Obama Hits Back Against GOP Warmongers: No Amount Of US Firepower Can Hold Iraq Together

On CNN’s New Day, President Obama made his strongest statement yet against Republicans who are calling for ground troops in Iraq. The president said, “There’s no amount of American firepower that’s going to be able to hold the country together.”

Transcript via CNN:

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We gave Iraq the chance to have an inclusive democracy, to work across sectarian lines, to provide a better future for their children. And, unfortunately, what we’ve seen is a breakdown of trust. There’s no doubt that there has been a suspicion for quite some time now among Sunnis that they have no access to using the political process to deal with their grievances.

So, part of the task now is to see whether Iraqi leaders are prepared to rise above sectarian motivations, to come together and compromise. If they can’t, there’s not going to be a military solution to this problem. You know, there’s no amount of American firepower that’s going to be able to hold the country together. I made that very clear to Mr. Maliki and all the other leadership inside of Iraq.

BOLDUAN: But by going into the country, to support this Iraqi government, to support Iraqi forces now, there’s a real risk that you will very likely be seen as supporting the Shiite side. Isn’t that inflaming the tension further and thus doing exactly what ISIS wants?

OBAMA: Yes, actually not, because the terms in which we’re willing to go in as advisers initially is to do an assessment of, do they still have a functioning chain of command, and is their military still capable? But what we’ve also said is that if we don’t see Sunni, Shia and Kurd representation in the military command structure, if we don’t see Sunni, Shia and Kurd political support for what we’re doing, then we won’t do it.

BOLDUAN: Finally, do you really believe in your gut that this change can happen, that they can unify in Iraq?

OBAMA: I think we’ll know from soon enough. They don’t have a lot of time. There’s a timetable that is in place under their constitution. The good news is that so far at least all the parties have said that we want to abide by the constitution.

So, they had the chance, but, you know, ultimately what I think the vast majority of Americans understand is that we can’t do it for them, and we certainly can’t redeploy tens of thousands of U.S. troops to try to keep a lid on a problem if the people themselves don’t want to solve it.

President Obama is correct. The United States gave Iraq more than a fair chance, and literally trillions of dollars in support. The problem has always been twofold. The ability of the Iraqi government overcome sectarian differences and unify the country, and the willingness of the Iraqis themselves to fight for their government.

What Dick Cheney, John McCain, Marco Rubio and other Republicans are either openly advocating, or hinting at is a bigger US role in Iraq. Some Republicans are seeking to exploit the ISIS problem in Iraq, in the same way, that they used 9/11 as a reason for the initial invasion of Iraq. Counter terrorism can’t be used as an excuse for propping up the Iraqi government. The intentional confusion of the two goals is what got the United States into Iraq in the first place.

The US will do their part, but at some point the Iraqis must display a willingness to fight for their own government. If the Iraqi people aren’t willing to fight to keep their government, the United States can’t do it for them. For people like Dick Cheney, sending more combat troops to Iraq isn’t about helping the Iraqi people. Cheney is only concerned about protecting his legacy. If the Bush installed government falls in Iraq, it will be the final crushing blow to the Bush legacy of failure.

President Obama is making sure that this nation doesn’t again go down the path of failure blazed by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

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