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 intact, a military that was well equipped and the ability then to chart their own course,” Mr. Obama said. “And that opportunity was squandered over the course of five years or so because the prime minister, Maliki, was much more interested in consolidating his Shia base.”
This is, of course, the exact nature of Republican’s prediction, that the Maliki government was not ready to stand on its own, that Maliki himself was not up to the task, and that leaving him to go it alone would likely lead to disaster. Obama here has simply restated the prediction that he pooh poohed for so many years and claimed that those who made it were wrong in foreseeing exactly what has happened. The whole situation would be laughable, if not for the fact that Americans keep getting beheaded.
At bottom, the problem here is not Obama. Obama is merely a symptom of the liberal view of the world, which refuses to treat seriously the fact that people exist who want to do the United States harm. In every foreign policy argument since I have been alive, the Democrats have consistently and erroneously asserted that whatever enemy the United States then faced was not in fact an enemy, or that nothing of any actual substance should be done to contain them, all the way back (at least) to Yalta. Joe Biden, who constitutes the foreign policy brains of this administration (sadly, that is not a joke) has been in the Senate being wrong about literally every foreign policy issue that has come down the pipe since 1980.
The other consistent feature of the liberal view of the world is that after it is unmasked that the latest threat they have erroneously pooh poohed really was a threat, or that whatever measure they opposed has contained that threat, they never publicly admit the fact that they have been wrong or fundamentally misunderstood world affairs. They always claim that the way events have unfolded would have surprised anyone and no one could have predicted it, even when many people have consistently and publicly predicted it for years.
They do this time after time because the press refuses to call them on it or repeatedly soft pedals their “mistakes.” But in spite of this, the American people should know better by now. This is what you get when you elect Democrats: people who believe only in wishful thinking and fairy dust as tools of national defense. Over the course of the last 70 years, nothing has changed and there is no reason to expect that it will in the future. Obama is just the latest proponent of this worldview to come down the pipe and whoever they nominate in 2016 will be more of the same, whatever they say in stump speeches. If you believe that anything exists that threatens American interests in the world, you can never trust a Democrat to actually confront it. Period.