In golf, Obama’s favorite pastime, the “mulligan” has become SOP in friendly games.
A mulligan is a stroke that is replayed (due to bad luck or a blunder) from the spot of the previous stroke without penalty. The result is that the hole is scored as if the errant shot had never been made.
Now the president expects the country to give him a mulligan, or a do-over, on Iraq.
It isn’t happening.
First there is that little matter of the status-of-forces agreement, SOFA. Obama claims he couldn’t get one with Iraq. in 2011, that was his excuse for pulling our troops out of the country. A status-of-forces agreement protects our troops from being prosecuted should they run afoul of the law while defending a foreign country.
Here’s the rub: Obama insisted that it be approved by the full Iraqi Parliament, which at the time couldn’t agree on when to break for lunch. It should be noted that we have or have had similar agreements with some 100 countries around the world and most are simply agreements between heads of state. It should also be noted that they have worked quite well.
In June, with Iraq in danger of falling to ISIS (the new name for Al Qaeda which Obama wants us to believe he destroyed) it took Obama about a nanosecond to come up with a SOFA — not from the Iraqi Parliament, or even the acting head-of-state, but from the country’s foreign ministry.
What changed? Political expediency.
We expended so much blood and treasure in Iraq, the thought of abandoning the country to terrorists bent on our destruction was simply too much for the American people to bear.
Initially, we went into that country with a shock and awe demonstration of overwhelming force. Obama’s timid effort to help Iraq with the use of airpower reportedly has been dubbed by some military leaders as “shock and yawn.”
In the last couple of month, the U.S. and a small number of partners averaged seven airstrikes a day against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria. In a serious campaign there would have been 100 times that number with support from ground troops.
To make matters worse, Obama announced in advance that his effort “to degrade and destroy” ISIS would be done with no American boots on the ground. Obama said he was happy to lead the effort against this dangerous enemy, but he wanted our friends to do the heavy lifting.
Not surprising, none of our friends stepped up to do this difficult work. In fact, Obama’s much ballyhooed coalition has been a flop. Yes, the Saudis, UAE, French, Australia, Great Britton and assorted others have contributed a limited amount of money, space and humanitarian aid. Some flew a few missions but that is about all. It is nothing more than set dressing — getting their tickets punched — in order to help this president prove they are behind his pathetic effort.
No serious military expert expects this mission to succeed without American boots on the ground for one simple reason: With the exception of the Kurds, which are vastly outnumbered and fighting for their lives, no other army in a Muslin-led country can be expected to get the job done.
Traditionally, in those countries leadership positions go to the politically connected, not necessarily those who have military skills. Yes, we trained the Iraqi army, but when we got out of Dodge, Nouri al-Maliki replaced our hand-picked military leaders with politically reliable Shiites. When they faced their first serious threat, it was not a surprise that they turned tail and ran.
Yes, a mulligan is often permitted among friends on the golf course but it is strictly disallowed in serious competition. Earth to Obama: This is a serious competition!
Another problem with giving the president a mulligan on Iraq is that when this do-over is allowed, the game is played as if it never happened.
When we left Iraq, it was “sovereign, stable and self-sufficient.” Those are not my words. Those are not George W. Bush’s words. Those are not the words of Republican operatives. Those are the words of Barack Obama.
When we pulled out of Iraq, we left a vacuum, a vacuum that was quickly filled by Iran and later ISIS. We can’t go back in and replay this game as if it never happened!
If only the American people could have a mulligan on the 2008 and 2012 elections.