In an Op-Ed printed in the Washington Post, former General David Petraeus says it is time to “unleash our airpower in support of our Afghan partners in the same way that we support our Iraqi and Syrian partners against extremists.”
Petraeus went on to claim:
At present, U.S. and NATO airpower in Afghanistan is used only to attack validated al-Qaeda targets, to counter specific individuals or groups who have attacked coalition forces previously and to respond directly to attacks on coalition forces. According to leaders on the ground, U.S. and NATO forces are otherwise not allowed to attack Taliban targets. The situation appears to be in flux in regard to Islamic State elements, but through 2015, they too could be targeted only under narrow circumstances.
The former general, who lead the failed Surge in Iraq, and former head of the CIA, who was thrown out of the job after his extra-marital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, and after his being convicted of exposing classified information, went on to say:
We have the tools in place to step up our game considerably. When combined with a motivated and competent ground force, airpower can be quite effective. This was witnessed in 2001, when U.S. airpower and special operatives worked with the Northern Alliance to oust the Taliban from power.
So at this point one must ask the key question: has Petraeus had a stroke or is he on Acid, because otherwise his statements ignore reality, perhaps the laws of time and space themselves.
To begin, Petraeus’ statement that airpower in 2001 “ousted the Taliban,” a statement made without apparent irony, would be hilarious if it was not utterly tragic. Petraeus seems to have missed a few meetings, at which he would have learned that since those victories in 2001 the Taliban has been doing just fine, thanks. The U.S. has remained inside the Afghan quagmire for more than 14 more years, and currently has no end game planned for the war. Air power, with or without “a motivated and competent ground force” (as if such a thing can ever exist in Afghanistan, we’ve been training and equipping there for 14 years), never is enough. There are examples to draw from going back into WWI.
It is also unclear on what information Petraeus is basing his statements that the U.S. is broadly “not allowed to attack Taliban targets.” Petraeus only refers to “leaders on the ground” as his source. We’d sure like to hear more about that.
And, David, how the hell did ISIS come into existence anyway, and how did they get into Afghanistan? U.S. have anything to do with that?
I get it. I get why the failed options are still so attractive. Bombing and drones are believed by the majority of Americans to be surgical procedures that kill lots of bad guys, not too many innocents, and no Americans at all. As Washington regularly imagines it, once air power is in play, someone else’s boots will eventually hit the ground. A handful of Special Forces troops, American boots-sorta-on-the-ground, will turn the tide. Washington will collect and hold together some now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t “coalition” to abet the task at hand. It all sounds good, even though it is not.
Petraeus failed in Iraq (that war is still going on and on) and he failed at CIA. Oh, and yes, in 2010 Petraeus served as the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, a period in which insurgent attacks on coalition forces spiked to record levels, and violence metastasized to previously stable areas.
So the most important question of all is why anyone is still listening to David Petraeus?
Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!
After selling America a bill of goods that he claimed won Iraq War 2.0 (i.e., “The Surge,” yeah, how’d that work out Dave?), General Dave went on to head the CIA, where he strongly supported long prison terms for whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou, claiming in the latter case that secrecy oaths “do matter.”
Then of course when it became his turn, General Dave happily handed over higher classified data than either Manning or Kiriakou even had access to, all to his adulterous lover and so-called biographer, Paula Broadwell. How’s that for a two-fer, violating both his oath of secrecy and his oath of marriage in one soggy gesture?
But this is America, where justice is blind and all. Right?
So when when David Petraeus was sentenced last week to a mere two years of probation and a fine that is only a fraction of what he gets paid to make a speech these days, questions were asked. Why did Petraeus get off, so to speak, so easily?
Apart from the general sleaze in Washington DC, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Keesler said as part of the plea deal he received letters supporting leniency for the general. In fact, Keesler received nearly three dozen such letters, including some from “high-level military and government officials.”
“The letters paint a portrait of a man considered among the finest military leaders of his generation who also has committed a grave but very uncharacteristic error in judgment,” Keesler said at the sentencing hearing.
It might be interesting to see who in Washington supported a confessed leaker of highly-classified documents. But despite Petraeus’ light sentence being based in part on those letters, no one can see them. The letters were filed under seal by Petraeus’ lawyers, which the judge agreed to. No explanation was given by the lawyers or the judge about what public interest was served by keeping the authors and the contents of the support letters hidden.
