I wonder what results I would get if I posed the following question to 100 Americans:
Which president presided over a more deadly and war torn Middle East, George Bush or Barack Obama?
I’ll bet you a week’s vacation on a ranch in Texas that Bush would be voted the more deadly president by a wide margin. I wouldn’t be surprised if even Republicans had the same view. Without a doubt, Obama is trying to build a legacy of peacemaking the Middle East. So, I think it’s instructive to look at the data. You know how much I love numbers! In this case, they are nothing short of heart stopping.
According to Iraq Body Count, a British-based NGO, 9,475 Iraqi civilians were killed in 2013, compared with 10,130 in 2008 when the country was “at war.” So, roughly a draw.
But, here’s the truly mind boggling statistic. In 2013, according to the International Institute of Strategic Studies, more than 75,000 people died as a result of armed conflict or terrorism in a swath they call the Greater Middle East. IISS started their database in 1998, when the Greater Middle East accounted for 38% of conflict-related deaths. Last year, it was 78%. Even though Obama has been in office 5 years to Bush’s 8 and even though there were more official “wars” during the Bush administration, the Obama administration has dramatically eclipsed the number of violent deaths in the Middle East.
And, with his crossed red lines in Syria, failure to lead on Libya, debacles in Benghazi, and free handouts to the mullahs in Iran, the damage has probably just begun. The awful state of affairs here in the US under this president tends to make us forget how truly dreadful his foreign policy foibles have been. Fixing the US economy may actually be possible when the right guy takes office. It won’t happen quickly, but I think it can happen. Fixing the messes he has created with his amateur hours overseas will not likely be fixed in any of our lifetimes.