Sunday, May 1, 2016

America's Great Funny Man

Barack Obama missed his calling. He should have been a stand-up comic. At last night’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner, Obama was apparently great. Excellent timing; funny jokes.

In the meantime, Obama’s Iraq policy was playing itself out in Baghdad. Supporters of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr were storming the Iraqi parliament and attacking a senior legislator. Some have called it a freedom agenda.

The Obama administration had not wanted an unstable government. It had not wanted ISIS to control large swaths of the nation, including the city of Mosul. Now it is praying that the country does not disintegrate completely before the next administration arrives… to take the blame.

It’s one of those moments when we can recall the president’s stirring words at Fort Bragg in December, 2011. At that time and in that place Barack Obama declared the Iraq war over. He declared that we had won… and that since Iraq was stable we could withdraw.

So, here, without further commentary is Obama’s comedy routine from 2011:

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 did what the American left has always wanted to do. To declare victory and to go home. Others will call it a defeat, but not Obama. He declared it a success. He had to say it, because otherwise how could he justify pulling out:

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.

How about that: sovereign, stable, self-reliant. Hmmm. Obama might have a great sense of humor but his political and foreign policy judgment has been catastrophic.


Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: we can recall the president’s stirring words at Fort Bragg in December, 2011. At that time and in that place Barack Obama declared the Iraq war over. He declared that we had won… and that since Iraq was stable we could withdraw.

I think we saw that movie before the Obama remake:
* 5/01/2003, George W. Bush, President, “My fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.” Under the banner “Mission Accomplished.”
* 6/29/2005, Dick Cheney, Vice President: "I think they’re in the last throes of the insurgency."
* 10/6/2005 Mr Cheney said that the threat of terrorism would be removed as people in Iraq and the wider Middle East took control of their own lives. But he added, in a direct appeal to the American people, that like other great duties in history, it would require decades of patient effort.

I can see why carpet bombing terrorists with laser-guided weapons is Cruz's undeclared war strategy.

Sam L. said...

The war was won, Ares, and then Obama said "We're getting out; you're on your own.", just as the Democratic Congress said to South Viet Nam.

Ares Olympus said...

Sam L. said... The war was won, Ares, and then Obama said "We're getting out; you're on your own."

That's good spin at least. I don't remember the Iraqi government begging for us to stay in 2011, nor the American people jumping up and down for more a 50 year occupation.

The withdrawal started from Bush, even if that decision came from a desire to end an unpopular war.
The withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq began in December 2007 with the end of the Iraq War troop surge of 2007 and was completed by December 2011, bringing an end to the Iraq War.
The Bush Administration later sought an agreement with the Iraqi government, and in 2008 George W. Bush signed the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement.
The U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (official name: Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq) was a status of forces agreement (SOFA) between Iraq and the United States, signed by President George W. Bush in 2008. It established that U.S. combat forces would withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and all U.S. combat forces will be completely out of Iraq by December 31, 2011.

And it does get to be messy that we helped support an Iran-friendly Shiite-dominated government interested in suppressing Sunnis as well as the Kurds. Messy all around with our "ally" the Saudi's supporting ISIS. If following Cheney's 50 year occupation plan was winning, I'm glad we didn't want to win that badly.

Unfortunately Obama did see fit to return in 2014. At least I'm glad for his downplaying ISIS. Nothing is gained by making video-game kids who learned how to wield swords against defenseless people as a reason to spend another $10 trillion dollars, although I suppose that's a step up from boxcutters from Saudi Arabia, whom Obama has armed to the teeth for fun and profit.

I also reflecte about the problems of being a good joke teller as president, and having the power to assassinate anyone on earth. So perhaps making a president into a court jester is a bad idea, undignified at least.

Myself, I'm still bummed Obama didn't taken up my "laser-guided carpet bombing" joke from Cruz's lame corrections. I don't think Cruz's boasting was funny, but neither is Obama's willingness to use drones to asassinate people from the air.

You gotta think everything we're doing, or boasting about doing to others, will come back two-fold, whether from the terrorists or our own future police forces in 20 years.

Steven Pinker boasts that the world is getting less violent, but it's hard to believe. I wonder if you counted "violent deaths per year" rather than the rates, we'd have a different assessment.

Having more people and lower violent death rates for now just means there are more refugees to feed in every war, and more angry people with guns when things go crazy again.

If I was Obama, along with his jokes on the end of the Republic, I'd add a statement about eliminating our nuclear arsenal before the next Oklahoma Bomber gained a dozen tech friends to get control of the launch codes. Then if anyone laughs I'd say "I'm not kidding, we should do this before it's too late."

How many tactical nuclear weapons do we need? And how many are we willing to be stolen and used against our descendants?

Maybe Obama is saving sobrity for his farewell address, like Eisenhower's Military-Industrial Complex? resident Dwight Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the nation January 17, 1961