Two entries from the Department of You Can’t Make This Shit Up.
First, Ron Fournier:
With Wilsonian echoes, a pacifist president tries to rally the world on ISIS, Russia, and Ebola.
One hundred years ago, a pacifist president reluctantly led the United States into World War I. Woodrow Wilson eventually won “the war to end all wars,” but failed to achieve his greatest desire: a new world order. That would wait until after World War II. Faint echoes of Wilson sounded throughout President Obama’s address to the United Nations on Wednesday.
There stood a man who rose to power by opposing George W. Bush’s “dumb war” in Iraq, who slowly and reluctantly recognized the gathering dangers of an Islamic State, now urging the league of nations to build a timeless peace—even as he vowed to shed blood for it.
That dichotomy, part of a nest of dualities embedded in the nation’s spirit, came with Obama’s first words to the balky U.N. “We come together,” he said, “at a crossroads between war and peace; between disorder and integration; between fear and hope.”
Obama called this the best time to be alive, “yet there is a pervasive unease in our world,” because the same forces shrinking the globe also harbor new dangers. Giving three examples—the Ebola outbreak, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria—Obama said a common problem is the failure of institutions to adjust to massive change.
It was perhaps the most thoughtful, grounded, and forward-looking speech of Obama’s career. Not because he raised expectations with poetic phrasing—he’s been there, done that—but because he didn’t go there again. Instead, the president offered listeners a bracing, pragmatic road map to the future—a vision that, when moored to reality, was oddly optimistic.
The president seemed to recognize the incongruousness of the moment. A pacifist talking like a hawk? A peace-loving nation pushing the world to war? That’s us, Obama said; America is a dichotomous nation, one that doesn’t always live up to its ideals. Yes, there is racial unrest in the “small American city of Ferguson, Missouri,” he said, and the United States must find its way amid growing globalization and diversity. “But we welcome the scrutiny of the world,” he said, because the United States is constantly evolving and struggling and gaining on its promise “to make our union more perfect.”
What a load of crap!
Obama a pacifist? Our President is many things, but a pacifist isn’t one of them. First and foremost, pacifism is a principled ideology, and Obama has no principles. Pacifism requires moral courage and it is not opportunistic.
No true pacifist would ever brag that “I’m really good at killing people”.
Now here is Michael Tomasky:
Obama’s Iraq Is Not Bush’s Iraq
The war against ISIS may fail. But morally, it’s the opposite of Bush’s war, and if it succeeds, it will do so for precisely that reason.
Last week, a Politico reporter phoned me to ascertain my thoughts on the new war. Among the questions: Was there concern among liberals that Barack Obama was in some sense now becoming George Bush, and did I see similarities between the current war and Bush’s Iraq war that, come on, be honest, made me squirm in my seat ever so slightly? My answer ended up on the cutting-room floor, as many answers given to reporters do.
But since I’m fortunate enough to have a column, I’d like to broadcast it now, because the answer is a reverberating no. In fact it’s hard for me to imagine how the differences between the two actions could be starker. This is not to say that they might not end up in the same place—creating more problems than they solve. But in moral terms, this war is nothing like that war, and if this war doesn’t end up like Bush’s and somehow actually solves more problems than it creates, that will happen precisely because of the moral differences.
The first and most important difference, plainly and simply: Obama didn’t lie us into this war. It’s worth emphasizing this point, I think, during this week when Obama is at the United Nations trying to redouble international support to fight ISIS, and as we think back on Colin Powell’s infamous February 2003 snow job to Security Council. Obama didn’t tell us any nightmarish fairy tales about weapons of mass destruction that had already been destroyed or never existed. He didn’t trot his loyalists out there to tell fantastical stories about smoking guns and mushroom clouds.
The evidence for the nature of the threat posed by the Islamic State is, in contrast, as non-fabricated as evidence can be and was handed right to us by ISIS itself: the beheading videos, and spokesmen’s own statements from recruitment videos about the group’s goal being the establishment of a reactionary fundamentalist state over Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. That’s all quite real.
Okay Mike, put down the Koolaid and step-away from the punchbowl.
In March of 2003 it wasn’t yet clear that Bush had lied us into Iraq. Will we learn in the years hence that Obama lied too? Yes, the Islamic State is evil incarnate, but so was Saddam Hussein. But I’m not sure how much of an immediate threat to the United States that ISIS represents today.
If ISIS is really an immediate threat to our nation, why is Obama insisting on a limited “no boots on the ground” strategy for dealing with them? Why hasn’t Obama gone before Congress and asked for a declaration of war against the Islamic State?
The rationalization, flip-flopping, pretzel twisting and born-again hawkishness of the Left would be amusing if it wasn’t so pathetic and the subject so serious.