[Ed. – No, thanks. Some of us have been living it for 6 years.]
Of all the things to rise up and bedevil President Obama again, Iraq seemed to be low on the list. But now the White House must live with the reality that, almost three years after the war was declared over, American blood could be spilled anew in a conflict that could readily escalate.
Obama’s announcement that up to 300 military advisers would be sent to Iraq marks a brutal moment in a brutal stretch for this presidency, one that threatens to indelibly stain not only his foreign policy record but his legacy as well.
This was a man who, as a candidate and as a chief executive, made pulling the United States out of two intractable wars in the Middle East central to his theory of governance. He ended wars, he liked to say. He didn’t start them.
Sending a relative handful of forces back to the region doesn’t mean he’s doing so, of course. “American forces will not be returning to combat,” Obama was sure to pledge to the public Thursday, and White House aides insist that this is a limited mission, that the Iraqi government, ultimately, will have to be the ones to repel the forces of the Sunni insurgency and mend the broken country. Still, the move is a tacit acknowledgment that many of the assumptions that Obama and his foreign policy team made about the world have proven to be incorrect: