Loss of Ramadi

The New York Times, among many others, say the loss of Ramadi is ISIS' biggest victory of the year. Once again, the Iraqi army fled.

The fall of Ramadi to the Islamic State, despite intensified American airstrikes in recent weeks in a bid to save the city, represented the biggest victory so far this year for the extremist group, which has declared a caliphate, or Islamic state, in the vast areas of Syria and Iraq that it controls. The fall of Ramadi also laid bare the failed strategy of the Iraqi government, which had announced last month a new offensive to retake Anbar Province, a vast desert region in the west of which Ramadi is the capital.

“The city has fallen,” said Muhannad Haimour, the spokesman for Anbar’s governor. Iraq's response today is to vote to send in the Iranian backed Shi'a militia.

ISIS also gained a huge cache of weapons the fleeing Army left behind, that had been sent by the U.S. and Russia to Baghdad. [More...]

Iraq's response is to now send in the Iranian backed Shi'a militias.

Ramadi fell despite several airstrikes in the past few days. Our strategy is not working.

The deterioration of Anbar over the last month underscored the ineffectiveness of the Iraqi Army, which is being trained by American military advisers, and raised questions about the United States strategy to defeat the Islamic State. At the same time, now that the militias are being called upon, the collapse of Ramadi has demonstrated again the influence of Iran.

The loss of Ramadi is far more significant than yesterday's raid in Syria.

More important is to create Sunni military forces in both Syria and Iraq that are able and willing to fight against ISIS with American help. But there is scant sign of progress on this front, because the Obama administration has held U.S. policy in Iraq hostage to the dictates of Baghdad, where the Shiite sectarians who are in control are, to put it mildly, unenthusiastic about arming Sunnis.

That’s why Ramadi fell and why there will be little success in rolling back ISIS’ gains in Syria and Iraq–because Sunnis still see ISIS as the lesser evil compared to domination by Shiite extremists armed and supported by Iran. That is the fundamental strategic problem that must be addressed in order to make progress against ISIS. Special Operations raids, no matter how successful, are of scant importance by comparison.

Baghdad can't defeat ISIS without the support of Sunnis. Its refusal to arm them and continued reliance on Iranian backed Shi'ia militias will lead to more ISIS victories. Most analysts I'm reading share this view:

Falluja and Abu Ghraib are next - ISIS cannot be defeated in Iraq until Baghdad chooses Sunni Iraqis ahead of Iran

We are just throwing our money down the drain in providing arms and training to Iraq. As to yesterday's raid, as one of its fighters says:

Obama: "Hey look what we've done ya'll!!(killing a IS Amir and some fighters in the middle of nowhere)

IS in the meanwhile? Taking cities.

Our military involvement in Iraq is just fueling violence. Here's an excellent article on why U.S. military involvement not going to defeat ISIS or help the Iraqi or Syrian people. We should be exiting the arena, not doubling down.

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    With, or without American support, (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by NYShooter on Mon May 18, 2015 at 02:58:45 AM EST
    Iraq was destined to implode after the Americans engineered the capture of the Prime Minister-ship for "their guy," Nouri al-Maliki. Naively being taken in by Maliki's promises that he would set aside his (well-earned) reputation as a ruthless, divisive, power-grabbing thug, and form an inclusive, bi-partisan, power-sharing government, he became prime Minister.

    No sooner had he been seated when he reneged on his promise and went on a rampage to eliminate those he promised would be welcomed into his new government. With the country fracturing apart by Maliki's disastrous mis-management, and, both Iran & ISIS watching what was going on, with their mouths drooling at the opportunities that lay ahead, today's collapse became a foregone conclusion.

    Even if we were able to get a satisfactory SOFA, what could we have done with a few thousand American troops, except postpone the inevitable for a little while. With the sectarian infighting within Iraq apparently more important to them than securing the country from belligerent forces just waiting to attack, the die was cast.

    After 10 years of American "training" you saw how prepared and motivated the Iraqi Army was the minute an enemy shot was fired.

    We all know the saying, "God helps those who help themselves." Even God couldn't help a country whose people hate each other more than they hate the enemy waiting at their doorstep.

    And, that left Obama with one of two choices, "QUAGMIRE," or, get out.

    Not to worry (none / 0) (#62)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue May 19, 2015 at 06:34:14 AM EST
    Obama now has a Twitter account.

    I have no idea what this has to do (none / 0) (#63)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 19, 2015 at 07:48:07 AM EST
    With the facts shooter addressed.  You are only running away from reality now, deflecting, like a disruptive teenager would.  This is a serious discussion.  Horrible damage to Iraqis, American service members, and other service members took place.  Families...the children... are affected by those losses forever too.

    I have no idea what this has to do (none / 0) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 19, 2015 at 07:48:13 AM EST
    With the facts shooter addressed.  You are only running away from reality now, deflecting, like a disruptive teenager would.  This is a serious discussion.  Horrible damage to Iraqis, American service members, and other service members took place.  Families...the children... are affected by those losses forever too.

