The GOP Is Incoherent On Iraq Because Democracies Can’t Wage War
The Middle East debacle we are facing today is not a result of the 2003 invasion of Iraq but of a President Obama who cares more about public opinion than long-term security.
The ongoing debate among GOP candidates about whether we should have invaded Iraq in 2003 and what we should do about ISIS underscores a rather uncomfortable reality: it is nearly impossible for a democracy to conduct strategic foreign policy. Public opinion gets in the way of strategic imperatives and in the end politics and perception trump sound policy.
Nowhere has this been more apparent than in Iraq, where President Obama in his first term discarded a policy that was working, for purely political reasons. Obama had promised during the 2008 campaign to “end the war” in Iraq, riding an anti-war sentiment on the Left and tapping into a sense of war-weariness among moderates. He floated a 16-month timeline for troop withdrawal during the campaign and tried his best to stick to it once in office, heedless of conditions on the ground.
Republicans presidential hopefuls need to make the case that even if invading Iraq in 2003 was ill-advised, a far worse strategic mistake was withdrawing in 2011. That means they need to understand what’s happened in Iraq, and it is not clear that many of them do.
Source: Why We Failed The Iraq War