The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Back to Iraq

Posted on | June 17, 2014 | 32 Comments

The “optics,” as they say, are unpleasant:

Nearly 300 armed American forces are being positioned in and around Iraq to help secure U.S. assets as President Barack Obama nears a decision on an array of options for combating fast-moving Islamic insurgents, including airstrikes or a contingent of special forces.
The U.S. and Iran also held an initial discussion on how the longtime foes might cooperate to ease the threat from the al-Qaida-linked militants that have swept through Iraq. Still, the White House ruled out the possibility that Washington and Tehran might coordinate military operations in Iraq.
Obama met with his national security team Monday evening to discuss options for stopping the militants known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Officials said the president has made no final decisions on how aggressively the U.S. might get involved in Iraq, though the White House continued to emphasize that any military engagement remained contingent on the government in Baghdad making political reforms.
Still, there were unmistakable signs of Americans returning to a country from which the U.S. military fully withdrew more than two years ago. Obama notified Congress that up to 275 troops would be sent to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the American Embassy in Baghdad. The soldiers — 170 of which have already arrived in Iraq — were armed for combat, though Obama has insisted he does not intend for U.S. forces to be engaged in direct fighting.
About 100 additional forces are being put on standby, most likely in Kuwait, and could be used for airfield management, security and logistics support, officials said.

As with the hasty and unwise total withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, this redeployment is essentially a matter of domestic politics for the Obama administration. Having made opposition to “Bush’s war” a centerpiece of their campaign rhetoric since 2004, when John Kerry was the anti-war candidate, Democrats then nominated Barack Obama in 2008 based on his promise to completely withdraw from Iraq.

From a standpoint of policy, it would have made sense to leave at least a token military presence there — say, 5,000 troops holding a small base near the Baghdad airport — both as a tactical foothold, and to signify a continued U.S. commitment to defend a stable, peaceful and democratic Iraq. But, no, the Democrats (and Obama foremost among them) were fanatically determined to un-do all Bush had done, and so the U.S. presence had to be reduced to zero.

Now, predictably, we realize that zero was not an ideal number.

Yet it is still obvious that domestic politics — not policy — is controlling the Obama administration’s response to the Iraq crisis. While partisan apologists scramble to exculpate the president for the consequences of his errors, the administration is caught between its own pacifist commitments and the pragmatic political realization that anarchy in Iraq looks bad for “swing voters.” The pressure to “do something” — anything — was irresistible, yet Obama will make only a token deployment, too small to make a difference, because a larger deployment would be tantamount to an admission that his general policy has been all wrong.

Now, imagine the cussing of senior NCOs at Fort Bragg as they react to chatter about sending Special Forces into the Iraq mess. This scenario has “Mogadishu” written all over it and, as much as these guys love to fight for the sake of fighting, the prospect of being thrown willy-nilly into this Iraq disaster cannot be a welcome thought. The seriousness of the Iraq crisis is impossible to exaggerate:

[T]he events unfolding in Iraq point toward a much wider war, reaching from the Iranian frontier to the Mediterranean coast. The long open border between Iraq and Syria, and the big stretches of ungoverned space, has allowed extremists on each side to grow and to support one another. . . . [T]wo of the strongest groups fighting in Syria, were created by militant leaders from Iraq, many of whom had fought with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia against the United States. The vast swath of territory between the Euphrates and the Tigris — from Aleppo, in Syria, to Mosul, in Iraq — threatens to become a sanctuary for the most virulent Islamist pathologies, not unlike what flourished in Afghanistan in the years before 9/11. Among those fighting with isis and Al Nusra are hundreds of Westerners, from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. At some point, the survivors will want to go home; they will be well trained and battle-hardened.

Meanwhile, a “senior advisor” to the Obama administration is blithely describing a return of the Islamic caliphate as inevitable.

 

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Comments

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Obama is facing invasions at home and overseas, both due to his own actions.

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  • https://twitter.com/Mthomps016 M. Thompson

    If we have to go in again, it’s time to break out the nukes.

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  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady
  • Bob_from_Ohio

    “Among those fighting with isis and Al Nusra are hundreds of Westerners,
    from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. At some
    point, the survivors will want to go home; they will be well trained
    and battle-hardened.”

    Or they will be dead before they go home.
    We have 3 years of a civil war in Syria and no US or Israeli deaths as a result.

    Let Sunnis kill Shiites and Shiites kill Sunnis. Let Iranian soldiers die instead of US ones. The longer and bloodier this thing, the better.

    We can always kill the survivors later.

  • Good Stuff

    the story I am watching

    The Iraqi crisis has allowed the Kurds (Peshmerga) to grab contested areas and seize the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The Iraqi army has been in no position to resist thanks to the onslaught mounted by the ISIS. Kurdish leaders view the sudden collapse of the Iraqi state across the north of with barely concealed glee, regarding this as a unique opportunity to strengthen their own hand.

