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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Friday, August 08, 2014

For Obama, Iraq Move Is a Policy Reversal - President Was Early Opponent of Iraq War and Made a Campaign Pledge to End It

From The Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama stepped in front of the cameras on Thursday to utter words he hoped he would never say as commander in chief.

"I've therefore authorized targeted airstrikes if necessary to help forces in Iraq," Mr. Obama said in a statement from the White House. "Today America is coming to help."

The return to military engagement in Iraq is a reversal for Mr. Obama, whose early opposition to the war that toppled Saddam Hussein, and his promise to end it, fueled his long-shot campaign for the White House.

It also puts a spotlight on what has become a familiar feature of the Obama presidency, in which the leader of the most powerful military in the world has become defined by his reluctance to use it.
 
The last time Mr. Obama authorized military strikes was in Libya in March 2011. Even then, with the U.S. leading a coalition of nations, he showed himself to be a reluctant warrior.
Just as Mr. Obama touted the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq during his re-election campaign, White House officials initially pointed to the intervention in Libya as a model for the kinds of coalitions that could sustain a military intervention. A recent surge in violence there has quieted that view.
 
In every military decision Mr. Obama has faced since taking office, people in the room say the burden of proof lies heavily with officials advocating the use of force. Mr. Obama pulled back at the last minute on U.S. military strikes against Syria last summer in response to President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons, a move he previously said would cross a "red line."
 
Repercussions from that decision have rippled across the globe. U.S. allies have questioned whether the U.S. would continue to back them, and the president since has had to personally reassure leaders from Europe to the Middle East and Asia as to America's steadfastness.
 

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