News that President Obama has doubled the number of American
troops (whoops — I mean advisers) in Iraq to 3100 is already a tacit admission of defeat in that troubled region. Let’s recall that the Iraqi security forces the U.S. trained and equipped to the tune of $25 billion simply melted away when faced with serious combat this summer. Their performance put me to mind of the National Rifle Association’s slogan against John Kerry in the presidential campaign of 2004. Kerry had gone bird shooting, mainly it seems to be photographed with a gun in his hand, a necessity for any red-blooded American male (just ask Obama). But the NRA wasn’t fooled (or so they claimed). “That dog don’t hunt,” the NRA said about Kerry. And something about that slogan stuck.
You could say the same of that Iraqi army that the U.S. created and funded and trained and equipped: That dog don’t hunt. Or, it won’t hunt for us. Because that’s not its purpose. That’s not how or even why we trained it. But that’s OK. We’ll just send more American troops to Iraq, and waste more money, further destabilizing the region, making it even easier for radical jihadists to recruit more followers, whether to the ISIS banner or some other Islamist flag (Khorasan, perhaps?).
It’s just incredible how inept U.S. foreign policy is today. If George C. Marshall had been like this during World War II, we’d be speaking German today at the Pentagon, instead of simply misinterpreting Clausewitz.
Of course, Congress will have to authorize funding for the latest U.S. military misadventure. Anyone want to offer odds on Congress actually exercising oversight on our foreign entanglements? A long shot, indeed.
Even as Congress seeks to cut funding to the poor, there’s always plenty of money for military adventurism overseas, no matter how often those adventures fail. When it comes to exercising real oversight, Congress is always a lame duck — so lame that even a dog that don’t hunt (that Iraqi military again) succeeds in bagging billions of dollars from the American taxpayer.
The moral to the story? America doesn’t lack for guns; we lack for brains.
Update: Iraq has “shook up” its military, relieving 26 officers of their commands and forcibly retiring 10 others, even as 18 new commanders were appointed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi among promises of greater professionalism and less graft and corruption. Progress? Time will tell. But what does it say about a military that, in spite of prolonged training and massive infusions of cash from the U.S., was so ridden with corruption that it collapsed when facing its first challenge? Sadly, the need for ever more U.S. advisers and money suggests this is yet another case of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Update 2 (written by b. traven)
What is truly tragic is how the back story to the total failure of the Bush-Cheney wars is not reviewed by Obama, the Senate, or the House as this tragedy for Iraq unfolds. Obama just continues to follow the Bush lies by one week saying no “boots on the ground” while his top military people say “yes, more boots” and the next week Obama announces doubling the number of troops with no sense of embarrassment. And the American people stay entranced with baseball, football, and basketball scores.
And you can say you saw it here first. No sooner had General Dempsey said he wanted more troops in Iraq then Obama complied by doubling the force. Now Dempsey has told Obama what he wants even more troops so you can count on Obama complying in a couple of weeks. There’s nothing like doubling down on a failed policy in hopes that the result will come out differently than the last failure. Here’s Dempsey’s new demand as reported in the Guardian of London newspaper:
“The top-ranking officer in the American military said on Thursday that the US is actively considering the direct use of troops in the toughest upcoming fights against the Islamic State (Isis) in Iraq, less than a week after Barack Obama doubled troop levels there.
General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, indicated to the House of Representatives armed services committee that the strength of Isis relative to the Iraqi army may be such that he would recommend abandoning Obama’s oft-repeated pledge against returning US ground troops to combat in Iraq.”
President Truman fired the most renowned five star General of his day, Douglas MacArthur for voicing a policy contradicting Truman’s in regard to China. If we had a real president he would do the same with Dempsey, who is certainly no MacArthur.