Obama’s Criminal Negligence in Iraq - The president didn't end the Iraq war. He restarted it.

Obama’s skepticism of American power apparently blinded him to how vital that power was to the maintenance of peace and stability. Perhaps this discomfort with American power meant the gains of the Iraq war were a burden to him. If so, he couldn’t do anything to reverse the 4,500 lives we lost and $1 trillion we spent to liberate Iraq. But maybe he could make people stop saying the sacrifice had been worth it. If that was his purpose, then there is at least one area in which his foreign policy is succeeding. As for the rest, behold the Middle East in flames.

President Barack Obama came to office promising to “bring a responsible end to the war in Iraq.” That should have been easy enough to do, considering the war was already over. Alas, he seems to have had in mind something quite different than “ending a war.” Perhaps because of his general bias against exertions of American power, Obama seems to have convinced himself that our continuing military presence in post-war Iraq was the same as continuing the war.

This novel conception of when wars end suggests Obama may yet pull our forces out of Europe and the Far East in order to “end” World War II. It also helps to explain how he came to equate “responsibly ending the war in Iraq” with throwing away everything we had gained from it. Obama made it plain from the start that he saw no reason to keep investing in a mistake. He let our military presence in Iraq lapse, and left the Iraqi government to fend for itself when it was still far too fragile. There is a reason we stayed in Germany and Japan and South Korea for decades after the fighting stopped: We didn’t want our sacrifices to be for nothing, and we didn’t want to have to fight again.

Now the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS — the very al-Qaeda forces we defeated in Iraq in 2007 — have come back and taken over huge swaths of the country, including most of the Sunni heartland to the west and north of Baghdad. Meanwhile, over in next-door Syria, Obama stood by while the rebels fighting Bashar Assad came under the dominance of extreme Islamist forces, and then sold them all out with the chemical-weapons deal in September 2013. Consequently, we have thrown the Iraqi government into a de facto alliance with the murderous Baathist regime in Syria — a feat that not even common enemies and a common ideology could achieve during Saddam’s rule — and now both governments find themselves increasingly dependent on Iran.

With Iran’s power and prestige thus enhanced, and rapidly filling the vacuum left behind by the U.S., the mullahs now see the possibility at long last of extending the Islamic Revolution across the Fertile Crescent. With our impending agreement to let Iran keep its nuclear-weapons programs, we can now settle comfortably into the role of a de facto subordinate ally of Iran, whose forces we may soon be helping with air strikes in Iraq. If you’re wondering where that leaves our actual allies among the Gulf kingdoms and Israel, they are wondering the same thing.

Foreign-policy mistakes are inevitable, and should generally be expected, if not always forgiven. But in its approach to Iraq and the Middle East as a whole, the Obama administration has been criminally negligent. It could be years and maybe decades before we see a situation as good as the one Obama found when he got to office — and things are almost certainly going to get far worse before they get better.

By the time he got to the White House in early 2009, Obama should have realized that the war in Iraq was already over, and that we had won. Exactly two years earlier, the Iraqi security forces were reaching critical mass, simultaneous with the start of America’s own surge, and the Sunni tribes of Anbar province were all coming over to the U.S. side. By the summer of 2007, when I was embedded in Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi forces had utterly defeated al-Qaeda’s Iraqi offshoot, ISIS, in a series of massive joint operations. The following year, the Shiite prime minister Nouri al-Maliki personally orchestrated the offensive that crushed the Iranian-backed militias collected in and around Basra in southern Iraq.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/380344/obamas-criminal-negligence-iraq-mario-loyola

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commented 2014-06-22 22:27:02 -0400 · Flag
A.A. writes:

All you say is true, but don’t forget that by the time Bush was exiting the Surge had won the war and the region was stabilized to the degree that they had elections. The Surge – prosecuted after the Dems (and that horrific, cancerous virus called Harry Reid) had called the war “Lost” while thousands of young men and women were still serving in the field of battle…and act of treason so egregious I still cannot believe that this man and his cohorts (who did everything they could to destroy Bush with his idiotic war) did not hang from lampposts. Never in the history of American politics was something that politically corrosive perpetrated…except during the end of the Viet Nam war (which was also lost willfully by the Dems after the Paris Peace Accords had won a peace of sorts). So that is 2 for 2 for that side of the aisle. Grotesque.

Bush and his cohorts were imbeciles. As Ben wrote, they could have offed Saddam and exited. But Obama’s ideology and his incompetence allowed everything that had been accomplished (in spite of all the tragic miscalculations and arrogant amateurishness of the Bush gang) to burn asunder. He owns this fiasco now.
commented 2014-06-22 22:18:52 -0400 · Flag
Richard writes:

You don’t think anything can be done? We will have jihaadist’s garnering billions in oil revenue. This is a true disaster. This is the reason we invaded Afganistan; to get the hostile regime out. Now we have something far worse. We should never have invaded that quagmire in the first place. There was never any end-game planned. As for the Bush policies, there really were none. They didn’t have the planning capacity to forecast the anarchy that occurred when we invaded, even though they were warned. As you recall, Rumsfeld tried to prosecute the war on the cheap, and didn’t have enough troops to secure weapons dumps much less the critical infrastructure. Obama has screwed up the aftermath, but the Bush administration created a real cluster-fuck. Let’s not white-wash their involvement. They didn’t have any “policies”- that’s the problem. They just invaded and hoped for the best. Obama managed to screw it up royally- there’s no doubt about it.

