Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Reaching Into the Memory Hole to Yank Out the Plan

I get sick of people saying that America had no post-war plan for Iraq and authors that start with that nonsense don't encourage me to stick around for the rest of their argument.


Imagine if, in 2003, the United States had invaded Iraq without a realistic, implementable plan for governance after the fall of Baghdad and Saddam Hussein. ... In fact, no imagination at all is required for the cases of Iraq and Libya. Both operations were undertaken with no serious regard to what would follow. Both produced disaster.

There was no plan for Libya, but the idea that there was no plan for Iraq is nonsense.

Allow me to again quote the New York Times on this issue:

President Bush's national security team is assembling final plans for administering and democratizing Iraq after the expected ouster of Saddam Hussein. Those plans call for a heavy American military presence in the country for at least 18 months, military trials of only the most senior Iraqi leaders and quick takeover of the country's oil fields to pay for reconstruction.

The proposals, according to administration officials who have been developing them for several months, have been discussed informally with Mr. Bush in considerable detail. They would amount to the most ambitious American effort to administer a country since the occupations of Japan and Germany at the end of World War II. With Mr. Bush's return here this afternoon, his principal foreign policy advisers are expected to shape the final details in White House meetings and then formally present them to the president.

But as I noted:

Boy were there problems. Chiefly Syria, Iran, and al Qaeda, who made sure that there would be people shooting at us and our Iraqi allies after Saddam was defeated.

And we did beat those many threats that erupted, you must admit, even before the slaughter that peaked in the latter half of 2006 that prompted our surge offensive to exploit the Awakening that flipped the bulk of Iraq's Sunni Arabs. We won the war.

The main problem is that Syria and Iran essentially invaded Iraq and we let them get away with it without punishing them directly for waging war on Iraq and our forces. Yet still we won in 5 years. Which is actually pretty amazing.

As for disaster? The Obama administration boasted of the Iraq success as it pulled out, and Vice President Biden boasted that Iraq would be one of their great successes.

And the fact that Obama initiated Iraq War 2.0 to save what we had achieved puts his stamp of approval on what we achieved.

So I didn't bother to read the rest of the article. If the author has to genuflect to stupid conventional wisdom, I can't bother with him.

But by all means, let's remain in Iraq this time after the jihadis are beaten down and scattered.

And work to expel Iranian influence, too, of course. They are the biggest external threat, denying Iraq full access to the Arab world for support because Arab states fear Iraq will be an Iranian puppet.

Sadly that can be a self-fulfilling prophecy if Iraqis turn to Iran in desperation because fellow Arab (but largely Sunni) states freeze Iraq out. Our State Department can help there, I hope.

We have a big job ahead:

Yet radical Sunnis, separatist Kurds and meddling Iranians will remain a problem, along with corruption and unstable neighbors.

Work the problems.