I hate to needle him when he’s patting the troops on the back, but isn’t this … the very antithesis of the left’s messaging on the Iraq war for the past seven years? We’ve reached a point of consensus on the fact that the surge worked, but on the question of whether the war improved national security, it’s a mixed bag:
I’m actually shocked that 18 percent of Dems — virtually all of them centrists, no doubt — say it’s made America safer. In fact, never mind the left: Isn’t this the very antithesis of Obama’s own messaging on the war as a candidate? September 12, 2007:
The excellence of our military is unmatched. But as a result of this war, our forces are under pressure as never before. Our National Guard and reserves have half of the equipment they need to respond to emergencies at home and abroad. Retention among West Point graduates is down. Our powers of deterrence and influence around the world are down. That is a cost of this war.
America’s standing has suffered. Our diplomacy has been compromised by a refusal to talk to people we don’t like. Our alliances have been compromised by bluster. Our credibility has been compromised by a faulty case for war. Our moral leadership has been compromised by Abu Ghraib. That is a cost of this war.
Perhaps the saddest irony of the Administration’s cynical use of 9/11 is that the Iraq War has left us less safe than we were before 9/11. Osama bin Ladin and his top lieutenants have rebuilt a new base in Pakistan where they freely train recruits, plot new attacks, and disseminate propaganda. The Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan. Iran has emerged as the greatest strategic challenge to America in the Middle East in a generation. Violent extremism has increased. Terrorism has increased. All of that is a cost of this war.
Luckily, he’s now solved all the problems in that last paragraph. Again, I don’t want to beat up on him for offering a morale booster as C-in-C but I’m intrigued that he’d add this rhetorical flourish when he really didn’t have to. He could have congratulated the troops on their heroism and their achievement in freeing Iraq from Saddam’s Orwellian nightmare, and left it at that. Instead, this. Hmmm.