The Vietnamization of Iraq – The Narcissistic Legacy of Barack Obama

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A president’s job is tough. And that goes for any president. Aside from being in charge of an organization that employs millions of people and is responsible for the expenditure of trillions of dollars, he is the Commander in Chief. And it is in that area that no doubt weighs most heavily on presidential shoulders. The decision to send young men into battle where you know for an absolute certainty that some will not return must be an extraordinarily difficult decision to make, even when, as in say the D-day landings or Afghanistan, the clarity of the line between good and evil is as stark as between black and white.

For better or worse, that is one of the roles that a president signs up for when he takes the oath of office. Thankfully, other than for a remarkably small number of years in American history, the need for presidents to regularly make those kinds of decisions have been rare. Abraham Lincoln didn’t have that luxury. Neither Wilson nor FDR had it. Nor did Truman, LBJ, Nixon or George W. Bush. And Barack Obama hasn’t had that luxury either.

Adding to the complication of being a war president is the fact that for those not on the battlefields, life often goes on as normal. Aside from the Civil War and WWII, America has rarely been involved in a war where virtually everything in the country was on a war footing where everything is managed for the specific purpose of supporting the war effort. And as life goes on for most of the population, so too does politics, although any war effort is part of that equation.

One of the assets a president has at his disposal is a professional military. As such, presidents usually leave tactical decisions to the military while they can focus on the strategic decisions. In other words, a president decides which wars need to be fought, and the military generally figures out how to accomplish the given task. The lines are never stark between tactics and strategy however as LBJ often wanted to pick the targets to be bombed in North Vietnam and George W. Bush decided to launch “The Surge” in Iraq.

Governing and politics are theoretically different things, but in practice they too blur significantly. From political appointees to which cases to prosecute to deciding what’s a granted Constitutional power and what’s not, there is no clear line of demarcation between politics and governing. When the decision impacts how high farm subsidies will be or what the tax rate will be or how much cable companies can charge, those blurred lines are often tawdry and reprehensible, but they rarely result in the loss of human life.

The president’s responsibility as Commander in Chief is another story altogether. By its very nature that responsibility demands a higher level of attention by a president, and while politics will never be far from his mind, as Commander in Chief his duty is to think strategically in situations where the lives of civilians – both American and foreign – are at risk and the tactics necessary to enforce his strategic decisions may cost the lives American soldiers.

Which brings us to Barack Obama and Iraq. He was against the Iraq war from the beginning, as a state senator at the time saying: “I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.” Later as a senator Obama opposed the surge in 2007 and in 2008 voted to pull out American troops within 120 days. Ending the war in Iraq and bringing American troops home was cornerstone of candidate Obama’s platform in 2008. And as president he was adamant in his intention to keep that promise.

In reality however, the ground had been laid for the end of the war before Obama took office. George Bush signed the Status of Forces Agreement in November of 2008 that called for pulling all American combat forces out of Iraq by the end of 2011. What the SOFA did not cover however was the support that the United States would provide Iraq beyond 2011. Robert Gates, (George Bush’s Secretary of Defense in 2008 and Obama’s until July, 2011) told Charlie Rose that although their mission would change, he expected “perhaps several tens of thousands of American troops” to be left in Iraq after 2011.

And what were those troops supposed to be doing? Providing the Iraqi military with support and training and emboldening the Iraqi people to continue their march towards democracy with the knowledge that they were not going to be left hanging out to dry by the United States. (Democracy rarely come quickly or easily. The United States spent seven years under the disastrous Articles of Confederation before we got it right with the Constitution, and that’s without being surrounded by neighbors who provided tens of thousands of terrorist agitators with weapons, training and safe harbor.)

But Barack Obama would have none of it. With an eye on the 2012 election he was determined to fulfill his campaign promise of ending the war. But what’s more, President Obama went farther than even candidate Obama did. Candidate Obama promised: “After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces.” President Obama didn’t even do that. Indeed, he actually left the Iraqi people hanging out to dry, with dry being the operative word in a country that can only be described as a tinderbox surrounded by firebugs.

Rather than leave the 30,000-40,000 troops that Bob Gates and the rest of the military establishment suggested was necessary to give peace a chance, Barack Obama decided to leave only what was necessary to secure the American embassy. Had Barack Obama heeded the advice of the military professionals the Iraqi people very well may have been able to keep the sparks of sectarian violence and the duplicitousness, incompetence and partisanship of the Maliki government from becoming a raging inferno of death. But alas, unfortunately for the people of Iraq – and those in Syria and Lebanon and perhaps many more places – Barack Obama had better things to do than ensure that the blood and treasure America spent in Iraq over 7 years was not in vain. No, he had a election to win.

