June 10, 2015

"We don’t yet have a complete strategy," but Obama about to send 500 more troops into Iraq.

The Wall Street Journal reports:
President Barack Obama is poised to send hundreds more American military advisers to a new base in a strategic Iraqi region to help devise a counterattack against marauding Islamic State militants, U.S. officials said Tuesday, a shift that underscores American concern over recent battlefield losses....

Mr. Obama came under greater pressure this week after saying after an international summit in Germany on Monday that he was awaiting Pentagon recommendations for enhancing Iraq policies, and that “we don’t yet have a complete strategy.”

“One has to wonder whether this president just wants to wait out the next year and a half and basically do nothing to stop this genocide, bloodletting, horrible things that are happening throughout the Middle East,” Mr. McCain, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said Monday in the Senate....

In the aftermath of the Ramadi battle, Mr. Obama asked the Pentagon for new options, which were presented to the president last week. Since then, the Pentagon has been fine-tuning plans to send the troops, including hundreds of advisers, to a base in Anbar province where Iraqi forces are crafting plans for the Ramadi counterattack...

71 comments:

rhhardin said...

The complete strategy is to temporize and leave his disaster to the next guy.

It's like community organizing.

Bobber Fleck said...

“One has to wonder whether this president just wants to wait out the next year and a half and basically do nothing to stop this genocide, bloodletting, horrible things that are happening throughout the Middle East,” Mr. McCain, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said Monday in the Senate....

So the next year and a half will be just like the previous six and a half years?

It will be interesting to see if this spills over onto Hillary.

jim murray said...

Can the US survive another 18 months of this president?

Terry said...

Is there anything that Obama is good at?
He has lost elections before, and his two White House wins were on the narrow side, especially considering that all of the news networks (other than Fox) and virtually every MSM reporter was pushing him over the top.
So maybe that is what Obama is good at. Playing on the vanity of journalists.

jim murray said...

Can the US survive another 18 months of this president?

MayBee said...

I do like the way Obama has "admitted" this is a situation that will outlast his presidency. Ha. No doubt.

Tank said...

jim murray said...

Can the US survive another 18 months of this president?


There will almost surely be something called the US. But the US you're probably thinking of is pretty much gone already.

MayBee said...

I just wish he would kind of come up with some sort of overall thingie. An overall idea. So we aren't kind of ad-hoc swaying from one strong wind to the next. Which is what it feels like we are doing.

As someone said, Obama loves the path of least resistance

Jason said...

After a almost year since Mosul fell to ISIS, and you still haven't even formed a strategy?

Who the hell is your National Security Advisor?

Oh. That explains it.

JPS said...

Can't be fun, being among those 500. Deployment is a hardship even when you know what you're supposed to accomplish and you know your leaders and the people back home believe in your mission.

Tank said...

Let's be fair.

He campaigned on "getting us out of the middle east," and we're mostly out. Things are not going well there, but mostly we're not there, as he promised. Maybe we don't like that, but that is what we voted for (by we, I don't mean me). We could have voted for Romney or McCain, both of them would have been way more aggressive, but, let's face it, we did not vote for them, we voted for the guy who was going to get us out of there.

We are (mostly) out of there.

[Caveat: OKOK, Zero and his staff broke a few countries over there, but, again, mostly we're out of there.}

The Drill SGT said...

Given that we have been rebuilding the Iraqi Army for 10 years now and it can't beat a Girl Scout troop, another 6 months with a hand full of US trainers won't put spine into it, when thousands of trainers couldn't before.

The only thing that is going to buy Obama 18 months of time is to tell Baghdad to fuck off and start arming Kurds. Thy send a Billion in new aid to Baghdad when they just lost 10 billion in gear. Send it into Irbil, along with some A-10's and some SF Detachments and you can knock ISIL back on its heels. The Kurds can't conquer the Sunni provinces, but they can get Mosul back and take the offensive punch out of ISIL. That buys some time...

Ultimately, some borders are going to be redrawn, de jure or de facto.

One interesting new development is the possibility of the Turkish Kurds becoming part of the new government there, which would losoen up the relationship between the Turks and the Kurds from enemies to "enemy of my enemy"

Scott M said...

Did casualty rates for US troops in Afghanistan triple after President Obama took over as CinC?

The Drill SGT said...

Tank said...
Let's be fair.

He campaigned on "getting us out of the middle east," and we're mostly out.


