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September 25, 2014



Three successive US presidents made a commitment to the Iraqi people. Then the fourth US President, President Obama, broke the commitment in order to "end the war" and dishonored us.

One, as Senator McCain referred to in the 2008 presidential election, there's a reason the US military has remained in Europe and Asia long past WW2. Obama should have negotiated the next SOFA with Iraq in 2010-2011, which was doable, and should not have prematurely removed the US military presence from Iraq. We were necessary for the continued development of a pluralistic liberalized post-Saddam Iraq that could be our strategic partner as a force for moderation in the region. The US military presence in Iraq was more than a necessary security presence. As in Europe and Asia, we were a vital political presence. Once our organic factor was removed from Iraq's progression, it regressed, which was a mortal combination with events in Syria.

Two, Obama should have deployed the US military to intervene in Iraq many months, even a year-plus ago, when terrorist incursions from Syria to Iraq were rising but not yet critical.

Three, Obama's policy for regime change coupled with his opposition to peace operations, most stark with Libya, has been a disaster. That must change.

The US was in firm, hard-earned position to build the peace with Iraq and we were doing so consistent with our standing as leader of the free world. After Obama erroneously ended the peace mission, the US was still in position later to protect Iraq and perhaps return to building the peace.

It remains to be seen whether at this point President Obama irreversibly burned too many of the bridges to the peace that we had built with Iraq under President Bush.

Whether he has or not, Obama's priority is the proximate challenge of defeating and neutralizing the enemy, whatever that takes.

Looking ahead, this time around, the President - Obama and his successors - must restore a rigorous leadership commitment to building the peace on par with President Bush's commitment to peace. Again, it remains to be seen whether it's even possible to rebuild the bridges to the peace that Obama has burned.

What can you do about it, Professor?

Cure the corrupted social political dialogue around the Iraq mission.

The proper understanding and sustained support of the American people are necessary to restore President Bush's level of commitment to peace-building to American leadership. To that end, you and other subject-expert pundits should endeavor to set the record straight in the public zeitgeist that Operation Iraqi Freedom was, in fact, right on the law and justified on the policy. (The primary sources of the 1991-2003 Gulf War ceasefire clearly show that President Bush correctly followed the enforcement procedure with Saddam.)

The law, policy, and procedure of the 1991-2003 Gulf War ceasefire enforcement and 2003-2011 post-Saddam peace operations - ie, Operation Iraqi Freedom - were paradigmatic of liberal American leadership of the free world. As such, if OIF was wrong, then American leadership is wrong. But OIF was not wrong. OIF was right.

In order to restore American commitment to the liberal peace, you should explain to the American people that we were right in the first place to enforce the Gulf War ceasefire mandates with Saddam and build the peace with post-Saddam Iraq, and thus, we are in the right to win the war and build the peace moving forward.

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