Monday, January 06, 2014

Who Lost Fallujah?

Well, the real answer is nobody, because it was never ours to begin with, but let’s check out all of the political posturing just for fun. Reality first.

In 2007 George W. Bush and Nouri al-Maliki negotiated a deal which spelled out a date for the total withdrawal of all of our military forces from Iraq. That date was Dec 31, 2011 and it pissed off pretty much everyone except the Iraqis. Our media claimed the Iraqis didn’t want us to leave because we were keeping them safe, but that was bullshit. The conservatives were angry at Bush for agreeing to a withdrawal, and liberals were angry at him for doing it after Obama was elected but before he took office and was able to take credit for doing it himself.

Until nobody wanted credit for it, of course, but that came later.

Between the date that he took office and the date of the withdrawal, Obama tried valiantly to negotiate a new deal with al-Maliki that would allow our military forces to remain in Iraq past the date set by Bush. That he was unsuccessful proves that the media claim that the Iraqis wanted us to stay was bullshit and so, because it exposed their idiocy, they played down Obama’s failure to extend our military presence. This was okay with Obama because it avoided exposing his failure and allowed him to say pontifically during his reelection campaign that “we ended the war in Iraq” without clarifying who the hell he meant by “we.”

So Bush actually “ended the war in Iraq,” but that didn’t stop Obama loyalists from giving credit for that feat to Obama because the actual date of the withdrawal was on his watch. They also conveniently ignored the valiant but failed efforts he made not to end the war in Iraq. This would be called “revisionist history” if Republicans were doing it, but since Democrats were doing it was perfectly okay.

Republicans, meanwhile, also ignored his failed efforts not to end the war, eschewing the opportunity to point out failure in favor of being able to accuse him of “surrendering,” although it has never been clear who he surrendered to. It should be pointed out that logic is never really required in political discourse, and is sometimes actually counterproductive.

Now Anbar province is once again embroiled in violence, and so the Obama contingent is trying to back pedal from the “we ended the war in Iraq” bit, but they haven’t quite figured out how to do that. The war, it turns out, hasn’t ended; the only thing that has is our part in it. So a new argument will start over whether or not that is a good thing.

Now along comes a Washington Post editorial (behind a paywall) which says that the US should wage a “counterinsurgency campaign to win back the Sunni population,” but cannot do so because Obama “chose to leave Iraq in toto to serve his re-election theme that ‘the tide of war is receding.’” Aside from the absurdity about it being Obama’s choice to leave Iraq, the Post is insane to be beating the drums for counterinsurgency, which has repeatedly demonstrated itself to be a nonsensical military strategy.

1 comment:

  1. Looking back through time it is hard to find any case where a "counterinsurgency" is a success. Sometimes an insurgency peters out, but that rarely is a result of an opponents policy of counterinsurgency.