    Go watch American Sniper (2.67 / 3) (#6)
    by Green26 on Sun May 17, 2015 at 11:31:52 PM EST
    if you want to see what it was like to fight in Ramadi and Fallujah during the tough times when the US was helping drive AQ out of the Anbar provence. Quite realistic says my son, who was the head of a small sniper unit like Kyle's. My son's unit was also there during some of the tough times, and like Kyle's unit often went door to door.  It makes alot of people sick to have seen the US give up those hard fought gains.

    Give up gains? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by MKS on Sun May 17, 2015 at 11:45:04 PM EST
    The victories were temporary at best and in reality illusory.....

    Without the thuggish Saddam Hussein and his brutal tactics in keeping the fake country together, Iraq was bound to break apart....once the lid of the Sunni military dictatorship was lifted.

    This is the reality that you fail to acknowledge.


    Terrific movie, in my view. (1.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Green26 on Sun May 17, 2015 at 11:58:19 PM EST
    That's why it was nominated for 6 academy awards. The victories in Iraq and the Anbar would not have been temporary and weren't illusory. AQ was defeated in Iraq. Obama and almost everyone said that. Then Obama gave it all away. Now the US is back with an even bigger mess.

    The ostensible (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by MKS on Mon May 18, 2015 at 12:15:16 AM EST
    reason it was nominated for awards is not the reason you recommended it....the combat sequences....

    The reason many like it was the depiction of how one can lose one's humanity in war, and the efforts to regain that humanity.....

    The final scene of the movie ruined all that imo.....showing actual footage of the Texas adoration of how the hero held the record....Ghoulish in my view....


    10,000 troops would (none / 0) (#22)
    by MKS on Mon May 18, 2015 at 12:20:07 AM EST
    not have altered the inevitable conflict between Shia and Sunni groups.....After the Shia took over in Iraq, it was only a matter of time before things blew up and we began suffering loses like we did in 2006--only with fewer troops there this time.....



    Where have (none / 0) (#27)
    by lentinel on Mon May 18, 2015 at 09:55:24 AM EST
    I seen that before?

    "Obama gave it all away"...

    Like it was his to give.

    Gave what away?

    They used to say that we "lost China"!


    You probably wish you could vote for W. in 2016.

    There is that quote attributed to George Santayana:

    "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

    Anything that sells is good.. (none / 0) (#36)
    by jondee on Mon May 18, 2015 at 11:23:05 AM EST
    And Justin Bieber is a great singer and Big Macs put the art of the world's greatest chefs to shame..

    And George W Bush just had to be a great statesman - even if people don't realize it - because so many people voted for him..

    And while we're at it, we may as well acknowledge the marketers who foist mediocrity upon us as the 21st century's real artists and prophets..


    But not the Majority of Them... (none / 0) (#38)
    by ScottW714 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 11:25:45 AM EST
    because so many people voted for him

    It was nominated as a movie though (none / 0) (#47)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 18, 2015 at 01:39:23 PM EST
    Not a documentary, and Clint Eastwood has made that clear.  He didn't shoot the film to inform you, he shot it to have an affect on you.  He deviated from the real story in several extremely important to the movie story ways.  For instance, the Iraqi sniper that is hunted in the film was never in Anbar, that character is based on Shiite snipers that were never in Anbar province and Chris Kyle never hunted a particular sniper.

    I have not seen the film, but that story deviation from the facts which is very important to the movie story has been acknowledged and printed far and wide.


    Meet me in the open (none / 0) (#48)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 18, 2015 at 01:44:52 PM EST
    GoT question.

    Who said it was a documentary or accurate? (none / 0) (#49)
    by Green26 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 07:37:05 PM EST
    I sure didn't. I said it was a good movie and quite accurate regarding what it was like being a sniper and going door to door. I talked again today to my former Ranger son, who headed a small sniper unit in his 2 deployments to Iraq--and he re-affirmed that the movie was an accurate in those two respects.

    Was your son a sniper? (none / 0) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 18, 2015 at 09:36:59 PM EST
    Another American Sniper's opinion (none / 0) (#56)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 18, 2015 at 10:00:45 PM EST
    I wish people wouldn't get all a fluff (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 18, 2015 at 10:38:43 AM EST
    Around here and feel that your comments deserve "downrating".  Just disagree people!

    I disagree with you.  How could we still "be holding" those positions?  We have never been at war ever for as long as we were in Iraq.  Our troops had to be stop lossed, nobody wanted to horribly wounded for life or die there.

    We should have never been there, and like Vietnam we will never be able to emotionally square the sacrifices and loss of life.  The shame, the failure, the irreconcilable losses, that all rests completely on George Dubya Bush's shoulders.  


    MT, one way to have held the gains (none / 0) (#39)
    by Green26 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 11:36:40 AM EST
    would have been to continuing paying, supporting and catering to the Sunni sheiks who were part of the Sunni Awakening. They, along with the US, ran AQ out of the Anbar provence. When the US pulled out of Iraq, payments to the Sunni sheiks stopped and Maliki started purging and going after some senior Sunni leaders. Maliki went after the senior Sunni leader in the government the day afer the US pulled out of Iraq. i think one or more of this guy's bodyguards were killed. With the withdr date approaching, Maliki was already starting to go after some Sunnis.