Course in the first campaign he wanted to shift forces from Bush's bad war (Iraq) to Obama's good war (A-Stan)

That of course was a scam, but that was the Dem party line.




The Drill SGT said...

Scott M said...
Did casualty rates for US troops in Afghanistan triple after President Obama took over as CinC?


rates didn't increase much (rate being casualties per 100k troops engaged)

but numbers of casualties increased dramatically because both the number of troops increased and the types of troops changed.

Prior to Obama A-stan was called the Special Ops Olympics. After, he sent in regular grunts in large scale occupation/pacification efforts.

Hagar said...

He has a strategy, has been following it for 6 1/2 years, and it is not going to change.

The next president, or all those who are thinking about becoming the next president, needs to start thinking about just how bad things might be by 2017, and what his/her options might be for trying to cope with them then. The old world is gone.

Tank said...

@Drill

Going point.

Good war bad war.

Con man gonna con.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Why send advisers? Send video conference equipment. Any needed advice can be given from anywhere in the world, in real time.

Bob Ellison said...

rhhardin has it right. Obama is an atheist. What does he care about his footprints in the sand?

But atheists do seem to care. They mostly seem to gather money and power.

Obama is surfing at this point. He figures he'll be the best ex-President since Jimmy Carter.

MayBee said...

Tank- If we are going to be out of there, let's be out of there. Right now we have this kind of tough rhetoric and half-baked war going on. I think Obama got cocky when he said Mubarek must go, and he did. I think Obama then thought his words were enough to make things happen there. Then we had the "leading from behind" strategy boasting right after Gaddafi was killed in Libya. Obama really thought his strong words and his half-hearted fighting "strategy" was working.
And now we're just kind of stuck with it.

machine said...

hmmm...mebbe if we just didn't lie our way in there we wouldn't still be there.

this pottery barn will lasts for decades...tanks a lot!

Hagar said...

This talk about "training" the Iraqi army is just that - talk.
The Iraqis have been there with that, and it won't work again.
As far as they are concerned, it is "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, you are overdue for an "Obama the ditherer" tag.

kcom said...

"The complete strategy is to temporize and leave his disaster to the next guy."

Isn't that the ultimate irony. The guy who spent years blaming Bush for every problem he's had to deal with seems to have a conscious strategy (dare I say a "complete strategy") to leave all his problems to the next president to deal with.

kcom said...

"We don’t yet have a complete strategy," but Obama about to send 500 more troops into Iraq.

It's called the Lyndon Johnson strategy. And what a track record!

machine said...

"...to leave all his problems to the next president to deal with."

is this for realz? IOKIYAR?

Roy Jacobsen said...

In other words, he has no strategy. He has nothing.

"Empty suit" credits him with far more than he has.

RonF said...

If I was a soldier/sailor/aviator/Marine being sent into harm's way and my leader said "We have no strategy yet", I'd figure they were ready to throw my life away for no reason - other than perhaps political.

RonF said...

Drill SGT:

"The Kurds can't conquer the Sunni provinces, but they can get Mosul back and take the offensive punch out of ISIL."

Yup. And they'd also take the associated oil fields and the money they generate away from ISIS, too. The problem that the rest of the players in the region see with that strategy is that once that happens, the Kurds won't want to give it up - and will fight to keep it, with both money and determination. They, like Israel, are determined to be their own people with their own strength and don't want to be anyone's client state.

Rusty said...

"Blogger machine said...
hmmm...mebbe if we just didn't lie our way in there we wouldn't still be there.

this pottery barn will lasts for decades...tanks a lot!
machine said...
"...to leave all his problems to the next president to deal with."

is this for realz? IOKIYAR?"


Shhhh. The grown ups are talking.

MayBee said...

I'm trying to find the quote- early in Obama's presidency- where he said his idea of success would be if he could hand the next guy an America where all the problems have been wrapped up. I thought it was incredibly naive at the time, but it was during the phase where Obama was still quite full of ego, apologizing for America's past (before him), and blaming Bush for handing Obama problems.

Let me see if I can find it...

machine said...

ha ha...good one.

David said...

This is really unfair to Obama. He had a complete strategy until ISIS broke it into little pieces.

Matthew Sablan said...

Well, what % of a complete strategy do we have? It's hard to plan for EVERY contingency, but, are we talking an 80% solution, or a 15% solution?

PB said...

The strategy Obama has is for some Muslim power to gain a megastate in the middle east in the hopes that one single state can be managed better that 15 smaller states. This is similar to why democrats prefer large companies and large unions instead of small companies and individuals because they believe a fewer, larger things are easier to control. Like many Democrat ideas, this doesn't work out very well.

