Skip to comments.What Went Wrong in Iraq (Barf Alert!!!)
Posted on 06/15/2014 2:54:25 PM PDT by Kaslin
When the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003, Americans were told it would be a quick, simple project. When asked how long the war might last, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said airily, "Six days, six weeks, I doubt six months."
So what's the complaint today from those who advocated the war most vigorously? We left too soon.
Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte put out a statement the other day blaming the recent rout of Iraqi government forces on "President Obama's decision to withdraw all of our troops from Iraq in 2011." That final pullout came in December of 2011, or more than eight years after Rumsfeld expected our war to be over.
The hawks have as much trouble remembering the past as they do predicting the future. They forget that the Status of Forces Agreement between the U.S. and Iraq, which mandated the removal of all American military personnel by the end of 2011, was signed by President George W. Bush.
It was also signed by Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki. "In the end, the Iraqi leadership did not try to get a commitment through their parliament that would have made possible a continued U.S. presence after December 31," wrote Robert Gates, who was secretary of defense at the time. "Maliki was just too fearful of the political consequences. Most Iraqis wanted us gone."
Colin Kahl, who as a top Pentagon official under Obama tried to get an agreement to keep U.S. troops in Iraq, tells me that al-Maliki "was conscious of the extreme unpopularity of a continued U.S. presence with his Shia constituency. He had no interest in a sizable U.S. presence along the Arab-Kurd divide, which is what all our big troop options assumed." He also refused to give our troops the legal protections they get in other countries with U.S. bases, which was a deal-breaker.
Obama failed to secure the agreement, just as Bush had. Maybe the accord was impossible. If not, then Bush merits as much blame as Obama for the fact that it didn't happen.
Of course, the greater blame lies with Bush, since it was he and Dick Cheney who stormed into Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction, with no understanding of its internal politics, the violence they were precipitating, or the immense difficulty of constructing a stable order in an alien land. The insurgency did not begin when Obama was inaugurated. It began in 2003, and it has never ended.
The Bush administration managed to tamp it down by flooding the country with an additional 36,000 U.S. troops in 2007. But the point of the surge was not merely to suppress the insurgency. It was to give al-Maliki the time and space to consolidate control, create reliable security forces and reconcile with Sunnis who felt imperiled. He didn't do any of this, and we couldn't do it for him.
The surprise of recent days has been the utter uselessness of the Iraqi military, in which the U.S. invested so much. Some units collapsed under attack by far smaller forces, with soldiers fleeing and changing into civilian clothes as quickly as they could. At this stage, the best hope for defending Baghdad lies not with government troops but with pro-government Shiite militias allied with Iran. Yes, Iran.
We could always ship the Iraqi army weapons and equipment. But we already tried that, with destructive results. The Washington Post reported that the insurgents "seized large quantities of weaponry from the security forces when they overran their bases, including vehicles, arms and ammunition that will help the group press further offensives. Much of the equipment was probably supplied by the United States, Iraq's biggest provider of weapons."
We could also resort to air strikes, drone attacks or even ground troops. But if eight years of fighting by the American forces didn't save Iraq from chaos, another round is not likely to make much difference.
The only answer the war supporters have ever had, since their absurdly optimistic initial predictions went awry, is to continue the war indefinitely. Col. Pete Mansoor, a top aide to Gen. David Petraeus when he was commander of our forces in Iraq, said the U.S. effort would have to go on for "many, many years to come." Another Petraeus adviser, Stephen Biddle, said "perhaps 20 years" would suffice.
How about forever? Except it might not be long enough.
... Obama is a sunni muslim, so that explains it.
Looks like any where in the southwest
Whereas pulling them all out had no effect....riiight.
All Bush, all the time...
Obama built this all by himself.
Simple. Greedy, corrupt, Marxist politicians on Capitol Hill is what happened in Iraq. The American people should shove their “rules of engagement” up the politicians @$$es. Their idiotic and moronic “ROEs” have killed more American military personnel than all of our enemies put together.
Towel Head Tijuana!
“””When the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003, Americans were told it would be a quick, simple project.”””
Actually W said the war on terror would be a long hard fight. But let’s keep facts out of it.
How many days before we captured Baghdad in 2003? We did in fact reach our initial military goals in days and weeks. Record time, btw. What we did not plan for was the insurgents that started immediately. The military action to move and take Baghdad was as good or better that expected. Even with setbacks like out northern divisions being locked out by turkey at the 11th hour. Not to say we didn’t account for what’s next to the criticism of all levels on the military from planners all the way up to the White House.
We needed to take over this country and sit on their heads, for several generations. If we were not willing to do that we just should have bombed the heck out of them and left it at that.
I keep thinking about that Ann Coulter column that got her fired from National Review. Of course the part the freaked them out was “convert them to Christianity”.
But we didn’t need to actually change their religion, but we sure as heck needed to change their culture.
Invade - sure, kill leaders - sure, change the culture - NO! That would be racist.
So, you know, here we are.
And I am really sick of hearing that we needed to get out, get out.
How long have we been in Germany, Korea, Japan?
That’s how long we needed to stay in Iraq, Afghanistan and quite frankly we should have gone on to Syria, etc.
I think Bush blew it the night of 9/11 when he couldn’t wait to say “Islam is a religion of peace”. He should have said “tonight we declare war on Jihadis”.
...which the Clintons during the 90's consistently claimed were there.
Funny how they always leave that detail out.
I love how it is now Bush who ended the Iraq War. Amazing!
It should have been clear that invading Iraq meant that we would have to be occupiers for at least 20 years. You just don’t remove Saddam, then let the chips fall and leave.
Someone explain to me what the point is of this trio finding it nesessary to look like topsy, bopsy, nopsy, parroting out some benign statement or other, trio style?
I think W said “religion of peace” to try quell a stem of violence that was on the verge of eruption that was beginning in this country against anyone who looked middle eastern. Whether they were Islamist or not.
That's what the Mission Accomplished banner behind Bush referred to. He was mocked ceaselessly for it by the Demonrats and the left when the insurgency erupted and our troops had to stay.
He sure did
So Obama got to take all the credit for a stable and functioning Iraq. Even saying it was one of his “greatest achievements.” Then when it all blows up, thanks to leaving no residual force, he goes on a golf trip. And the media blames Bush. Amazing.
We pulled out too soon and didn’t let the government stabilize. Had we stayed a year or two more, perhaps things would have been different.