You don't get credit for seeking approval and then doing what you want anyway when it's denied
The president's speech today was very strange. And it points out just how badly our position Ryan Grim reports:
President Barack Obama defended the American invasion of Iraq Wednesday in a high-profile speech to address the Russian takeover of Crimea. Russian officials, Obama noted, have pointed to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq as an example of "Western hypocrisy."
Obama struggled, however, in his attempt to defend the legality of the invasion. The war was unsanctioned by the United Nations, and many experts assert it violated any standard reading of international law. But, argued Obama, at least the U.S. tried to make it legal. "America sought to work within the international system," Obama said, referencing an attempt to gain U.N. approval for the invasion -- an effort that later proved to be founded on flawed, misleading and cherry-picked intelligence. The man who delivered the presentation to the U.N., then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, has repeatedly called it a "blot" on his record.
I can't imagine anyone on those planet who would buy the president's rubbish on that topic. You don't get extra credit for "seeking" UN approval and going ahead when it's denied, fergawdsakes. If anything that makes it worse! It proved to anyone with eyes that it doesn't matter what the UN thinks --- if the US wants to invade a country it's damned well going to do it. "Asking" the UN is a mere formality. I think most of the nations of the world got that "message" loud and clear.
Obama, in his speech, noted his own opposition to the war, but went on to defend its mission.Yes, we invaded a sovereign nation and killed many thousands of its people for their own good. Pay no attention to the litany of lies our government told to justify it.
"We did not claim or annex Iraq's territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain," Obama argued. In fact, the U.S. forced Iraq to privatize its oil industry, which had previously been under the control of the state, and further required that it accept foreign ownership of the industry. The effort to transfer the resources to the control of multinational, largely U.S.-based oil companies has been hampered in part by the decade of violence unleashed by the invasion.
I heard the speech this morning and nearly choked when I heard President Obama --- the man whose rationale for running for president in the first place was based upon his superior judgement compared to anyone who voted for that misbegotten war --- now standing before the international community and defending that travesty and drawing a fatuous moral distinction between what we did just a decade ago and what is happening in Russia today. I am embarrassed for him. And for the United States.
He went on to say that we left Iraq so we're not bad guy imperialists (like you know who) which is one of America's traditional claims to excuse our special brand of imperialism: we had good intentions and at least we didn't turn them into an American colony. Bully for us. The people who lost their families in any of these wars are unlikely to be moved by the fact that we remove our soldiers from the territory once our wet work is done.
Grim concludes with this upbeat current report about the results of our glorious adventure:
The president's paean to Iraqi democracy comes one day after the entire board of the country's electoral commission resigned en masse, protesting political interference and, according to Reuters, "casting doubt on a nationwide vote scheduled for next month." Critics have accused Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of a systematic effort to remove opponents from the ballot.
Across Iraq, 68 people were killed the same day the commissioners stepped down.
That's surely something to be proud of.