he president’s critics are so desperate to pin a foreign policy failure on the White House that they jump on every news cycle like a starving man watching a Wendy’s commercial. So when news came of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad this week, they were off to the races.
Commentator Joy Reid on MSNBC called the incident Trump’s “Benghazi moment.” Having spent years claiming the Obama team did nothing wrong in the 2012 attack in which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed, Trump-haters were quick to claim that the president had failed just like at Benghazi. It was almost as if they had forgotten their own talking points.
And as usual, they also spoke too soon. In less than 24 hours, it was clear that the American response in Baghdad was the polar opposite of Benghazi. The U.S. compound wasn’t overrun. No U.S. personnel were killed. The enemy retreated.
Then the U.S. took out Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force and several high-ranking Iraqi militia leaders in a strike outside Baghdad. And with good reason – they were planning more attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq. Yet the same critics who hailed Obama for getting Osama bin Laden immediately criticized Trump. That also looked churlish. There is really no difference. Both were terrorists. Both were legitimate targets.
While the dust-up in Baghdad falls flat for Trump-bashing, when placed in context, the incident has a lot to say about the struggle between America and the forces of mayhem in the Middle East.
Let’s be fair: The attack shows how much Iranian influence has penetrated Iraq. The Iraqi security forces literally stepped aside and let the Iranian-backed Shia militias storm the fences of the U.S. compound. That would not have happened if the people in charge didn’t tell people to step aside.