The following are required reading to understand how Iraq, quiescent in 2009 (so much so that the Obama administration was actually taking credit in February 2010), got into the terrible state it’s in today:
- “Why we stuck with Maliki — and lost Iraq” details how the United States acquiesced to Nouri al-Maliki’s coup (supported by Iran) in 2010.
- “Obama’s Disastrous Iraq Policy: An Autopsy” gives the sequel, how Iraq disintegrated under Maliki’s increasingly tyrannical rule, while US policy was “Let Maliki do whatever he wants so long as he keeps Iraq off the front page.”
- Finally, when the New York Times’s Baghdad bureau chief was asked to evaluate the Obama administration’s Iraq policy:
Q. How do you rate the Obama administration’s actions in Iraq? What did they do right? What did they get wrong?
A. It’s not my job to rate the Obama administrations actions in Iraq. But I will tell you that after 2011 the administration basically ignored the country. And when officials spoke about what was happening there they were often ignorant of the reality. They did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left Iraq in reasonably good shape. In 2012 as violence was escalating I wrote a story, citing UN statistics, that showed how civilian deaths from attacks were rising. Tony Blinken, who was then Biden’s national security guy and a top Iraq official, pushed back, even wrote a letter to the editor, saying that violence was near historic lows. That was not true. Even after Falluja fell to ISIS at the end of last year, the administration would push back on stories about Maliki’s sectarian tendencies, saying they didn’t see it that way. So there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious until it became so apparent — with the fall of Mosul — that Iraq was collapsing.
(Capital letters added, and emphasis mine.) (Via Hot Air.)
If we are going to re-engage with Iraq now; well, it’s necessary. But we need to do it on the basis of reality, not Obama administration fantasy, and I have little confidence that we will.