Remember when George W. Bush rallied support for the military occupation in Iraq on the country’s emotions after the 9/11 attacks? Of course you do. It was political move that, sadly, manipulated about 80 percent of Americans into supporting a war fought on false pretenses that had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden. The war even had bipartisan support in Congress 12 years ago. Well, the GOP is at it again, and the song is very much the same.
Republican senators Lindsey Graham (SC) and Marco Rubio (FL) have all noted support for military action in light of the new fighting and aggression from militant groups in Iraq. Their reasoning? It would cause another 9/11. This is fundamentally wrong because they’re doing the same thing that the Bush Administration did post-9/11. They are heralding an isolated incident as justification for a separate conflict: textbook GOP scare tactics.
Lindsey also insisted that America needs to work with Iran to help with Iraq, a good idea except for one thing: Iranians hate America. They hate America even more so since our occupation in Afghanistan redirected heavy drug traffic (Afghanistan has a huge poppy/opium/heroin trade) into Iran, increasing the number of heroin addicts in the country.
Short-sightedness, knee-jerk, irresponsible, and hypocrisy are all terms applicable to the Republicans’ relationship with the war in Iraq. Most everyone knows why the war was short-sighted, knee-jerk, and irresponsible, but the hypocrisy narrative deserves some special attention.
The GOP was hot-to-trot, supporting the war in Iraq during the “Dub-ya” years. However, that support was refocused on Obama’s withdrawal plan at the beginning of his first term. Even John McCain, who was Obama’s heated presidential opponent just months before, supported the withdrawal plan. That support changed two years later.
In late 2011, the GOP, including McCain, criticized Obama’s announcement (acknowledging that Obama’s withdrawal plans have been mostly talk and hardly any follow-through) to remove all American military forces from Iraq by the end of 2011. Support for withdrawal split the GOP. Graham and McCain said that withdrawal would be a “clear victory for Iran.” Graham didn’t want us to Iran a “win,” whatever that means, now he wants us to ask them for help.
Since that year, things in Iraq neither peaked nor valleyed, there was some fighting but nowhere on the scale of what it once was. In fact, murders in Chicago once topped the deaths in Afghanistan in a single year, a testament to both the horrors in major American cities and the situation in the Middle East. However, things in Iraq have gotten worse than what they’ve been in a few years and politicians on the Hill are scrambling for solutions. Enter GOP blame on Obama for something they created and supported.
The GOP is now saying that the new turmoil in Iraq, where militants with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have been fighting with government forces, is because of Obama’s withdrawal plans. Repeat: the GOP thinks Obama’s withdrawal, which they supported within the first 100 days of Obama’s presidency, is causing all the problems that have recently flared in Iraq.
Now, members of the GOP are saying that we should stay in Iraq and that we should get Iran’s help while we’re at it too, or else another group of Afghan, Islamic militants are going to hijack and crash several commercial aircraft into American buildings. Touting a tragedy to sway public opinion is a rotten tactic, and how can the GOP be so arrogant to think that the same, tired old tactic is going to work again?