Tags: Barack Obama | George W. Bush | ISIS/Islamic State | War on Terrorism | Dana Milbank | Obama | Bush

Dana Milbank: Obama Is the New G.W. Bush

By    |   Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 07:33 PM

President Barack Obama's presidency is becoming like that of George W. Bush, writes a Washington Post columnist.

Dana Milbank draws comparisons between the 43rd and 44th presidents in a column published on the paper's website Monday.

Milbank's comments came after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced his resignation on Monday.  Reports say Hagel was forced out by Obama, whose foreign policy was not in line with Hagel's — particularly on the subject of the U.S. military offensive against the Islamic State (ISIS).

Bush, Milbank points out, saw his own secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, resign with two years left in his presidency. Rumsfeld's resignation came just after the 2006 midterm elections.

"As with Bush, the ouster comes as a war in the Middle East is going badly — then, the Iraq war, now, the bombing of the Islamic State terror group," Milbank writes.

"Rumsfeld's ouster led to the surge in Iraq, and Hagel's departure comes amid signs of an expanded role for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria. And, as under Bush, this guarantees that Obama will leave his successor an ongoing U.S. war in the Mideast — quite possibly the sort of ground war Obama vowed to undo."

Milbank quotes Dov Zakheim, who worked in the Pentagon during the Bush administration, as saying Hagel was a "sacrificial lamb" at the hands of the Obama White House. Zakheim said the administration is trying to minimize military involvement in the battle against ISIS.

"They'll agonize as long as they possibly can, but the clock is ticking a lot faster than they anticipated," Zakheim said in Milbank's piece.

Milbank concludes that Hagel was forced out over the military's increased presence in the Middle East because of ISIS — after the Obama administration withdrew the majority of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The Republican former senator, a decorated veteran . . . was brought in to help Obama wind down wars and to shrink the Pentagon," Milbank writes. "His strong ties to the military and his reluctance to use force (he had opposed the Iraq surge) made him an ideal man for the job, and his battle wounds from Vietnam gave him the moral authority to answer the chicken hawks who opposed the contraction of the military.

"But now Islamic militants have taken over much of Iraq and Syria, and even Jimmy Carter has said the Obama administration was too slow in responding. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has begun to float the idea of ground troops. Even recovering isolationist Rand Paul has called for a declaration of war.

"Obama, whether he likes it or not, is going to need a Pentagon chief to oversee this war he doesn't want to fight."

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President Barack Obama's presidency is becoming like that of George W. Bush, writes a Washington Post columnist. Dana Milbank draws comparisons between the 43rd and 44th presidents in a column published on the paper's website Monday.
Dana Milbank, Obama, Bush, ISIS, war
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2014-33-25
Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 07:33 PM
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