On ABC’s The Week this Sunday morning, The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol argued over the United States’ role in the current conflict in Iraq, and whether the current crisis stems from the policies of President George W. Bush or President Barack Obama.
Vanden Heuvel believes that the central problem of foreign policy in the United States is the lack of a real solution for Iraq, and she believes that “the architects of this tragedy that have cost this country trillions of dollars and thousands of lives” should be held accountable.
The liberal editor went on to criticize the conservative media’s “arm chair warriors” and lack of accountability, stating that if Kristol feels so strongly about the war in Iraq, he should enlist in the army himself.
Over one million Iraqis have been displaced in the time since the beginning of the war, and vanden Heuval argues that this is due largely in part to the United State’s lack of accountability in the region.
“The humanitarian aid for what we have done to that country is a crime,” she argued.
Kristol calmly retorted that at the end of 2011, President Obama said, “We have a stable and peaceful Iraq, mostly due to the sacrifices of the American soldiers and the marines.” This overly presumptive declaration of peace and stability by Obama is what has resulted in such colossal losses in the region.
President Bush made some mistakes in Iraq and was punished for those mistakes electorally in 2006 and 2008, Kristol reminded vanden Heuval. But, Bush did make up for those mistakes in 2007 by ordering the surge in Iraq, leaving things peaceful. But Obama further complicated this situation by pulling out of Iraq in 2011 and allowing the Syrian civil war spin out of hand.
“The president signed an agreement with the Iraqi government in 2008 to withdraw and President Obama tried to negotiate with Maliki couldn’t get the status of force agreements that would grant immunity to our troops,” Vanden Hueval reminded Kristol. “The issue now…this country cannot pour more men women money into it. It need diplomacy, it needs together political resolution and bringing the region together.”
The War in Iraq will likely cost the United States over $3 trillion, in sum. Each guest on the show agreed that the effort has been a ”colossal” waste of money, but no one agreed on the cause, nor the means for a solution.