The net result was that two Middle East nations that were at least neutral toward the United States, in contrast to others who are hostile and belligerent, were turned into countries where Islamic extremists created turmoil, and one in which Islamic terrorists killed the American ambassador and those who came to his aid.
President Obama and Secretary Clinton inherited an Iraq where terrorists had been soundly defeated, thanks to Gen. David Petraeus’ “surge” campaign, which both had opposed when they were in the Senate.
But the Obama administration turned victory into defeat by pulling American troops out of Iraq, against the advice of top military leaders, setting the stage for the emergence of Islamic State and its triumphant barbarism that attracted adherents who began waging a terrorist war inside Western nations, including the United States.
A whole series of disastrous military and foreign policy decisions have led to public criticisms by an extraordinary succession of former secretaries of defense and top generals who had served under the Obama administration. Such public criticisms of any administration, by its own former high officials, are virtually unheard of.
One of these secretaries of defense, Robert Gates — who has served under several administrations of both parties — criticized Trump as well. Secretary Gates said: “The world we confront is too perilous and too complex to have as president a man who believes that he, and he alone, has all the answers and has no need to listen to anyone.”
Plenty of criticism
Secretary Gates also criticized Clinton, so this was no partisan attack. Unfortunately — perhaps tragically — she and Trump are our only alternatives this election year.
On the domestic front, as well, Trump is an uncertainty, while Hillary is a guaranteed catastrophe. Given the advanced ages of various Supreme Court justices, whoever becomes the next president can expect to have enough appointments to that court to determine the future of American law — and American freedom — for decades after that president’s term of office is over.
On racial issues, Clinton has repeatedly pushed the idea that blacks are besieged by enemies on all sides, and need her to protect them — in exchange for their votes. Trump has at least supported charter schools, which are one of the few avenues through which the next generation of blacks can get a decent education.
There are no good choices, but nevertheless we must choose.