In recent days, a number of Republicans have used the ongoing troubles in Iraq as an opportunity to criticize the Obama administration — which, they say, should have negotiated a status of forces agreement that would have kept American troops there for years beyond the 2011 withdrawal.
Former Tea Party Congressman and retired Lieut. Colonel Allen West is the latest history-reviser to jump on the bandwagon of blame. In a new blog post entitled, “Iraq: The New Liberal Killing Field,” West compares Iraq to Vietnam — from which, he says, the U.S. was also wrong to withdraw.
Obama, he writes, is “a charlatan, a political imposter who, with the aid of a complicit, propagandized media, made our nation believe there was honor in retreating.” By my own recollection, a complicit, propagandized media was the impetus to the Iraq War — not to its long overdue conclusion, which was desired by an American public painfully aware of the war’s injustice and futility.
West also suggests that by compelling the U.S. to leave Vietnam, Democrats caused the genocide in Cambodia perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge. ”Then it was the killing fields of Pol Pot,” he writes, “today the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.”
According to West, the U.S. should be more involved in the Middle East, and should ditch the communistic liberal progressives and Democrats, who, he says, “ardently protested and undermined the efforts of our military forces – then Vietnam, now Iraq.”
“Just as the Democrats abandoned Southeast Asia,” he continues, “they have now abandoned the Middle East.”
Of course, as a military officer who narrowly avoided a court-martial during Operation Iraqi Freedom after he physically abused and threatened a detainee named Yehiya Kadoori Hamoodi, Allen West’s opinions on the subject don’t carry much weight.
During the incident, West allowed his soldiers to beat the man — an Iraqi police officer he suspected of involvement in a plot to assassinate him. Having received no confession at that point, West then threatened the man’s life with a pistol, firing near his head in a mock-execution.
Not only did he break the Geneva Conventions, the effort was fruitless. According to the New York Times, West later testified at a hearing, “At the time I had to base my decision on the intelligence I received. It’s possible that I was wrong about Mr. Hamoodi.”
The illegal, unjust, and futile Iraq War was a mistake — ending it was not. Ultimately, the problems in the Middle East won’t be solved through U.S. military occupation — a fact made abundantly clear by Allen West’s own behavior.