    NY Times article.


    Green, Iraq is not our country (none / 0) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 18, 2015 at 12:21:58 PM EST
    If you want a nation to be sovereign, stand on its own two feet...then it has to stand.  Does someone pay you to be an American?  If your country were in peril or invaded wouldn't you fight for all of us? Even I would.

    Nobody pays you or I to be functional Americans, and you and I can disagree on many policy issues (without violence usually) but when push comes to shove you and I will immediately unite if the sovereignty of our nation is in peril.

    I realize in the Middle East it is sort of customary at this time to pay people to be sovereign :)  Saudi Arabia does it, Kuwait does it, other nations also, but isn't that part of the problem? Isn't that one of the reasons why democracy isn't taking place in the Middle East?


    I do not like that movie (none / 0) (#9)
    by MKS on Sun May 17, 2015 at 11:42:09 PM EST
    It glorifies the body count of the sniper....

    The top grossing movie of 2014 (none / 0) (#16)
    by Green26 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 12:04:21 AM EST
    was American Sniper. It's also the top grossing war movie of all time. It is on its way to being the top grossing R rated movie of all time.

    So what? (none / 0) (#21)
    by MKS on Mon May 18, 2015 at 12:16:16 AM EST
    Many like the movie for reasons other than those that you tout it for.....

    So what? It's a work of fiction (none / 0) (#65)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 19, 2015 at 07:51:43 AM EST
    Bread and circuses, the masses were entertained, not informed...not educated...they were entertained.

    I (none / 0) (#25)
    by FlJoe on Mon May 18, 2015 at 05:32:33 AM EST
    am so glad that you finally admit that you learned history from Hollywood movies, it explains a lot.

    I know most of you want to blame Bush (1.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Green26 on Sun May 17, 2015 at 09:17:48 PM EST
    for everything bad in Iraq, and perhaps beyond. While there were many mistakes made by Bush, Obama made a huge mistake when he pulled completely out of Iraq (after AQ had been defeated) and allowed Maliki to start going after Sunnis in a big way. The US pullout also resulted in the sheiks of the Sunni Awakening not being paid and kept in the fold.

    As I have before, my Ranger son, who fought in Ramadi and Fallujah in later 2006 and 2007, told me as Obama ordered US troops leave Iraq that all or most of the gains the US coalition had made were going to fall apart. Had the US kept troops in Iraq and kept a close eye on Maliki and Iraq and Syria, ISIS would not have arisen to be a force like it is today, in my view.

    I agree with Max Boot who said this a few days ago: "Today we are fast falling into an ever worse abyss--and it is one to which, by all indications, President Obama and his senior military commanders and civilian aides are utterly blind. Perhaps we should be talking about that rather than about what happened 12 years ago." Boot Commentary article.

    Boot also said this in the same article: "Ramadi was really where the Anbar Awakening began--the movement, started by Colonel Sean MacFarland in Ramadi in 2006, to mobilize Sunni tribes against AQI. After having lost hundreds of American soldiers in Ramadi and its environs since 2003, US efforts finally appeared to have paid off. AQI had been routed of the capital of its self-proclaimed caliphate, and would soon be routed out of the rest of the Sunni Triangle. Victory was in sight." "I remember walking down the ruined streets of Ramadi in the spring of 2007. ... But what was most remarkable was not the evidence of violence but, rather, the fact that no insurgents were shooting at my military escorts or me."

    If the current Obama strategy isn't working, pulling out is one alternative. However, stepping up support is also a strategy to be considered. Obama's last Iraq pullout certainly didn't work. I doubt that this one would work either. I don't believe the Middle East can or should be abandoned. It's too important to US and Western interests.

    And, as been discussed here before (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by MKS on Sun May 17, 2015 at 11:02:17 PM EST
    we had to pull the troops because the Iraqis would not provide our troops with immunity--an absolute requirement that everyone agrees was necessary.

    I don't care two figs what right winger Max Boot says....

    Biden had it right.  Iraq was always a fake country created in the 20th Century.  Ramadi is Sunni.  The Shia-backed army would never have had the support of the people there.

    We should have allowed the country to divide into three separate countries:   Kurd, Sunni and Shia...Bush cast the die when he invaded and deposed a natural containment against Iran.   Saudi Arabia will not allow all the Sunnis to be run out of Iraq.  And Iran will not allow the Sunni-backed ISIS to take Baghdad....

    A new stalemate ensues....The exact same result that Biden wanted to peacefully create years ago.

    Bush's invasion of Iraq was not only the greatest strategic blunder in U.S. military history--on the order of Hitler invading the Soviet Union--but it has led directly to the destabilization that we have seen.

    The idea that if only we had kept troops in Iraq, it would all be different is a pipe dream.  The reality is that the Shia majority did not want us there.....  