Several media outlets, from The Associated Press to The Washington Post, filed suit Monday with Keesler demanding that he unseal them. But unless the judge is also sleeping with Paula Broadwell (who, by the way, was never charged with unlawfully receiving classified documents) and also, um, leaks, we may never know.
Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!
My mom always forwards me the worst email crap, multi-megabyte Powerpoints of cats, or babies doing something odd, or homilies to life last century and the like. I usually thus delete most FWD’ed messages, but this one caught my eye. It’s making its way around the world so you might have already deleted it. If not, enjoy a cheap laugh. And be nice to your mother this Sunday, Mothers Day.
How to Be an Afghanistan Expert
1. Cite your most recent trip to the region where you saw – with your own eyes, absent the media’s blinders – irrefutable progress. Add points if you spoke with some cigar store Afghan who confirmed this for you. Add double points if you attended an actual jirga. (Subtract points if you were actually at a shura and mistook it for a jirga).
2. Imply that if only the clearance-less masses were privileged enough to see the same “high side” intelligence that you do, they would know the truth. Add points if you have an actual clearance and didn’t just look it up on Wikileaks.
3. Visit a bazaar. Chat with friendly merchants. Lots of salaams, lots of right-hand-over-your-heart greetings. Buy a (warm) orange Fanta. Note – often and loudly – that this bazaar was closed until ISAF forces arrived. Add points if you can drive to this bazaar, versus flying. Add double points if you can wear armor and helmet without looking like some parody of an obese war tourist.
4. Play down the fact that you are paid roughly $1,000 a day to “advise” the military and deny that there is any subsequent conflict-of-interest when you come home and write flattering things about progress in Afghanistan.
5. Whatever you do, avoid spending too much time in Afghanistan. In addition to acquiring language skills and some measure of cultural understanding, you risk becoming cynical and perhaps even despairing of our odds of success.
6. Adopt a “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for” approach to the region. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and amid the protests of others who have spent years on the ground, imply that through sheer force of will and maybe a Jedi mind trick or two, we shall overcome. Add points if you can beat the other experts in latching onto some insignificant scrap of “evidence” supporting “progress.” Add double points if you are the first to tweet about it.
7. If pressed on the deteriorating security situation, offer some babble about “the night being darkest before the dawn” and tie it into a tortured thesis about how escalating violence is actually a sign of counterinsurgency success. Add points of you can maintain a straight face making this point while citing vastly improved “kill ratios.” Subtract points if your “analysis” is eventually compared to an ISAF version of the 5 O’Clock Follies.
8. Write numerous “analytical reports” with phrases such as “The Way Forward” or “How to Win” in the title. No one, not even your colleagues in the think tank world, will actually read these, but they will be cited widely as a substitute for reading something substantive, that might offer actual insight into Afghanistan. Add points if you can deride previous scholarship on Afghanistan as “Orientalist.”
9. ‘The Grand Slam’ – authorship of a COIN pamphlet that gainsays the holy trinity: Petraeus, Nagl and Kilcullen. If pressed on the apparent failure of COIN in Afghanistan, cite some obscure insurgency – The Malayan Emergency is a good choice – and note how long success took to occur.
10. In case you ever write a book and need a jacket photo, make sure to get a photo of yourself rocking a full beard, a pakool, and a dastmaal. Subtract points if you insist on maintaining this appearance once you return to DC.
Lamb to the Slaughter
One of the high level employees who was reassigned/resigned/was terminated because of Benghazi was Charlene Lamb.
Ms. Lamb’s initial appointment to her position in Diplomatic Security was opposed by a number of career Department of State employees, we are told. Her biography has been disappeared from the State Department web site but is still alive in the Cloud.
Sources inside State say objections to Lamb’s hiring were at the time overridden by Cheryl Mills, the Number 4 at State. Ms. Mills is a Clinton political appointee (see below).
As a result, Lamb was terminated in order to prevent the inquiry from reaching higher, into the Secretary of State’s offices, where one could point the finger at Clinton for insisting on Lamb. Lamb in kind took the fall for Clinton, in what one commentator called a “bureaucratic firewall.”
As we now know, the Benghazi facilities were CIA, and not State Department, offices. There were no permanent State Department employees assigned to either building in that city. State merely provided the cover story on the ground, over the air via Susan Rice’s lies about that stupid anti-Islam video, and now in person as Congress looks for someone to blame so this can all just go away.
Where was Hillary?
