Iraqi President Nouri al Maliki came to the United States last week, hat in hand, begging for more help from President Barack Hussein Obama, who, the day the last U.S. troops left Iraq in December 2011, said, “anyone trying to derail the progress in Iraq will fail.”
He also said, in a joint news conference (video below) with the Iraqi president, “our commitment to Iraq’s success will be enduring,” and “we have a moral obligation to all [U.S. military personnel who have served and died in Iraq] to build a future worthy of their sacrifice."
President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stay in their seats, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, following a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. The prime minister arrived at the White House Friday to personally appeal to President Barack Obama for more U.S. assistance in beating back the bloody insurgency consuming his country. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Now we must make good on those prognostications and promise.
Although no details were forthcoming from the meeting, al Maliki surely asked for real intelligence assistance, along with at least American trainers, weapons and logistical support.
We should have stayed in Iraq like we stayed in Europe and Japan after World War II. We were far from perpetual occupiers following that conflict. We were liberators and now best of friends with Germany (less the recent NSA embarrassment), Japan and Italy, three archenemies just 68 years ago. With committed friendship these countries are now three of the most prosperous and peaceful nations on planet earth, not in spite of us, but because of us and our commitment to their success.
Could the Obama administration not think past the next election when they failed to reach an agreement with al Maliki in 2011 for a residual U.S. military presence? Instead, he created a security and leadership vacuum and allowed the wolves (Iran and al Qaeda) come calling for dinner. Now the current government has been destabilized to the point of disaster.
Nearly 1,000 Iraqis were killed in secular violence in October alone. What is in store for November and beyond? How has our myopic withdrawal from Iraq influenced the human tragedy in neighboring Syria? How has that influenced Syria and Turkey's warming to competing Russia? A country that is vigorously thumbing it’s nose at us becausewe are unable to even get out of our own way with one foreign policy blunder after another.
Iraq is desperate to make it in an increasingly bloody and intimidating climate. We have shown through the diplomatic ineptitude of the current administration that we are not a good, trustworthy and loyal friend. Nor has our behavior demonstrated that we are willing to invest in seeing a mutually beneficial relationship endure.
What should the Iraqi people think? Is Afghanistan watching, and learning? How about fair weather Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Israel, and the many “Stans” we quickly befriended after Sept. 11, 2001?
China, Russia and Iran are all too eager to pick up the pieces, wipe every advance away completely so that future generations of Americans will have to revisit with new blood and treasure.
The right thing to do of course is to run to the aid of our friend, and then help them regain a foothold on their future, and ours, in the region. To not do so would surely fling wide the floodgates Obama opened for radical Islam in 2011 and then mark open season on the faltering hold of al Maliki’s government. Not to mention, it would dishonor Obama’s promise to not have had Americans die and sacrifice in vain for the ideal of a free and democratic Iraq.
A Middle East Marshall Plan is needed now, not when there’s nothing left to save or no clear ally, such as is the case in Egypt, Libya and Syria.
Sun Tzu said, “the military seeks not conquest but victory.” Our victory in Iraq, against Saddam Hussein and the subsequent insurgency have been devalued by the cowardice of our overmatched Commander in Chief, and his inability to properly analyze critical foreign policy opportunities for long term stability. If we go back to Iraq now, we must be willing and able to stay the course with a substantial physical force, however long it takes.
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