    Oh please, MKS, stop with the nonsense (1.67 / 3) (#5)
    by Green26 on Sun May 17, 2015 at 11:26:46 PM EST
    Obama could have negotiated an SOF agreement but didn't put much effort at all into negotiating a new SOF agreement. Jeez, the US didn't have a written agreement last year when it started operating in Iraq again and may not have one now. Has any person actually involved with the government at the time of the pullout ever said that the US had to leave because it didn't negotiate a new agreement? Lots of people who were involved at the time say an agreement could have been obtained. I'm not talking about some young staffer currently in the White House who wasn't around at the time. That some people like you use this as an excuse is totally ridiculous. In fact, hat's one of the silliest arguments I've ever seen on TL. I've probably provided more than a dozen quotes and statements supporting my view in the past.

    Do you think the US has a SOF agreement with Syria now?


    Woulda, coulda, shoulda (none / 0) (#7)
    by MKS on Sun May 17, 2015 at 11:37:55 PM EST
    Neocon pie in the sky....if only Obama tried harder....baloney.

    I do remember, Mr. Green, you ridiculed my idea that Iran would step up and militarily oppose ISIS.  Ha, ha, you said.

    I said Iran would never allow ISIS to take Baghdad....

    Care to acknowledge you were wrong, and I was right?  Of course not.

    The neocon world view sees only their make-believe "what could have been" and cannot see what plainly everyone else can see, so strong is the neocon myopia.


    Obama said he didn't want a SOF (none / 0) (#11)
    by Green26 on Sun May 17, 2015 at 11:52:28 PM EST
    agreement and didn't want troops in Iraq. Why is it so hard for some of you to admit this?

    "With regards to Iraq, you and I agreed, I believe, that there should be a status of forces agreement," Romney told Obama as the two convened on the Lynn University campus in Boca Raton, Fla., that October evening. "That's not true," Obama interjected. "Oh, you didn't want a status of forces agreement?" Romney asked as an argument ensued. "No," Obama said. "What I would not have done is left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down. That certainly would not help us in the Middle East."

    WA Post article.

    Feel free to point out where I said "Iran would [not] step up and militarily oppose ISIS". You said Iran would drive ISIS out of Iraq, or something like that. You indicated that Iraq didn't need any US assistance. How's Iran doing on driving ISIS out of Iraq so far? How iran/Iraq be doing without US assistance?


    Nope, Mr. Green, I never (none / 0) (#18)
    by MKS on Mon May 18, 2015 at 12:08:57 AM EST
    said Iran would drive ISIS out of Iraq.....that is your goal.....

    I said Iran would never allow ISIS to take  Baghdad....

    By moving the goalposts, you are admitting you were wrong.....Just admit it explicitly and gain some credibility.


    Nope, MKS, I was not wrong on Iran (1.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Green26 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 07:39:42 PM EST
    You say what you said and I said--just look at what I took from our prior exchange. I asked you if Iran was going to drive ISIS out of those other areas. You said it might not, which indicates to me that you thought it might.

    That's a lie (none / 0) (#54)
    by MKS on Mon May 18, 2015 at 09:19:56 PM EST
    You take lack of evidence as evidence.

    I only thought of the hypothetical issue of Iran driving ISIS out of Iraq--because you raised it.....

    And, regardless of your attempt to read my mind, I never said anything like what you are saying I said.



    MKS, you are the one who moves goalposts. (none / 0) (#28)
    by Green26 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 10:17:47 AM EST
    I'm just giving you some of your medicine in return. Here's the guts of one of our prior exchanges.

    MKS: Iran will stop ISIS.

    Green: Do you expect Iran to drive ISIS out of Syria? How about Fallujah and Ramadi?

    MKS: Maybe not. But I don't consider it that important.

    Note that you said MAYBE Iran won't drive ISIS out of Syria, Fallujah and Ramadi. That's a strong indication that you were thinking that Iran might drive ISIS out of those places, and certainly indicates that you said or were thinking more than your recent claims now that all you said was the Iran would keep ISIS out of Baghdad.

    You are one of the biggest "goalpost movers" on the TL. I almost can't stop chuckling that you move goalposts all the time, and then try to accuse me of doing that. I agree that people, like you, move goalposts because they can't defend their own position.


    I have no idea (none / 0) (#46)
    by MKS on Mon May 18, 2015 at 01:18:28 PM EST
    what you are talking about....

    Regarding Iran, I was right and you were wrong.....I never said Iran would get rid of ISIS or drive ISIS out of the whole....

    If you are accurately quoting me, and that is a big if, then what I have said is still consistent with the view that Iran would "stop" ISIS, that was my point.  You are the one obsessed with driving ISIS out of Iraq completely.  Not me.  


    I do not care that Iran (none / 0) (#19)
    by MKS on Mon May 18, 2015 at 12:11:23 AM EST
    has not driven ISIS out of Iraq....

    That is a stupid goal from a U.S. perspective.

     It is their mess....and inevitable that a Shia-backed Iraqi government would lose control of large swaths of Iraq.  


    The SOFA Obama was trying to (none / 0) (#23)
    by MKS on Mon May 18, 2015 at 12:32:53 AM EST
    negotiate was for a small force of about 1,500....

