One of the most histrionic responses to come from the President's announcement on Friday came from the man whose job is to manufacture as many reasons to criticize Obama, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who said he thought during recent negotiations that there would be at least a nominal presence in Iraq, saying, "They indicated they were working on that effort and they either failed to do it by virtue of ineptitude or they decided it wasn’t that important politically or otherwise.”
On Fox News Sunday, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham wasn't convinced that the Iraqi's couldn't have agreed (or is it capitulated?) to allowing a force of some sort remain there, even though they refused to agree to indemnify those soldiers from prosecution:
The Iraqis were in my view open-minded to this. This was a failure by the Obama administration to close the deal. The military commander said we needed 15,000 to 18,000 and we have none. So, that's the bottom line here.
At a time when we need troops in Iraq to secure the place against intervention by Iran and they had actors in the region, we are going into 2012 with none. It was his job, the Obama administration's job, to end this well. They failed.
Graham's foreign policy bud, John McCain, made similar statements on ABC's This Week, saying "It could have been negotiated, I know because I was there at the time. The question of immunity could have been resolved. The question of immunity is being used as an excuse."
And McCain's proof is.......what, exactly that Iraq would provide immunity. Excuse me, Senator but "I know because I was there" isn't all that convincing. Surely you have more than that to say to convince the American public that Iraq would have given in?
Michelle Bachmann said on CBS's Face The Nation that "If you look at every time we have deposed a dictator, the United States has always left troops behind to enforce the fragile peace," which is accurate - the U.S. still has troops in South Korea and Germany, for heavens sake. It's seemingly been a maxim that the U.S. never leaves any foreign country once we invade.
But with so much concerns about our federal deficit, shouldn't we cut those ties once our obligation is over?
And what about Libya, which was undoubtedly a controversial military action by the President to join NATO forces to stabilize what many people said was becoming an escalating human rights crises back in February -March.
While supporters of the U.S. using its military might for moral reasons made this pitch, there were just as many non-intervention voices saying the U.S. had no dog in this particular hunt, especially since we were already committed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As the killings continued, something important happened. The Arab League, which generally has always opposed any U.S. intervention, voted in support of a NATO force taking action. Yes, France and Britain were more adamant, but then, they were closer to the situation. So after that Arab League affirmation, and after critics like Marco Rubio pleaded for the U.S. to get involved, we did, on March 17.
A short time later President Obama then said that this "humanitarian mission" would be judged on knocking Gaddafi out of power.
No doubt the U.S. was clumsy in selling the plan to the public, and never went before Congress to get authorization, coming up with some clever mumbo jumbo from Assistant Secretary of State Harold Koh that we weren't involved in "major hostilities."
But the Libyan opposition took control of most of their nation weeks ago, and now Gaddafi has been captured and killed. And yes, there is great uncertainty about the future. But still, considering no American lives lost, who can argue about it now?
John McCain can. But enough about carping about Libya. Now that Gaddafi is gone, Syria's Bashar el-Assad is doing horrific things in his nation. McCain says it might be time to focus now on stopping that crisis:
But I — I think that Syria cannot be allowed to continue to slaughter its own citizens indefinitely. Now, the Arab League foreign ministers are going to Damascus and make demands, which Assad will not agree to. So this is a step-by-step process. But I would not completely rule out actions to prevent over time Bashar Assad from continuing to slaughter his own people.