And that sad fact is, they both have it wrong.
“We had it won. Thanks to the surge and thanks to Gen. David Petraeus, we had it won," McCain said. "And then the decision was made by the Obama administration to not have a residual force in Iraq."The thing is I don't think having a residual U.S. Force would have deterred this new I.S.I.S group. If there had still be U.S. Troops in Iraq, they would have attacked with the knowledge that they'd have American Blood on their hands. There weren't any insurgents in Iraq until we came. But going even further to Myka's point, this group is from Syria and have arisen out of the turmoil there which has nothing to do with the Iraq War. If Saddam had still been in power, IMO these guys would have done the exact same thing - because just as his troops ran from our invading force (twice), they would have run from these guys.
Brzezinski contested that claim and suggested the George W. Bush administration was partly responsible for the current situation in Iraq.
"What about going in in the first place? And what about churning the hate?" she asked. "What about taking the Sunnis out of leadership positions in 2003? What about the fact that there might have been some parts of this that are on the previous administration that could be relitigated as well?"
"What about the fact that we had it won?" McCain responded. "What about the fact that people like me said we've got to fire [Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld, we've got to get the surge going?"
"Did we?" Brzezinski interjected.
"Yes, we did finally," McCain said.
“Now I expected you and others to blame it on all these different events," he added. "The fact is we had the conflict won, and we had a stable government, and a residual force such as we have left behind ... but the president wanted out and now we are paying a very heavy price.”
But that's just what I think, over the flip I have much more yummy factiness from David Corn at Mother Jones.
Is Bush to blame for the Iraq Crisis or is it Obama? Well, not exactly.
President Barack Obama did not leave a residual force of American troops in Iraq after he withdrew US troops because Maliki would not sign a Status of Forces Agreement protecting US soldiers. Though Bush also did not negotiate a long-term SOFA, prominent Republicans, including Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney, have slammed Obama for failing to obtain such an agreement. But Fareed Zakaria reports that a senior Iraqi politician told him, "Maliki cannot allow American troops to stay on. Iran has made very clear to Maliki that it's No. 1 demand is that there be no American troops remaining in Iraq. And Maliki owes them."So whether it was Bush or Obama, it didn't matter U.S. Forces were not going to be sitting around waiting for the imminent Jihad. That simply wasn't going to happen, and it wasn't something that Obama "decided" it was what Maliki wasn't going to allow.
5. The United States has provided much training and equipment to the Iraqi military—$25 billion in military aid—before and after the US withdrawal. Yet under Maliki the Iraqi army has not been professionalized and has committed repeated abuses against civilians, according to Human Rights Watch, including unlawful raids and arrests, torture, and indiscriminate shelling. When a relatively small band of jihadists attacked Mosul and Tikrit, four major divisions folded. Training and equipment does not help if soldiers strip off their uniforms and flee because they are not committed to the mission and the government.This is battle between Sunni and Shite. Sunni's
6. More US assistance to Maliki and his military may not make the difference. (See No. 5.) Moreover, Iran has sent special forces to Iraq to assist Maliki—bolstering Iraq's dependence on Iran. If the United States were to funnel additional military equipment (and more advanced equipment) to Maliki's army, it could well end up with the ISIS jihadists (given the Iraq military's habit to cut and run) or—get this—with the Revolutionary Guard of Iran. A good deal for Tehran. And if US air strikes are ordered in Iraq to assist Maliki, American fighter jets or drones would be deployed in a tactical alliance with Iran.
It's a bit of a shit sandwich, but that's what's being served for lunch. Better grab some Pepto.
2:56 PM PT: Made a couple technical corrections, but in the meanwhile it occurred to me that if McCain had had his way on the conflict in Syria - Isis would have come into Iraq with arms we would have provided them to fight Assad.