MayBee said...

Still looking (my google skills have trouble overcoming the current situation of Obama saying this *will* be something for future presidents). This is close but not what I was looking for:

Indeed, the legal challenges that have sparked so much debate in recent weeks here in Washington would be taking place whether or not I decided to close Guantanamo. For example, the court order to release 17 Uighurs -- 17 Uighur detainees took place last fall, when George Bush was President. The Supreme Court that invalidated the system of prosecution at Guantanamo in 2006 was overwhelmingly appointed by Republican Presidents -- not wild-eyed liberals. In other words, the problem of what to do with Guantanamo detainees was not caused by my decision to close the facility; the problem exists because of the decision to open Guantanamo in the first place. (Applause.)

Now let me be blunt. There are no neat or easy answers here. I wish there were. But I can tell you that the wrong answer is to pretend like this problem will go away if we maintain an unsustainable status quo. As President, I refuse to allow this problem to fester. I refuse to pass it on to somebody else. It is my responsibility to solve the problem. Our security interests will not permit us to delay. Our courts won't allow it. And neither should our conscience.


That's specifically about Guantanamo, but I'll keep looking.

MayBee said...

This isn't what I was looking for, but it is perfect to post here:

That leads me to the third part of our strategy –comprehensive American engagement across the region.
The future of Iraq is inseparable from the future of the broader Middle East, so we must work with our friends and partners to establish a new framework that advances Iraq’s security and the region’s. It is time for Iraq to be a full partner in a regional dialogue, and for Iraq’s neighbors to establish productive and normalized relations with Iraq. And going forward, the United States will pursue principled and sustained engagement with all of the nations in the region, and that will include Iran and Syria.
This reflects a fundamental truth: we can no longer deal with regional challenges in isolation – we need a smarter, more sustainable and comprehensive approach. That is why we are renewing our diplomacy, while relieving the burden on our military. That is why we are refocusing on al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing a strategy to use all elements of American power to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon; and actively seeking a lasting peace between Israel and the Arab world. And that is why we have named three of America’s most accomplished diplomats – George Mitchell, Dennis Ross and Richard Holbrooke – to support Secretary Clinton and me as we carry forward this agenda.
Every nation and every group must know – whether you wish America good or ill – that the end of the war in Iraq will enable a new era of American leadership and engagement in the Middle East. And that era has just begun.


That's Obama addressing Marines at Camp LeJuene in February, 2009.

machine said...

wreck the economy and start a war based on untruths...meh.

But don't do exactly what ya said (with the opposition sabotaging every step btw)...complete failure...

MayBee said...

machine- who is doing exactly what he said?
Did Obama renew his diplomacy and develop a strategy to use all of the elemenst of America power to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapon? Did he actively seek a lasting peach between Israel and the Arab world? Did he provide comprehensive American engagement across the Middle East? Did he establish a new framework to advance Iraq and the regions's security?

The Drill SGT said...

Matthew Sablan said...
Well, what % of a complete strategy do we have? It's hard to plan for EVERY contingency, but, are we talking an 80% solution, or a 15% solution?


In war, there are no perfect plans, just good ones.

The 80% solution, implemented on time, and with vigor, always beats the perfect plan, implemented late with timidity.

Obama's approach to making decisions is to make no decision unless it is perfect, hence he dithers, and people die

khesanh0802 said...

Drill SGT @ 0719 has the most cogent strategy. He should call Susan Rice.

Iraq and Syria are a mess beyond recall. Once we pulled out of Iraq we were done there and there is no going back. I would back the Kurds, let ISIS, Syrians and Iraqis fight it ought to a conclusion. They have been wanting to have this fight for years. The hell with them.

I would not allow Iran to be nuclear. That's the real line in the sand. As long as everyone is playing with conventional arms how much damage can they really do to us? Let the Iranians be the local cops in Syria and Iraq for a while.

MayBee said...

Here's what I don't understand about the current situation in Iran.

We say, their stockpile can go up and down as long as it is where it is supposed to be on the day the agreement states. Currently the stockpile is high. So....what is Iran doing to get the stockpile to go down? Where does it go?

Michael said...

Machine

Once again a self revealing dope. The dumbest motherfucker ever born, GWB, fooled the entire world (except Machine) into thinking that Iraq had WMD when, as Machine knew, he, GWB, was only out for oil and Halliburton profits.

