"Part of the success in Iraq involved reaching out to people that we would consider to be Islamic fundamentalists," said Obama, "but who were willing to work with us." That's from President Obama's interview with the New York Times on March 7, 2009. I guess he didn't get the memo about Islamic fundamentalism not being the kind of ideology that lends itself well to compromise and deal making. Of course, when you are The One and operate on a higher plane closer to God (and Muhammad, presumably), you come to really believe that your words are capable of doing the impossible -- the things that mere mortals (like George W. Bush and other conservatives) could never possibly do. Barack Obama belongs to the Monte Hall school of foreign policy: if you have five hair clips and a thimble in your purse, we can certainly make a deal!
The truth in Iraq, of course, is that we reached out to religious leaders who wanted to restore security and who had tired of the radical violence of Al Qaeda in Iraq and other Islamic fundamentalist groups. We weren't working with the radicals who were beheading hostages and killing American troops. Rather, the surge (which Obama opposed, still can't bring himself to call a "success" and apparently doesn't fully understand) convinced Shia and Sunni tribal leaders that it was a better bet to cooperate with us than with the Islamic fascists who didn't care how much innocent Iraqi blood they had to shed in accomplishing their goal of a totally lawless, unstable Iraq. These tribal leaders made a rational calculation that it was better to be "with us" than "against us" -- and helped to turn the tide againt both Al Qaeda and some of the more radical internal militias that were working to destabilize the country. We didn't sit down with Al Qaeda in Iraq and "work together" as the President apparently believes.
This is typical idealistic nonsense from the new president -- who firmly believes that symbols backed by the power of his presence can turn the world inside out into a better, kinder place. We've now dropped the term "war on terror" so as not to further upset the Islamic world (which would love us if we just spoke nicely to them), we're pulling out of Gitmo and making efforts to join the UN Human Rights Commission -- the sole purpose of which is to bash Israel while giving a pass to Iran, Syria, Libya, North Korea and other human rights abusers. Its all in the effort to change the "tone" of our dealings with the world. Lots of soft music and dim lighting.
Unfortunately, this president is full of intellectual hubris, and is absolutely, positively certain that he knows best. He believes that Islamic fundamentalists are people he can "work with", as if they are folks at the local PTA meeting who are parsing the menu for school lunches. He doesn't seem to understand that Islamic fundamentalism is the heart of a radical belief system that seeks to create a world Islamic state governed under strict Sharia law. It represents a total rejection of Western culture, society and religion. It is a radical, revolutionary ideology. You can't "make a deal" with those who want to utterly destroy you.