There is a little video floating around the internet right now that is just mind-boggling. It’s a short clip of then-President George W. Bush and his ‘chillingly prophetic’ warning about drawing troops out of Iraq too early. In it, he references mass killings, fighting al-Qaeda, and having to send US troops back in the future to fight a more terrible enemy. Prophetic is a good description, indeed. Unfortunately, the neocons and mainstream conservative crowd have rushed in to proclaim “See?!? OUR President was right! This is what you get for pulling out; we told you so!” If you don’t believe me, read some of the comments posted as a response to the video…but you may want a healthy dose of bleach to try and un-read what has been written.
Noticeably absent is any discussion of going into Iraq in the first place, and just how right George Dubya was in 2003*. It’s common knowledge that invading Iraq on the basis of WMD was a colossal mistake at best and a sinister decision at worst. It’s the height of arrogance to fund Saddam Hussein when he was gassing Iranians and Kurds, but then invade under the same pretense a decade later. Indeed, the Iraq-US relationship of the past few decades shows the folly of intervention, just like the Afghanistan-US relationship, the Libya-US relationship, and so on and so forth. The irony of claiming that “Bush was right” about withdrawing without a concurrent discussion of “why did we invade Iraq in the first place” is so tragic it’s almost comical.
Also absent from the discussion in mainstream news is acknowledging the role that US military support of Syrian rebels has played in the development of Islamic State. Looking back just a year, the short-sightedness of US intervention becomes apparent. It wasn’t that long ago that the Obama administration sought to displace Assad, and provided money, arms, and training to “moderate” rebels. At the time, Assad was considered Public Enemy #1 by the executive branch, so the US bolstered those who fought him, apparently because “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Now that moderate rebels have crossed into Iraq and morphed into a heinous group, the US is confronted with the awkward position of fighting people it has trained, armed, and funded. The psychopathy of considering the same group “rebel fighters” in one country but “terrorists” in another becomes readily apparent to anyone with longer than a 6-month memory.
It appears as though the Obama administration will continue the misguided, catastrophic, and destructive interventionist policy in Iraq that began so many years ago. It also looks like war in Syria was simply put on a one-year hold. Yes, Mr. Bush, you were correct that bad things would happen in Iraq as a result of our presence or lack thereof. The undeniable truth, however, is that US foreign policy has created yet another monster to fight, and it matters not whether the man in charge is Republican or Democrat.
*The US military never really left Iraq after the Gulf War, with airstrikes and no-fly zones enforced since the early nineties.