    So, no, he never wanted 10,000 troops, and yes, he could not get a SOFA with immunity even for a small group....

    And why is it an article of faith that 10,000 U.S. troops would halt the current centrifugal forces in Iraq?   Just wishful thinking.....


    MKS, silly arguments like this (none / 0) (#29)
    by Green26 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 10:30:06 AM EST
    undercut your credibility. Jeez, Obama stated that he didn't want to keep troops in Iraq. He stated that he didn't agree with Romney that a SOF agreement would have been good. Obama put little or no effort into a SOF agreement. He didn't even call Maliki for 6 months or so during the discussions about a SOF.

    Gates, Panetta, Petraeus, and others wanted to keep a sizeable number of troops in Iraq. They didn't want to give up the gains. They wanted the US to keep a close eye on Maliki. When the troops left, the US was no longer kept an eye on Maliki. It was both keeping some troops in Iraq and keeping an eye on Maliki. With troops in Iraq, the US would have been keeping an eye on Maliki. What occurred, in terms of the immediate deterioration of the situation in Iraq, was predicted by many.

    I'm fine with people arguing that the US should not have invaded Iraq, should have pulled out of Iraq (as they did), should not have started the bombing in Iraq and Syria and other involvement a year ago, and should be stopping that action now. However, to try to argue that Obama's decision to pull out of Iraq did not have a big impact on the current situation, and try to argue that Obama had no choice other than to pull out of Iraq due to the lack of a SOF agreement, is just plain silly, in my view.


    Regarless... (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by ScottW714 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 11:01:06 AM EST
    ...if there was no invasion of Iraq, ISIS would not exist in Iraq.  The rest is academic, maybe we would have stopped ISIS maybe we would not have, but that is just another unproven hypothesis on what would have happened had one party held power for what, a decade plus ?  

    You guys had 7 years to secure a country you said would be a cake walk, over in several months, that it would pay for itself, and that your team would spread democracy throughout the ME.  All complete fails, and yet we are to believe that Iraq would be fine if Obama had just run Iraq like republicans did even though everything they said about Iraq and what would happen was completely wrong ?

    What is known is that Saddam Hussein kept that country together and did not allow terrorist within it's borders.  Therefore, had we not invaded a country that posed no threat to the US, ISIS would not be controlling part of Iraq, one could even argue it would not exist.

    The apex of all of these arguments is the invasion.  Obama was only doing what the majority of US citizens wanted him to do, what he was elected to do.  He was pulling out regardless of SOF because the republicans got us in a very unpopular war that the majority of US citizens did not want to be in.  And they could not wrap it up in the month's promised and after 7 years and 15,000 dead US boys, most people wanted out.

    The idea that we can contain terrorist in Iraq or Afghanistan is absurd.  Reagan could not do it, GWB could not do it, Obama could not do it, and whomever decides that they can do it in the future, will not do it.

    So if you think Jeb or whomever is going to contain the middle east by invading Iran or sending troops to Iraq and Syria, you are buying a sales pitch that is most certainly going to fail.  Who doesn't want the world to experience democracy, but wanting and reality in this instance will never be one in the same no matter how many R politicians are selling it.


    Scott, you may or may not be right that (none / 0) (#40)
    by Green26 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 11:42:37 AM EST
    much of this wouldn't have happened without the initial invasion of Iraq (and other mistakes that were made immediately thereafter). The reason I say maybe is that there is no assurance that Saddam would have remained alive and in power for another dozen years, and there have been many other forces impacting the Middle East in the last dozen years, including Arab Spring.

    However, even accepting your view as correct, the US did invade Iraq, so we have to deal with that. And, in my view, Obama has made serious mistakes that have compounded the problem. How does blaming Bush, a dozen years later and over 6 years after he left office, help solve the current problems and set policy?


    Same Arguement Then... (5.00 / 4) (#44)
    by ScottW714 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 12:15:26 PM EST
    ...'However, even accepting your view as correct, the US did pull out, so we have to deal with that.'

    You're looking at one issue and saying the past is the past, let's move on, then getting hung up on another.  When in reality, both are done and neither can me a mulligan and redone.

    How does blaming Obama 6 years later, who can't be undo removing the troops.  And I don't think he, or anyone is ready to send any measurable number of troops to the ME at this point.  And I doubt they could get the votes for it in Congress even if he wanted to.

    My issue really is the assumption that Iraq would be fine had we left troops there.  The claim is made by the same folks who got everything about Iraq completely wrong.  But yet on this one issue they are presumed to be correct by an entire party.  The same party that is more or less stating the invasion was a mistake.


    Scott, I agree that the US needs to deal with (none / 0) (#51)
    by Green26 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 07:57:57 PM EST
    what has already occurred in Iraq. My post on Obama's role was merely to address the posts and posters who keep responding by blaming Bush and who won't move forward.

    Many people who believe Iraq would have been better now, had the US not pulled out, are not the people who made the decision to go to Iraq.

