Oh, good, Mitt Romney wants to pretend to have foreign policy credibility again. Just one day after taking his sixth different position on U.S. policy in Libya, the former one-term governor is complaining about the end of the war in Iraq.
Some Republicans are challenging Obama’s decision to for a complete withdrawal over the next two-and-a-half months.
“President Obama’s astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women,” said Mitt Romney, one of the GOP presidential candidates.
Hmm. In 2008, Iraq and the United States agreed to a Status of Forces Agreement that was identical to the wishes of then-Sen. Barack Obama. Since then, President Obama has kept his promises, and gradually brought down U.S. troop levels. Today the White House announced the end of America’s military presence in the country, right on schedule.
Which is part is the “astonishing failure”? And why is it, exactly, that Romney believes the U.S. military presence should simply continue on, indefinitely?
Romney added today that he’s concerned that “political calculations” were part of the decision making. Think about that one — Mitt Romney, whose decision-making process generally involves sticking his finger in the air to see which way the winds are blowing, is accusing someone else of making “political calculations.”
If the Romney campaign was able to type that one up with a straight face, I’d be very impressed.
But the larger point to keep in mind is that Romney, while doing his best to pretend to understand international affairs, is frequently incoherent on the subject. Remember the time Romney told ABC News he would “set a deadline for bringing the troops home” from Iraq — but only if it’s a secret deadline? How about the time Romney, more than four years into the war in Iraq, said it’s “entirely possible” that Saddam Hussein hid weapons of mass destruction in Syria prior to the 2003 invasion? Or the time Romney pretended “Hezbollah and Hamas and al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood” were all the same thing? How about my personal favorite: the time Romney made the bizarre assertion that IAEA weapons inspectors were not allowed entry into Saddam Hussein’s Iraq?
It’s not just the Middle East, either. Last year, Romney tried to trash the New START nuclear treaty in an op-ed, prompting Fred Kaplan to respond, “In 35 years of following debates over nuclear arms control, I have never seen anything quite as shabby, misleading and — let’s not mince words — thoroughly ignorant as Mitt Romney’s attack on the New START treaty.”
I’m not surprised Romney wants to weigh in on a major development, and feels the need to take cheap shots at the president today. But Romney is simply clueless. Maybe he should go enjoy a little quiet time while the grown-ups talk.