President Obama's surprisingly warm words about the Iraq War on Wednesday caused the equivalent of a double take all over Twitter.
Many have said that the US condemnation of the Russian invasion of Crimea is somewhat hampered by America's past in Iraq.
But, in a speech on Wednesday, Obama gave a staunch defense of the way America had handled the war:
“It is true that the Iraq War was a subject of vigorous debate – not just around the world, but in the United States as well. I happened to oppose our military intervention there. But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory, nor did we grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state could make decisions about its own future.”
Many journalists and commentators pronounced their faint astonishment about Obama's comments:
Kind of incredible to hear Obama defend the Iraq War: "We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory,” or seek to gain Iraq’s resources
— Brett LoGiurato (@BrettLoGiurato) March 26, 2014
How often do you hear Obama say anything positive about the Iraq war? Says even there "America sought to work within the int'l system."
— Kevin Liptak (@kevinliptakcnn) March 26, 2014
Odd to hear President Obama hold up Iraq as an example of a proper/sound form of invasion
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) March 26, 2014
And we've come full circle, #Obama defends Iraq War as legal.
— Daniel Wright (@DanSWright) March 26, 2014
President Obama compares Russia's actions to US invasion of Iraq, defending it as different. Surprising he went there.
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) March 26, 2014
That was, by far, the most generous accounting of the Iraq war I have ever heard Obama deliver.
— Scott Wilson (@PostScottWilson) March 26, 2014
Obama defending Iraq. Wow.
— John Nolte (@NolteNC) March 26, 2014
Interesting to hear POTUS use the Iraq War as positive talking point rebutting Russia
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) March 26, 2014