And the Vietnamization of Iraq was very much predictable. Today Iraq is a bloody mess, literally, and Barack Obama is finding himself forced to use the American military to try and keep what can only be described as a raging inferno from transforming into a cataclysm that engulfs every nation within a thousand miles and eventually reaches American shores.

Such is the character of a liberal, when reality clashes with grandiose theory, go with the theory as it’s usually someone else who’s left to pick up the pieces. Unfortunately for Barack Obama, his pursuit of political expediency vs. real leadership just might be the thing that torpedoes his cherished legacy of greatness. However unlikely it is to diminish him in the eyes of his worshipers, the rest of the country will see this episode for what it is, Barack Obama unleashed, in all of his unvarnished, narcissistic glory, bloodshed and consequences be damned, there’s an election to be won.

The product of a military family, growing up in Naples, Italy and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and being stationed in Germany for two years while in the Army, Vince spent half of his first quarter century seeing the US from outside of its own borders. That perspective, along with a French wife and two decades as a struggling entrepreneur have only fueled an appreciation for freedom and the fundamental greatness of the gifts our forefathers left us.

14 Responses to “The Vietnamization of Iraq – The Narcissistic Legacy of Barack Obama”

  1. 2

    Nanny G

    Way back when we first went into Iraq and Saddam was still around, a military blog (was it the LongwarBlog?) predicted that there were quite a few ways it could all end.
    Only two of these were in any way stable or peaceable.
    IIRC, one of these was a coalition democratic gov’t where everybody had enough participation and all minorities were respected.
    (Obama assumed we got that one without even trying.)
    But one of the others was a division of Iraq into Shia/Sunni/Kurd countries with Christians living with the Kurds.
    Only problem with that one was the OIL and how it would be parceled out.
    Another option was extremists run wild, people being ethnically cleansed and terrorists getting a huge, wealthy training ground.
    I forget all the rest.
    But it looks like that three-way division was trying to happen when extremists gained so much ground they ”felt their oats” and saw worldwide caliphate before their eyes.
    How is it that a mid-level officer (retired) with a blog could see all this coming but Obama, with all his councilors, could not?
    Simple.
    Obama is an ideologue who has surrounded himself with like-minded people.

  2. 3

    Budvarakbar

    @Nanny G: Re your statement re a stabilized democracy in Iraq!

    (Obama assumed we got that one without even trying.)

    I have to disagree — as far as I can tell the SOB DID NOTwant the stability to last — thus not agreeing to any boots left on the ground!

    The division scenario was one of stooped Joe’s ideas —

    demo-commie-cRATs — bastards ALL

  3. 5

    Petercat

    @Budvarakbar: #1
    Wasn’t he a fictional character in the Winnie the Pooh stories?
    Wait- that was Christopher Robin… Sorry.
    Nope, drawing a blank.
    Robin Williams…
    Was he someone important?

  4. 6

    Budvarakbar

    @Petercat: I was really just trying to point out that Robin’s death has been used by the media to push far more reaching and extremely serious matters off of the front page.
    Tell you the truth it is really sad for the family and friends and public at large since he was a real unique talent —

    The bottom line to me tho – is here is a guy with mega success – a family – no shortage of bucks – and what the -ell? Shoulda been busy setting up a retirement to be envied

    “has suffered from ‘deep’ depression for many years — well with his profile someone should have been aware? you would think!! Where were all these doting fans and his family when he needed help?

    The real question is —– HOW MANY PSYCHO DRUGS was he on and how many of these dam FRAUD psycho docs were sucking on his bank account?

    Shades of Michael Jackson me thinks – re the psycho crap!

    Do some research — some plants thrive on neglect and die or are seriously stunted from over ‘care’!

  5. 7

    James Raider

    author

    @Nanny G: #2

    Only problem with that one was the OIL and how it would be parceled out.

    OIL is the reason Obama has “Commander-in-Chiefed” a return of “troops” and bombs to Iraq, . . . .
    NOT compassion for severed heads, live burials, and mass slaughter of Iraqis by ISIS terrorists.

    He’s had to have received some talking-to by more than a few of his primary funders, that one of the most oil productive corners of the world COULD NOT under any circumstances, fall under the hand of ISIS. That would dramatically affect the cost of living in America, and would guarantee a complete Rout of any Democrats running for Congress in the next elections.

    Meanwhile, he got 36 holes of golf in today. A true leader of 330,000,000 people.

  6. 8

    Budvarakbar

    @James Raider: Although I basically agree with you – there is a flaw in your logic — if OIL is so important why would these phantom

    primary funders

    wait until now? hmmm? — think about it — they would have had first hand knowledge of the situation — how many times do you think they may have tried to wise up obie?? over the last year?

  7. 10

    Mully

    This was the guy who said we’d be better off with him as President because he understood muslim culture. He grew up with it so he was better prepared to handle the issue.

