatever happened to the free market?
Charles Krauthammer with National Review explains, “Obama sees his wartime duties as a threat to his domestic agenda. These wars are a distraction, unwanted interference with his true vocation — transforming America.”
In one speech President Obama showcased confusion in his vision for our nation and the role of government, shirked away the responsibility of national security and embraced a responsibility which was not granted to him — the economy. America will soon experience the consequences of having a confused and irresponsible Commander-in-Chief.