POTUS Visits Baghdad

It would have been awfully rude if the president didn’t drop in on the troops stationed in Baghdad. And sure enough, he made a quick and unscheduled stop in the “bad”-war zone, as the Democrats like to call it, to pay homage to our guys who are still doing their best to bring stability to a still-unstable place.

Yesterday, Iraq saw its worst violence in months, as Sunni and Shiite extremists continue to battle it out as they position themselves for when the Yanks finally leave. The president, fulfilling a campaign promise made to the radical left, has given a timeline for our departure, adding unneeded drama and unease to an already tense place.

David Axelrod, the president’s top strategist, engaged in a verbal war with the former vice president over the weekend, saying it was “ironic” that Mr. Cheney has said that the president’s new policies will make us less safe.

But it seems to be becoming more clear that the president’s new policies in Iraq are making Iraqis less safe. And if chaos returns to Iraq, America, and the troops who fight for our safety, will be less safe as a result.

When it comes to torture, the president is right. I have often said that the moral high ground is a useful space to occupy, and once you lose it, it is very hard to get it back. I am not an expert on this kind of thing, so I take my cues from John McCain, who knows something about the uselessness of torture. He is against it, and so am I.

It seems now that we may have engaged in something that many can classify as torture, even if the former president continues with the spin that it wasn’t. So on that particular issue, I disagree with Mr. Cheney.

That being said, the Bush administration did keep terrorists from attacking America again after Sept. 11. That is not a trivial accomplishment, but it is one that the Obama administration takes too lightly.

The president has had a successful trip (from the European perspective). His wife hugged the queen, he mugged for the cameras with Berlusconi and company, he did a town hall meeting in Strasbourg (any time you go to Strasbourg, it is a good thing), and he toured the Blue Mosque. But while the Europeans may have loved the first couple, it is hard to see what we got out of the deal. Certainly nothing in the way of more troops to Afghanistan, or much more in the way of a financial commitment to reverse the economic downturn.

Let us hope that he gets the straight scoop from his visit to Iraq. The soup is not ready to be served in Iraq yet, and taking it off the stove before its time could make America less safe.



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