As President Obama returned from a well deserved two-week vacation in Hawaii – ok, being quite facetious here – I wonder if he did any reflection between rounds of golf?
Regardless, I have been reflecting upon the words of George Santayana, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” because as President Obama returns to Washington DC he is playing his part in a repeat of history.
After the fall of South Vietnam came the rise of Southeast Asian communism. Cambodia was embroiled in a five-year civil war, from 1970 to 1975, resulting in the ascension of the Khmer Rouge. Under the brutal leadership of Pol Pot, the following four years resulted in one of the most horrific acts of genocide.
The Khmer Rouge regime contributed to the deaths of between 1.7 to 2.5 million people in its “Killing Fields” with Pol Pot at the helm. His government forced a massive population shift from urban areas to the countryside to work in collective farms and labor projects to further a radical vision of “agrarian socialism.” Executions, forced labor, malnutrition, and poor medical care took their toll, decimating approximately 25 percent of the Cambodian population.
Pol Pot’s death grip over Democratic Kampuchea (funny how communists and socialists always call themselves Democratic) finally ended with the Cambodian-Vietnamese War.
Then as now, the liberal progressives of the Democrat (there’s that word again) party ardently protested and undermined the efforts of our military forces – then Vietnam, now Iraq. Then it was communism, now it is Islamic totalitarianism. Then it was the killing fields of Pol Pot, today the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah. Just as the Democrats abandoned Southeast Asia, they have now abandoned the Middle East.
President Obama, true to form, believed that a political promise was far more important than a strategic decision. Therefore, against the recommendations of Commanders on the ground, he refused any residual force to remain in Iraq. There will be detractors who will say Americans were tired of fighting. But my response is that America was not fighting, it was committed men and women — warriors all — who had defeated a vile and vicious Islamic jihadist enemy.
Just as many, including my older brother, fought in Vietnam, and were let down by politicians’ lack of resolve, it’s happening again. Some things never change.
A true leader, principled and courageous, would have explained to the American people why a complete withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq would not bode well. A true leader would have reminded the American people of the killing fields of Pol Pot.
A true leader would have held a press conference to say the following:
“I have consulted with the Commanders on the ground in Iraq, the combat leaders, and concur with their recommendation for a residual force.
Our men and women in Iraq have done that which many, including myself and others in my party, said was impossible. Against all odds they persevered, displayed American warrior resolve, and defeated al-Qaida and Islamic terrorism.
Now, some of you might say it’s time to withdraw, retreat and claim victory, but that is not how we sustain these fragile gains. We will maintain a residual force in Iraq that will provide an external cordon for this fledgling but historic land and allow people to recover. We will position our forces along the borders with Syria and Iran in order to interdict any terrorist elements. As well, we shall station forces in northern Iraq to foster military-to-military relations with our Kurdish friends and ensure their security along with any Christian (Assyrian and Chaldean) minorities.
This may not be a popular decision, but I am not here to be popular, but a strategic-minded president, a visionary leader. I have studied history and recall what happened after our precipitous, and dishonorable exit from Vietnam, the killing fields of Pol Pot and the bloodthirsty communists.
We shall not abandon those who risked their lives to support our efforts in Iraq. We shall not steal defeat from the jaws of success. We shall not dishonor the sacrifices of so many who over these eight years gave the last full measure of devotion. We will not let up and now is the time, now is a moment when we can, and we will, drive a stake into the heart of Islamic terrorism and send a clear message, “you can run, but America will ensure that you will die tired.”
Instead, America saw a charlatan, a political imposter who, with the aid of a complicit, propagandized media, made our nation believe there was honor in retreating. That combined with the insidious lie, “al-Qaida is decimated and on the run” now means a new killing field will be harvested. It is happening on the ground where American blood was shed in order to plant the seeds of liberty and freedom from Islamists.
Thanks to President Barack Hussein Obama, the black al-Qaida flag now flies in Fallujah and may soon fly in Ramadi, — it already flies in Benghazi.
Secretary of State John Kerry has stated we will not send US troops – but he lies. Unlike the Vietnam he recently visited, this enemy will not rest until they have restored a global caliphate, and it starts in the Middle East. Somewhere, sometime, we will have to send US troops, again.
I served in Operation Desert Shield/ Storm. I served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. And I spent two and a half years in southern Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom as a civilian-military advisor to the Afghan National Army. I wonder how long it will be before the Taliban flag is flying once again in Kandahar?