There are a ton of angles concerning the mess in Iraq, but this is one I had not considered, from Slate writer William Saletan:
President Obama’s analysis of the ISIS threat sounds a lot like the GOP’s analysis of the war on poverty. Here’s how Obama assessed the situation on Friday:
Look, the United States has poured a lot of money into these Iraqi security forces, and we devoted a lot of training to Iraqi security forces. The fact that they are not willing to stand and fight indicates that there’s a problem with morale, there’s a problem in terms of commitment. And ultimately, that’s rooted in the political problems that have plagued the country.
I want to make sure that everybody understands this message: The United States is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis that gives us some assurance that they’re prepared to work together. We’re not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back into a situation in which, while we’re there, we’re keeping a lid on things, and after enormous sacrifices by us, as soon as we’re not there, suddenly people end up acting in ways that are not conducive to the long-term stability and prosperity of the country.
In sum, said Obama, “We can’t do it for them.”
That’s a straightforward application of self-reliance. We’ll help you, but only if you clean up your act. Our help is limited, and your initiative is required.
Republicans have made the same points, repeatedly, in proposals to reform welfare.
Read the full piece here: http://tinyurl.com/p2p3o2y
This is what I’ve learned from our invasion of Iraq: Though we may be the world’s lone Super Power, that doesn’t mean we have super powers. We have to be much wiser and skeptical before getting into complex situations, such as centuries-old conflicts and battles in the Middle East.
In 2003, I thought deposing a dictator was a good idea. In some ways, I still do. But how we affect such change matters, and going back into Iraq now seems foolhardy. Those who say our leaving in 2011 caused this and our staying would have prevented it are engaging in wishful thinking. Time to put such childish thoughts away.