Candidate Barack Obama made a big thing in the 2008 campaign of promising that he would end "George Bush's War" and withdraw from Iraq immediately. In his 2012 re-election campaign, he made an even bigger thing of how he had ended the war in Iraq and brought all our troops home. Now, however, he's changing his tune. A video has been made of a group of Obama's 2012 campaign statements, with one of his more recent statements at its end.
(Click here to see the video.)
Now President Obama has decided to initiate a war. Again. (Remember Libya?) But he doesn't want to handle his war the way President Bush did. His base wouldn't stand for that! Plus, he's trapped himself with his own statements. So, as a direct result, President Obama has reportedly overruled all his generals and other military advisors, and keeps repeating his mantra that there will be "no American boots on the ground in Iraq" (and now he's adding Syria).
Of course, it's not really "no (American) boots on the ground" it's "no (American) combat boots on the ground." In part, that's because we already have thousands of American boots on the ground in Iraq. But, of course, they're not "combat troops", they're security forces and military advisors. So, of course, they're not "boots on the ground." Because President Obama has said "I want to be clear: The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission."
Along with that, President Obama wants to maintain tight control over what the troops other than ground troops do in carrying out his war. In fact, it appears President Obama's personal authorization will be required for every single mission every single strike in Syria. And it won't be very much different from that in Iraq.
To those of us of a certain age, this all gives us a profound sense of déjà vu. We've seen it all before. In Viet Nam. We had "advisors" there, and were promised no combat troops would be used. But they were, of course. And we had air strikes, all of which had to be approved in advance by Washington. It was driven by politics then, and it's being driven by politics now.
This strategy was a failure in Viet Nam. It got more than 58,000 troops killed and a lot more maimed. It's sure to be a failure here, too. President Obama's response? “I’m not going to anticipate failure at this point.” He'd rather be surprised, just as he has been by all his other failures.