The second key point is that President Obama did not decide to pull out all U.S. troops. The Iraqi people and the Iraqi government told the U.S. to leave. They didn't want to extend the date for the pullout that was set during the Bush-Cheney years. President Obama gets neither blame nor credit. He couldn't win an already lost war, he didn't set the timeline, and Iraq wanted the U.S. to leave.
To underscore the depth of the problem, we have this:
As Iraqi army forces try to rally on the outskirts of Baghdad after two weeks of retreat, it has become increasingly clear to Western officials that the army will continue to suffer losses in its fight with Sunni militants and will not soon retake the ground it has ceded.This was always the case. Despite years of U.S. training, the Iraqi military never became capable of defending Iraq. The Bush-Cheney maladministration failed there as it failed everywhere. Despite all those lives and all that money, they never created a viable Iraqi military.
Recent assessments by Western officials and military experts indicate that about a quarter of Iraq's military forces are "combat ineffective," its air force is minuscule, morale among troops is low, and its leadership suffers from widespread corruption.
As other nations consider whether to support military action in Iraq, where the situation continued to deteriorate Sunday, their decision will hinge on the quality of Iraqi forces, which have proved far more ragged than expected given years of U.S. training. Even now, fighters with the militant Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, are consolidating their gains, extending their hold on towns, securing access routes between their bases in Syria and the front lines in Iraq, and pressuring other Sunni groups to fight with them.
More beneath the fold.
While Republicans and their hawkish enablers in the traditional media tear their hair and rend their garments over the implosion of the Iraq they attempted to create in their own image, the reality is that success was never possible, for the war was sold on lies, the war was the bloodbath they said it wouldn't be, and the aftermath was disastrously mismanaged. As the hawks try to make the case for what necessarily would be more bloodbath and more failure, and the Obama administration sends "advisers" and warships, the questions are these:
How long is the U.S. supposed to be engaged in Iraq? It is not Germany or South Korea, which are not hot war zones.
How many more lives and how much more money is it supposed to cost?
What is the endgame, and when does it come?
And finally: if all the money and lives already spent failed to create a viable Iraqi government and a viable Iraqi military to defend it, why would spending more money and more lives succeed?
The answers are obvious. So should be the policy. No more U.S. war in Iraq.