By the end of two terms, most presidents become what they hate. And Barack Obama is no exception.
He came to office deriding the Bush administration for its intervention in Iraq.
Yet on Wednesday, Obama declared war against the Islamic State – in the same region that Bush tried to save.
And, ironically, by spreading the war beyond Iraq and into Syria, Obama is going farther than Bush ever attempted!
Parts of his speech even sounded like they came from Bush himself…
The President Enters an Alternate Reality
Here’s how he described his strategy in his speech Wednesday night: “I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against [the Islamic State] in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency. If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”
I couldn’t help but hear George W. Bush’s voice when Obama said, “If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven… It’s America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists.”
Heck, Obama’s speech could’ve easily been written by Karl Rove or one of Bush’s other advisors.
Isn’t this the same Obama who pledged to remove the United States from “permanent war footing”? Yet now he’s launching the country into another open-ended military mission.
A former Obama official, Rosa Brooks, seemed to be thinking the same thing. As she told The Washington Post, “How did this group that came in determined to remedy the Bush administration’s overreach… end up embroiled in a far more open-ended conflict that has just as far-reaching consequences?”
Well, the reason is that Obama has become a captive of the system.
You see, Washington’s permanent class is calling the shots, and they love war. War grows Washington.
Take Bush, who claimed to be a conservative.
He left a legacy of bigger government, including behemoths such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA). Bush spent billions on open-ended warfare, and Washington prospered.
Now Obama has cast his lot and his legacy with the same group of insiders. And the American people are the ones left out in the cold.
Polls show overwhelming opposition to intervention in Syria, but now that Obama has finally figured out how to make his peace with the permanent class, polls don’t matter. In fact, it seems that Obama is now living in a totally different reality than the rest of America.
Take, for instance, the vignette in Obama’s remarks, which almost made my head explode.
In it, Obama described how his strategy is different than Bush’s, and he actually said these words:
“This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.”
The problem with this line of thinking is that both Yemen and Somalia are disaster zones and failed states!
To point to the strategy we’ve pursued in these countries and call them a success proves that Obama lives in a different reality.
At this point, we can only hope that it doesn’t lead him to make costly mistakes in this campaign against terror.
Your eyes on the Hill,