Same Song, Different Verse

Why is the new Defense Secretary recycling Bush-era arguments for our war in Iraq? 

An article from the Washington Post reports Leon Panetta told a gathering of soldiers, “The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked.” 

These remarks show how the Obama Administration has come full circle on Iraq. As a candidate for Senator of Illinois, Obama once said of Iraq, “There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.” 

Americans should not be surprised at the change in rhetoric from the Obama camp. For instance, according to OpenIssues,  Senator Obama once claimed,

Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. The world, and the Iraqi people would be better off without him. But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

However, President Obama’s remarks on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi reflect the hypocrisy in Obama’s foreign policy. Among a litany of accusation against the Gadhafi regime, Obama claimed, “In the face of the world’s condemnation, Gadhafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people. Innocent people were targeted for killing.” Obama went on to say, “It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen.”

What is so different about Gadhafi? Why couldn’t he be contained “until he falls away into the dustin of history?” 

Perhaps, in a cynical way, the American people should be happy that we at least are talking about Libya — never mind that Congress voted against authorizing our mission there. Where is the debate on or drone strikes against Yemen, Pakistan, and now Somalia? Obama can argue about the definition of war all he wants, but the fact remains that we are killing people around they world and the American public deserves a full account as to why.

In a better world the GOP would call for ceasing these senseless wars as part of our deficit reduction plans. I know this is too much to ask, but we can dream, right?

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