Thursday, June 18, 2015

She's been there, she's been everywhere!



“I’ve stood up to adversaries like [Russia President Vladimir] Putin and reinforced allies like Israel,” she said in her speech on Saturday at Roosevelt Island in New York City. “I was in the Situation Room on the day we got [Osama] bin Laden.



"I would hope," US House Rep Adam Smith  declared this morning,  "that we would have learned over the course of the last 14 years of having a substantial presence in both Iraq and Afghanistan that the west showing up in the Muslim world and saying 'we're here solve your problems' isn't going to get it done."

He was speaking at the House Armed Services Committee hearing.  Smith is the Ranking Member on the Committee, US House Rep Mac Thornberry is the Chair and today they were hearing testimony from Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Gen Martin Dempsey (Chair of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff).

Thornberry had questions regarding US President Barack Obama's decision to send 450 more US troops into Iraq and to set them up at a base in Anbar Province.

This decision has had many vocal critics.

Such as Daniel Wagner (Huffington Post) who observed:

Mr. Obama apparently believes that being seen to be doing something is better than doing nothing, but he is wrong. The U.S. tried a war, installing a prime minister, and implementing a post-war counter-insurgency strategy. None of them worked for a reason: The Iraqi government is the wrong partner.
It took a long time for the U.S. to acknowledge that continuing to back Nouri al-Maliki for as long as it did was a big mistake, but by the time it did, it was really too late to salvage the situation. Iran is running the government and a feckless military. Trying to support the government or the military now is based on an alternate reality that 'could' have become true a dozen years ago, but bears little resemblance to the reality today. What will it take for the U.S. government to admit that what it is doing isn't working?

 The editorial board of the Baltimore Sun pointed out Tuesday:, "Sending a few hundred troops merely gives the impression that he is taking action while really just kicking the can down the road for the next American president to contend with."  From the May 21st snapshot:

And what's especially sad is he went on and on while campaigning for president (the first time) about how the answer wasn't to play "kick the can."  He was, he insisted, someone who took action and made decisions.
But his Iraq action is nothing but kick the can.
Every day, you can picture him praying, "Just semi-hold together until January 2017, just semi-hold together until January 2017."
The whole point of his (minimum) three year action on Iraq that he started in mid 2014 was that he wouldn't be the one left holding the bag at the end.
So he grits his teeth and lies, "I don't think we're losing."

Aamer al-Qaisi (World Meets Us) observes:

There is nothing new in what the Americans have to say. On the tenth of June last year when Mosul fell, the Americans told us to expect a long war that could take three years. Only now - a year after Mosul's fall, it has become five years. We know nothing about the most recent projections of the American administration after it altered its strategy from merely encouraging the arming of various warring factions and the Peshmerga to now accepting the participation of the Popular Mobilization Forces [Shiite militias] in efforts to liberate occupied cities from Daesh!
Amid all the "creative chaos" of the American approach, we stand a year out from the fall of Mosul, four million people have fled, there is a waterfall of blood and the political cracks are deepening by the day – free gifts for Daesh, which it uses to extend its aggression and hatred toward everything human in this country ...
Posted By Worldmeets.US

The truth we must courageously face up to is that we are fighting Daesh without any kind of strategy – political or military. We are in fact in the heart of the chaos. Politically, our wonderful politicians continue to exchange insults and accusations while brandishing slogans of reconciliation, national unity and Iraqi brotherhood. That is all for internal consumption – and we're fed up with it. Militarily, we continue to lack united leadership and a military strategy that could serve as a compass for all those fighting Daesh. Our military victories lack purpose and depth in terms of returning displaced people to their homes and restoring social peace in liberated cities that have been destroyed by war!

Those are only a few of the critics of Barack's announcement last week.

The announcement was more of the same -- announcing to continue the same actions begun back in August of last year.

The actions have not produced any visible successes.

And when people note that reality, the White House responds that this is not something which can succeed overnight and that this is something which will require years.

That stalling tactic is used as an attempt to silence criticism and to shirk oversight.

Which is why this moment during the hearing is so important:

Chair Mac Thornberry:  So what's the reasonable time period for us to check back and see whether this is working as we hope?

Secretary Ash Carter:  I honestly think it's-it's reasonable for you to ask in-in weeks, uh, because, uh, I --  we're already getting an inflow of, uh, Sunni fighters.  We'll put them through the training program.  We have the capacity to do that.

That was one of two key moments in the hearing.

We'll note more of the hearing tomorrow but today we're focusing on the above and one other moment.

In the above exchange, Carter is stating clearly that in weeks, not years, it will be possible to render a judgment of success or failure.

A year ago, Barack told the world that the only answer to Iraq's crises was a political solution.  He stressed a military solution was not going to solve the deeper problems.

And yet he's tasked the entire administration -- even the State Dept -- with working on the military aspect.

Why is that?

We offered that he was using the State Dept not just to get 'coalition' partners who could join in the air bombing campaign but also to get other countries to send in troops.

The Iraq War is not ending.

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