The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

June 21, 2014

Questions for Obama

A few questions for President Barack Obama.

At your press conference, you said, “It is in our national security interest not to see an all-out civil war in Iraq.” If that is the case, why did you withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011? Were you motivated by something other than U.S. national interests?

Did no one advise you that the current disaster was possible when you proclaimed in December 2011: “We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq with a representative government that was elected by its people. We’re building a new partnership between our nations. And we are ending a war, not with a final battle, but with a final march toward home. This is an extraordinary achievement, nearly nine years in the making.”

If it is in the U.S. national security interest to keep Iraq from disintegrating, why are you deploying at most 300 special forces — just 50 more than you sent to find and destroy Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda? Does Kony represent a comparable threat to the United States in your judgment?

You said two things that seem contradictory — that “U.S. troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again” and that you would consider “targeted and precise” military action. Which is true?

You said that you were sending Secretary of State John Kerry to consult with countries in the region, because all of Iraq’s neighbors have a “vital interest” in ensuring that Iraq does not “descend into civil war or become a safe haven for terrorists.” Who were you referring to? Saudi Arabia has been arming the opposition to Bashar Assad, and doubtless some of those arms have fallen into the hands of the terrorist group ISIL, which operates in both Syria and Iraq.

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