People don’t seem to want to give Barack Obama credit for the little improvements he has made over former presidents. No matter how bad drone assassinations are, they are much less barbaric and inhumane than Bush II torture. Under Obama, our veterans wait a long time to get quality care, to be sure. But under Bush II, they weren’t getting quality care. Unlike Bush II, Obama went looking for Osama bin Laden in the places where the terrorist leader was hiding and not in other countries. Too bad it turned out to be another assassination mission, and not the capture for trial of a criminal. The Affordable Care Act is only a slight improvement over what we had before—there are still many people uncovered and medical care still costs too much.
And now President Obama has managed to do something a little bit better than Gerald Ford. Obama got American troops out of a country before the weak government we installed there collapsed.
I see many hints in the news about the possibility of U.S. military involvement to shore up the democratically-elected government of Iraq and retake Mosul and the other territories controlled by the Sunnis. One article proposes that American bombing of rebel positions would go a long way to achieving those goals. Others wonder whether the President is willing to put some feet on the ground or whether he will now be forced to shift away from his plan to transfer our foreign policy focus to Asia.
We were the ones who shattered Iraq through invasion and a decade-long war. I know that fact should make us morally responsible to ensure that democratic institutions prevail. But the United States in not prepared to make the monetary commitment it would take to give Iraq permanent security from terrorism and rebel armies. Anything less than a full long-term commitment will only make things worse, as we saw during the war years. The President couldn’t even get anyone to back bombing Syria when atrocities had been committed. Besides, we have no money, having spent so many trillions of dollars fighting two useless, goalless wars for most of this century.
For the United States to put troops or military resources in Iraq at this time would be completely crazy.
The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has hinted that Iran may want to step up to the plate and provide military assistance to Maliki’s duly-elected government. I say let them do it.
It’s Iran’s turn.