After the US spent untold billions of dollars and lost thousands of American lives in a failed attempt to remake Iraq into some type of secular Jeffersonian-style democratic republic, the Persian Gulf nation has slipped into a full-blown civil war. Some experts are suggesting that Iraq might even split into three separate countries. With the Sunni rebel group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria having seized control of huge sections of the nation and neighboring Syria, Iraq’s US-backed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is swiftly losing credibility as a leader.
Iraq War veterans have been forced to watch their efforts unwind on television, after many lost friends securing since-fallen areas like Mosul and Fallujah and spent significant time training Iraqi forces that would later drop their weapons and run in the face of conflict. Understandably, a broad debate has emerged over what went wrong, with neoconservatives blaming Obama for pulling out of Iraq, despite the fact that he did so according to the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement signed by former Republican President George W. Bush. On the other hand, US Senator Rand Paul pointed the finger at neoconservatives like Dick Cheney, expressing that, had we followed the foreign policy of former President Ronald Reagan, the nation never would have gotten itself involved in the quagmire in Iraq in the first place.
Michael Reagan, the adopted son of former President Ronald Reagan, seems to agree with Rand Paul’s point of view. In March of this year, when Rand Paul penned an op-ed for Breitbart called “Stop Warping Reagan’s Foreign Policy,” Michael Reagan tweeted a link to the article with the added comment, “Rand Paul gets it.” This week, the son of the Republican Party’s favorite President went even further in an opinion piece for the Albany Herald, apologizing for his own support of the War in Iraq.
Said Reagan, confessing early concerns about the sensibility of the Iraq War, “I had serious doubts about the United States going to war in Iraq in 2003. But I joined the bipartisan parade and supported the commander in chief. I figured George W. Bush knew more than I did about the situation in the Middle East. I also figured he had lots of good reasons to go to war and assumed his administration knew what it was going to do after our easy military victory.” However, he was skeptical of the need for a full-blown invasion if the rationale was to stop Saddam Hussein from developing weapons of mass destruction. “If the whole idea of going to Iraq simply was to get rid of Saddam Hussein and his invisible weapons of mass destruction, we should have just sent some Special Forces guys in to do the job in the middle of the night.”
Though Reagan indicated that President Obama bears responsibility for the disaster in Iraq, he penned tough words for his ideological allies who also supported the original push for war, “But we conservatives have to take a lot of the blame too. It was us who supported going to war in Iraq in the first place, even though Bush 43 didn’t have an entrance strategy or an exit strategy.”
After so many American families lost loved ones in a war that seems now to have served little purpose, Michael Reagan humbly offered an apology for his own support of the invasion and occupation, “As a conservative who supported the war in Iraq and my president, I apologize to all of the families of those killed or wounded in Iraq. Going to war in Iraq seemed so right at the time. But I didn’t think it through and neither did Washington. Next time, I promise I’ll know better.”