Barack Obama entered the White House with no relevant experience to be president.
Whatever you say about President Trump, he ran a major corporation and made billions of dollars. Barack Obama was a state legislator, a part-time job, and then a U.S. senator for a couple of years, much of which he spent running for president.
In his new book, Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, former Defense Secretary James Mattis tears into Obama, faulting him both for his incompetence and his conceit.
According to the Washington Examiner:
He details in the book how Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who was in charge of Iraq policy, were “ignoring reality” in the country and made a political decision to withdraw troops, a choice that allowed the return of al Qaeda in a new and more ambitious guise, the Islamic State.
“In Washington, the debate swirled throughout 2011 about how many, if any, U.S. troops should remain in Iraq,” Mattis writes, after the American-led coalition had established “a fragile stability” in the country after President George W. Bush sent a surge of troops in 2007. “Central Command, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the new Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, who had replaced Bob Gates, continued to recommend to the White House retaining a residual force, as did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,” Mattis writes. But they were “talking to the wind.”
The White House “dealt with Iraq as a ‘one-off,’ as if the pullout of our troops there would have no regional implications, reinforcing our allies’ fears that we were abandoning them. I argued strongly that any vacuum left in our wake would be filled by Sunni terrorists and Iran.”
Mattis believes he was vindicated by events. Obama declared the war over, but “Iraq slipped back into escalating violence. It was like watching a car wreck in slow motion,” Mattis says. “All of this was predicted — and preventable.”
Obama made “catastrophic decisions” in Iraq, Mattis concludes. And he did so because he ignored the advice coming from multiple military and civilian advisers, thinking he knew better than all of them.
“At the top, then as now, there was an aura of omniscience. The assessments of the intelligence community, our diplomats, and our military had been excluded from the decision-making circle,” Mattis writes.
Mattis also described Obama’s handling of Syria, and his failure to enforce his “red line” against the use of chemical weapons, as a disaster with grave immediate and long-term consequences.
“Old friends in NATO and in the Pacific registered dismay and incredulity that America’s reputation had been seriously weakened as a credible security partner,” Mattis writes. “Within thirty-six hours, I received a phone call from a friendly Pacific-nation diplomat. ‘Well, Jim,’ he said, ‘I guess we’re on our own with China.’”
Mattis concludes, “Over the next several years, Syria totally disintegrated into hell on earth. The consequences included an accelerated refugee flow that changed the political culture of Europe, punctuated by repeated terrorist attacks. And America today lives with the consequences of emboldened adversaries and shaken allies.”