    Oil-Rich Kurdistan Capitalizes On Iraqi Chaos

    http://goodstuffsworld.blogspot.com/2014/06/oil-rich-kurdistan-capitalizes-on-iraqi.html

  • richard mcenroe

    This is going to make Task Force Smith look like Patton’s relief of Bastogne.

  • Steve Gregg

    Why should we fight for Iraq when the Iraqis won’t?

  • maniakmedic

    The left owes a lot of apologies to a lot of people. A LOT. Which of course won’t happen because collectively they have the memory span of a goldfish (on a GOOD day) and as far as any of them are concerned they have ALWAYS been fine with sending troops into Iraq. That seven year temper tantrum they threw during the Bush administration never happened.

    On the one hand I want to scream in frustration at the idiocy inherent in the leftist ideology. On the other I want to pop some popcorn and surround myself with my guns, ammo, and emergency supplies and watch the idiots burn the world down (and themselves with it).

  • RKae

    A war used to be something that you “won” or “lost.” Now it just sort of fades out with no distinct ending, like a bad pop song.

    We dropped 2 atomic bombs on Japan. Finis. The war was over. A few short years later, they couldn’t get enough of Elvis, Sinatra and baseball.

    Let’s just win a damned war in my lifetime!

  • JeffS

    It didn’t help at all when the Iraqi government appointed it’s own politically acceptable (but incompetent) officers to their military, instead of the professional officer cadre trained by American military personnel.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket!

  • Steve Gregg

    Islam means peace.

  • http://doofenshmirtz-evil-inc.blogspot.com/ PCachu

    Dead folk are remarkably peaceful.

    Not sayin’ anything, mind you, I’m just sayin’.

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Islam actually means submission…

  • maniakmedic

    Kind of funny how that works.

    Also, the ones left behind by the dead tend to be fairly taciturn themselves.

  • Lemuel Vargas

    Even Al-Qaida disowned ISIS as too extremist for their purpose. Talk about ironic….

  • maniakmedic

    But that would necessitate somebody losing, which, as we have been assured, is certain death for their self confidence. And if we can save some savages’ self confidence at the expense of a bunch of guys too stupid to do anything but join the military (patriotism, lol!) then it’s well worth the sacrifice. Mostly because those making the calls aren’t making the sacrifices, but as a wise woman once said, what difference, at this point, does that make?

    (/sarc tag for those who don’t yet know me)

  • maniakmedic

    I would also like to point out that there is a child holding a gun pictured here. Where is Moms Demand the Right to Tell You Your Business? Shouldn’t they be absolutely outraged by this? Shannon Watts is clearly falling down on the job.

  • concern00

    The scary thing about your comments is that the more we lose control both overseas and at home, the more likely we are, at some future point, to resort to desperate measures. Just ask MacArthur.

  • concern00

    If Obama has taught us one thing, it’s that the left will never apologize. All of their failed decisions and policies, no matter how dire the outcome, no matter the casualties, are paved with good intentions…and that is all that matters to them.

  • concern00

    I’m sure AQ will come onboard when convenient.

  • Kirby McCain

    They maybe doing everyone a favor. If not for them the terrorists might torch the oilfields.

  • maniakmedic

    And only they can have good intensions. Everybody not spouting the leftist utopian line is fundamentally evil so all their intensions are evil as well.

  • Quartermaster

    “Never apologize. It’s a sign of weakness.”

    Capt. Nathan Brittles, U.S. Cavalry

  • Quartermaster

    Where is Bloomberg? Or Biden? DiFi, or Chucky Shumer?

    So many falling down on the loony screamer job.

  • Quartermaster

    Where is Bloomberg? Or Biden? DiFi, or Chucky Shumer?

    So many falling down on the loony screamer job.

  • RKae

    How ’bout if we bomb the hell out of them, but then every single survivor gets a junior soccer trophy just for showing up? EVERYONE’S A WINNER!

  • ZZZZZZZZ

    I find it interesting that no trolls have stopped by to proclaim Dubya’s culpability for this Charley Foxtrot. That’s their standard shtick whenever Iraq is in the news, with even a hint of the deployment of US forces, or problems with the Iraqi government. I saw some at the start of this meltdown, on other blogs. Now, not so much.

    What’s up, lefties? Has Obama’s poo flinging finally stuck to his own hands, hmmmmmm?

  • Quartermaster

    The mere appearance of such a monster would be a crime against humanity. Prolly the epitome of such.

  • Quartermaster

    I’ve noticed they are running out of energy. It’s getting easier and easier to take them down even on their own terrain. I think many are getting depressed. To bad they still won’t wake up.

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