Posted on August 12, 2008
A Series Of Fortunate events
To hear Barack Obama tell it, America's success in Iraq is the result of a series of unrelated accidents. In a July 21st interview with ABC's Terry Moran, the senator explained, "I did not anticipate … the convergence of not only the surge but the Sunni Awakening, in which a whole host of Sunni tribal leaders decide that they had had enough with al-Qaeda, in the Shia community the militias standing down to some degrees. So what you had is a combination of political factors inside of Iraq that then came right at the same time as terrific work by our troops. Had those political factors not occurred, I think that my assessment would have been correct."
The assessment he's referring to is his prediction that the surge would backfire, resulting in a dramatic increase in sectarian violence. Now he contends that this still would have come true, if only the Shiite-controlled government hadn't cracked down on Shiite gangsters, and Sunni tribal leaders hadn't stood up to Sunni terrorists and joined the political process. So you see, he has been proven almost right, except for those couple of mere technicalities. In the words of another slender fellow who was less brilliant than he thought, "Missed it by that much."
He doesn't even entertain the notion that the sudden boldness on the part of the Iraqi government and the Sunni tribesmen is related in any way to President Bush's reaffirmation of America's commitment to see the job through. Presumably, these were coincidental events that would have occurred even if the U.S. had abandoned Iraq, as Obama and his party had demanded.
Although John McCain was incorrect in stating that the surge precipitated the birth of the Sunni Awakening in Anbar, the fact remains that the Awakening movement was conceived by the tribal leaders as a cooperative effort between themselves and the U.S. military. When they held a press conference declaring themselves to be a national party in April 2007 -- three months after Bush announced the surge -- they presented themselves as unambiguously and fervently pro-American. Any Senate Democrat ought to know this, because it's the reason they immediately tried to douse the Sunnis' enthusiasm, by having Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declare Iraq to be "lost."
Obama's version of events suggests that if we'd left the innocent Sunnis to fight al-Qaeda on their own, they would have still survived, flourished into a national movement, and remained loyal to the United States all the same. The fact that the president happened to pick this same time frame to order the surge was simply an example of dumb luck.
As for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's willingness to confront the Iranian-supported Mahdi Army, it can be pinpointed at the meeting Bush had with him, shortly after the release of an NSA memo raising doubts about the PM's reliability. Another whimsical confluence of events, in the tale as told by Barack Obama.
The senator seems to view events in Iraq as if he's watching an episode of Seinfeld, in which the various plot lines are independent of each other until they collide at the very end. Victory, his analysis suggests, is more likely an incidental side-effect of one of Kramer's zany schemes than the result of deliberate decisions made by President Bush and his generals.
Obama's insistence that he was still right to oppose the surge, and favor immediate withdrawal instead, tells us that his dissociation of cause and effect relieves himself of responsibility, just as it denies credit to Bush. If Obama becomes president, his decisions need not be restrained by consideration of the consequences, because no negative consequence can possibly have resulted from his decision. It will simply be another coincidental combination of factors, that happened at the same time that his orders were being carried out.
Democrats have been quick to jump on every real or perceived misstep in Iraq, including every failure to predict our enemies' next move. Seldom do they acknowledge, let alone praise, the perseverance and adaptability with which our military has overcome those obstacles. Now, they're about to nominate a presidential candidate who sees no point in adapting or persevering. When things aren't going as planned, his answer is to just give up and go home.
Of course, that kind of decision-making would reinvigorate our terrorist enemies, betray the trust of our allies, and demoralize the American people. The important thing, though, is that Obama could refuse to be blamed for it. After all, stuff happens.-- Daniel Clark is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.
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