But Machine, the second dumbest motherfucker ever born, bought not one share of Halliburton.

Poorly played Machine-man, poorly played.

Will said...

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,

All the king's horses and all the king's men
couldn't escape the clusterfuck Obama's military advisors clearly foresaw
when they advised him not to create the Iraq vacuum just to win an election




But thank you Candy Crowley for jumping in and protecting the dazed Obama when Mitt had him on the ropes

Who wants to be the last solder to die for Obama's lies?

damikesc said...

So, just sending troops to die. That's lovely.

"We don't know what we're doing --- but we'll keep shipping body bags because we know what will end up happening"

How has Kerry avoided using his "last one to die for a mistake" line yet?

Gahrie said...

the Kurds won't want to give it up - and will fight to keep it, with both money and determination. They, like Israel, are determined to be their own people with their own strength and don't want to be anyone's client state.

IMO, the Kurds have earned their own state, and Iraq has lost all moral authority to rule over them.

Anonymous said...

Here is what we are supposed to believe.

1) Obama wants to end the war in Iraq and pull all the troops out.
2) He ended the war in Iraq and pulled all the troops out.
3) It wasn't his fault, it was the fault of the SOFA negotiated by Bush. He had to pull the troops out whether he liked it or not.
4) Now he can negotiate and put troops back in, something he didn't have a choice on before.

I can't tell which way is up and which way is down with this guy anymore.

The Drill SGT said...

RonF said...
Drill SGT:

"The Kurds can't conquer the Sunni provinces, but they can get Mosul back and take the offensive punch out of ISIL."

Yup. And they'd also take the associated oil fields and the money they generate away from ISIS, too. The problem that the rest of the players in the region see with that strategy is that once that happens, the Kurds won't want to give it up - and will fight to keep it, with both money and determination


One of those least bad solutions for many...

What was a non starter a year ago seems to be looking better to both Turkey and Baghdad, considering the alternative of ISIL in Baghdad cutting heads off. Iran would still be opposed to Kurdistan, because of the Iranian Kurds, but if the Turkish PM needs Kurds to keep his job, the Turks could deal...

Michael K said...

" Send it into Irbil, along with some A-10's and some SF Detachments and you can knock ISIL back on its heels."

Yes and the Kurds have earned their state. Turkey is no longer an ally. Iran is only Obama's ally and that is of no concern to the rest of us, except machine of course.

Machine, I assume you are heavily into Halliburton stock ?

Matthew Sablan said...

That's why I want to know what we mean by a "complete" strategy. I'd think we have to be pretty darn close to it to commit boots on the ground and risk our people.

But, if it's just a hail Mary, maybe, uh, maybe we should wait to commit those people.

John Lynch said...

Why did you withdraw from Iraq in the first place, Mr. President? Answer that before sending anyone to fight and die.

Joe said...

Apparently, the full quote is: "We don’t yet have a complete strategy that will fully cover my ass regardless of the outcome.”

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
holdfast said...

So another 500 troops will sit around a base wanking? This Maladministration will not let the US trainers and advisors go into combat with the trooops they are training and advising. As a result, those troops won't fight with spit. It's utterly pointless.

I'm not saying we need to commit the 18th Airborne Corps (unless Obama has redesignated it the 18th Sensitivity Drum Circle), but the SF and others over there need to be able to go into combat with the formations that they are working with - to accurately call in air power (which needs to include Apaches and A-10s for close in work), to help the Iraqi Army adapt to changes on the fly, and most importantly as a morale booster.

Now if the US really wanted to win the war, we'd seize air supremacy over Syria, drop in an Airborne Brigage+, sweep through Racca killing every military aged male and then GTFO while Isis was still wondering what hit it. Coordinate that with a new assault by the Kurds and the Iraqi Army, and you've got a strategy to actually win.

jr565 said...

So heres' proof that Obama was wrong to withdraw the troops. What is the ONLY thing that will combat ISIS? More troops. If we had a residual force there to begin with we'd never have needed to send in troops.And if ISIS had tried to attack Iraq they'd have to contend with our guys who would make short work of them.
Shit is going to hell and the only solution he can ultimately come up with is troops. Well yes.
But if you're going to send in troops send in enough troops to get the job done. Don't send in the bare minimum just to say you sent in troops.

Rusty said...

Coupe said...
In the military there are about 10 gomers for every spear chucker. That means he's really only sending 50 spear-chuckers. The rest are just to supply the spears, dig the latrines, and build the fort.


