Skip to comments.Obama Wants to Reverse Bush’s Iraq Mistake In the Worst Way, and Has Succeeded
Posted on 06/16/2014 5:55:45 AM PDT by No One Special
Jeez, I take off a few days for a conference in Amsterdam, a quick trip to Bern to discuss commodity trading firms with the Swiss government, and some R&R, and the world careens to hell in a rocket propelled hand basket.
During this brief hiatus, Russian tanks and Grad rocket launchers conducted a probe into Ukraine, and a transport plane carrying Ukrainian paratroopers was shot down, killing all aboard. Whats more, the worlds most vicious, brutal, and crazed jihadist group, ISIL (aka ISIS) captured Iraqs second largest city (Mosul), where it immediately instituted a reign of terror. Not content with this, ISIL surged south, capturing Tikrit, reached the outskirts of Samara, and threatened to assault Baghdad. ISIL captured large quantities of US-supplied weapons and equipment, and bolstered its finances by looting hundreds of millions of dollars from the Mosul branch of the Iraqi central bank.
In response, the Kurdish Peshmerga seized Kirkuk, and the Iranians dispatched three battalions of its Qods force to prop up the Shia-dominated Iraqi government.
ISILs advance was made possible by the utter collapse of at least two Iraqi army divisions.
Obamas response? A peevish statement that basically told the Iraqis they are on their own, delivered in front of Marine One before embarking on a-what else?-golfing and fund-raising weekend. Obama blamed (with some justice) Iraqs government for these developments, and said more about what the US wouldnt do than what it would. Later it was announced that he would take a few days to figure out what to do, even though during his original statement he said that the developments were not a surprise: if not a surprise, why werent contingency plans in place? Why the need to mull over responses to anticipated developments?
Today the US announced that a carrier (the George H. W. Bush) would be dispatched to the Gulf. Perhaps the time to think about what to do was nothing the sort. Perhaps we just didnt have the resources in place to respond rapidly: that would be a repeat of previous problems, notably Benghazi. (This also illustrates the potential dangers of reducing the US carrier fleet below 11 decks, as some are proposing.)
US airpower could do a great deal to stop ISILs advance. The further it drives into the heart of Iraq, the longer its communications and supply lines become. These are vulnerable to air power. Similarly, any ISIL assault on Baghdad or Samara would be at the mercy of precision air ordnance.
Although I doubt that ISIL has the capability to attack Baghdad successfully, especially the face of US airpower, reversing its gains will take brutal, close-in fighting in urban terrain. The best military in the world was able to achieve this at considerable cost in places like Fallujah and Ramadi. I doubt the Iraqi military has either the capability or the will to achieve it. Thus, get ready for ISIL to control an extensive territory in the heart of the Middle East.
The Maliki government supposedly asked for US air support in Mosul, but we declined. Presumably, the experience of the last week will lead to a reversal of such decisions.
But one cannot be sure with Obama, especially where Iraq is concerned. He believes fervently that American involvement there in 2003 was a colossal error, and has wanted in the worst way to reverse Bushs mistake, and has succeeded.
Whatever you think about the decision to invade in 2003, it happened. It is a historical fact.
Sunk costs are sunk. You cant undo what has already been done. You can just deal with the consequences of past decisions-including past mistakes-the best you can.
The US did this in a fashion that brings to mind Churchills aphorism that the US always does the right thing, after trying everything else first. After years of missteps, the Surge and the associated Anbar Awakening produced a stable (by Iraqi standards) situation that held out hope for progress in that cursed country. As a result, Obama inherited a manageable situation, which he then proceeded to mismanage in every way possible. He snatched defeat from the jaws of a hard-fought victory, paid for in the blood, sweat, and tears of American soldiers and Marines.
