Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Endgame: Slate Goes Salamander on Iraq

Yes, Slate.

Emma Sky at Slate to be specific. Glad to see, however late, that more people are getting word.
“Was it inevitable that Iraq would disintegrate?” I asked Rafi. No, it was not, he assured me. Iraq had been moving in a positive direction after the surge. This downward trajectory began in 2010 when the United States had not upheld the right of Iraqiya to have first chance at trying to form the government after it won the elections. “We might not have succeeded,” he admitted, “but the process itself would have been important in building trust in Iraq's young institutions.”

Bad decisions taken by Americans in 2010 destroyed the country, he believed. Since then, Obama had regularly cited ending the war in Iraq as one of his greatest foreign policy successes. On Nov. 1, 2013, with Maliki by his side in the White House, Obama stated: “We honor the lives that were lost, both American and Iraqi, to bring about a functioning democracy in a country that previously had been ruled by a vicious dictator. And we appreciate Prime Minister Maliki’s commitment to honoring that sacrifice by ensuring a strong, prosperous, inclusive and democratic Iraq.” He appeared to be paying scant attention to Maliki’s growing authoritarianism and the deteriorating situation in the country.
The Iraq war—and the way in which the United States departed—tilted the regional balance of power in Iran’s favor. Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other states in the region all sought to project their influence by supporting sectarian actors in different countries—with devastating consequences.
Nothing that happened in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 was preordained. There were different potential futures for the country.

The Iraq war and its outcome affected few Americans. There is little willingness to reflect on or take responsibility for what happened there. Politicians try to use the situation in Iraq for political advantage, without much consideration of actual Iraqis; Democrats blame Republicans for invading Iraq in the first place and Republicans blame Democrats for not leaving troops there.

But what happened in Iraq matters terribly to Iraqis who hoped so much for a better future—and to those of us who served there year after year. If we refuse to honestly examine what took place there, we will miss the opportunity to better understand when and how to respond to the world’s instability.
I remember how close it was in 2007 to keep it all together, but we did.

I remember when we called it in 2008 too.

I just got through reading most of my posts from 2006-9 on IRQ - you can too by clicking here if you so wish.

Reading them, and then the Slate article I realize that, in a fashion - that team in 2007 did get what they want. From the time ...

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