You would think President Obama’s recent choice to take military action in Libya would have made him slightly more understanding of President Bush’s decision to intervene in Iraq. Not so, as Gateway Pundit points out. In Chile, Obama took this swipe at Bush while discussing the Libya war: “In the past there have been times when the United States acted unilaterally or did not have full international support, and as a consequence typically it was the United States military that ended up bearing the entire burden.”
Yet, according to Fox Nation, the claim that the U.S. has more international support now than it did when it entered Iraq is inaccurate. According to the news site, the coalition of countries that backed Bush in Iraq was twice as large as the coalition now backing Obama.
It’s unfortunate that Obama hasn’t used the crisis in Libya as an opportunity to rethink his previous harsh criticism of the Bush administration.
The Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso points out that in the 2002 speech that led Obama to stardom, the then-state senator blasted the “arm-chair, weekend warriors” and “political hacks” of the Bush White House for supporting the Iraq intervention.
While Obama conceded in the speech that “the world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without [Saddam Hussein],” he also argued that “Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military [is] a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.”
As Freddoso notes, opponents of the Libya intervention could easily make similar claims about Qaddafi.
It would be nice if Obama would acknowledge that his soaring, anti-war rhetoric was easier to champion when he didn’t have to deal with the harsh realities of the presidency. And one way to start would be by cutting his predecessor some slack.