I know this story is a bit old, but it deserves another look. Would Iraq be in the current bad situation (with jihadis controlling large chunks of Iraqi territory in the west and north)? Marine Corps General James Amos doesn't think so:
In a talk at the Brookings Institution on Tuesday covered by Foreign Policy's Kate Brannen, the Commandant of the Marine Corps stepped front-and-center into the political debate over the chaos in Iraq, and he took aim at the White House.
“I have a hard time believing that had we been there [in Iraq], and worked with the government, and worked with parliament, and worked with the minister of defense, the minister of interior, I don't think we'd be in the same shape we're in today,” Amos said.
While he didn't explicitly call out Obama while talking about Iraq, it's certainly being interpreted that way. And it's rather unusual for an active-duty officer to say things that can be viewed as critical towards his or her boss.
As a rule, I don't think serving officers should publicly go against the commander in chief. Resign first if they want to exercise their First Amendment rights.
(Although I also think that the military owes honest answers to Congress, which creates tensions in serving both civilian bosses, I admit.)
But our left cheered any serving member of the military who dissented from their commander in chief when George W. Bush was that commander. So the left has little credibility on complaints.
Yet what really gets me is that Amos didn't actually blame the Obama administration. General Amos simply said that our absence had a very bad effect. That's a fairly obvious observation.
How is that an inappropriate attack on President Obama when the president and his supporters claim (unconvincingly) that our absence is all Maliki's fault for rebuffing the Obama administration's efforts to stay in Iraq after 2011?
If General Amos inappropriately attacked President Obama's policy, as it is being interpreted, you have to admit that President Obama's policy was to get out of Iraq in 2011.