Thursday, October 01, 2015

Unclear On the Concept

I am appalled that presidential spokesman Josh Earnest said--as I heard him say on the news Wednesday evening--that Putin's effort to prop up Assad is based on the weakness of Assad and that the Russians will find they can't impose a military solution any more than we could in Iraq "a decade ago."

Yes, the spokesman of our president said this:

“Russia will not succeed in imposing a military solution on Syria any more than the United States was successful in imposing a military solution on Iraq a decade ago, and certainly no more than Russia was able to impose a military solution on Afghanistan three decades ago," Earnest said.

Earnest seems to be unaware that by spring 2008, we had defeated our enemies on the battlefield in Iraq. We smashed al Qaeda, convinced our enemies the Sunni Arabs to flip to our side, and beat down Iran's proxies in the Shia militias.

And we left a unified Iraq government with Kurdish, Shia, and Sunni Arab participation and gave them a competent security force geared to light infantry missions.

Iraq was, as Vice President Biden boasted, potentially one of the great achievements of President Obama's foreign policy.

We'll gloss over just what other great achievements in a Pantheon of Nuance he had in mind.

He even said this:

You're going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer.

That sounds like a parade. Troops don't get victory parades when they lose a war.

So we did impose a military solution that gave us a "stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government" as the vice president told America.

Mr. Earnest, please take note.

But rather than stay as everyone expected, we walked away in 2011 and paved the way for jihadis to regroup in Iraq, expand into Syria, and then explode in Iraq to take over huge sections of Iraq between January and June 2014.

We won. We were warned we could lose what we won. But we did nothing until ISIL rubbed our face in defeat by seizing Mosul and large swathes of northwestern Iraq to add to their Anbar holdings seized in January 2014.

And even after we re-intervened in Iraq, our guys lost Ramadi while we watch Iran move into Iraq now joined by Russians.

Assad is truly in a bad position. And Putin's intervention alone will have trouble reversing that downward spiral.

But God help us, I think Putin is counting on Kerry to agree to something that saves his intervention and saves Assad.