It is truly startling at how many self-styled ‘progressives’ are still intent on apologizing for Barack Obama’s Bushian foreign policy. Perhaps the most disturbing article that I have read by apologists for Bush-lite was Robert Creamer’s “A Great Day: Obama Ends the War in Iraq.” According to Creamer’s biography on the Huffington Post, he has been a “political organizer and strategist for four decades” who has been dedicated to “campaigns to end the war in Iraq, pass universal health care, pass Wall Street reform, change America’s budget priorities and enact comprehensive immigration reform.” He is also married to Congresswoman Joan Schakowsky from Illinois.
Perhaps it is the Illinois connection that has him doing everything he can to heap praise on Barack Obama. It is inexcusable, however, that he would have written such an article after professing to work intimately on campaigns to end the War in Iraq. Simply put, he should know his facts.
Creamer begins the piece misleadingly:
This afternoon President Obama announced that at the end of this year, America will withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq.
Obama began his campaign for president by forcefully, clearly promising to end that war. This afternoon he delivered on that promise.
President Obama did, in fact, campaign to end the war in Iraq. He was also a very outspoken critic of it during his time in the US Senate. But why did Obamareally announce a withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq (never mind that 150 will remain behind)? Surprisingly, in a rare burst of sanity, Michelle Bachmann gave the reason why: “we’re being kicked out.” The Iraqi government, despite much arm twisting by the Obama administration, refused to grant American troops immunity after the year’s end. Obama and friends, defeated and demoralized, had no other option but to leave.
But even such an important development in the war in Iraq is not solidified yet. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has been in talks with the Iraqi government about what to do after “the reduction of combat presence.” Thousands of private military contractors and State Department quasi-soldiers will remain in order to ensure “stability.”
If you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it does get much, much worse. Creamer then attempts to argue that Obama “fundamentally reshaped American foreign policy.” I would agree with such a sentiment, only in that Obama has been more efficient in killing innocent civilians in his Drone War on the World than Bush could have ever dreamed of. Creamer then uses the war in Libya to demonstrate how fundamentally different Obama has been from Bush:
- The Libyans themselves overthrew a dictator;
- America spent a billion dollars — not a trillion dollars, as we have in Iraq;
- America did not lose one soldier in Libya;
- We accomplished our mission after eight months, not eight years;
- Most importantly, America worked cooperatively with our European allies, the Arab League and the Libyan people to achieve a more democratic Middle East.
The Libyans would have been utterly incapable of overthrowing the Gaddafi regime had it not been for the NATO operation. If the NATO planes of death were not busy bombing Gaddafi and his loyalists, the weapons depots would have never been looted and Gaddafi would have continued to use his endless cash to hire mercenaries from around Africa. Additionally, it was an American Predator drone strike coupled with a French missile strike that initially hit Gaddafi’s convoy allowing the anti-Gaddafi forces to ultimately capture and execute him. Last I checked, the “Libyans” had no such capabilities.
While only $1 billion has been spent so far, it remains to be seen how active the US will be in Libyan reconstruction efforts. The price could easily balloon from here on out. It is also odd that a self proclaimed progressive would rather see $1 billion spent on overthrowing an African dictator rather than feeding and educating impoverished American children.
Creamer is correct to note that there were not any American casualties, but are the lives of an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 Libyans to be overlooked? The death count is by no means conclusive and will only rise once Libyans are harmed by their bombed out infrastructure much like the 500,000 Iraqis who died thanks to their decimated infrastructure.
Again, it is premature to decisively call this the end of the Libyan war as the prospect of civil war and strife remains high. Surely Creamer would not want to be caught with egg on his face like Bush was after declaring “Mission Accomplished.”
It’s also worth remembering that troops from North America, Europe, Asia, and South America took part in the mission in Iraq. Strength in numbers and consensus does not justify regime change, whether it be Saddam or Moammar.
Creamer can continue to say how different Obama has been from Bush in the realm of foreign policy, but the facts just don’t add up. They’re especially nothing for a progressive to gloat about.