Tags: McCain | Keane | Iraq | war

McCain Blasts Obama for Slack on Iraq

By    |   Thursday, 26 Jun 2014 07:44 AM

The American Enterprise Institute hosted an event June 18 titled "Chaos in Iraq: A Conversation with Senator John McCain and General Jack Keane," who led the "surge that bought more time for the U.S. occupation."

The panelists discussed the current predicament in Iraq and the available options, none of which is good. Sen. McCain, R-Ariz., described the situation as "dire," and he stressed that the part of Iraq and Syria controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) would constitute the largest and richest territory for any Islamic terrorist organization to exploit. However, in his view, the insurgents do not have the ability to capture Baghdad. He said, "Remember, my friends, 10,000 insurgents caused the collapse of a 100,000-man army." He insisted these insurgents constitute a threat to the United States, whereas Stalin never attacked the United States.

Keane explained that the reason the Iraqi army collapsed in the face of the insurgency was that after the success of the surge, Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki purged the army of many of its most effective leaders and replaced them with his political cronies and hacks, thereby depleting morale.

Keane and McCain sketched a vision of using measures short of "boots on the ground" to help the Iraqis by assisting them with Special Forces, planning, intelligence and targeted air strikes.

This writer vividly recalls a class in Military Science where the instructor wrote in big letters OBJECIVE. So what is the objective in helping the Iraqis? According to Keane and McCain it is not to maintain Maliki in power. After a successful counteroffensive, they see some sort of "transition" to a more inclusive government. More specifically, the objective is to give the United States "a seat at the table in negotiations over the future shape of Iraq, literally, rather than allow a vacuum to develop that Iran will be only too glad to fill."

Former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden said on Newsmax TV's "The Steve Malzberg Show" that Iraq has resolved itself into three states along ethnic lines: Kurdistan, which he said is pro-American; Shiastan; and Sunnistan, which extends west into Syria and has no effective border. This writer would say this should have been recognized as the default result going all the way back to when the Reagan-Bush administration decided it would be a good idea to side with Saddam in his war with Iran.

Of course, the undeclared war with Iran is traceable to the Carter administration's failure to protect American interests during the transition from the Shah. McCain sarcastically suggested that in order to manage this latest flare-up in Iraq, President Obama is going to have to come in from the golf course and attend fewer fundraisers.

As with the financial crisis, the Obama camp can present itself as having inherited these conflicts, but by this point in a two-term presidency, Obama has acquired a stake in this mess and contributed to it himself. McCain pointed out that a key reason Obama achieved the Democratic nomination was that he voted against the war in Iraq, and he has made for himself a reputation for drawing lines in the sand and not enforcing them, as with Syria. As a result, he said, the United States is seen as an unreliable ally by groups we would have to work with to cut our losses in Iraq.

(Archived video can be found here.)

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The American Enterprise Institute hosted an event June 18 titled "Chaos in Iraq: A Conversation with Senator John McCain and General Jack Keane," who led the "surge that bought more time for the U.S. occupation."
McCain, Keane, Iraq, war
Thursday, 26 Jun 2014 07:44 AM
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