    I spoke again today with my former Ranger son, who fought in the Anbar in 2006/07 and deployed to Iraq again after that. He said he believed that 20,000 remaining US troops, continuing monetary and other support for the Sunni sheiks, and the US State Dept closely watching and talking to Maliki, would likely have resulted in Iraq holding the major gains that had largely occurred by the end 2007 and were held until the US pulled out. US deaths in Iraq were just under 1,000 each of the 4 years from 2004-07. Then dropped to 149, 60, and 54 in the following 3 years.

    My son has continued to follow Iraq and especially the Anbar fairly closely, but has since completed law school and is now a practicing lawyer. He was recruited last spring to join some contractors who were expanding in Iraq, and needed more Anbar expertise, but kept his day job.

    He said that even 20,000 troops would go far in Iraq, because of the very good air transportation. He said that having air and helicopter power on bases in Iraq would make a huge difference, because they can provide almost immediate assistance. It's not the same bringing planes and choppers from other bases in the gulf. He said, with US troops in Iraq and the US being committed, the State Dept would have been talking to Maliki every day and forcing him to do things he may not want to do. He said he thought that, by 2018, Iraq would have been stabilized enough to start producing huge amounts of oil again (and start paying back the US).


    We could not control the country (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by MKS on Mon May 18, 2015 at 11:55:47 PM EST
    with 100,000 or even 150,000 troops--until the Sunni Chieftains decided to oppose Sunni Al Qaeda....

    And, although I am sure you ranger son served honorably, I put no stock in your hearsay ruminations.......or your ranger son's ability to correctly diagnose the current situation and project into the future....

    Iraq was like Yugoslavia....as soon as the lid of military dictatorship comes off, the centrifugal forces tear apart what was an artificial construct in the first place.  Thus, once the Shias took actual control from the U.S. and start calling the shots, the result was inevitable....

    I trust not your ranger son's hearsay crystal ball...



    Your son's speculation ... (none / 0) (#53)
    by Yman on Mon May 18, 2015 at 08:27:30 PM EST
    ... and opinion really aren't any more valuable (or credible) than yours - or anyone else's for that matter.

    No Offense... (none / 0) (#66)
    by ScottW714 on Tue May 19, 2015 at 09:51:12 AM EST
    ...but your son isn't exactly a great source.  I respect what he did and for his service to the country.  But I am sure I could find 50 sons to disagree and another 100 son's to agree, and 500 to say it was a complete mistake invading Iraq.  

    You know what I mean ?

    You are complaining that people can't get past Bush's folly, but you can't get past Obama's if that is what you want to call it.


    It's much bigger than Iraq (none / 0) (#43)
    by NYShooter on Mon May 18, 2015 at 12:09:29 PM EST
    Please see my Post #42 below

    Last I (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by FlJoe on Mon May 18, 2015 at 11:11:22 AM EST
    checked we did not elect
    Gates, Panetta, Petraeus, and others
    to lead this country.

    What are these "gains" you speak of, I must have missed the part where we invaded to conquer and occupy parts of Iraq.

    You say:

    immediate deterioration of the situation in Iraq, was predicted by many.
    Would that "many" include those who predicted we would be welcomed as liberators or that the invasion would pay for itself and be over in months.

    Do you really think that 10-20k American troops could keep a lid on a sectarian war that has lasted centuries? Talk about silly.


    Here is what I keep thinking (none / 0) (#41)
    by christinep on Mon May 18, 2015 at 11:52:27 AM EST
    "Know when to hold them, know when to fold them."

    When a country knows--as we surely came to know about the unwinnable, lethal, and rejected Iraq War--that a military approach as in Iraq had become widely unsupported and counterproductive on all levels, doesn't it make the most sense to get out?  When the state of things had long since become nothing more than lists of those killed--American soldiers and Iraqi civilians--doesn't it make the most sense to cut the human losses and walk back from notions of false pride.  

    Apart from any argument either way about the process of getting in the war, isn't the key knowing when to get out?  History is replete with powerful countries suffering devastating blows by time and the long process of draining human resources, "blood & treasure."  In fairly recent times, the one time-Soviet Union was dragged down by overextending itself with interminable conflict in the infamous bugaboo of Afghanistan. In Vietnam, our own country recognized--after debilitating years and losses of soldiers and national support--that there was no "light at the end of the tunnel," and we finally helicoptered off the last contingent from the rooftops.

    Green26: The Iraq War was going nowhere ... and, thankfully, President Obama made the right decision, the only reasonable and humane decision, by ordering its end and by resisting all prideful pleas to become further entrapped.


    Christinep, see my recent prior post (none / 0) (#52)
    by Green26 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 08:05:12 PM EST
    Actually, the Iraq war was close to being won. US deaths had dropped from averages of about 900 per year, to an average of 57 per year for the two years prior to Obama pulling out. Even Obama declared the war in Iraq a success, and said the following:

    "... we're leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self reliant Iraq with a representative government that was elected by its people.... This is an extraordinary achievement,"

    Note the sovereign and stable words. What Obama said, and the facts and stats, don't support your statement "the Iraq war was going nowhere."