This mismanagement was rooted in Obamas fixed belief that American involvement in Iraq was a blunder and a sin. Based on this belief, Obama was willing to exit Iraq under almost any terms. Even though it was widely predicted at the time that a complete American withdrawal would create a serious risk of a resurgence of the Sunni terrorists (like ISIL), in part due to the fact that our absence would permit the Shia Maliki to engage in a sectarian purge that would undo everything accomplished in Anbar and elsewhere, Obama single-mindedly pursued a course that ended with the departure of all American troops. He made only a token effort-at best-to negotiate a status of forces agreement that could have allowed Americans to remain in the country. It is arguable that he actually deliberately undermined the achievement of such an agreement.
With the Americans gone, training of Iraqs army effectively stopped, Iraqs intelligence capability plummeted, and Maliki pursued his sectarian agenda. All of these factors contributed significantly to the current disaster.
Now Obama is allegedly conditioning the commitment of American air power on the negotiation of more inclusive political arrangements in Baghdad. Yes, such arrangements are necessary to create an Iraq that is not a cockpit for Sunni-Shiite-Kurdish war of all against all. But they will take a long time to negotiate, and the immediate military problem is too pressing to await the completion of such a process. Whats more, political negotiations are unlikely to succeed while the country is under existential threat. This is especially true given that no sane Sunni leader will negotiate while the head choppers of ISIL are in ascendence. ISIL must be cut down substantially before new political arrangements can be crafted. This all means that Obamas gambit is doomed to failure.
Which may be his intention. He is so inveterately opposed to American involvement in Iraq that I can easily see him imposing impossible to meet conditions in order to preclude US re-engagement.
Obama campaigned in 2012 on the theme that he had ended the war in Iraq. War can never be ended unilaterally, except by surrender. The enemy has a say. And that enemy-ISIL-is now having that say in a very convincing way.
Whatever you think of the situation Obama inherited in 2009, you cannot dispute that he has made it immeasurably worse. Americas two most dangerous enemies in the Middle East-radical Sunni jihadists and the radical Shia Iranian government-have been empowered. Indeed, in his desperation Obama is pursuing direct talks with Iran to coordinate a response to the ISIL threat.
Right now the best we can reasonably hope for is a stalemate, with a de facto division of Iraq, with two segments under control of American enemies.
And this isnt the sole disaster in the making. Theres Ukraine, too, where American and European pusillanimity are encouraging Putin to pursue his asymmetric warfare strategy.
When I contemplate the further damage that Obama can do in the next two-and-a-half years, I am tempted to go on a permanent hiatus. It is just so discouraging to watch a great nation stumble so badly, all due to the extreme misjudgments of its chief executive. It is perhaps even more discouraging to recognize that despite the evidence of failure that lies wherever one looks, the author of this disaster is utterly convinced that his judgment has been unerring. There are few combinations more dangerous than extreme incompetence, insufferable arrogance, and an unwillingness to acknowledge empirical reality. But Barrack Obama combines those things, by the gross.
oh this author is so breezy and cool, bopping off to Amsterdam (we all know why potheads go to Amsterdam and it isn’t for a conference unless you count a conference of substance abuse)
and coming back from a vacation when most people are struggling to pay for the overwhelming debt the administration has buried us with
so sorry he’s unhappy about the world going to hell in a handbasket while he was in a druggy daze
Che Hussein Obama is saying that Maliki deserves ISIS. Which is the worse possible thing he could say.
Lets understand this. The terrorist group ISIS is populated by blood thirsty killers, former Bathist party members and thier sons and Bathist fugatives. They want to impose Sharia Law. BUT, this is all justified because the Maliki government could be more “inclusive” to Sunnis and allow them to redress thier grievances.
Imagine if Occupy Wall Street took over lower Manhattan and beheaded 1,700 random people that happened to be in business dress. Wait...sorry. Forget that analogy => Obama would support it.
I take from Obamas statement that he is without a doubt a Sunni Muslim. And, the Suadi’s and Katari’s (Sunni’s funding ISIS/ISIS) cheered when they heard Che Hussein Obama’s statement.
