Barack Obama’s foreign policy boast unravels after election

14 November 2012

12:02 PM

14 November 2012

12:02 PM

What a lot of things President Obama seems to have been holding back until after his re-election. Each day brings something new.

There has been the news of an attack by Iran on a US drone in the Persian Gulf. Then there is the Petraeus affair – known about for months, but only leading to the CIA chief’s resignation immediately after Obama’s re-election. The Benghazi hearings are yet to come.


And now another surprise. It transpires that the Iraqi government, a body which is only in power because of the sacrifice of thousands of American, British and other allied troops, is releasing from custody a senior Hezbollah terrorist who was in detention for killing American troops.

In 2007 the Lebanese terrorist Ali Musa Daqduq organised an ambush in Karbala in which five US soldiers were killed. Captured by UK forces he was handed over to American personnel. President Obama refused to allow Daqduq to be deported to face trial in Guantanamo and, of course, wanted American troops out of Iraq in time for the recent US election. Daqduq was handed over to the Iraqis. The Iraqi courts have since failed to convict this high-ranking Hezbollah terrorist, who has the blood of American soldiers on his hands, and have ordered him to be released.

On the campaign trail Obama was boastful about having withdrawn American forces from Iraq. Perhaps if the case of Daqduq had been discussed in the New York Times and elsewhere before, rather than after, the election, the American people might have had more opportunity to reflect on what the point was of boasting of withdrawal when it does not come with victory?

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Neil

    the American people might have had more opportunity to reflect on what
    the point was of boasting of withdrawal when it does not come with
    victory? — Would the American people bother to reflect? I doubt most Americans care about Iraq, as an American I’ve heard few mention it. Happy to get out, victory or no victory.

  • Roy

    Isn’t it equally ironic that despicable persons are freed from deportation by English judges. What is happening? Is the spinelessness of leaders showing they are afraid to act? Is the Sicilian disease among us? Are we afraid of being slaughtered in the streets so submit to treachery?

  • Baron

    and this

    what’s the bet the military budget will be severely cut at some point in the next four years?

    And rightly so, what’s the point in spending a fortune on the military when the will to deploy any of the technological marvels of its strength is missing, ha?

  • Baron

    Why cannot you see what’s happening in American through the prism of a painfully inevitable decline, once the land of the free has had its day under the sun, the times of a superpower status are numbered, gone, finished, kaput. America ain’t a dead parrot yet, it still has massive wealth that has to be leaked, sucked out, claimed by the IOU holders, the next winner or winners, but that’s only a matter of time, and under the messiah’s progressive leadership it feels it’ll be sooner rather than later.

    • Callen

      America is in danger of decline, but who is there to take the ascendancy? It may be that other powers are declining faster.

  • Harry

    Nothing that the New York Times reports can be of any importance to non-Democrats. American media is controlled by Arabs and the huge Muslim lobby. No one trusts CNN, MSNBC, ABC, the NYT and them.

  • victor67

    How is he a terrorist? The US invaded and occupied Iraq. Killing these soldiers maybe many things but not an act of terrorism. The definition of terrorism is the deliberate targeting of civillians. This man was defending Iraq against the illeagal occupation of an arab country by a western power.
    If you jump into the fire as the US did in Iraq then someone is going to get burned. Its just a pity that it is not the corrupt politicians that sent them there.

    • T. Botham

      You are confusing what he is with what he was detained as. As a member of Hizbollah, an organization formed to kill noncombatants, he is a terrorist. But he was detained on the battlefield for acts of insurgency as an enemy combatant. Insurgency is irregular – illegal – war. Enemy combatants are not prisoners of war. Under American law, he should have been sent to Gitmo. He was handed to Iraq – the sovereignty against which his insurgency was directed in his killing of American troops. Iraq should have tried him as an insurgent, because insurgency is a crime against the state, not – as you claim – a defense of it. Because Iraq is only a facade of state, it does not function under law, but by the norms of tribal and sectarian power. Corruption, despite the lovely new constitution, is the operating principle. He was released in Shi’ite (Iranian) interests. The only time in the last decades Iraq has lived under some semblance of the rule of law was during the coalition’s occupation of it. Lebanon – Daqduq’s home – is also returning to tribal and sectarian conflict, like Syria, like Afghanistan. Insurgency, civil war, “resistance” – the killing goes on.

      • victor67

        Only in the west is the Iraqi “Insurgency” regarded as such. In fact the uprising had massive popular support among ordinary Iraqi’s and was not just made up of foreign Jihadi’s as the MSM parroted Pentagon dispatches.
        In terms of Hezbullah. I suggest you check your history. Hezbullah was created to resist the bloody invasion and occupation of Lebanon by Israel in the 1980s. While some of their actions could be regarded as terrorist much of what they do is authentic resistance. Their terrorism is on a par with murdering a soverign nations scientists don’t you think? As Chomsky said “If you don’t want terror, don’t engage in it”
        I can see why the need to demonize them however as they are the only Arab army to inflict a reverse on the “mighty IDF ” in the 2006 Lebanon war.

        • Baron

          victor67, Baron detects a budding desire on your part to join the freedom fighters. If you need any help paying for the ticket to the land of Palestinian democracy, let him know, he may chip in.

          • victor67

            Only if Murray joins the IDF. I think you will find his advocacy of killing the natives is stronger than my desire to defend them.

        • T. Botham

          I was making a legal point: the rule of law v. warlordism. But it really doesn’t help your case to paint insurgents as resistance fighters. The Sunni and Shiite acts of insurgency/ resistance primarily targeted – and still target, despite the departure of American troops – the civilian population, the “ordinary” people. Sure, the ordinary people were happy when the Americans got it, and both sides can blame America, but “massive” unified popular support for violence which has killed and maimed thousands of people exists nowhere but in propaganda. Support for the acts rather depends on which faction the ordinary person identifies with. Sadly, once again the people are seeking a strong strongman hoping for stability.

          Yes, I know the common apologies for Hizbollah. I know that there is a false theory of “authentic resistance” – love the” authentic” – traceable to Prof. Khalidi on gleanings from Nuremberg jurisprudence which provides legal cover for vicious fanaticism. I suggest that you do not assume that your authorities are not known to those who disagree with you. The quoting of Chomsky merely puts the padlock on the box you inhabit.

    • Kevin

      The American government presumably does not see it that way.

      It has been argued that the Iraq War was a continuation of the earlier Gulf War, whose ceasefire terms had been repeatedly violated. It has also been argued that it could not in any case have been illegal because international law is customary law (including the custom, “treaties must be kept”), and that custom is determined by sovereign states. In other words, sovereign states are free to determine when current custom may be overridden by a supervening moral principle. (For example, urgent humanitarian intervention ought not to be avoided merely because negotiators omitted to include it in a treaty.)

      The terms “terrorist” and “freedom fighter” may be relative, but it is not irrational for both parties to follow through on their different beliefs.

      This includes a Western journalist concluding that American occupying forces did not deserve to be killed (as with Roman soldiers in the Palestine of Christ’s time.)

    • Baron

      So, victor67, the guy would have presumably preferred to be boiled in oil if Sadam got hold of him before the illegal invaders toppled the monster, right?

  • Linda Le Roux

    Only Fox News were widely reporting this prior to the election but other pro-Obama media outlets did not seem interested in the story. Will look forward to Obama’s news conference later today.