All the Way to Baghdad and All I Got Was this Satellite
President Barack Obama loves to complain about all the things he was saddled with as he rose to become the most powerful man in the world: the economy, the Constitution, Joe Biden… but he’s rarely taken to the stage to talk about the war in Iraq. You could hardly blame him: he was steadfastly against the Bush surge, which ended up stamping down the daily suicide bombings, and provided a sustainable level of security.
True to his campaign pledge, on October 21, 2011, Obama announced the end of the war and pulled US forces out of the desert nation. With the exception of Vietnam, it may have been the worst US pullout of all time.
Whatever one might think of the US invasion, after 8 years of war, thousands of casualties and tens of thousands of wounded, one would have to hope all of it meant something. That it was all worth something. In the end, that’s a hard argument to make.
The nation we invaded was ruled by a sadistic, paranoid psychopath: Saddam Hussein, and terrorized by his even more psychotic sons. No one is sorry to see the likes of them gone. For years the Bush administration pushed to establish a functioning Arab democracy in Iraq, and to some degree he was moderately successful in that aim by the time he left office. With the 2007 troop surge, the daily suicide bombings were all but eliminated, allowing the Iraqi people and their government to function.
After Obama took office, the press quickly got very quiet about troop deaths and violence in Iraq. In fact, when Obama announced the end of the war in 2011, most Americans responded with, “What? Oh, yeah, I remember that war…” And the nation we left behind we left behind fell quickly into chaos.
It wasn’t hard to predict: the US pullout came with absolutely no plan for long-term security of the country, and no strategic agreement with the government of Iraq. When the troops took off, they left a power vacuum in their wake, and as vacuums are want to do, it pulled in all comers.
It was also not overly difficult to predict who would emerge victorious in the new bloody battle for power either. After all, the 2010 re-election of Shi’ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was not due to American security or support, but due to the backing of the Shi’ite regime in Tehran. Iranian supplied and supportive militias roam the streets of Iraq while the Sunni dissidents rely on suicide bombings.
This year Iraqis killed in terrorist attacks are at levels unseen since their height in the US occupation. Recently, over 1,000 Iraqis are killed in terrorist strikes every month.
American influence in Iraq is nonexistent. Iraqis know as well as any American that the US is certainly not putting boots on the ground in Iraq again anytime soon. And whatever aid we send over can’t be cut out without an admission that the Obama administration utterly failed to responsibly end the war. So Maliki, being the good puppet of Iran that he is, expresses his support for Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and has allowed Iranian weapons and supplies to flow through Iraq on their way to Syria. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, even flew all the way to Baghdad to pressure Maliki to put an end to it. Maliki seemed as impressed with Kerry as… well… just about everyone else, plainly telling the top US diplomate to take a hike.
Last month, 52 Iranian exiles were murdered, execution style, by Iraqi Security Forces. The exiles were members of the Iranian Mujahedin Khalq (MeK) group, which has long fought the theocratic rule of Tehran. After renouncing violence in 2001, the UN was in the process of providing safe passage for the exiles to Algeria.
Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Qods Force, a division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard, had other plans. After visiting Baghdad on August 27, the exiles were executed September 1. The mass murder was highly lauded in the halls of Tehran.
Perhaps most disturbing of all, Hassain al-Shahristani, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister for Energy, has announced Iraq is ready to help Iran develop her nuclear program.
1 Iranian satellite nation.