If Obama Really Followed The “Bush Doctrine” He Would Attack ISIS

Liberals from Rachel Maddow on down have accused President Obama of following the “Bush Doctrine.” This is wrong. Bush’s doctrine of “preemptive strikes” is both neither Bush’s in the sense that he didn’t invent it (The Six Day War comes to mind, but there are others) and in that he didn’t follow it.

International law does not require you to literally wait until the bombs are falling on you. It has to be real and unavoidable, then you may attack to defend. This is not all that controversial. Bush did neither. There was no threat from Iraq. The evidence was fraudulent. That is the real Bush doctrine: fraud.

So when people trot out this “hurr durr they’re the same” argument regarding Obama and Bush, what they really mean is that Obama (allegedly) is doing what Bush claimed he did. They are not claiming Obama is lying us into a war. But since what Bush claimed he did isn’t a bad thing just because Bush did it, it’s ridiculous to try and tar Obama this way.

Even still, it’s not true. Obama has never launched a pre-emptive war. 

If he were pre-disposed to do so, he would being broader scale, boots-on-the-ground, operations against ISIS now. This is not to say that he should or shouldn’t do so, but that if he were even with two logical steps of actually following the “Bush Doctrine” he would do so.

So far I think he’s unglamorously doing mostly the right thing with respect to ISIS, but needs a longer-term strategy.