From the Hart: Iraq: losing our Trillion Dollar War

tsj column writers - from the hartBy Ron Hart

In his own “Mission Accomplished” moment, Obama declared a couple of years ago that he had brought a “responsible end to the war in Iraq.”  As it turns out, not so much.

A destabilized Iraq ushered in the rise of ISIS, which Obama dismissively called the “Junior Varsity.” Now ISIS is on the rise and has recently taken the provincial capital of Ramadi, 70 miles from Baghdad. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said last Sunday that Iraqi soldiers, while “vastly outnumbering” the ISIS insurgents, lacked “the will to fight.” Another E-Harmony success story for this administration. If it gets its next foreign policy decision right, that will be a first.

What the USA really needs is someone who can keep order in Iraq: a strong leader who can keep militant Muslims in line and the oil flowing, stabilize the country, make Shiites and Sunnis get along, keep the Iranians at bay, and crack the whip when needed. We did have such a man, but we hanged him a few years back.

On Obama’s watch, ISIS (the “JV” squad), has taken over city after city in Iraq and Syria. ISIS is taking equipment we left there for the Iraqi soldiers, who then turn tail and run. Ramadi, where 80 U.S. soldiers were killed nine years ago when we took that city, is the latest failure in a war of occupation I said we never should have waged. It’s not a surprise that this government lost control of Ramadi; it cannot even control Baltimore.

Ever the clever messaging administration, the President’s team simply called the fall of Ramadi a “setback,” and said they were “not going to set their hair on fire” over it. And why should they? Their only interest in it would be if an Iraqi policeman shot an African-American male. Then the full focus and force of the Obama administration would be brought to bear on the situation.

The hapless Joe Biden, who looks like a car dealership sales manager reluctantly approving “free” undercoating protection for the car you just overpaid for, chimed in. He said that the USA “recognized the enormous sacrifice and bravery of Iraqi forces over the past 18 months in Ramadi and elsewhere.” One would think Biden would be right about something eventually. But not here.

I opposed the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions and occupation from the giddy-up. But since we did it, I see no reason to be embarrassed now by leaving our equipment behind and letting it go. It would not have taken much effort for Obama to keep Iraq in order. Given the American lives and treasure spent, why did Obama fumble this?

As I remember, the U.S. goal was to set up an American-style democracy in the Middle East, one in which people would be governed by the will of lobbyists and public sector unions.

We know Obama does not care about this war. He can’t tax it, and Iraqis can’t vote for him. He can blame it on Bush. Obama played golf minutes after his speech on ISIS beheading American journalist James Foley. Even Bill Clinton would have not left an important speech to join a foursome — a threesome maybe, but not to play golf.

In just about everything the government does, its involvement creates more problems than it solves. And there is not yet a galvanized Islamic army capable of invading America that we couldn’t blow up over a long holiday weekend.

Terrorists conduct dramatic beheadings and executions just to make us legitimize them by reacting. That’s their goal. If Iraqi soldiers cower and run and won’t fight for themselves, even when they outnumber ISIS insurgents, we certainly should not be getting anymore of our boys’ legs blown off fighting for them.

Iraq and the Middle East will take care of themselves. Let those crazies kill each other. Iraq needs a secular bouncer again, not well-intentioned Americans.

Against all evidence, the White House continues to maintain that its war on terror “policy” is a success, backing the Iranians against Sunnis in Iraq while financing the Sunnis against the Iranians in Yemen. We support the Shiites on occasion too. Laurel and Hardy appeared better coordinated pushing that piano up the staircase.

Since we have mucked up so many wars, maybe we should have the NFL investigate the Pentagon. My suggestion would be to impose a two-war suspension and the loss of the draft.

(Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com or visit RonaldHart.com.)

 

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