American Elephants

A Sad Commentary on the State of Iraq: by The Elephant's Child

I don’t know if we have evacuated the embassy yet. It is reportedly our largest and most expensive embassy. It was built to emphasize our friendship for Iraq and that we were there to help, long term. Obama refused to evacuate some 200 contractors at an air base, but the Iraqi Air Force is getting them out.

I am always lost in admiration for Michael Ramirez and his ability to come up with the perfect visual metaphor for the current situation. You can find his editorial cartoons every day at Investors.

Obama Will Think About It Later, After a Fundraiser in Palm Springs and Some Golf Time? by The Elephant's Child

This is apparently what ISIS currently has in mind. (Click to enlarge) For now. This group was formed in Syria and has moved into northern Iraq. The have been called an al Qaeda affiliate, but al Qaeda has rejected them because of their extreme violence. They are shooting and beheading people indiscriminately.

ISIS seeks to impose its vision of a single radical Islamist state stretching from the Mediterranean coast of Syria through modern Iraq, the region of the Islamic Caliphates established in the seventh and eighth centuries. In Iraq, the Kurds have carved out a homeland in the north of the country with the help of the Turks and against the wishes of the Iraqi government, that exports their own oil, runs its own border operations and has organized its own military. Shiite militias from Lebanon have moved into Syria and operated with the Syrian government. Syrian refugees have fled into Lebanon, and Lebanon now has more school age Syrian children than Lebanese children. Borders are dissolving.

When we went to war in Iraq, the Left was furious. The Left hated Bush. They said so. They hated the way he walked. They hated his squint. They hated the way he talked and made endless fun of his mangled words. They hated the way he took charge in the wake of 9/11.

It comes down to this “A substantial part of the Democratic Party, some of its politicians and many of its loudest supporters do not want America to succeed in Iraq. So vitriolic and all-consuming is their hatred for George W.Bush that they skip right over the worthy goals we have been, with some considerable success, seeking there—a democratic government, with guaranteed liberties for all, a vibrant free economy, respect for women—and call this a war for oil, or for Halliburton.
Successes are discounted, setbacks are trumpeted, the level of American casualties is treated as if it were comparable to those in Vietnam or World War II. Allegations of American misdeeds are repeated over and over, the work of reconstruction and aid of American military personnel and civilians is ignored. In all this they have been aided and abetted by large elements of the press.
……………………Michael Barone, Real Clear Politics, June 12, 2006.

That is the press from whom Obama learned about Iraq. And that was his view of Bush’s war. He came to office despising everything Bush, and blaming Bush for everything unpleasant he had to face, oblivious to the fact that every president faces unexpected problems.

Obama lives in a fantasy world of his own making. He is so accustomed to putting whatever comes up into words favorable to himself that he often cannot distinguish between what he said to make himself look good and the actual truth. I cannot imagine, with the need for urgent action so pressing, the president taking off for a trip to Palm Springs and another fundraiser, and a little golf.

The much despised George W. Bush had a video conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki once a week and worked at teaching the Prime Minister how to set secularism aside and manage a country. Obama had little contact and was clearly uninterested in anything beyond pulling out as rapidly as possible, so the status of forces agreement was not of particular importance to either party.

Barack Obama pulled out of Iraq because he had no understanding of World War I and World War II, and how just walking away from the first made the second inevitable. Defeat must be complete, and sometimes you have to put a country back together enough for them to become functional. He had no understanding of what a broken country Iraq was under the control of Saddam Hussein. Obama says his foreign policy is “Don’t do stupid s––t.” Sometimes doing nothing, or ignoring the urgency of the moment, is the stupidest thing of all.

Headlines of the Day: Friday June 13, 2014 by The Elephant's Child

Obama assures nation his political commitment to inaction trumps international securityHot Air

“How Obama SET FREE the merciless terrorist warlord now leading the ISIS horde blazing a trail of destruction through Iraq.” Daily Mail, UK

“We Never Should Have Left Iraq” Slate

“Obama Acknowledges Threat Posed by Fall of Iraq, Promises ‘Intensive Diplomacy.’  PJ Media

“President Obama Wasted American Victory and Lost Iraq: What Now?”
National Review

“Congress’s Iraq Vets Helplessly Watch Their Gains Lost” National Journal

“Iraqi Air Force Evacuating Besieged American Contractors” WND

“ABC’s Jonathan Karl Casts Doubt on Obama’s Supposed Top Foreign -Policy Achievements” National Review

“WH: Iraqi violence won’t alter Afghan drawdown” The Hill

“The Men Who Sealed Iraq’s Disaster With a Handshake:” Wall Street Journal

“ISIS butchers leave ‘roads lined with decapitated police and soldiers:’ Battle for Baghdad looms as thousands answer Iraqi government’s call to arms and jihadists bear down on capitol.” Daily Mail UK

“Meanwhile, Back In Ukraine:” Wall Street Journal

Other Voices. If You Don’t Understand History, You’re Apt to Make a Mess of The Present. by The Elephant's Child

It is possible that the dangers into which we are steadily advancing would never have arisen…[but]when the situation was manageable it was neglected and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which might have affected a cure.

