THE IRAQ WE'D HAVE IF WE'D HEEDED OBAMA
By BOB OWENS
July 23, 2008 --
Barack Obama is enjoying a popular jaunt through the Middle East, but if America had heeded his judgment over the last five years, the fawning stories that have followed him this trip might be quite different.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama overflew the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Najaf Monday, where the mass graves for an estimated 240,000 victims of sectarian violence killed since 2007 were visible even from an altitude.
Sen. Obama was on his way to meet with American soldiers completing the US withdrawal from Iraq in Kuwaiti ports. Miles away, Iranian and Saudi delegations were meeting in an emergency summit in Kuwait City in an effort to keep the Iraqi civil war from boiling over into open regional conflict. Both sides have accused the other of providing advanced weaponry and training, while faulting American leaders for the bloody collapse of the Iraqi state.
Fortunately, of course, none of that happened.
Obama was in Baghdad on Monday for one reason and one reason only: President Bush wisely ignored the senator's repeated calls to abandon the Iraqi people and instead listened to advice to change commanders, strategy and tactics in Iraq. The resulting counterinsur- gency doctrine and a surge of American forces into Iraq coincided with a popular Sunni revolt against the al Qaeda-led insurgency known as the Awakening movement, which was followed by the fracturing of the Shiite Mahdi Army and other militant groups.
If we'd listened to Obama in 2002, Saddam Hussein (or his murderous son Qusay) would still be brutally repressing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Shiites and Kurds - and some of the world's most accomplished terrorists (such as Abu Abbas, 1993 WTC bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi) would still call Iraq home. I doubt Obama would be flying to Baghdad.
If we'd listened to him in 2005-2006, when things were at their worst, then the nightmare scenario might well be playing out: an open Iraqi civil war, verging on a wider regional war, with Saudi Arabia and Iran backing different sides in Iraq. I doubt Obama would be flying to Baghdad.
So, by all means let the journalists of The New York Times paint his visit as an accomplishment of some sort.
Just keep in mind that if we'd followed the novice senator's judgment at any point during his career, Iraq could've been too dangerous a place for his flight to even consider touching down.
Bob Owens blogs at Confederate Yankee, from which this is adapted, and writes for Pajamas Media.
THE IRAQ WE'D HAVE IF WE'D HEEDED OBAMA - New York Post