All through the current debate on the proposed strikes on Syria, people were saying they were reluctant to use force under any conditions because of the Iraq hang-over, the Iraqi debacle, and because Iraq "poisoned the well."
This is certainly true, as no one wants to relive a "war of choice" that lasted 10 years, killed 55,000 Americans, created atrocities such as the My Lai disaster, and ended with that shot on the rooftop as terrified people scrambled for footing on the last helicopter out of Saigon.
Oh. Sorry. That was a different war we were citing, but you can’t tell from the words coming out of the Democrats, and some Republicans, who’ve been cowed and/or brainwashed into submission.
Iraq had some terrible years, but it didn’t end badly. We didn’t lose in Iraq, we lost less than 5,000 American servicemen, and we left with al Qaeda largely run out of the country and the Iraqi factions working with us and each other.
Iraq was one country that didn’t blow up in the Arab Spring (which has turned into winter), as it already had a democracy, and foreign investments are coming back into the country.
The current uptick in violence is caused by al Qaeda, which, after having been driven out, has come back since Obama withdrew all our troops in a gesture of pique and/or boredom.
It was Democrats who trashed the Status of Forces Agreement, opposed the surge, mocked it, and did their best to defund it. They were handed a win, and have been trying ever since to lose it. If they succeed, the loss is on them.
It is possible, too, that the real cloud hanging over the Syria strikes is none less than Obama himself. Regardless of what the conservatives did, The One has had five years to dazzle the world with his remarkable brilliance, and thus far has failed to impress.
But who cannot love someone who says Assad has to go, and then does nothing whatsoever to remove him; who draws lines in the sand in a moment of weakness, and then seems surprised when others want action; who threatens a strike, and then tells his targets he won’t do much damage; and says his real aim in the eyes of the people is to be just "muscular enough" to avoid being mocked.
Having ripped Bush for going to war with a mere 40 countries in his coalition, he announces a strike with two countries beside him. As if this isn’t enough, he decides to seek the endorsement of Congress, though he says if it doesn’t work out he may go on and bomb anyhow.
He sends his Secretary of State out to sound like Henry V before Agincourt, and then deflates him completely by saying a month or two more needn’t make any difference. Agincourt has to wait till vacation is over.
And so The Fierce Urgency of Now when it comes to saving the helpless is interrupted by trips to Stockholm, Seattle, Russia, and numerous jaunts to play golf.
Then when Congress balks, and his anti-war base begins having a tantrum, he turns to his last and his only supporters --- David Petraeus and the neoconservatives, who crafted the surge and the war in Iraq.
The Bushies detest him, but think a weak, silly gesture is better than nothing, The fog of war has seldom been murkier. But then, c’est la guerre.Noemie Emery, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."