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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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

This is battle between Sunni and Shite.  Sunni's who were oppressed under Saddam have been oppressed under Maliki, while Iran - which is largely Shite - comes galloping to the rescue. America may be able to assist with logistic, intel and air strikes - but it will ultimately favor the Shites and Iran while continuing to alienate the Sunni.

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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bush's prosecution of the war (6+ / 0-)

    bankrupted the Untied States of America.

    In particular the Occupation of Iraq was primarily a jobs program GOOPERs otherwise not welcome in either the private or public sector or their parents' basement.

  •  McCain has changed careers to 'professional liar' (11+ / 0-)

    While politicians have always been liars to a greater or lesser degree, they've usually done so with the pretense of telling the truth. McCain no longer even tries to tell a somewhat believable lie, he's blatant about it and doesn't care who knows.

    Can we stop giving him any credit for being a 'war hero' now? He used up all the respect he deserved for his service long ago, with the things he's done to damage the country in the past decade or more.

    "Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail." - My President

    by Fordmandalay on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 01:08:35 PM PDT

  •  Fix Title Please: Mike (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv, NancyWH

    You matter to them IF YOU VOTE!

    by nuketeacher on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 01:08:51 PM PDT

  •  Mika not Mike nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Had Enough Right Wing BS, Sylv

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 01:12:22 PM PDT

  •  Seems to me that it's impossible (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vyan, VClib

    to assign all the blame to either President Bush or President Obama.  The more I read about this, what it seems is that there's a situation now which has arisen from many different acts over many different years.  Would one changed decision by either President Bush or President Obama have substantially changed where we are now?  It's probably impossible to know, which is why we have this useless "blaming" by both sides -- "It's ALL Bush's fault" or "It's ALL Obama's fault."  

    To me, that is all counterproductive, and useless, because -- especially when you are dealing with groups in Iraq who are not necessarily acting out of rationality or logic -- it's impossible to go back in time and definitely say what "would have happened" if this decision or that decision had been different.  Even Bush's decision to wage war in Iraq can't be considered "definitive" one way or the other.  Certainly, certainly, that decision can be criticized on many levels, but that's a different thing than saying that the decision to invade Iraq was the direct cause of what is going on in Iraq now.  Had we not done that, what would have happened in Iraq over the last 11 years?  Where would Iraq be today?  That almost certainly would depend on a number of other decisions that would have been made by Bush and others based on different circumstances.  And the same goes for Republicans' criticism of President Obama -- had we left a residual force, who's to say where we'd be?  We can only guess -- it's impossible to know.  

    I would be much, much happier if both critics of President Obama and critics of President Bush were less focused on trying to lay ALL the blame at the feet of the other side and more focused on the pertinent question:  what do we do now?  How do we handle now what is going on in Iraq?  

    •  President Obama may be faulted for not (7+ / 0-)

      fixing Dubya's mess faster or satisfactorily. Yet it remains a Cheney/Bush mess.

      I wouldn't blame a paramedic or a police officer who was unable to revive the victim of a drunk driver. Likewise I won't blame our president for the recklessness of his predecessor.

      The situations in both Iraq and Afghanistan might be much better now had the Republicans not played bait-and-switch. Many honest people supported the tragedy that was Bush's invasion of Iraq.

      Beating that horse won't accomplish anything, but pretending there is equivalence where there isn't solves nothing either.  

      If your strategy depends on having fewer people show up to vote, that is not a sign of strength. That is a sign of weakness. President Obama

      by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 01:59:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We just don't know what would have happened (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Had Enough Right Wing BS, VClib

        to Iraq had not the U.S. invaded in 2003.  

        I'm NOT arguing that invading Iraq in 2003 was the right decision.  

        What I am saying is I don't know what would have happened in Iraq if we had not deposed Saddam Hussein.  Would he have been overthrown?  When?  How would that have affected the longstanding Sunni-Shia conflict?  Would we have seen the conflict we are seeing now sooner?  later? around the same time?  These are all questions that nobody can answer.  

        The invasion of Iraq had such a profound affect on that area of the world that it's impossible to know what "would have happened" in that area of the world, and most especially in Iraq, had we not done it.  

    •  I blame most of the American people who have (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vyan, NancyWH

      repeatedly proven that they can be suckered into anything by a nice smile, a cowboy demeanor, "tough talk" and pathological lying.  For the pièce de résistance, call them cowards, traitors and unpatriotic if they don't follow along with the rest of the lemmings.

      Of course, this is followed by the "shock and awe" that the enemy doesn't immediately make a weak-kneed retreat and surrender in the face of the overwhelming military might of 'Merica.  Let's see now - Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya - seems like somebody around here is what used to be politely called a "slow learner".

    •  We quit being arrogant and let them handle their (0+ / 0-)

      own problems. Our involvement simply postpones them finding their own solutions. They did not welcome us as liberators. We can not fix their problems. It is their country and it is up to them to determine its future.

  •  Wait, what? (3+ / 0-)

    "Sunni's who were oppressed under Saddam have been similarly oppressed under Maliki, while Iran - which is largely Shite - comes galloping to the rescue."

    Saddam was Sunni - moderate Sunni, but Sunni, and he brutally oppressed Shiites. His army was Sunni. They are the minority in Iraq, but they held the power.

    Hence the bitter hatred between Saddam and Iran.

    There was also bitter hatred between Saddam and Al Qaeda because Saddam wasn't a fundamentalist Wahabbi breand of Sunni.

    We took the Sunnis from power...and in a democratic election, the majority Shiites took power (with help from Iran,  maybe, depending on who you believe).

    Now the Sunni backlash has begun. Big Time.

    Biden was right about Iraq and 3 countries. Funny, he was also right about going forward in Afghanistan.

  •  A Residual Force Would Have Been Non Combat.... (7+ / 0-)

    & minimal.  Bush got us into this, then he signed the SOFA Agreement w/ Maliki in 2008 ordering all combat troops out of Iraq by 2009 & any remaining U.S. troops out by December 31, 2011.

    I don't see any of it as Obama's fault.  Nada.  

    •  Something odd about (0+ / 0-)

      leaving a staff of 17,000 at the embassy. Really? That's a huge staff.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. - Elbert Hubbard -9.62/-8.15

      by GustavMahler on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 02:01:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Same old story: remember how we would have won (6+ / 0-) Vietnam if only Johnson had fought with everything we had?  
    ...and in Korea if only Truman had dropped the bomb?

    Play chess for the Kossacks on Join the site, then the group at

    by rhutcheson on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 01:49:47 PM PDT

  •  McCain has a painfully awkward and completely (8+ / 0-)

    megalo-maniacal need to harangue about this bloody war because he is still so Pissed Off that the American voters did not choose HIM to be the pres in '08. It's pure and simple. And as long as the ignorant masses in Arizona continue to reelect this malcontent, who belongs in one place and one place only - his nice, quiet, secluded ranch outside of Sedona (or one of his other seven houses!) - he will in turn continue to make an utter ASS of himself every time he opens his yap. To the extreme consternation and detriment of thinking folks everywhere...Jeez!

  •  Asdf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv, Gooserock

    Did Mika have sexual reassignment surgery?

    You really need to change your diary title.

    The best way to tell a Democrat from a Republican is to present someone requiring food and shelter. The Democrat will want them housed and fed, even if they be faking need. The Republican will gladly see them starve until all doubt is removed.

    by GayIthacan on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 02:05:56 PM PDT

  •  Shit Sandwiches all the way down. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Clarify? (0+ / 0-)

    A good article.  
    Just one question about ambiguous wording in the last sentence--

    "but it will ultimately favor the Shites and Iran while continuing to alienate the Sunni. "  The "it", I'm assuming, refers to Iraq and not the US.  

  •  I don't understand why (0+ / 0-)

    we can't leave these people alone.  They have fought each other for thousands of years.  It's none of our business.  We need to leave them to their own devices.  Let the chips fall where they may - it's their homeland (including all minerals, etc.) not ours.

    People act on the outside how they feel on the inside. If you acknowledge it, you can change it.

    by Raggedy Ann on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 03:04:39 PM PDT

  •  What Syrian group did McCain meet with last year? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, jayden, kerflooey

    Was it this ISIS group? Or did they turn into the ISIS group? As I recall McCain going over there seemed pretty odd to me. Unless he was sent by the administration, he should not have been there.