Lamb being disappeared also closes off a line of inquiry into exactly what Clinton was doing the night of the attack on Benghazi.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb testified that on September 11, after the “full-scale assault” in Libya — “unprecedented in its size and intensity” — began about 9:40 p.m. Libyan time (4:40 p.m. Washington time), she was “in our Diplomatic Security Command Center [in Washington] monitoring multiple open lines with our agents [in Libya] for much of the attack.”
A few days later a CNN reporter asked Hillary Clinton what she was doing as the attack occurred, and Clinton responded with a 400-word answer that avoided the question. Here is part:
QUESTION: … could you tell us a little bit about what you were doing when that attack actually happened? I know Charlene Lamb, who as the State Department official, was mentioning that she back here in Washington was monitoring electronically from that post what was happening in real time. Could you tell us what you were doing? Were you watching? Were you talking with the President? Any details about that, please.
SECRETARY CLINTON: … I think that it is very important to recognize that we have an investigation going on… So that’s what an investigative process is designed to do: to try to sort through all of the information, some of it contradictory and conflicting… So I’m going to be, as I have been from the very beginning, cooperating fully with the investigations that are ongoing, because nobody wants to know more about what happened and why than I do. And I think I’ll leave it at that.
QUESTION: Mrs. Secretary, if you could, the question was –
SECRETARY CLINTON: I know, but I’m going to leave it at that.
Later that same day, the State Department spokesperson was asked why Clinton hadn’t answered, and provided this response:
As you know, she’s not that interested in focusing on herself. But obviously, she was here very late that night. She was getting regular updates from both the DS Command Center and the senior NEA leadership in the building, she was making phone calls to senior people, and so she was obviously very much involved. But I think she was not interested in sort of giving a personal tick-tock. It’s not the way she operates.
Who is Cheryl Mills?
Cheryl Mills is an interesting person to have her name pop up in connection with covering Clinton’s role in Benghazi. As deputy counsel, Mills sat at the epicenter of the scandals in the Clinton White House for seven years, eventually delivering an impassioned defense of the president during his 1999 impeachment trial. Mills left the White House soon after, but her performance earned her a place in the hearts of the former president and his wife. When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pursued the presidency almost a decade later, she tapped Mills to be her senior adviser and counsel on the campaign. As her campaign imploded, Mills acted as a de-facto crisis manager.
The Washington Post describes Mills as “close with many of the women in “Hillaryland,” including Ambassador-at-Large for Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer; senior adviser to Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Health Reform Neera Tanden and Judith McHale, undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs.”
David Petraeus, head of the CIA when its offices were overrun in Benghazi, is gone, victim of an FBI email love-trap sting that still makes little sense except as a political assassination. We won’t be hearing from him. Susan Rice, who was voted to try and pass off some lies about an anti-Islam movie to cover this all up, was thrown under the bus and we won’t be hearing from her again. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State at the epicenter, has been incommunicado for over a month with a series of excuses and will be resigning soon.
Why is it so hard to learn answers to some very basic questions about the decision-making behind Benghazi?
John Stanton‘s reputation as a truth-teller/trouble-maker (depending on your politics) is solid.
His new book, The Raptor’s Eye, JIEDDO, MISO, General P and The Prophet Smith: Reports from Washington, DC 2012, Capitol of the American Empire, with contributions from Dr. Emma L. Briant, University of Glasgow, is a collection of essays on the state of Amerika.
Stanton made his name in part through his dissection of General Petraeus’ vaunted Human Terrain System (HTS), a failed component of Petraeus’ failed counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq. HTS employed anthropologists to work alongside the US Army, analyzing the Iraqis scientifically so the US could more effectively manipulate and/or kill them.
But that’s for another time. Here are a couple of quotes from Stanton’s new book to set the tone for you:
“The biggest reason why stuff like the General Petraeus scandal happens is because the Inspector General’s Office (IG) continues to discount or ignore complaints from subordinates, until they explode in their faces. There is no way Paula Broadwell could have jumped on a plane and appeared in Afghanistan, without someone asking questions, somewhere. Instead of going after General David Petraeus, or Paula Broadwell, the military would save a lot of time and trouble taking a look at the people who allegedly approved Paula’s access to classified information, and the people responsible for safeguarding that access. I guarantee you that you will find someone who raised questions, who was harassed, intimidated, or removed from their position. The IG complaint process is supposed to provide a safety net for people who come forward with allegations of misconduct. This system appears to have fallen apart, and IG offices appear to be either complicit or disinterested in pursuing allegations of suspicious conduct by senior officers and NCO’s”.