    A nice statement on the way out the door (none / 0) (#57)
    by christinep on Mon May 18, 2015 at 10:26:28 PM EST
    I'm sure that you are old enough to understand the diplomatic art of putting one's best face on ... the international reality of minimizing the negative with a few well-placed words. No President is going to say on the international stage that our country's military incursion was a failure--that does not happen in this world.

    C'mon, the vast majority of the public wanted out of Iraq ... then and now.  The fact that a contingent of those original supporters doubled-down on their determination to work for a different end did not, has not, and will not change the still-lasting antipathy to renewing military efforts on a larger scale in Iraq. There is no appetite for war or surges or involvement that might lead to war ... that turn from war-fever occurred as the overall deaths climbed (as predicted by pollsters who had earlier suggested opposition would grow after soldier loss surpassed 3,000+) ... the turn from war contributed mightily to the success of then-candidate Barack Obama's campaign; and, that turn from war--per periodic pulse-taking--continues today.  Yes, the days of the war drums and dreams of big military victories in Iraq went away long ago ... and, never returned for most of the public.


    We had pulled way back prior (none / 0) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 18, 2015 at 10:34:44 PM EST
    To our leave taking, that is why our death tolls dropped off.  Iraqi death tolls were through the roof.

    Our troops were experiencing horrible low morale though.  Military leaders made our footprint as small as possible, placed as few lives in harms way as possible, until we could finally get our troops completely out.


    MT, the data and facts don't support (none / 0) (#59)
    by Green26 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 11:09:58 PM EST
    your statements. The bigger US pull back didn't occur until later in 2010. Neither Iraqi soldier/police nor Iraqi civilian deaths went through the roof in any of the years after the surge. Civilian deaths declined significantly by late 2007 and more in 2008, with a few spiked months. Deaths in Iraq have risen in recent years. I've just been on various death/casualty and troop level websites for the past half hour.

    Nobody was tracking civilian deaths with any (none / 0) (#60)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 18, 2015 at 11:20:24 PM EST
    Sort of accuracy after the surge.  It was too dangerous.

    As soon as we began pulling surge troops, attacks on U.S. troops increased.  The U.S. response at that point was to begin to pull as many inside the wire as possible and declare victory.  Keep all focus on victory reports, victory, victory.  And it was so dangerous out there for journalists, there wasn't a lot of real reporting going on.  Even journalism was combat scarred, scared, and fatigued.


    You (none / 0) (#67)
    by FlJoe on Tue May 19, 2015 at 11:51:58 AM EST
    Actually, the Iraq war was close to being won.
    then you use  US military body counts of all things as a metric to prove it. Guess what by that metric we are winning even more since we pulled out.

    Think about those words "close to being won", are you suggesting that just a few more years, a few more billions of dollars, a few more military lives put would bring lead a better situation in Iraq? How would we know when we got there?

    Nobody has ever explained to me how 10-20 k American troops and just a few more years  could force the Shia and Sunni live together in peace after centuries of  bitter strife. The idea of

    a  sovereign, stable and self reliant Iraq with a representative government that was elected by its people
    is a pipe dream now, it was a pipe dream when Bush invaded and it was a pipe dream when the British and the French first drew imaginary lines in the sand 100 years ago.

    We do not have 10,000 or so (none / 0) (#8)
    by MKS on Sun May 17, 2015 at 11:40:24 PM EST
    troops in Syria....

    A large group of troops will always provide soft targets...totally different than a few Special Ops guys....

    An agreement was necessary.....and we did not get it....Facts, Mr. Green.

    The opinions of a few biased right wingers changes not aught.


    No, MKS, you look at the facts (none / 0) (#12)
    by Green26 on Sun May 17, 2015 at 11:54:54 PM EST
    Obama stated publicly that he didn't want a SOF agreement and didn't want troops in Iraq. Why can't you accept what Obama himself has said? Because you can't face facts.

    So, were you wrong about (none / 0) (#13)
    by MKS on Sun May 17, 2015 at 11:57:36 PM EST
    Iran intervening in Iraq?

    A residuual force (none / 0) (#17)
    by MKS on Mon May 18, 2015 at 12:05:59 AM EST
    left in Iraq would postpone the inevitable control that the Shias and their patrons the Iranians would exercise over large swaths of Iraq.

    That is assuming all went well..

    If we had troops there now, why do you assume that we would be suffering no casualties?   If it took over 100,000 troops to control the country, and then only with Sunni chieftain support, why would such a small fraction of that force maintain control now?

    It would be 2006 all over again in Iraq....if the past is used as the best yardstick for predicting the future....Only this time, we would have no Sunni Awakening to bail us out.


    Moreover, the entire (none / 0) (#15)
    by MKS on Mon May 18, 2015 at 12:01:13 AM EST
    premise was handing over rule to the Iraqis....Having the Iraqi government be sovereign and our troop be guests in the country governed by them--not by us militarily.

    Sure, we can establish military control and protect most of our troops that way, but that is not what we were doing....

    Again, the neocon vision was having Iraq turn into a western style democracy signing the praises of the U.S.


