FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

When Obama Got It Right

Was Barack Obama, then just an Illinois state senator, wrong back in 2002 when he thought that an invasion of Iraq would only “fan the flames of the Middle East and encourage the worst, rather than the best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al-Qaida”? Did vice-president Richard Cheney see things more clearly when he promised that US troops would be “welcomed as liberators”? Yet now it is Cheney who dares to accuse Obama of being a traitor and a fool in Iraq, concluding without shame: “Rarely has a US president been so wrong about so much, at the expense of so many” (1).

Obama currently rules out sending US troops to fight against the jihadist forces that control part of Iraq. But he has already agreed to dispatch 300 military “advisers” to the Baghdad regime, while suggesting that the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, should be replaced. The US has provided an autocratic and corrupt regime with “military advisers” before: Ngô Đình Diệm’s regime in Vietnam nearly 60 years ago. Exasperated by his ineptitude, the US let him be (or had him) killed. What followed — military escalation, region-wide violence, millions dead — may explain the American people’s reluctance to follow the warmongers this time.

Intervention by western powers has had catastrophic effects in the Arab world, too. The West has been tight-fisted over contributing to the economic and social development of Tunisia and Egypt by cancelling their debts, but spared no expense in destroying the latest enemy on “humanitarian grounds” — never invoked for US protégés such as Israel, Qatar or Saudi Arabia (2).

Obama suggested on 13 June that Iraq itself, laid waste by the US, was responsible for its current tragedy: “Over the past decade American troops have made extraordinary sacrifices to give Iraqis an opportunity to claim their own future.” This type of self-serving reconstruction of history can only embolden neoconservatives who believe that Washington’s failure to act anywhere automatically hastens the decline of US power, and the advent of universal chaos.

The Iraq war was “won” before Obama took office, Republican senator John McCain tells us. He believes any international crisis can be resolved by bombing the place and sending in the marines. On 15 March McCain had called for US troops to be dispatched to Ukraine and, on 13 May, for military intervention in Nigeria. Obama did not want to “fan the flames of the Middle East” in 2002. Will he be as wise now?

Serge Halimi is president of Le Monde diplomatique.

This article appears in the excellent Le Monde Diplomatique, whose English language edition can be found at mondediplo.com. This full text appears by agreement with Le Monde Diplomatique. CounterPunch features two or three articles from LMD every month.

More articles by:

Serge Halimi is president of Le Monde diplomatique

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
January 24, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
A Letter From Iowa
Jim Kavanagh
Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Camp by the Lake
Chuck Churchill
The Long History of Elite Rule: What Will It Take To End It?
Robert Hunziker
A Climate Time Bomb With Trump’s Name Inscribed
Andrew Levine
Trump: The King
James Graham
From Paris, With Tear Gas…
Rob Urie
Why the Primaries Matter
Dan Bacher
Will the Extinction of Delta Smelt Be Governor Gavin Newsom’s Environmental Legacy?
Ramzy Baroud
In the Name of “Israel’s Security”: Retreating US Gives Israel Billions More in Military Funding
Vijay Prashad
What the Right Wing in Latin America Means by Democracy Is Violence
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Biden’s Shameful Foreign Policy Record Extends Well Beyond Iraq
Louis Proyect
Isabel dos Santos and Africa’s Lumpen-Bourgeoisie
Nick Pemberton
AK-46: The Case Against Amy Klobuchar
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Promtheus’ Fire: Climate Change in the Time of Willful Ignorance
Linn Washington Jr.
Waiting for Justice in New Jersey
Ralph Nader
Pelosi’s Choice: Enough for Trump’s Impeachment but not going All Out for Removal
Ted Rall
If This is a Democracy, Why Don’t We Vote for the Vice President Too?
Mike Garrity – Jason Christensen
Don’t Kill 72 Grizzly Bears So Cattle Can Graze on Public Lands
Joseph Natoli
Who’s Speaking?
Kavaljit Singh
The US-China Trade Deal is Mostly Symbolic
Cesar Chelala
The Coronavirus Serious Public Health Threat in China
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Must Remain Vigilant and on Guard Against US Hybrid Warfare
Robert Fantina
Impeachment as a Distraction
Courtney Bourgoin
What We Lose When We Lose Wildlife
Mark Ashwill
Why Constructive Criticism of the US is Not Anti-American
Daniel Warner
Charlie Chaplin and Truly Modern Times
Manuel Perez-Rocha
How NAFTA 2.0 Boosts Fossil Fuel Polluters, Particularly in Mexico
Dean Baker
What Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace With Productivity
Mel Gurtov
India’s Failed Democracy
Thomas Knapp
US v. Sineneng-Smith: Does Immigration Law Trump Free Speech?
Winslow Myers
Turning Point: The new documentary “Coup 53”
Jeff Mackler
U.S. vs. Iran: Which Side are You On?
Sam Pizzigati
Braggadocio in the White House, Carcinogens in Our Neighborhoods
Christopher Brauchli
The Company Trump Keeps
Julian Vigo
Why Student Debt is a Human Rights Issue
Ramzy Baroud
These Chains Will Be Broken
Chris Wright
A Modest Proposal for Socialist Revolution
Thomas Barker
The Slow Death of European Social Democracy: How Corbynism Bucked the Trend
Nicky Reid
It’s Time to Bring the War Home Again
Michelle Valadez
Amy Klobuchar isn’t Green
David Swanson
CNN Poll: Sanders Is The Most Electable
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Dire Need for “Creative Extremists”—MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Robert Koehler
FBI, King and the Tremors of History
Jill Richardson
‘Little Women’ and the American Attitude Toward Poverty
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail