Obama’s ‘demotion by neglect’ of our ally Iraq By Neil W. McCabe


Iraq is back in the headlines as we harvest the fruits of our abandonment of the Iraqi people and the functioning democracy there that was treated like a true secret by the American press.
There is no issue more responsible for
the election in 2008 of President Barack Obama than Iraq.
Throughout his primary fight with Hillary R. Clinton, he rhetorically bludgeoned her lack of judgment because as a New York senator she voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq.
Over and over again, Obama painted Iraq as a crazy war born of lies and conducted as an evil crusade by George W. Bush—and thus his partner, Clinton.
Because Clinton had no adequate response, Obama kept banging away as if he was correct.
Upon taking office, Obama made it his steadfast goal to withdraw American combat troops from our Iraq ally. When it came time to negotiate our long-term troop commitment, a number that during the campaign Obama pegged at anywhere between 30,000 and 50,000 troops, Obama took a dive. Instead of sincerely negotiating, the president took the Iraqi’s opening position and simply said: “Well, we better just go.”
All American troops were out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011—but, Obama promised a “Diplomatic Surge” that would pick up the torch from the Army’s “advise and assist” mission that began in 2009 as the last surge-surge troops rotated home.
But, let’s be honest, there was no diplomatic surge, and while there was some commerce, the security situation has been unraveling ever since.
Iraq in 2010 was on the glide path to becoming South Korea or a similar client state. Although there was slippage in 2011, when it became clear that Obama intending to cut-and-run, all it was still a stable relatively peaceful regime.
In 2011, there were no firefights and the IED threat had become less dire. There were still rocket attacks, but this was closer to vandalism than warfare.
Of the three Iraqi security forces, the Iraqi Army was the strongest and was rated at 90 percent of where it should be. The Iraqi police were rated at 50 percent and the Iraq Border Security, having recently stood up, was rated at 25 percent.
At 90 percent, the Army working to introduce the IA to garrison systems and routines. After eight years of combat, the goal was to teach the IA how to manage logistics, personnel files and regular training. It was a move from a counterinsurgency force always in the field to a “garrisoned” army. The other two services were on the same programs, just behind the IA, because it was the backbone of the nation.
Economically, there was a burst of activity as the American and Iraq forces cleared out insurgents from its population clusters. But, the real pop was going to come from the upgrade of the port city of Um Qasr and its linkup with a rebuilt railroad network.
Once Um Qasr, the country’s only ocean port, was certified—a project of the U.S. Coast Guard, shippers could insure their Iraqi-bound freight. Insurance significantly reduces the cost of goods and combined with modern facilities and rail system the cost of feed and seed would collapse.
This collapse in the price of feed and seed would have been the equivalent of the Big Bang. The subsequent drop in the price to raise crops and livestock would simultaneously bolster the agriculture sector and make possible a well-fed urban workforce.
All of these steps were stopped cold when Obama abandoned the Iraqis. Without the backstop of American military mentorship and troops, the Iraqis devolved.
Now, in 2014 Iraq is falling apart at the seams.
Instead of supporting Iraq and honoring the sacrifice of the men and women killed in a war meant to set Iraq on the right course, Obama’s policy has been “demolition by neglect.”
Despite of the swells and fancies who dismissed Iraq’s geo-political and economic importance, there could come a day soon when American servicemen return to the New Iraq.
The truth is that Iraq is so important that our war there was actually justified simple by that importance.
The shame is what it will cost in blood and treasure to make up for the progress Obama threw away—not for any rational consideration, but for spite.

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