Looking back through time, it seems that the major liberal talking point post-9/11 was that the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not really wars at all and that there was no foreseeable end date or identifiable enemy. Liberals weren’t saying that the enemy would persist but rather that American interests in the region were either selfish or, if Bush was sincere, then futile. Now there are two sides one can take in light of recent events: either ISIS is born of US military interference in the region or US military presence in the region was all that was preventing the inevitable (ISIS) from rising. There are plenty of examples of Dems calling for early withdrawal and calling the war pointless. They should be held accountable for pushing for the troop withdrawal the whole time. Ultimately (no matter how Bush and Cheney framed it), Republicans were committed to a long-term presence in the region because they knew that was the only chance that Iraq had to be rebuilt as a functioning (and free) country. The implication from GOP politicians at the time was that we can’t be rushing to leave the Mid-East; not now, not in a few years, perhaps not for decades. Now as ISIS systematically beheads women and children, I wonder if the left still believes the operation was fruitless. All I know is that when the US presence was at its greatest, safety was at an all-time high. With the troops withdrawn, it is at a low. In any case, let’s look back through quotes from various players in the war over the years.
President Bush, speaking at a Senate Republican fundraising dinner, said that he welcomed the debate but vowed that there would be “no early withdrawal” from Iraq “so long as we run the Congress and occupy the White House.”
I want to remind you of the consequences if those who want to withdraw from Iraq happen to prevail in the debate,” he said. “An early withdrawal would be a defeat for the United States of America. An early withdrawal would embolden the terrorists. Talk about a deadline before we’ve done the job sends chills throughout the spines of Iraqi citizens, who are wondering whether or not the United States has the capacity to keep its word.
“Three years and three months into the war, with all of the losses, the insurgency, the burgeoning civil war that’s taking place — what was it, seven bombings in Baghdad yesterday? — an open-ended time commitment is no longer sustainable,” Feinstein said on CNN’s “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer.
What now comes to mind is Pelosi’s quip in June 2006:
“Stay the course’ is not a strategy, it’s a slogan, and we need more than that,” she said in June in a jab at how Bush once described his approach to the war.
So what exactly was/is her plan? Stay the course seems like a lot better than what we have now.
Or how about when she said:
The president “is an incompetent leader _ in fact he’s not a leader,” Pelosi said in 2004, referring to his Iraq policies.
Perhaps this quote is better applied to the current administration – but I digress.