I was one of those (probably few) Americans who never believed we should have pulled out of Iraq. Naïve though I (probably) am, I still do not fault then President George W. Bush for invading this Middle Eastern country. I am (again, probably) one of the only people left who still thinks that ‘weapons of mass destruction’ was not a ploy to get us over there, in order to facilitate oil acquisitions or the money-making war machine. Color me obtuse, but I think there very well may have been WMDs in Iraq, that were somehow successfully re-located or deeply buried. We had to go there, be there, and if we had stayed there, today James Foley, Jeff Sotloff, David Haines and Alan Henning might still be with us.
I am still unable to comprehend how any thinking person could see a future where a barely stable, newly-freed-from-Sadaam Iraq would NOT be re-invaded by other, more vicious & hostile elements, if left to its own defenses. And how those elements would NOT gain a foothold, find a haven, then spread out from that haven, if unobstructed. ( And when I say ‘spread’, I don’t mean just in the Middle East.) To me, the math was simple. I know a minimal US presence was supposed to remain in Iraq, but more than minimal was needed. Commanders on the ground knew it. But the majority of Americans and the Obama administration, along with the Iraqis themselves, chose otherwise.
Understandably. Americans were war-weary, and attention & resources were badly needed on the domestic front. But a long-term, very probable consequence of US troop withdrawal was…ignored? Or not even realized? And then one day we heard the horrifying news that almost overnight, Iraq was being overrun by brutal extremists, quickly gaining & holding ground. And spreading.
Writing this article will not change what happened, and I certainly am no one of military or political influence, to shape a future course. So I don’t know why I’m even writing it. I just know that it’s been on my mind, doesn’t fade away, and so I need to do it.
I mention now & again, that I am not and have never been a supporter of Barack Obama. I never trusted him, though in the earlier stages I didn’t know why. I also at times mention that I believe the Scriptures show us that it is God who raises up & brings low kings and governments. For this reason, I’ve stopped overtly ‘bashing’ the President. I can’t afford to expend precious time, energy & health in such negative efforts. Instead, I have to find, if I can, positives in this man and his administration. If I can. I also pray. Beyond that, it is God’s call and on His shoulders.
When you have previously opposed someone almost absolutely, it takes effort to listen with an open mind. In matters as serious as stopping the spread of ISIS, I want to be able to support this President’s thoughts and strategies. Watching him on 60 Minutes this past Sunday, believe me, I listened. Without prejudice.
I think my first & strongest impression of Barack Obama, as he answered host Steve Kroft’s questions, was of a deep, implacable assurance. Not arrogance, nor intractability. He was sure of his answers. His knowledgeable assessments and explanations – as I perceived them, at least – reassured me to some extent. But they did more than that. Even though the entire interview may have been staged, I realized how little I knew about such overwhelming atrocities as extremist invasions, and how ill-equipped I am to even consider faulting the judgments of the experts. In anything. Way above my pay grade.
Which doesn’t necessarily mean that my initial (and ongoing) impressions of the President were/are wrong. Maybe my beliefs & ideas are valid ones, trumping existing policy if ever implemented. But…I’m not the one in the saddle. I’m not the one with the years of hard experience & the knowledge that comes with that. Others are, and maybe I need to let that trump my opinions & impressions in life-and-death matters of international import. Maybe many of us should now see such things this way. Sometimes, the wrong person is in the job, engaging in a subversive agenda…yet still, some good results.
…this being said, I don’t advise throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And what I mean by that, in this case, is I can’t disregard my own six years of severe distrust of this President. Going back to Victor Davis Hanson’s article “Dr. Barack and Mr. Obama” – the first such article like that that I’d ever seen – through to Andrew McCarthy’s recent piece “The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist” (It’s a fictitious name the Obama administration invented to deceive us), Mark Levin’s declaring emphatically that Obama is in a full-blown cover up of ISIS, and everything else I’ve read, seen, or heard in between, I cannot pretend ignorance. I cannot blithely skip through the field of daisies, chasing butterflies & assuming everything is light-hearted and lovely. I know much better now.
…so while on the one hand, I am stepping out in faith, trusting God enough to trust President Obama in this instance and moment of global threat, on the other hand I’m saying, But I still don’t trust him, and probably never will.
I find my way out of this dichotomy in the words of King David: “LORD, my heart is not haughty…neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.” (Psalm 131:1) I remember that Proverbs 21:1 tells us that the LORD holds the king’s heart, and turns it “whithersoever He will.” I, and all of us, must with one accord now have as much faith and hope in God’s hand on our leadership as we can, not only in prayer and fasting, but in our thinking and our words as well.