Time for you to go have an extra-large double espresso. What a load of crap you spewed.
you are entitled to your opinion
We need a presidential candidate to reverse America’s mistake in choosing Obama.
Most people consider the author, Craig Pirrong, to be a NeoCon.
So he is spouting off the NeoCon points just like McCain, or Cheney, or all the NeoCons.
The NeoCon talking points are that we won the war in Iraq, while Bush/NeoCons were in power, then Obama gave the victory away.
The reality is that we got our ass kicked in Iraq. We killed thousands of Americans, wounded tens of thousands, and spent trillions. And accomplished nothing except shift the power from the Sunni to the Shia, and now the Sunni want it back.
We left Iraq on Iraqi terms, not US terms. George Bush signed the Status of Forces Agreement and the NeoCons complain because Obama couldn't convince the Iraqis to sign another Status of Forces that allowed the US to leave troops there.
I am extremely tired of those who call Obama with “incompetent.” He’s a criminal, plain and simple, determined to take this country down economically, and he is allied with others who feel the same way.
This mindless post fails to live up to those minimal standards - invective is rarely a point.
One need not go to Europe to find quality marijuana or any other drug for that matter.
BTW, capitalization and punctuation exist for a purpose, please learn to use them at your next law school.
If he wanted pot all he had to do is breeze to/Denver or California.
Unfortunately, I don’t see any flaw in his analysis.
We got our ass kicked?
Man, you are seriously demented.
The ‘Miss Bush yet crowd’ never gives up.
Remember the GWB international coalition?
20 Poles and hundreds of thousands of US troops.
I like McCain on The Morning Joe equating Iraq to Germany and Japan.
They'd certainly listen. Or, at least take him and hold him for ransom. In any case, I'm sure the American people would rise and rally to his defense.
oh ok, I am mainly too tired to punctuate, but I do know how, don’t care if you believe me, will punctuate when I want to
Tell me again about WMDs in Iraq, that you neocons invented as a pretext to invade. Tell me again about the underwhelming force you sent into Iraq to be slaughtered. Show me a picture of Americans getting blown up by an IED.
Bush and Maliki signing the Status of Forces Agreement
And he is reversing Bush’s gains in Iraq the worst possible way he can.
The US-Iraq SOFA was signed on November 17, 2008 by the Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari and U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker.
Signed by George Bush in 2008. It required all US forces be out of Iraq by Dec 31, 2011
You are confused. Try reading the article you linked. You will see it was signed by the parties I cited.
“Although I doubt that ISIL has the capability to attack Baghdad successfully”
I would not bet the bank on it.
What Crocker signed had to be ratified by the Iraqi parliament and the presidency council. Then had to be signed by Bush and Maliki.
It says that that the Crocker-Zabari signing was ceremonial
Recall that, while the SOFA was being negotiated, Obama met with Maliki as a presidential candidate in July, 2008.
In confidential talks, Obama advised Maliki that -- if elected -- he would prefer that all American troops leave Iraq on a date certain and he didn't want a SOFA that had American troops remaining in Iraq.
This was what Maliki wanted to hear. And he essentially insisted on Obama's conditions while negotiating the SOFA with the Bush administration.
Obama's pre-election meddling was what caused the Bush administration to sign an unsatisfactory SOFA.
But of course the actual withdrawal timetable was set by the US Military. They have to be staged out in an orderly sequence of events to protect their rear. And their duties had to be handed off to Iraqi police/military.
I didn’t make that comment..........
Did you actually read the article?
I read it, I agree mainly with him, I just hate the easy breezy way he tries to get legitimacy based on overseas travel...........to Amsterdam? He ought to be embarrassed to admit it, like ‘I’m cool, was “out of the country”, I suppose to indicate he is reasonably successful and we ought to give a sh8 what his opinion is.
As far as I am concerned, they can keep Europe, bunch of losers.
I know its in the article. The author is suggesting something that nobody knows whether its true or not. We sure are not getting any in depth reports on cable news. That’s the part that makes me nervous.