Saturday, June 14, 2014

This War Isn't Being Lost. It Was Lost.

Appearing on Fox and Friends to exploit Iraq, the Berghdal release, and Barack Obama, New York mayor Rudy Giuliani contended

This situation should be a lesson for him, I mean he put his political objectives ahead of national security in deciding to run away in Iraq. He basically snatched defeat from the jaws of victory...

This is putting your political objectives ahead of national security, ahead of what’s in the best interests in the United States, what’s in the best interests of keeping the people secure, and I just think that this is going to be one of the blackest marks against him.

Giuliani never served in the United States Senate, never was an elected statewide official in New York, and was a substandard mayor, so his blather was merely blather.  John McCain, though, has been a war hero, United States Representative, United States Senator, presidential nominee of a major political party, and is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  He ought to know better (Cenk Uygur on McCain, way below).

But he doesn't.  Or perhaps he does, being clever enough that, Politico reports, he "did not explicitly advocate a U.S. strategy for helping the crisis now, remaining noncommittal on the potential use of airstrikes against militants in the country" when he

continued his blistering attack on President Barack Obama’s handling of Iraq on Friday, again calling for his entire national security team to be replaced and saying his decisions have been very costly.

“The president wanted out and now we are paying a heavy price,” the Arizona Republican said on MSNBC.

McCain said repeatedly that the U.S. “had the conflict won” after the 2007 troop surge, with Iraq maintaining a stable government and al-Qaeda extremists largely defeated.

But the Obama administration’s decision not to leave behind a residual force, he said, has caused the situation to deteriorate. Now, the senator said, “this has turned into one of the most serious threats to American security in recent history.”

McCain, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also reiterated his call for the president to fire his entire national security team, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.

No, Senator. The Iraq war and surge have turned into one of the most serious threats to American security in recent history.

McCain (and the worthless Giuliani) seem to believe  that American forces have been withdrawn from Iraq by an eager President Obama. But as Fareed Zakaria explains, the Obama Administration (as did the prior crew) attempted to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri-al Maliki but

Maliki refused to provide the guarantees that every other country in the world that hosts U.S. forces offers. Some commentators have blamed the Obama administration for negotiating badly or halfheartedly and perhaps this is true. But here’s what a senior Iraqi politician told me in the days when the U.S. withdrawal was being discussed: “It will not happen. Maliki cannot allow American troops to stay on. Iran has made very clear to Maliki that its No. 1 demand is that there be no American troops remaining in Iraq. And Maliki owes them.”

A little naive about McCain's hero, General David Wonderful, Zakaria is unaware that, as described here, the respite in crushing violence was brought about more by commanding generals George Casey and John Abizaid, who "exploited growing Sunni animosities toward al-Qaeda extremists by paying off Sunni militants to join the so-called 'Awakenin' in Anbar Province."

The Arizona senator saw a decline in violence and declared victory, imagining "the war is over"  (but not like the late Phil Ochs, below).   He misunderstood it as the end game, rather than as part of a process. Saddam Hussein kept in check al-Qaeda in Iraq, which was overthrown and is now roughly reconstituted as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), in part as a reaction to the Al-Maliki regime.  Al-Maliki, in turn, resists help from Washington, is allied with Damascus and Tehran, and the demonization of the Iraqi regime by McCain et al. is now conveniently missing.

The USA invasion of Iraq has been understood, in most quarters, as a mistake. But we never acknowledged that the USA lost the war or that the surge was worthless, enabling the likes of Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham to claim President Obama squandered victory and is losing the war. America the Exceptional.

Charles Pierce remarks

The fundamental problem with the American intervention in Iraq always has been the fundamental incoherence of the case its supporters made for it. It was WMD's. It was rape rooms. It was time for the spring planting of Democracy. It was because Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks of September 11. Mushroom clouds. Aluminum tubes. It was time to free the Kurds. That incoherence is why the case was made in such a mendacious fashion. It was the lies that held all the various brands of bullshit together.

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