No presidential decision is as politically hazardous as the war decision. That’s because voters are quicker and more ferocious in turning on their chief executives when wars go awry than when events become troublesome in other areas of governance.
Herewith, then, a catalogue of the country’s five worst wartime presidents, men who took their country to war, or continued an inherited war, but couldn’t bring success to the war effort. In four instances, we can see what kind of price they paid, or their parties paid, for their lack of success. In the fifth instance, the case of Barack Obama’s war decisions in Iraq, Afghanistan and surrounding Mideast lands, it’s still an open question what kind of price will be paid….
In one sense, it may seem unfair to place Obama in company with these other wartime presidents. For one thing, he didn’t initiate these wars but rather inherited them from George W. Bush….
On the other hand, presidents don’t get to make excuses based on what they inherit in taking office, nor do they get to trim on defining their success in relation to the performance of their predecessors. Obama inherited a mess; his job was to clean it up; on balance the situation got worse on his watch—not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but also in the surrounding region.