California senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are suddenly realizing that the escalating crisis in Iraq is a matter of concern. The Iraqi Shiite government led by Nouri al-Maliki is under assault by al-Qaeda and Sunni forcesand is near collapse.
Neither senator, however, is willing to criticize Barack Obama for abandoning the Iraqi people when he decided to withdraw U.S. troops almost three years ago.
Feinstein acknowledged that the Sunni opposition is “on the march to Baghdad” and the consequences “could be devastating,” adding that she would discuss the situation with the White House “assuming I’m asked to give my views.” She concluded, “This is a very dangerous situation.”
But Feinstein refused to indict Obama for the disastrous situation, intoning, “This is not the time for a blame game… this is a time for both sides to come together. We’ve lost a lot of people in Iraq… Iraqis have lost a lot of people… Whether that’s possible or not, I don’t know.”
Boxer took the occasion to blast George W. Bush. She said that if the U.S. intervenes, it should be “well-considered and well-executed in coordination with our allies and the Iraqi government and military.” Then she segued into Bush-bashing:
The current crisis in Iraq has its roots in an ill-conceived war that helped to fuel sectarian violence and an Iraqi government that has excluded minority populations from governing. Much American blood was spilled during the Iraq War and, while I believe we should go after ISIS–which poses a threat to the entire world–any U.S. action must be well-considered and well-executed in coordination with our allies and the Iraqi government and military, which we helped train and arm. Iraq should know that it needs a unity government now, or its future will be bleak. Some of the biggest GOP cheerleaders for the disastrous war in Iraq are now joining the blame-America-first crowd rather than working with our Commander-in-Chief to confront this crisis.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who supported the Iraq war and criticized Obama’s pullout, said Thursday, “The next 9/11 is in the making.” Graham also warned that Syria would become the next Afghanistan, and U.S. air power was critical to protect the current Iraqi government. He added that Obama is mistaken for thinking that a U.S. pullout could leave the U.S. with no concerns, likening it to Bush thinking the same thing once Saddam Hussein was gone in 2002. He encouraged Obama to consider staying in Afghanistan, because a similar fallout could occur there, once the U.S. leaves.