“It was not to New York City, Boston or Baltimore that Wall Street financiers and banking houses ran to in 2008 when they screwed up. It was a sprint to Washington, DC that they made in search of cash to salvage their bank accounts first, and then the American economy, second. This provided a fine lesson for those who deride the citizens and institutions of the National Capitol Region: the action is here DC, not outside the Beltway.”
Dear Playboy Adviser:
I am an older professional man; call me “Dave” (maybe not my real name). Bored with my marriage of many decades to a woman who looks like she could be my mother, it seemed OK to me to have an affair with this dame writing a book about me, and, OK, maybe a few other broads. Turns out they are all bat shit crazy and now I’m in trouble where I used to work. I just want to get back in the saddle, put myself back out there while I’m still young enough, but I’m worried. Is Viagra still the best or should I try Cialis? This all seems like just a personal matter but the media is all over it like some big f’ing deal.
Dear Stick Man:
Writing from a Gmail account SkinnyLoveHunk@gmail.com created by someone named NotGeneralPetraeus at CIA HQ is a poor way to conceal your identity, just saying.
David Petraeus, you are a disgraceful slut. You lied to your wife, messed around with a “reporter,” wrote her naughty emails we all know are going to leak eventually and make us sick. If you did not resign, exactly what credibility would you have with your staff? How about your female staff? What kind of leader and role model are you trying to be? You wrote yourself in your “12 Rules for Living” that Rule No. 1 is “Lead by example from the front of the formation.” You were the head of the freaking CIA– did you think no one would notice?
You presence in any senior position would send a clear, sad message to all employees that double standards of behavior apply, and that if you’re senior enough you can get away with things underlings get fired for. The Army publicly fires commanders all the time for adultery, and the CIA quietly pulls security clearances from employees who cannot show personal discretion and judgement. If you’re lying to your wife, who else are you willing to lie to for your own crappy satisfaction? Your agency needs to know it can trust you. And don’t invoke your own Rule No. 4, “There is an exception to every rule, standard operating procedure, and policy; it is up to leaders to determine when exceptions should be made and to explain why they made them.” That does not apply to your marriage vows, mister.
(To be fair, none of your 12 Rules specifically bans nailing your biographer, but it is implied)
Is America sending the right message to the world when this is the best we can come up with? What, you think, this is the State Department?
Now, you disgust me. Zip it up and go away please.
Special to NotGeneralAllen@gmail.com: Take a look at that emblem you carry; it says Semper Fidelis, Always Faithful. That’s your guide on what to do when you’re not sure what to do. And if you’ve got time to write 20,000-30,000 pages of sexytime emails to a married broad in Florida, you’ve got time to win the freaking war. Do your job, loser.
While the hearings on what happened in Benghazi, Libya on September 11 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and elsewhere on the Hill this week are being held behind closed doors, and while SecState-in-Wanting John Kerry as chair is on board to make sure nothing too bad happens, what we do know continues to suggest the cesspool in Washington has no bottom.
David Petraeus’ political assassination last week has taken him off the stage as effectively as any sniper’s round. Conveniently timed to drop just a few days after Obama’s re-election (and on a Friday before a three day weekend to boot, sorry Mitt), in one fell swoop a fall guy is crowned for whatever went wrong in Benghazi, Hillary’s virgin status is preserved for 2016 and at no extra charge a potential Republican candidate is shredded. Not a bad day’s work for our FBI. And of course, most immediately, Petraeus won’t be allowed to testify before the Senate to cover his own philandering butt on Libya. People have learned a lot about how to do these kinds of things since the messy demise of Vince Foster.
New CIA Renditions?
As part of the gift that seems to keep giving, we now can go back and examine Petraeus’ snooki, Paula Broadwell, and see what she has been saying in new light. Overnight she has gone from pretend journalist to oracle into the deepest secrets at the CIA. And what might those be?
How about this: On October 26 Broadwell told an audience at the University of Denver that the CIA annex at the Benghazi consulate came under assault on September 11 because it had earlier “taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back.”
