Whether or not you believe the Iraq invasion by the U.S. is justified, I fail to see how a war that left a million dead and an Iraq subject now to constant Al Qaeda attacks can be compared favorably to an invasion that left one dead. Yet President Obama, despite posturing himself as opposed to the Iraq War back before his presidency, claimed that what the Russians have done in Crimea is worse.
President Obama, whose presidential campaign in 2008 took off in large part because of his criticism of the Iraq war, on Wednesday used that war as a contrast to what Russia is doing in Ukraine.
Speaking in Brussels, Obama dismissed suggestions by Russia and its supporters that the Iraq war undercuts the United States’ credibility in criticizing Russia’s incursion into Crimea in Ukraine.
“It is true that the Iraq War was a subject of vigorous debate – not just around the world, but in the United States as well,” Obama said. “I happened to oppose our military intervention there.”
Obama added: “But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory, nor did we grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state could make decisions about its own future.”
As Jason Ditz points out regarding Obama’s claims:
Which is to say the US forced a puppet government into power before it left, despite Prime Minister Maliki losing the last election, and put in place an election system so crooked that even the Maliki-appointed election commission resigned en masse yesterday rather than take part in April’s planned vote.
Every week Iraqis are killed by Al Qaeda related terrorists who could never get into the country before the U.S. invasion. Here is the summary for one day in Iraq: 39 killed and 74 wounded. Two days earlier: 68 killed and 81 wounded. This is now daily life (and death) in Iraq. No matter how unethical Russia’s actions might be, or how justified the Iraq invasion was, we hardly left Iraq “intact” and there is far more support for Russia in Crimea then there ever was in Iraq for their “liberation” by U.S. forces.
Obama appeals to “the international system,” but that same system was bought by U.S. taxpayer money to manipulate the Ukrainian elections to get an approved regime. Our alleged respect for Ukrainian sovereignty didn’t stop us from financing and organizing a coup in that country.
None of this justifies Russia, but it does make us sound completely unconvincing.