I think that it is inevitable that the Russians would call the US hypocrites, and invoke Iraq, over the Crimean dispute.
In a perfect world, his response to this would be something like this:
The invasion of Iraq was wrong. I opposed it at the time.That would have been beautiful.
It was illegal, it resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and the displacement of millions of Iraqis.
What's more, it nearly bankrupted our nation, both morally and fiscally.
This experience reinforces our revulsion at recent Russian actions.
He could also have simply dismissed this argument out of hand. He could have called absurd, and not worth a response.
Instead, he launched into a full throated defense of Cheney's folly:
Obama struggled, however, in his attempt to defend the legality of the invasion. The war was unsanctioned by the United Nations, and many experts assert it violated any standard reading of international law. But, argued Obama, at least the U.S. tried to make it legal. "America sought to work within the international system," Obama said, referencing an attempt to gain U.N. approval for the invasion -- an effort that later proved to be founded on flawed, misleading and cherry-picked intelligence. The man who delivered the presentation to the U.N., then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, has repeatedly called it a "blot" on his record.You know, I don't get how lying to the UN is superior to saying nothing at all to the UN.
You know, I don't get how consulting the UN with no intention of listening is superior to not consulting at all with the UN.
Then, he goes further, and talks about the supposed nobility of our endeavor:
"We did not claim or annex Iraq's territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain," Obama argued. In fact, the U.S. forced Iraq to privatize its oil industry, which had previously been under the control of the state, and further required that it accept foreign ownership of the industry. The effort to transfer the resources to the control of multinational, largely U.S.-based oil companies has been hampered in part by the decade of violence unleashed by the invasion.We looted, or more accurately attempted to loot the country for our oil companies and our bankers and our defense contractors.
And then there is this bit of agitprop:
Obama concluded his speech Wednesday by arguing that whatever one thinks of the invasion and subsequent occupation, at least U.S. troops are no longer there. "We ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that can make decisions about its own future," he said.And the killing continue as well.
The people charged with making those decisions might beg to differ. The president's paean to Iraqi democracy comes one day after the entire board of the country's electoral commission resigned en masse, protesting political interference and, according to Reuters, "casting doubt on a nationwide vote scheduled for next month." Critics have accused Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of a systematic effort to remove opponents from the ballot.
Charlie Pierce and Digby are both rightly apoplectic over this.
I understand that Obama is not confrontational by nature, and that he sees himself as a conciliator and a mediator, but this goes beyond that.
He appears to be fundamentally unwilling to confront the United States' own Deep State in any meaningful way.
So you have NeoCons like Nuland in positions of authority, and his refusal to engage when the CIA tries to subvert a constitutional investigation.
If the US military and intelligence services cannot bear to hear you tell the truth about Iraq, or for the American people to know about torture, then it means that you need to change the culture and the personnel in those services.
I hope that we will see that sort of change before January 2016.