    Michael Pregent quotes (none / 0) (#1)
    by Jack203 on Sun May 17, 2015 at 07:04:00 PM EST
    "Falluja and Abu Ghraib are next - ISIS cannot be defeated in Iraq until Baghdad chooses Sunni Iraqis ahead of Iran"

    "Iran has no intention of defeating ISIS in Iraq - Iran will use threat of ISIS to stay - an unstable Iraq is the goal"

    I never thought of this that way, but yes, if true, it makes sense.  It's pretty pathetic that Iraq government took the fight to ISIS (with our help) and lost.

    But we hear Shiite militias backed by Iran are going in to Ramadi.  If that is true, they wil be a lot tougher than the Iraqi national army, which is a total and utter joke.  

    It's madness that we got involved with this part of the world in the first place in 2003.

    Let's roll the Jeb Bush quote... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Mr Natural on Sun May 17, 2015 at 09:05:40 PM EST
    Better yet, let's not.

    They have been recently allowing (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 18, 2015 at 10:46:36 AM EST
    Sunni to run Anbar.  Of course if they had started that way they probably wouldn't be in this position, but Anbar is now Sunni moderate fighting Sunni extremist.  And the extremists can argue that they should never again trust the Shia led Iraqi government and some Sunni agree and join.

    It is currently a tale of too little too late where the Iraqi government figures in.  And it is moderate Sunni fighters requesting help from Shia militia.

    Of course this is an opportunity to strengthen secular Iraqi bonds.


    Never-ending. (none / 0) (#26)
    by lentinel on Mon May 18, 2015 at 09:48:37 AM EST
    Our military involvement in Iraq is just fueling violence ... We should be exiting the arena, not doubling down.


    We should be exiting.
    We should have exited in 2008 - when that hopey-changey thing was to have taken hold.

    But we are not exiting.
    We are going even deeper into the pit.

    I would like to know why.
    I would like President Obama to be asked this question on a daily basis.
    I would like to know every candidate's position on this spiraling nightmare.

    troops still elsewhere (none / 0) (#31)
    by thomas rogan on Mon May 18, 2015 at 10:46:08 AM EST
    NATO and/or the US were present for many years in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Kosovo, ensuring that the success of the war could be maintained in the peace.  We governed Germany and Japan after the war.  None of this fiction of Malaki or Karzai governing the losers of the Iraq war and the Taliban/Afghanistan war and the illusion of rapid withdrawal of troops.
    The mistake was giving jokers like the two above the power to ruin a government and "kick" out our troops.  

    South Korea... (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by ScottW714 on Mon May 18, 2015 at 11:24:16 AM EST
    ...is very bad example in that the police action has not officially ended and the country is divided with N Korea having nuclear weapons.  Same with a divided Germany, which some parts were under soviet rule until the 80's.

    Nor are any of them really, and that is the problem.  They wanted to slap old methods on new warfare.  We never eliminated the power structure in the only real success story, Japan.  But that took dropping nuclear weapons on two of their cities and killing ~250,000 civilians.  We deliberately kept the Emperor alive even though we could have bombed the Palace or executed him for war crimes.  The people making those decisions understood the dynamic between Emperor and citizen.  We didn't even bother to understand the religious dynamic before the invasion, it was in reality an after thought that is biting us hard. ISIS does and is using it to exploit the region for their gain.

    The mistake was the invasion.  All other errors regarding Iraq where a direct result of the invasion.


    How many U.S. Troops (none / 0) (#35)
    by MO Blue on Mon May 18, 2015 at 11:17:13 AM EST
    We're killed in combat during their occupation of Japan or Germany after the war?

    As an addendum, please consider: (none / 0) (#42)
    by NYShooter on Mon May 18, 2015 at 12:03:26 PM EST
    What's happening now in Iraq cannot be looked at in isolation. The rapid growth of extreme elements of Islam has grown into a Hydra-headed monster. ISIS is but one head of this phenomenon.

    Not too many years ago we were concerned with smaller, localized extremist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. Then, on 9/11/2001, Al-Qaida burst into the forefront in a spectacular way.

    Sensing the disarray, and incompetent manner with which the U.S. and other Western countries responded, a more virulent form of Radical Islam was spawned, ISIS. Utilizing policies and techniques so savage they shocked our consciousness, they rapidly took advantage of the West's confusion, and the ME countries' infighting and paralysis.

    Around the same time ISIS was forming into a powerful military power, Boko Haram, "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad," was born, and growing. Cognizant of the success ISIS was enjoying with their shocking, elevated use of savagery as a policy to compel their territorial targets to submit, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS. And, as if to show their loyalty, and prove their mettle, they invented equally inhumane methods in accomplishing their goals, among them, mass rapes:

    "Hundreds of women and girls captured by Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group, have been raped in Nigeria, many repeatedly, in what officials say is a strategy to dominate rural residents and possibly create a new generation of militants."

    What's become evident is that the explosive growth of Islamic extremism is something no single country can, successfully, address, certainly not the United States. It's growth, and its world-wide goals, demand a global response. I don't know if the United Nations is the appropriate forum to lead a response. But, National leaders better get together, and soon, or this thing will metastasize into something beyond our current imagination.