Wednesday, May 20, 2015

An Extraordinary Achievement Squandered

If nothing else Barack Obama excels at speechifying. Since that was effectively his only notable qualification for the presidency, he ought at least to be good at that.

Unfortunately, the disconnect between the president’s eloquent rhetoric and facts on the ground grows wider by the day.

As we ponder the fall of Ramadi, as we watch ISIS advance throughout the Middle East and North Africa and as we cringe at the Obama administration efforts to spin it into victory we recall the beautiful words that Barack Obama pronounced at Fort Bragg on December 14, 2011.

There, before an audience of soldiers Obama declared victory in the war in Iraq.

Here are a few of his words:

Today, I’ve come to speak to you about the end of the war in Iraq.  Over the last few months, the final work of leaving Iraq has been done.  Dozens of bases with American names that housed thousands of American troops have been closed down or turned over to the Iraqis.  Thousands of tons of equipment have been packed up and shipped out.  Tomorrow, the colors of United States Forces-Iraq -- the colors you fought under -- will be formally cased in a ceremony in Baghdad.  Then they’ll begin their journey across an ocean, back home.

Over the last three years, nearly 150,000 U.S. troops have left Iraq.  And over the next few days, a small group of American soldiers will begin the final march out of that country.  Some of them are on their way back to Fort Bragg.  As General Helmick said, “They know that the last tactical road march out of Iraq will be a symbol, and they’re going to be a part of history.”

As your Commander-in-Chief, I can tell you that it will indeed be a part of history.  Those last American troops will move south on desert sands, and then they will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high.  One of the most extraordinary chapters in the history of the American military will come to an end.  Iraq’s future will be in the hands of its people.  America’s war in Iraq will be over.

Obama’s policy, in a few words, was to declare victory and come home. He saw it as a great success. In fact, George Bush was primarily responsible for the state of Iraq in December, 2011. Bush’s policy, vigorously opposed by then Senator Obama had produced a positive outcome.

Obama thought it was very hard to end a war. In fact, it was not. Surrender is not hard. Giving up and walking away is not hard.

Ensuring the peace is hard, but Obama was not up to the task.

He continued:

It’s harder to end a war than begin one.  Indeed, everything that American troops have done in Iraq -– all the fighting and all the dying, the bleeding and the building, and the training and the partnering -– all of it has led to this moment of success.  Now, Iraq is not a perfect place.  It has many challenges ahead.  But we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.  We’re building a new partnership between our nations.  And we are ending a war not with a final battle, but with a final march toward home.

This is an extraordinary achievement, nearly nine years in the making.  And today, we remember everything that you did to make it possible.

If Iraq 2011 was an extraordinary achievement, it has been completely squandered by Barack Obama.

As darkness continues to descend on Iraq, we recall Obama’s vision of a new dawn.

And we remember the end of our combat mission and the emergence of a new dawn -– the precision of our efforts against al Qaeda in Iraq, the professionalism of the training of Iraqi security forces, and the steady drawdown of our forces.  In handing over responsibility to the Iraqis, you preserved the gains of the last four years and made this day possible.

Just last month, some of you -- members of the Falcon Brigade --turned over the Anbar Operations Center to the Iraqis in the type of ceremony that has become commonplace over these last several months.  In an area that was once the heart of the insurgency, a combination of fighting and training, politics and partnership brought the promise of peace.  And here’s what the local Iraqi deputy governor said:  “This is all because of the U.S. forces’ hard work and sacrifice.”

And, of course, what could be more soul-stirring that Obama’s confidence in the professionalism and training of the Iraqi security forces.

Obama might have the gift of eloquence; he surely has a gift of dissimulation and obfuscation. One thing is sure, he does not have the gift of prophecy.


Ares Olympus said...

Sure, this is a good distractions from the GOP clown network trying to express their opinions on whether invading Iraq was a mistake.

This part is true:
"Iraq’s future will be in the hands of its people."

Remember, what Rummy said with his prophesy? And never doubt Saddam and Iraq were responsible for 9/11. If you repeat unrelated facts together often enough, people will assume they have some relation to each other.

Sunday, January 19, 2003:
Q: Mr. Secretary, on Iraq, how much money do you think the Department of Defense would need to pay for a war with Iraq?

A (Rumsfeld): Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question. I think the way to put it into perspective is that the estimates as to what September 11th cost the United States of America ranges high up into the hundreds of billions of dollars. Now, another event in the United States that was like September 11th, and which cost thousands of lives, but one that involved a -- for example, a biological weapon, would be -- have a cost in human life, as well as in billions, hundreds of billions of dollars, that would be vastly greater.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares, if "this" is the only "GOP clown network," what would you say are the others?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Furthermore, why would you say the other networks are getting their asses handed to them in ratings? Money is the mother's milk of politics, and exposure is what politicians seek. What do the mainstream media outlets choose to cover? What are their reasons? What are the economic costs? What does viewership say?

Don't tell me news isn't a production component that is to deliver a profit. Yet it doesn't, at least at most mainstream sources. Why is that? Why are they eroding what capital they have? Is this Custer's Last Stand? Does it have to be? No, no, no... it's a choice. And you, Ares Olympus, are one of those who is upset with the results. Ha!

If you think popular sentiment beneath you? Why do you think we have Brian Williams signing off, Bob Shieffer doing his geriatric duty, George Stephanopolous running interference for the Clintons, Anderson Cooper being pretty, Rachel Maddow being manly, Ezra Klein running an unethical newsgroup, Chelsea Clinton at MSNBC making $600K, Charles Osgood still pretending to be relevant, ABC trying anything to be relevant, and NPR still on the public dole (despite their preposterous firing of Juan Williams)? Why does the New York Times ombudsman say "the paper of record" is one-sided? Why is it the NYT editorial board lives in La-La Land? Why is NYT readership declining? As with every other mainstream national newspaper except the Wall Street Journal? Why is that? Let's go back to television... Why is Gwen Ifilll still doing anything with a Newshour program nobody cares about, interviewing compellingly boring people nobody cares about? What Sunday shows produce anything of value? Why the hell is Chuck Todd on the air at all? How is Candy Crowley considered a debate moderator in the first place? Why is Tom Brokaw's book a bestseller? What in the world is Dan Rather doing nowadays? Why does ESPN seemingly have to suspend a correspondent every month for bad behavior? Where is Newsweek? Why are Jon Meacham and Evan Thomas even relevant after jointly destroying that publication? Why does Time magazine continue to lose circulation? Why is the New York Review of Books now irrelevant? Why is Bruce Jenner news? Why does Charlie Rose have Paul Krugman on all... the... time? Why is Tom Friedman allowed to write anything? Why has David Letterman's departure gone on for three #%&$ing weeks? Please.

Why? Because the mainstream media is ossified. It's old hat. It's dying. It's dead. And you, Ares -- the God of war, from Olympus on high -- want to point the finger at Fox News as one of the signs of Armageddon. What if Fox News' success is a result of widespread viewer choice... the opening of a dam that's been long held back by artificial scarcity because of the"imagined" Left-wing control of mainstream media? What if such a far-fetched fantasy were true? What if?

And if you don't believe the major media companies are Left-wing, please begin by explaining why on earth "The Path to 9/11" is not yet available on DVD. It was produced by ABC at enormous cost. There is demand for the video release. How do I know? I'd be first in line, as it as an excellent piece. Where is it?

Sam L. said...

I would not call it eloquence. No way, no how. He can sure go on and on and on, though.