Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Blame Game: They're Missing the Point

Very good and dare I say fair and somewhat balanced report on Obama’s policy in Mideast and South Asia war zones.  Whose strategy would you prefer?  

Fact Check: Did Obama Withdraw From Iraq Too Soon, Allowing ISIS To Grow?

Heard a BBC story earlier this morning about group think and the Army’s retrospection on how could they have gotten it so wrong (i.e. going into Iraq unprepared for the occupation following cessation of combat).  They interviewed an Army colonel who was to the Iraq war what John Paul Vann was to Viet Nam (Bright Shiny Lie Lt. Col. whose reports to Pentagon as early as mid 1960s went ignored).  This Army intelligence officer spoke of being in Kuwait during the run up to war and how his unit worked along CIA operatives “preparing” for aftermath of invasion.  He came in contact with the Shiite Muslim cleric that the CIA was working with to be the pro U.S. Imam and therefore head Shiite cleric in Post war Iraq.  The imam asked the Colonel how long the U.S. was preparing to stay in Iraq following the cessation of combat.  The Colonel deferred by asking back how long the imam thought we should stay.  The imam stated that it would take at least as long as we have stayed in Germany following WWII.  Unfortunately for the imam his prediction looks accurate.  He was killed in Iraq on the steps to a mosque in the weeks following the invasion. 

Listen to BBC story on Group Thinking starting at 4minute 45 second mark or Download MP3

One must never forget it was Bush (Cheney and Rumsfeld) who disregarded their hand picked General, Jay Garner’s call for 300,000 U.S. troops to manage the occupation, fired the General and replaced him with the State Dept. manikin, Paul Bremer.  Bremer was sent in with a set of General Orders scripted by the White House that disbanded the Iraqi Army which had a general waiting on standby to recall his troops and work with us on restoring order to Post war Iraq.  Bremer also brought in that piece of Shiite Chawallabee (sp)aka Ahmad Chalabi  who had the White House believing would be the prodigal son returned from exile in the West to lead the Iraqi people to Democracy.  Only problem for the Bushies was they did not vette this imbecile or would of known he fled Iraq back in the 80s not because of Saddam so much as because he was a much hated fraudster who had bilked many Iraqis out of their investments and therefore had absolutely no credibility with the Iraqi people.  When we cut off his stipend of over $300,000.00 per month and had the Iraqi government issue a warrant for his arrest he promptly fled next door to Iran and leaked secret intelligence methods and practices he learned from an intoxicated general at a Bush admin era White House Dinner Party.  

I could go on and on but the cold hard facts are unquestionably that the GW Bush Administration, unlike his father’s administration, (which knew of the downsides of bringing down Saddam and creating a vacuum for an even more dangerous enemy, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and wisely decided against it and actively attempted to dissuade his son from it), forged ahead in the biggest foreign policy debacle in our nation’s history.  Therefore for the Republican Presidential candidates to flail away at the current administration and blame President Obama or by proxy former Secretary of State Clinton for the disaster that is the Middle East, is not only pathetic but misses the point:  unless you are ready to commit to the long term occupation of a defeated foe by hundreds of thousands of troops at the cost of American lives and our country’s treasure, be careful of regime toppling, the new boss could be much worse than the old boss, to misquote the Who lyric.

When you take the two stories, from different sources (NPR and BBC) and from slightly different perspectives (U.S. vs. U.K.) I think you will agree it is a much more complicated fix then Republican bromide of blame Obama and if anything it is much more accurate, but not any more helpful, to blame GW Bush.  Like most real world problems it comes down to a choice in the form of least bad alternatives and currently the Obama Administration approach of a light footprint and not feeding into the ISIS narrative is the least bad of many bad alternatives the Bush Administration left us with.