Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Criticism where Appropriate, and the Converse - Iraq 2014 Edition

It would be fair to say that at times, I have been somewhat critical of President Obama, as well as Democrats in general, on this blog and elsewhere. As it happens, I find myself in frequent disagreement with his/their policies, pushes, and general philosophies on how government should work. However, I like to think of myself as having [strong] opinions on issues, and sometimes on ideology, but not on partisan political groups per se, despite the frequent overlap.

In that sense, I'd like to espouse the following opinion: I have no issue, whatsoever, with how Obama has handled our military interactions with Iraq since he took office, and I don't feel he should bare much, if any, blame for the ISIS uprising there.

It has been opined that the US should have persisted in Iraq, establishing a long-term presence to deter aggressive forces, as we have in other regions of the world. It has been opined that the Iraqi military was not ready to stand on its own, and needed more training, more resource, more money, and/or more time to be so. It has been opined that the US should have insisted on a longer-term troop deployment, to secure the "gains" from invading Iraq and establishing a new government. All of these are debatable points, from a military and international diplomacy perspective.

However, making those decisions is the job of the Commander in Chief, and given the various options, I can find no significant fault in the decision to honor the wishes of the Iraqi government to control their own destiny, for better or for worse. We should not feel obligated to put our military assets (people and equipment) in harm's way, in service of defending against a nebulous future threat, and in opposition to the wishes of the local [democratic] authority. Like many others, I think the US should err on the side of non-intervention, even if we are vehemently opposed to what transpires inside another country; we should not be the world police.

I refuse to criticize Obama for prioritizing Afghanistan for military action, over Iraq, as I refuse to criticize for scaling down our military presence in Afghanistan as well. Iraq has a culture of corruption which they need to overcome to secure their freedom, and while I feel for the people there (who, like us, are victims of a corrupt government), it should not be the responsibility of the US to intervene when things go awry. Moreover, the US military exists to support and defend the interests of the US, and emphatically not to serve as a first line of defense for other countries. I have no issue with Obama taking a very measured and conservative approach to military actions in foreign countries, even if such sometimes results in gains by the "bad guys".

That's my opinion, anyway; just wanted to get it out there.