This may lead us into another war. These maniacs in Iraq will provide a lavishly funded sprain-board for international terrorism.
commented 2014-06-22 14:09:00 -0400 · Flag
Ben writes:

Apparently, you agree with the author that we should have stayed. You are right if the Bush policies would have been diligently pursued. But once Obama became President, those in Iraq knew that the old balance was over and that they had best rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. I knew that would happen and I am sure I was not alone. Obama was not about to follow Bush policies or those of the military under Bush.

The author tries to justify staying in Iraq with the fact that we have stayed in Germany, Japan, and Korea forever. The cases are quite different. For myself, we should not be in any of those three today. There was never any real need to stay in Japan once we had gotten them back on their feet after a few years, but our reasons were to gain bases to project power. Korea was a bit different, but once Korea became more powerful than North Korea then we have had no excuse to stay. To even think that 58,000 military (very few actual fighters) would stop North Korea is a joke. As for Germany, we have no reason to be there now except to support our ability to police the world – and that is a huge error of hubris besides the fact that we can’t afford it.

For the rest of the article about where we were when Obama took over, I agree with the author that there was a balance and that back then Maliki did not have to ally himself with Iran. But Obama’s election changed that and those days are gone forever. At this juncture, the mistake of destroying that balance has already been made. No way to recover it now. So we must leave it to the Middle Easterners to sort out, either restore some balance or find another road. We can’t do anything but make things worse at this point.
commented 2014-06-22 13:34:40 -0400 · Flag
Tom writes:

The fact that there are 5,000 Embassy staff on the ground in Iraq shows what a Bad Joke this country’s (USA) policies are, just like Bubba and the rest of the morons
that think the war on terror can be prosecuted as a neat and clean Law Enforcement Exercise,

what the Hell does the US think it is achieving with 5,000 bureaucrats on the ground ? building Iraqi dept.’s of education and environmental protection ?
commented 2014-06-22 13:33:18 -0400 · Flag
Ed writes:

Unless we were determined to remain the “Strongest Tribe” and do what Alexander did (have his army stay and breed new offspring with the locals) this was always going to end up in a new bloody conflict. The President wanted to check off the box on the list of promises he made regardless of the longer term costs. Shows his lack of long term interest in legacy over global stability

The American people don’t have the balls to do what is really needed in the middle east (namely big the big bad tribe for decades). Eventually when they run out of oil they will burn out of energy and we can let the 74 virgins rest….It might be after we are no longer of this earth.
commented 2014-06-17 09:44:51 -0400 · Flag
Tom writes:

Obama’s foreign policy decisions in Iraq – this Fraud, and make No Mistake that is exactly what he is – creates chaos. The Idea that the United States is now considering partnering with Iran to thwart the ISIS insurgency being just the latest example, all under the absurd by-line: US exploring break through opportunities with Iran to repel ISIS forces. As for ISIS, there are No Easy Answers at this point, mercenary forces will now be required to met out the exact same carnage that those stone age troglodytes are engaged in !
commented 2014-06-15 12:43:40 -0400 · Flag
Beauforde P. writes:

Ben, I agree with your comments on the futility of Nation-Building and that Bush should have ousted Saddam and left…but though a tragic mistake was made and it was nearly unforgivable how the Bushies prosecuted the rest of the war, by the time of the Surge a victory of sorts had been achieved and consolidated…and that is where your opinions and mine diverge.
commented 2014-06-15 12:42:19 -0400 · Flag
Ben S. writes:

Bush gets blame for trying a strategy that history shows always fails – that of nation building. A very very big mistake that cost huge amounts of money and lots of lives, all to no use. Bush was right to go in and get rid of Saddam, but then should have left.

Obama inherited that failed situation and ignored the whole thing choosing to declare success and slowly withdraw. When Obama took over, the only thing to do was to get out and admit failure. He did not know that but essentially did that by default.

Now the RINOs are trying to get us involved again to justify the deaths and funds already lost, they being unwilling to admit that their nation building was a failure. Pure insanity, doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome.
commented 2014-06-15 12:39:05 -0400 · Flag
J. Allen writes:

Iraq and most of the ME also do not respect the benefits of Western culture and science like Japan and Germany do. Japan and Germany always had a thinking class, a scientific class, and many good industries from the beginning. In recent times the issue arises of who needs industry and a work ethic when you have the petro-welfare state?

The Middle East does not have any tradition or forms of self-reflection. There is no free will as “Inshalah” “God Willing” is the reason/excuse for everything. You can’t create or adjust your own fate, so why bother?

No one from the ME or Iraq will man up and state how backwards their culture and religion is and self-criticize it. Everything is the West’s fault. Victimization at its finest.