President Obama’s Iraq, His Other Iraq and His Third Iraq
President Obama has made his entire career off of not being George W. Bush. During his shockingly fast political rise, he differentiated himself by claiming that he had stood alone against the warmongers who wanted to depose Saddam Hussein (never mind that he wasn’t in Congress at the time). During the 2008 campaign, he claimed that he wouldn’t be the kind of president who would enter America into open-ended conflicts without true American interests at stake. Iraq, he said, was the bad war; Afghanistan was the good war.
Well, so much for that.
For a man who sees the war in Iraq as indicative of America’s imperialistic adventurism, President Obama sure does enjoy imperialistic adventurism. In Libya, President Obama led the effort to provide al-Qaida-linked rebels with weapons and stop the Muammar Qaddafi regime from using military force to crack down on them. Never mind that Qaddafi posed little or no threat to American interests. “Confronted by (Qaddafi’s) brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, I ordered warships into the Mediterranean,” Obama declared.
Then, in Egypt, President Obama decided to throw his lot in with the Muslim Brotherhood-led opposition to dictator Hosni Mubarak. Never mind that Mubarak allied with America to ensure at least a measure of stability in the most volatile region on the planet. “Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day,” Obama announced.
Finally, in Syria, President Obama has decided to double-down in his support of the al-Qaida-led opposition to the Bashar Assad regime. Never mind that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Assad a “reformer.” Never mind that Russia and China oppose action against Assad, and that the Obama administration had announced a new era of international cooperation with both countries. “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should heed U.S. warnings to neither use nor move chemical or biological weapons, lest he risk crossing a ‘red line’ and provoke a U.S. military response,” Obama said.
And so now America will likely embark on another episode of swashbuckling Democrat-led interventionism in a part of the world in which America has no friends. At least President Bush went to Congress for authorization to use force in Iraq. President Obama’s imperialistic ambitions match his imperial attitude toward the executive office: He needs no Congressional approval, and so he will seek no Congressional approval. In Libya, Obama never bothered to ask Congress to sign off on a no-fly zone; instead, he simply put the military in place, then ignored Congressional deadlines for a cut-off. In Egypt, Obama has avoided declaring the current Egyptian military coup a coup — and yet Obama is apparently ready to cut off aid regardless, meaning that he wants to avoid any sort of Congressional control over his decision-making.
Now, in Syria, Obama is readying the missiles, despite the fact that just 9 percent of Americans want America to intervene in Syria. Why? Because for Obama, personal pride is at stake. Obama once accused George W. Bush of a petty obsession with Saddam Hussein and Iraq.
But at least America had interests in Iraq ranging from preventing terrorism to quashing threats to American oil flow. America has no such interests in Syria. President Obama is intervening in Syria for one reason: He wants to. He wants to because he set down a “red line” on the use of chemical weapons in Syria; he wants to because he is sick of being seen as a lead-from-behind world ninny; he wants to because he believes that his personal influence trumps the Islamism of the enemies we now fund and arm. Most of all, President Obama wants to intervene in Syria because we have no interests in Syria.
This has become a running theme with Democrat-led wars. American interests in Yugoslavia were non-existent. American interests in Somalia were non-existent. For Democrats, the virtuous war is the war in which America has nothing to gain — except, of course, glory for the occupant of the White House.
President Bush could rightly be accused of wanting to remake the Middle East in the American image. President Obama wants to make the Middle East over in his own image, unblemished by considerations about America. A new world. A world without American hegemony. And he’ll use American force to do it.
Ben Shapiro, 29, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, a radio host on KRLA 870 Los Angeles, and Editor-At-Large for Breitbart News. He is the New York Times bestselling author of “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America.”