As a Navy pilot who flew combat missions in Afghanistan (2002) and Iraq (2003) and now as a Member of Congress, I cannot react to the news of Al Qaeda in Iraq’s resurgence in Fallujah and Ramadi with anything but frustration and anger.
Frustration – because so much American blood was spilled wresting these cities from insurgents. Anger – because the Obama Administration put ideology and politics above the national interest. Our policy in Afghanistan must be more responsible than our policy in Iraq.
In his soon-to-be-published memoirs, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates correctly notes that Vice President Joe Biden – the man once in charge of negotiating America’s post-war presence in Iraq – has been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
Based on his flip-flopping on Iraq, I am skeptical that President Obama can put America’s interests before political opportunism when it comes to any tough foreign policy decision. In 2007, then-Senator Obama opposed President Bush’s surge in Iraq and described the strategy as “a policy which has already been tried and a policy which has failed.”
The surge, in fact, was overwhelmingly successful. President Bush deserves credit for ignoring politics, persevering in the face of inconsistent public opinion, resisting naysayers in Congress, and doing what was right for our nation. In contrast, President Obama deserves credit only for exploiting a political opportunity… until he was wrong.