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For six long years George W. Bush has kept opinions about Obama’s policies to himself. While Cheney has more than made up for the absence of the last administration’s feelings, W was of the mindset that it is “unpresidential” to speak badly of other Presidents. Maybe he is right, but certainly to the chagrin of Conservatives.
That was until Saturday night when W spoke to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas. During his speech he stated the obvious (to us Conservatives) but nonetheless, it was refreshing to hear it from the man who has been the bane of every political bomb thrower, blamer and punchline.
Selected statements as reported from Bloomberg:
Obama, in his view, was placing the U.S. in “retreat” around the world. He also said Obama was misreading Iran’s intentions while relaxing sanctions on Tehran too easily.
Bush said that Obama’s plan to lift sanctions on Iran with a promise that they could snap back in place at any time was not plausible. He also said the deal would be bad for American national security in the long term: “You think the Middle East is chaotic now? Imagine what it looks like for our grandchildren. That’s how Americans should view the deal.”
On Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2011, he quoted Senator Lindsey Graham calling it a “strategic blunder.”
Obama promised to degrade and destroy Islamic State’s forces but then didn’t develop a strategy to complete the mission, Bush said. He said that if you have a military goal and you mean it, “you call in your military and say ‘What’s your plan?’ ” He indirectly touted his own decision to surge troops to Iraq in 2007, by saying, “When the plan wasn’t working in Iraq, we changed.”
“In order to be an effective president … when you say something you have to mean it,” he said. “You gotta kill em.”
I don’t know if W finally letting loose has anything to do with his brother’s likely candidacy for President. One would hope that, like most of us, it’s simply because he has had enough of the feeble and feckless foreign policy, whose disastrous results will be hoisted onto the next President.
Whatever your opinion is of the Iraq War and the interventionist policies of the last administration, the indisputable fact is that the 2007 surge worked. Iraq, in a relative sense, was stable.
In 2015 American troops still have a presence in Korea, Japan, Germany, and sparingly located in other historic hotspots worldwide. Obama’s inability to negotiate a new status of forces agreement is, by all measures, one of the most consequential foreign policy failures in modern history.
As we head toward 2016, Hillary must either decide whether she wants to defend Obama’s policies or hide from them. With Obama’s predecessor now apparently comfortable entering back into political forum, I hope we hear much more of W’s reality based perspective.