Woooo, holy mother of Christ on toast! Knowing now that Broadwell had access to Petraeus’ top secret pillow talk, her “speculative” statement becomes serious stuff. It tells us without a doubt that the September attack was aimed at the CIA (which this blog called way back then without having to had slept with anyone) not Ambassador Stevens, that the White House and Susan Rice damn well knew the attack was unrelated to the anti-Muslim video and worst of all, that the CIA is back in/still in the kidnapping and rendition business.
The latter is major stuff people. The CIA was kidnapping dudes in Libya? To do what with them? Torture/interrogate them locally and then release them? Render them to some outside secret site? What other sites? What the hell are those bad boys (still) doing in our name?
Where in the World is Hillary?
Just prior to the re-election of Barack Obama, lickspittle Hillary proudly proclaimed that she would assume full responsibility for what happened in Benghazi.
So with that statement of full responsibility, one would assume that Hillary will be up on the Hill this week, adding her insight and responsibility into the Senate’s Libya hearings, right?
Hillary is off to Australia to pimp for money to prop up America’s overweight defense structure in Asia. And don’t ask her for next week either, because she’ll be “on travel.” And also don’t expect to hear any testimony from any Libyans, either.
From Friday’s State Department press briefing:
MS. NULAND: Matt, they’ve asked for closed hearings, closed briefings; that’s what we’re complying with.
QUESTION: The Secretary won’t appear before any of these committees?
MS. NULAND: The Secretary has not been asked to appear. They’ve asked for the individuals that are coming.
QUESTION: Would she be willing to fly back from Australia to appear?
MS. NULAND: Again, she has not been asked to appear. She was asked to appear at House Foreign Affairs next week, and we have written back to the Chairman to say that she’ll be on travel next week.
QUESTION: Are you aware that any Libyans will be called to the hearings to be talked to?
MS. NULAND: That sounds like a question for the Hill. I’m not aware of any panels other than the government panels.
QUESTION: But you have not been asked to facilitate any visas or anything like this for –
MS. NULAND: To my knowledge, no.
QUESTION: — maybe some Libyan officials?
MS. NULAND: No.
As a public service, looking ahead to the Hillary Clinton presidential run in 2016, opposition researchers are invited to bookmark this page.
Following some of the worst car bombings in some time in Baghdad, the Grinches high atop Mount Crumpit at the White House and State Department mumbled:
Vice President Biden has spoken to several senior Iraqi leaders over the past week. Today he called Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to offer our full support for his efforts, and those of other Iraqi leaders, to foster dialogue that will allow all Iraqi blocs to work through their differences together. The Vice President also reiterated the need for actions to be guided by the rule of law and Iraq’s Constitution. At this difficult time, the United States stands with Iraq as a strategic partner and a close friend.
Happy messaging from Washington, but they are fooling no one except perhaps the American people, and of course the easily distracted American media. Most US outlets perked up momentarily to report on the Baghdad bombings, but otherwise events in Iraq lost in their competition with Rudolph, Lingerie Football and “It’s a Good Life” marathons.
Meanwhile in Whoville, it was like a Greatest Hits of the Iraq War show, with both Generals Odierno and Petraeus (now CIA head for some reason) dropping by the old neighborhood to chat with Maliki while Biden worked the phones. US Ambassador James Jeffrey, who had read too many of his own press releases and left Baghdad early for the Christmas holidays, was also back and went straight to Duhok in Kurdistan to meet with Kurdish President Barzani. They would try to stop the Grinch from stealing Christmas they would.
The New Yorker shares that “For those who may have briefly, vainly wished for a “decent interval” following the American departure from Iraq, the moment of illusion is over” and notes that while American voices talk of standing together and all that Rainbow Connection stuff, Maliki’s “public statements regarding the future of the Iraqi-American relationship have been unsettlingly parsimonious, along the lines of ‘one chapter ends, a new one begins; we look forward to the future.’”
The Sunnis continue to vote with their feet. Several thousand Iraqis protested on Friday against Maliki in Samarra and other Sunni strongholds after he moved to sideline Sunni leaders from his power-sharing government. After Friday prayers, with Sunni imams warning Maliki was seeking to foment sectarian divisions, protesters took to the streets of Samarra, Ramadi, Baiji and Qaim, many waving banners in support of Hashemi, and criticising the government.
Baghdad is once again under guard, much as it was during the American occupation. Media reports the movement of the vehicles is limited, and the streets are semi-empty, in addition to strict security precautions. “The BOC has banned press photographers to shoot photos of the explosion site in Karrada, targeted against the office of the Integrity Commission, killing and wounding dozens of civilians and completely destroying the building,” an Iraqi press photographer told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. Parliament speaker Nujaifi’s spokesperson told Agence France-Presse News that crisis talks have been postponed indefinitely because Iraq MPs can’t visit Baghdad due to the security situation.