  •  McCain's position is breathtakingly dishonest! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vyan, Jack Sokol, Eric Nelson

    It was the Bush administration that negotiated the final pull-out date, and they did it for the simple reason that Maliki refused to enter into a status of forces agreement that wouldn't subject any American troops in Iraq to the tender mercies of the Iraqi justice system. To the best of my recollection, not a single Republican (including John McCain in particular) raised any objection when that agreement was negotiated.

    But somehow, it's now all Barack Obama's fault that there wasn't a status of forces agreement that would permit a residual American force to stay in Iraq. Does McCain think Obama should have kept Americans there and subjected them to the Iraqi justice system? He's certainly never suggested any such thing. So presumably his criticism is that Barack Obama didn't wave his magic wand and somehow force Maliki to sign an agreement that he was flatly unwilling to sign when Bush was in office. John McCain has zero remaining credibility on anything. He is simply a bitter old man raging at the fact that he will never be President.

    Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

    by leevank on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 04:23:44 PM PDT

  •  McCain proves he's a moron ...Once again (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    John McCain is not a very intelligent man, and he never has anything but misplaced blame to offer up as a solution.

    The story in Iraq is far from over.   While it's been a grim week ... ISIS is weak in the face of determined resistance.
    It's more likely they will be defeated before they can organize a big enough army to take the Shiite portion of Iraq and Iran will not stand for it.  Iran will intervene militarily if Iraq folds up too quickly.  

    Whether that could occur or not is open for debate, but McCain is not helping.  the story has not been written yet and he is calling it.  

  •  One of the most destructive moves GWB.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, NancyWH

    ..and his cabinet did to fuel the beginning of the Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which was then original to the scion, ISIS, was the policy of de-Baathification.
    A question asked by the New Yorker as early as 2004:

    The United States’ de-Baathification program fuelled the insurgency. Is it too late for Bush to change course?
    President Bush named L. Paul Bremer III as the head of what became known as the Coalition Provisional Authority. On May 16, 2003, Bremer issued a sweeping ban of the Baath Party: all senior party members were barred from public life; lower-level members were also barred, but some could appeal. In effect, Bremer had fired the entire senior civil service. The origins of the decree have never been clarified, but Coalition officials I spoke to said they believed that Bremer was following orders from the White House. A week later, he disbanded the Iraqi Army.
    This - imo- and the opinions I've been hearing from numerous sources was the single most damaging move of the GWB/Cheney administration. Of course the deception leading to and the subsequent invasion of Iraq itself was the ultimate mistake beginning.

    Here is a time line of the most (June 12) recent events and the movements of the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq & al-Sham) from the Guardian

    With a very good map of the region

    John McCain's ideas couldn't be more wrong according to reporting: The reasons the Iraq army of 30 thousand laid down their arms, took off their uniforms is that they felt little loyalty to Maliki and many had no desire to fight many who are their own countrymen.

    John McCain is dangerously wrong on another thing. We the U.S. can't just put "a few" troops on the ground. It would further mess things up.

    And McCain is wrong about Baghdad. Word I'm hearing is, Baghdad will not be over-run by ISIS. They are too outnumbered. Furthermore this is where the ISIS will be forced to negotiate.

    Thx Vyan - You have it covered, so just wanted to point out the huge mistake of kicking out the Baathists and the Baath army

    The Baath Party, which kept its records secret, is estimated to have had between a million and two and a half million members, most of them Sunnis, like Saddam
    That's where the al Qaeda in Irag then splinter group ISIS got it's beginning.
  •  Yeah John you and your BBF Lindsey felt like you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    had it won because you two got just about everything out of that war you needed for your blood and violence lusting tiny hearts., but the Iraqis didn't have it won because they were not at peace within Iraq.

    Fighting continued, as insurgents and pockets of resistance continued to create battles of place.  And the country was not united in peace.

    That last sentence means everything,   An army that strips off its uniforms and flees at the first sign of invasion is not an army that has a sense of nationalism.  And if there is not true "nation" of Iraq then we did not win the Iraqi war.

    We started it but we did not win it.

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