More than likely there will be 5000 troops

Drago said...

2 quick points:
1) If you don't have a "complete strategy", then you don't have a strategy at all.

In this case, obama is lying to us because he clearly does have a strategy and its to let ISIS et al essentially run wild.

2) This thread demonstrates why machine, up to now, had been wise to stick with 4 and 5 word snippet posts.

Hagar said...

Why do they want to build a new base for our troops?

ISIS has occupied all the ones we built before already?

Jason said...

I don't always have a strategy.

But when I don't, I sure as fuck don't send troops anyway.

grackle said...

hmmm...mebbe if we just didn't lie our way in there we wouldn't still be there.

Bush didn't "fool" anyone. The intel from several allied nations also all claimed Iraq had WMD. Did Bush fool them, too?

And I do not believe they were wrong.

A WikiLeaks document dump(392,000 US military reports) confirmed chemical WMD were found in Iraq after Saddam's deposal. WikiLeaks, obviously, cannot be accused of rightwing bias.

https://tinyurl.com/p7hkwts

How about the NYT? Did Bush fool the NYT?

https://tinyurl.com/mwwsgpv

Still another NYT revelation:

https://tinyurl.com/om99hw5

How about the nuke program parts dug up in a Baghdad back yard? The only reason we found them was that the Iraqi nuclear scientist who buried them(at Saddam's order) led us to them. Was CNN a tool of the Bush administration? How many other undiscovered nuclear parts lie buried somewhere?

https://tinyurl.com/ieff

How about the 550 metric tons of yellowcake secretly removed from where Saddam had it stashed? Another Bush lie?

https://tinyurl.com/o3hwkcz

grackle said...

Given that we have been rebuilding the Iraqi Army for 10 years now and it can't beat a Girl Scout troop, another 6 months with a hand full of US trainers won't put spine into it, when thousands of trainers couldn't before.

The assumption here is that with zero US support on the battlefield that the Iraqi army should want to fight off some fellow Moslems. But why should they? So they will not be ruled by fellow Moslems? Islamic-majority nations are already very cruel(by Western standards) with their sharia-driven systems. Having a group only a bit more cruel than the societies they are used to take over their nation – maybe such a prospect is not so bad to the average Iraqi army soldier.

Let's all get this one concept firmly fixed in our minds: The USA wants ISIS defeated and a friendly regime in place in Iraq because of the danger of a Caliphate to the USA and the USA's allies, NOT because the USA wants Iraq to be a nice place(by Western standards) to live in. This will be very difficult to do, perhaps impossible, without significant American "boots on the ground."

Prediction:

The USA will go back into Iraq with significant American forces, many more than we have there now. If there is still an Iraqi army by then the Iraqi soldiers will acquit themselves well IF they are fighting alongside American soldiers.

Big Mike said...

You know it could be worse. I was drafted back when Lyndon Johnson was president, and years later we found out that he and Robert Strange McNamara had a strategy that they already knew would not work (per McNamara's autobiography). Next to that a partial strategy actually isn't all that bad.

mikee said...

Obama used to be compared to Carter, as one of the worst presidents in living memory.

With his luck, he can now remind us of both Carter and Johnson.

Brando said...

As always, the burden should be on the president to explain why this would work. There are things that 500 troops can do, obviously--but I'm skeptical that "provide just the push we need to destroy ISIS" or "provide just what we need to restore stability to Iraq" are among them.

The two factors in Iraq to consider are (1) what it will take from us to stabilize the country and (2) are we willing to make the sacrifice necessary for that goal. Driblets of military action (a bombing here, a deployment of a few troops there) don't suggest that those things have been considered at the White House.

Todd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Boyd said...

It doesn't matter how well trained the Iraqi Army is if ISIS just pays them not to fight, which is what I would guess happened at Ramadi.

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Obama chose premature evacuation for amoral and political causes. His decision was likely guided by the pro-choice doctrine he esteems and exploits to justify debasing human life for wealth, pleasure, and leisure... and to reduce the problem set.

Jason said...

Coupe thinks General Hood totally kicked ass in the invasion of Tennessee.

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rusty said...

Big Mike said...
You know it could be worse. I was drafted back when Lyndon Johnson was president, and years later we found out that he and Robert Strange McNamara had a strategy that they already knew would not work (per McNamara's autobiography). Next to that a partial strategy actually isn't all that bad.

I know a lot of guys that served that would like to exhume his corpse and kill him all over again.