Research: Commentary

Why Should We Listen to Neoconservatives Who Criticize Obama?

LA Times, February 13, 2015 | Letter

By William D. Hartung

 To the editor: John Bolton's assertion that President Obama's national security strategy has set America back "decades" is a selective reading of recent history. If any event of the past decade has undercut America's power and reputation, it is the Bush administration's 2003 invasion of Iraq, which was energetically supported by Bolton, a key member of George W. Bush's foreign policy team. ("Obama's 'lead from behind' security strategy will plague America for decades," Op-Ed, Feb. 9)

Independent estimates put the full costs to society of our misadventure in Iraq at more than $3 trillion — money that would go a long way toward closing federal budget shortfalls over the next several years. Unsupported allegations that Saddam Hussein was acquiring weapons of mass destruction have undercut the reputation of U.S. intelligence agencies. And Islamic State grew out of Al Qaeda in Iraq, an organization forged in opposition to the U.S. occupation.

We will be living with the consequences of our disastrous intervention in Iraq for years to come. The last thing we should do is take Bolton's advice and double down on the policies that got us into our current predicament in the first place.

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