With that one, and last disclaimer, I think I will move on and speak no more of it.
Petraeus is back in Iraq.
The wonderfully named Liz Sly over at WaPo has an interview with the retired General while he was attending The Sulaimani Forum at the American University of Sulaimaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan.
In it, he describes how we got where we are in Iraq exactly as I saw it, how I see it and how I believe history will judge it.
The proximate cause of Iraq’s unraveling was the increasing authoritarian, sectarian and corrupt conduct of the Iraqi government and its leader after the departure of the last U.S. combat forces in 2011. The actions of the Iraqi prime minister undid the major accomplishment of the Surge. (They) alienated the Iraqi Sunnis and once again created in the Sunni areas fertile fields for the planting of the seeds of extremism, essentially opening the door to the takeover of the Islamic State. Some may contend that all of this was inevitable. Iraq was bound to fail, they will argue, because of the inherently sectarian character of the Iraqi people. I don’t agree with that assessment.It is worth your time; read it all.
The tragedy is that political leaders failed so badly at delivering what Iraqis clearly wanted — and for that, a great deal of responsibility lies with Prime Minister Maliki.
As for the U.S. role, could all of this have been averted if we had kept 10,000 troops here? I honestly don't know. I certainly wish we could have tested the proposition and kept a substantial force on the ground.