There is nothing new to the story. It is as old as [Rome]. It falls into that long dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong—these are features which constitute the endless repetition of history.
…..Winston Churchill:  Speech to House of Commons, May 2, 1935

American foreign policy is an unprecedented free fall with a feckless and distracted White House barely paying attention to the outside world, and when it does, acting in an inconsistent, weak, and fantastical manner. If one were to discern something so grand as an Obama Doctrine, it would read “Snub friends, coddle opponents, devalue American interests, seek consensus, and act unpredictability.
…………………………………………………………………………………..Daniel Pipes

A defeated army—now and always—must not merely surrender. Rather it and its infrastructure must be dismantled and its ideology disgraced. Lee gave in not because he was merely beaten—Gettysburg had done that months earlier—but only when his army was decimated, his cause lost, and his adherents embarrassed. Grant and Sherman accepted no less—and so gave us peace, not decades of terror and counterinsurgency. The firebrand Nathan Bedford Forest once promised unending resistance, but after what he’d seen in Tennessee and Georgia, thought it better to quit and go on home.
Victor Davis Hanson” “The More Things Change” National Review Online 12/30/01

The greatest possible ignorance of the past is thus the surest guarantee of the greatest possible deception in the present.
………………………………………….Jean François Revel: The Flight from Truth

Bush is actually doing the hard thing. He’s calling for real democracy in the Middle East. He’s aiming to make the long-standing U.S. policy of regime change in Iraq a reality. He actually wants to defeat Islamic terrorism, rather than make excuses for tolerating its cancerous growth. And when this amount of power is fueled by this amount of conviction.of course the world is aroused and upset.
What the world, after all, is afraid of is not the deposing of the monster, Saddam. What the world is afraid of is American hyper-power wielded by a man of very American faith and conviction and honesty. Bush’s manner grates. His style—like Reagan’s—offends. But, like Reagan, he is not an anomaly in American foreign policy—merely a vivid and determined representative of a deep and idealistic strain within it. And history shows that the world has far more to gain from the deployment of that power than by its withdrawal. If the poor people of Iraq know that lesson, what’s stopping the Europeans?
…………………..Andrew Sullivan “Spot the Difference,” Andrew

Here is the hard truth: that the world contains many cultures inured to tyranny from time out of mind. These are peoples who may long for freedom, but have no practical idea how it can be got and maintained; or if they know, no energy for the task.
…………..David Warren” “Democracy in Iraq,” David Warren Online, April 13, 2003

Iraq was the subject of the first Obama National Security Council meeting on January 21, 2009. The president said he wanted to draw down troops in a way that “preserves the positive security trends and protects U.S. personnel.” He asked for at least three options, one of which had to be his earlier sixteen-month timetable. …
In early February, ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and Odierno submitted three options: (1) a twenty-three-month drawdown period, reducing U.S. forces to a residual training force level by December 2010, an option they recommended as offering the lowest level of risk and highest probability of achieving our objectives; 020 a nineteen-month drawdown, reaching the residual force level by August 2010, that would meet most but not all requirements for development of the Iraqi security forces; and (3) a sixteen-month-drawdown, which would be completed in May 2010, an option they said presented “extremely high risk” to overall mission accomplishment. Crocker and Odierno recommended a residual force of 50,000 to 55,000 troops, restructured into six advisory and assistance brigades, with the primary mission of training and advising Iraqi forces, deterring external threats, conducting counterrerrorism operations, and protecting themselves and U.S. civilians. As provided in the Strategic Framework Agreement with the Iraqis, all American forces would be out of their country by the end of December 2011.
…………………. Robert M. Gates: Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War

The Democratic leadership was shocked not so much by the timetable but by the fact that some 50,000 troops would remain in Iraq until nearly the end of 2011. I was sitting across from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and thought she alternately looked like she had swallowed and entire lemon or was simply going to explode. She drummed her fingers on the table and had a white -knuckled grip on her pencil. She said she just could not understand why so many troops had to remain. …………………………………………..Robert M. Gates: Ibid

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