George W. Bush has been living quietly in Dallas for more than two years. Yet President Obama appears to be unable to resist taking a potshot at his predecessor. It’s rare for a president to do this to another president in a major speech. But Barack Obama did it last night. James Carafano calls it the worst moment of the speech. But Bush probably had a more positive impact on the Middle East than the Preening One.
As Christopher Hitchens points out, without relative success in Iraq, the Libya rebels would have faced impossible odds:
Can anyone imagine how the Arab spring would have played out if a keystone Arab state, oil-rich and heavily armed with a track record of intervention in its neighbors’ affairs and a history of all-out mass repression against its own civilians, were still the private property of a sadistic crime family? As it is, to have had Iraq on the other scale from the outset has been an unnoticed and unacknowledged benefit whose extent is impossible to compute. And the influence of Iraq on the Libyan equation has also been uniformly positive in ways that are likewise often overlooked.
Not only that but had Gaddafi not been frightened into abandoning his nuclear weapons by what he saw happening in Iraq, the uprising in Libya would have been a much bloodier story. How about a little graciousness, Mr. President? (Of course, it may be that Obama wishes that the Middle East had remained calm. The need to act has clearly been annoying!)