McCain and Graham are Predictable About Violence In Iraq
I think it is unfortunate that there is increased violence in Iraq and a bloody shame that al-Qaeda seems to have control of Fallujah. Based on the aftermath of first, the invasion of Iraq, then the war there, then our withdrawal, it is likely that reasonable people could predict that there would be increased violence, and that Fallujah was a likely place for a bunch of it. And, sure as fire is hot and water is wet, Senators McCain and Graham are all over it, and if you’ve been reading the libretto thus far, I bet you know what song they are singing:
McCain and Graham had been vocal critics of President Obama’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, and they called the reports of al Qaeda gaining control in Fallujah and elsewhere “as tragic as they are predictable.”
“While many Iraqis are responsible for this strategic disaster, the administration cannot escape its share of the blame,” the Republicans said in a statement. “When President Obama withdrew all U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011, over the objections of our military leaders and commanders on the ground, many of us predicted that the vacuum would be filled by America’s enemies and would emerge as a threat to U.S. national security interests.”
“Sadly, that reality is now clearer than ever,” McCain and Graham said. “What’s sadder still, the thousands of brave Americans who fought, shed their blood, and lost their friends to bring peace to Fallujah and Iraq are now left to wonder whether these sacrifices were in vain.”
It’s very sad that the country was destabilized by a decade of war, and it is President Bush who signed the status of forces agreement that led to the withdrawal, and ending the presence of US troops in Iraq was overwhelmingly in accordance with what the US public wanted. That decision has consequences—and so would staying. If Sens. McCain and Graham are under the impression that brave Americans specifically fought, shed blood, and lost friends to bring peace to Fallujah, they might want to ponder a rationale for the AUMF that started with weapons of mass destruction that no longer existed, and contemplate also why Fallujah does not happen to have peace today. The presence of US soldiers battling ISIS today would not constitute peace, and if the size of the conflict was smaller because of our continued presence, it would be somewhat like a lid on a pot that’s boiling over. Asking us to take into consideration whether the living or the dead Americans who fought in Iraq wonder whether their sacrifices are in vain—is itself a vanity.
Perhaps it is especially a vanity when followed with a request to apply this same “lesson” to Afghanistan, by, one must presume, staying indefinitely in the hopes of—being a lid on a boiling pot on which the heat never lowers? McCain and Graham were part of a delegation just days ago that met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to encourage him to sign an agreement that would allow US troops to remain. It is to be pointed out that the American public supports our withdrawal from Afghanistan as well, and that at some point, Aghanistan is either a sovereign nation or not, just as Iraq either is or is not. Are they seriously saying the United States should be indefinitely responsible to be a security crutch for either nation?
If they are saying this, it is apparently without recognition that many Americans don’t believe we ought to be. They are blaming the president for foreign policy that actually is in line with a conservative, smaller government picture of what our nation should be doing in the world, and overestimating our capacity to use the military to “make things right”.
They don’t seem to have learned from our foreign policy failures from the past administration—I don’t see why they presume to dictate to this one.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged)