The Republican Party is trying to use the Iraqi crisis, the invasion of the north of the country by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for political fodder for upcoming mid-term elections as well as a new way to promote their hatred for President Barack Obama. At the same time, Obama inherited his foreign policy from George W. Bush and he has done little during his presidency to change any of it.
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Fox News has been running a barrage of various conservative politicians and pundits slamming Obama’s handling of Iraq. Yahoo News featured an article on Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz who penned an acerbic op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Among the accusations they made against Obama are “blithely unaware” of the threat of al Qaeda, “abandoning” Iraq and Cheney referred to Obama as a "very weak president."
Cheney has always been a strong supporter of the Iraq war, but the biggest irony here is that Obama’s foreign policy is really not different from his predecessor at all. Originally, in his inaugural address, Obama suggested that he hoped to begin the process of withdrawing from Iraq and bringing about a quick end to the occupation and the war. He said he wanted to focus on the conflict in Afghanistan. In reality he moved a lot of troops out of Iraq into Afghanistan where he wanted to defeat the Taliban. He didn’t end the war in Iraq and he continued to give support to the puppet government there much as the Republicans would have. The only real difference Republicans would have made about Iraq before the present crisis would have been to increase the troop levels to the “surge” of the Bush Regime.
Before Bush invaded Iraq al Qaeda did not have a significant presence until Saddam Hussein (صدام حسين) was overthrown. It was the policies of Bush that allowed Al Qaeda, to build a presence in Iraq from Hussein’s power vacuum after he was overthrown. As for the argument that Obama has cost US lives through his policies, Yahoo News reports more than 4,500 U.S. soldiers killed in action since 2003, in the Iraq war—a war Republicans initiated.
Other Obama actions the Republicans are more likely to have done if the roles were reversed include supporting pro-NATO, pro-US Free Syrian Army guerrillas in Syria. Obama helped overthrow Muammar Qaddafi (معمر محمد أبو منيار القذافي) which a Republican president would surely have done.
Until this recent bungle in Iraq, the Republicans were attacking Obama over his handling of the terrorist attacks on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. At the time they attacked Obama over what he should have known and done, the Republicans seemed desperate to find an issue that actually made the party seem to differ from Obama and his Democratic followers.
Other than Obama’s Iraq policy, he had only two alternatives. He could withdraw all troops and pullout support for the puppet government of Nouri al-Maliki (نوري كامل المالكي) or keep the troops there at the former occupational level indefinitely. The last choice reflects the reality that the puppet government of Maliki lacks popular support and would require such troops to keep him afloat. There is NO guarantee that the Republicans could have foreseen the invasion of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). If they did they could have complained about his policy earlier.
Polls are showing that Obama’s foreign policy is increasingly unpopular, with an approval rating at only 37%. At the same time polls show only 16% of the American people want more troops sent to Iraq. Most Americans are tired of these endless wars and occupation.
Republicans are claiming that Obama hasn’t done anything right. He is portrayed as a weakling who has been soft on terrorism. And yet the most ridiculous thing about all of this is that Obama has just extended Bush’s foreign policy with the lone difference that he moved troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. He promised to close the Bay Detention Camp, but he never actually did that.
The Republicans are making ridiculous claims against Obama and his foreign policy. It’s bad enough they exaggerate things to the point it looks as if Obama is the best friend terrorists ever had. The reality is most Republicans would be doing things the same way if they were president.
The pot calling the kettle black
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