    Just another FOS statement.

  8. 11

    Petercat

    @Budvarakbar: #6
    I have had three friends involved with suicide. One successful, one failed, and one expressed a wish to do so.
    I have no sympathy. Suicide is one of the most selfish acts imaginable, a permanent solution to what is usually a temporary problem.
    The one who expressed a desire for suicide was fortunate that she told me instead of someone more sympathetic. I won’t go into our discussion, but at the time, she called me a cold-hearted bast*rd, and she’s still alive, doing well, and communicates with me on a regular basis.
    No, I have no sympathy for those who kill themselves. They do too much damage to those who care about them and wish them well, and none to those who wish them ill.
    It’s better to remain alive, and make your friends happy…. and your enemies miserable. 🙂

  9. 13

    dscott

    @James Raider: You got it mostly right, OIL is the issue and Obama intends to make it very expensive, just like electricity. Instead of looking at Obama’s 6 years of foreign policy as a flop with getting lots of people killed, you need to look through a different prism, AGW/Climate Change. What has Obama consistently said in regards to conventional energy and alternative energy? Obama is in the pocket of the Green Scam Profiteers who seek to skim billions off the US economy annually. Without high oil prices the green scammers can’t stay long term in business.

    Under the old paradigm before fracking became widely used, any conflict in the M.E. would increase the price of oil. Obama has done everything he can to limit US domestic production on federal lands but failed to stop it on private lands and failed to stop fracking on those wells. The result has been ever increasing domestic production to the point there is a world oil glut. This has undermined the old paradigm of trouble in the M.E. pushing up the price of oil. IF it weren’t for fracking, oil prices would be north of $150+ a barrel making alternative energy cost effective and desirable.

    Given these circumstances Obama has to increase the turmoil in the M.E. even greater to ignite a civil war in the Muslim world pitting Shia against Sunni to cut off the flow of oil to Europe and Japan. This is why Obama does too little too late on anything regarding the M.E., just enough not to be seen as being the cause of the problem by looking like a feckless incompetent in handling foreign policy. He knows exactly what he is doing, that’s why he plays golf taking up and biding his time until after the November elections. After the elections, he will pull out of the M.E. entirely allowing the Iranians to take over Iraq and then have a blood bath between them and the Sunni radicals. Obama will have his $150+ oil, no matter how many piles of dead bodies it takes…look at what he has done in Libya, Egypt and Syria. Liberals are such caring people. /sarcasm/

    FYI- There are now over 20,000 Iranian troops in Iraq, didn’t hear that in the MSM did you?

  10. 14

    Budvarakbar

    @dscott: Finally someone is getting it and able to articulate and tie a lot of the crap together. What you say re the RAT in chief biding his time and acting disinterested only to come in after the fact — and try to get some credit or feign concern (ISIS – Iraq) — this is the same putrid crap he has been pulling on the border and on race relations — FERGUSON — — with his stupid commie allies —

    Rush this morning went into detail re this tactic that the RAT and his moo-slime and communist handlers / allies are up to all one bug distraction — if I remember correctly he was showing how the RAT was playing the plausibility card big time. Any way you can read the whole transcript for free at Rush’s website — here is an excerpt:

    That’s why he takes so many vacations. I’m convinced he takes so many vacations to further this notion that he doesn’t know what’s going on, he doesn’t care. He’s not responsible. And he is responsible for all of this, folks, and all of this is about the elimination of any opposition, and I mean the wiping out of the Republican Party as a functioning, threatening opposition. That is the objective.

    By the way, that’s not just Obama. That’s been the left. They are power mad. They are statists. You think there was opposition to the Soviet Union? You think Mao Tse-tung had opposition, the Gang of Eight, what happened to them, including Madam Mao? Slit throat, adios, see you, sayonara. I mean, they don’t put up with it. I’m convinced that all of these vacations and all of these stories about being bored and detached and disconnected and, “Gosh, why doesn’t Obama care?” The black community’s asking this all day long, every day. Something pops up that affects them, “Why doesn’t Obama care?”

    He’s in charge of all this. I think that it is a structured strategy, well conceived, brilliantly executed strategy for all of this crap to be happening in this country for six years. And here’s the Limbaugh Theorem: he doesn’t appear to have anything to do with it. He’s always out campaigning against it, in fact. He’s against what’s happening in the job market. He’s opposed to what’s happening here and there. He’s mad about what happened in Benghazi, and what image is created? He’s got nothing to do with it. Poor guy. And I’m telling you, that’s not who he is. This guy is a hands-on, steer-the-ship, send-the-orders — he doesn’t have to send orders. He’s got people that know what they’re supposed to do. All these vacations, same thing. Make it look like he’s not even there. Plausible deniability.

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