The US Consulate in Kirkuk was again hit by rockets.
So, this holiday season, please do take efforts from the White House and the State Department to downplay the events in Iraq with a grain of salt dear Cindy Lou Who. Or two. Pass the roast beast, please.
Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mount Crumpit,
He rode to the tiptop to dump it!
“Pooh-pooh to the Whos!” he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
“They’re finding out now that no
ChristmasDemocracy is coming!
“They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!
“Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
“The all the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry BOO-HOO!”
(If it is stuck in your head now like it is in mine, read the whole of How the Grinch Stole Christmas online)
A much younger David Petraeus, in 2003 while invading Iraq, famously asked a reporter “Tell me how this ends,” correctly wondering how the US would get from invasion to whatever would come to pass for a permanent state of being for Iraq. No one then knew.
Juan Cole now thinks he knows the answer to Dave’s question:
And so that is the way the war ends. No great demonstrations in the US against it in its twilight. It is ending almost by default, because the Iraqi parliament can seldom get real legislation done, the US is forced to adhere to the 2008 SOFA. In the background, the bombs are still going off and the country is riven by ethnic disputes. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed.
The US will receive no benefit from its illegal war of aggression, no permanent bases, no bulwark against Iran, no new Arab friend to Israel, no $14 a barrel petroleum– all thing things Washington had dreamed of. Dreams that turned out to be flimsy and unsubstantial and tragic.
Ahydrosis is the inability to sweat properly. Among its many afflictions, this is not a disease that the US government suffers from. There is plenty of sweating going on in Washington over the lack of action on getting Iraq to commit to a forever US troop presence.
The latest actor to bark about the need for troops to remain forever in Iraq is Ray Odierno, the four-star nominated to be the next Army chief, when he appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Odierno served three tours in Iraq, the last as the top overall boss from 2008-10.
Odierno is also the latest actor to pick up the current talking point, that US troops are needed to defend Iraq from Iranian efforts. The General, like his SecDef and many others, cites the Iranian threat as a new reason for the US to remain in Iraq.
Odierno’s weeping was followed up by Obama’s pick to become the top US military officer, who warned Iran not to underestimate US resolve in responding to attacks on US forces in Iraq by Iranian-backed militia. General Martin Dempsey’s message to Iran would be “It would be a gross miscalculation to believe that we will simply allow that to occur without taking serious consideration or reacting to it.”
While the Iranian threat is being dragged out as something new, another breaking crisis in the war of terror (schedule to run now forever), it is nothing new at all.
Iran began moving resources into Iraq as early as 2003, after its overtures to the US to resestablish diplomatic relations were rebuffed by the then-engorged Busy Administration. The push back, quickly followed by Tehran’s sense that the US was getting handed its ass in Iraq, led to Iran’s paramilitary and intelligence buildup in Iraq. Tehran deployed to Iraq a large number of the Revolutionary Guard’s Qods Force — a highly professional force specializing in assassinations and bombings — as well as officers from the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security and representatives of Lebanese Hezbollah. Did I make that up? No, it was reported by the Washington Post in 2006. Odeirno and everyone else involved knows this but presents Iran as a new cause nonetheless.
Want more? In 2008, the Council on Foreign Relations pretty much laid out the whole Iranian strategy in Iraq, noting among other things that Iraq is filled with figures, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who spent time during Saddam Hussein’s tenure exiled in Iran.
Even the mighty team of former Ambassador Crocker and former General Petraeus called out the Iranians as waging a proxy war, back in 2008.
Closer to home, this blog has regularly reported on the US-Iran proxy war being fought in Iraq.
So we call bullshit on Odierno and everyone else trying to twist Iran’s eight years of activity in Iraq into something new that creates a reason to leave US troops forever. The Iraqis are certainly not sweating over it. Face it guys, the strategic result of the US invasion of Iraq is the emergence of Iran as an even more powerful and secure regional power.
Since Iraq worked out so well, let’s reunite the old gang for Afghanistan. FTW!
Jeez, you’d think some fresh blood might be called for. The gene pool needs chlorine friends.
Vintage cartoon (the Iraq success was in 2007) from Republican-Elephant.