Pres. Barack Obama may involve the U.S. in another Middle East war in Iraq. His comments Thursday after a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the White House will likely raise eyebrows among Democrats.
Suddenly, the former junior senator who voted against the Iraqi war and condemned the Bush administration over it, sounds like an Iraqi war hawk.
"I don't rule out anything" when it comes to an American response to worsening violence in Iraq, Mr. Obama said. The president claims his “national security team is looking at all the options” available.
The fragile Iraqi democracy that the Bush administration helped create during the Iraqi war is on the brink of collapse and Mr. Obama is trying to catch up to recent events unfolding there. Baghdad is under siege by a three-pronged advance by Taliban and Kurds who have taken over oil fields.
Mr. Obama has been virtually silent on Iraq as the situation deteriorated over recent months; however, the president claims he and his security team have been engaged.
“This is an area we’ve been watching with a lot of concern, not just over the last days but the last several months."
There is scant support in the U.S. for another Iraqi war involving US troops, money and military hardware and the administration has a poor record when it comes to building political coalitions at home and overseas.
It is difficult to imagine Mr. Obama gaining support from many congressional Democrats, Republicans or Independents if one of his unlimited options involves air strikes or boots on the ground in Iraq.
Leading Democrats have condemned the Iraqi war in the past and used it as campaign fodder against Republicans. Mr. Obama's Sec. of State, John Kerry, voted for funding that war before he voted against it.
The notion of a Democratic administration announcing an open-ended military commitment to Iraq as the country slips into a civil war with Taliban extremists won't likely sit well with the American people either.
Under the Obama administration, relations with Middle Eastern countries and most European allies are worse after 5 ½ years. Israel, America’s only Middle East ally, has distanced itself from the president over Iran and Palestinian issues.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military was downsized by budget cuts under the Obama administration and the nation’s troops are battered and war-weary after multiple deployments.
Additionally, recent polls show the American people are more politically polarized today than ever before.
American air power alone is not likely to contain the militant’s surge since jihadists are already within 60 miles of Baghdad — but taking military action would likely draw sharp rebuke from both sides of the political aisle for the president.
The Taliban have vowed to take the war to Baghdad, and if they do, all eyes will turn to Obama after today's speech.
The situation in Iraq highlights the administration’s diplomatic impotency overseas and at home where upcoming midterm elections are looming for wary Democrats.
Meanwhile, England, America’s closest ally, made it clear Thursday that it has no intention of getting militarily involved in a second Iraqi conflict.
Mr. Obama, who has made it clear to Republicans and Independents that he intends to govern by decree lacks coalitions at home and overseas required to execute effective military operations in Iraq.
Politically, beyond giving a few speeches, the president's "options" in Iraq are directly proportionate to how much collateral damage he is willing to inflict on Democrats before the midterm elections.