Friday, September 3, 2010

Thoughts on the speech

Everybody had an opinion on Obama's Iraq speech the other night, including ourselves, but there was one pundit out there for whom we were looking forward to his opinion. As usual, Victor Davis Hanson did not disappoint.

So was Iraq worth the cost? And could Obama have cited anything positive other than banalities? In some sense, that was asked post facto of every war — whether it was the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, WWI, Korea, or Vietnam. The truth about Iraq is that, for all the tragedy and the loss, the U.S. military performed a miracle. After nearly seven years, a constitutional government endures in that country. It is too often forgotten that all 23 of the writs for war passed by the Congress in 2002 — from enforcing the Gulf I resolutions and stopping the destruction of the Kurds and Marsh Arabs, to preventing the Iraqi state promotion of terrorism, ending suicide bounties on the West Bank, and stopping Iraq from invading or attacking neighbors or trying to acquire WMD — were met and satisfied by the U.S. military. It is also too often forgotten that, as a result, Libya gave up its WMD program; Dr. Khan’s nuclear franchise was shut down; Syria left Lebanon; and American troops in Saudi Arabia, put there as protection against Saddam, were withdrawn. Perhaps a peep about some of that—especially the idea that in an oil-short world, Saddam Hussein might have been more or less free to do what he pleased again in Iraq. (The verdict is out on Iran; playing a genocidal Hussein regime against it was morally bankrupt. Currently, Shiites participating in consensual government could be as destabilizing to Iran in the long run as Iranian terrorists are to Iraq in the short run.)

(italics, ours)

Neo-conservatism... the antidote for realpolitik?

And then this from KT:

In the little bit I heard, I couldn't understand how the speech could ever come to have been written. His words indicated no awareness of the last 21 months. Hundreds of billions of dollars had been spent on precisely what he was suggesting and the results were horrible. It was as if he had been living on another planet all that time and just popped in to give this speech. Since no rationale was given for the new spending and policies and we had just seen how badly things like that worked, the speech seemed strange and disconnected from reality.

Yeah, that was a little bizarre. The notion that the money spent fighting wars abroad could now be better spent here after trillions of dollars have been spent by Team O already in an effort to bring us out of the recession speaks to the level of detachment suffered by the President. That or an indefatigable committment to porkaholic Keynesian gimmickry. Either way, bad for all of us.

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