We the people want more than footing the $1.7 to $2 trillion dollar bill with NOTHING in return except for more future expenses, more human suffering and heartache. We have been handed the bill for the 2003 decade plus long Iraqi catastrophe, signed off on by President George Bush and then President Barack Obama.
The following is the continuation of the story on how President Obama’s support for the Prime Minister Maliki led to the formation of ISIS which has us mired in Iraq and Syria for years to come, with all of its associated costs.
Here are some excerpts from the 7/3/14 Washington Post Op-ed piece by Ali Khedery, “Why we stuck with Maliki — and lost Iraq:”
“I was determined not to let an Iranian general who had murdered countless American troops dictate the endgame for the United States in Iraq. By October, I was pleading with Ambassador Jeffrey to take steps to avert this outcome. I said that Iran was intent on forcing the United States out of Iraq in humiliation and that a divisive, sectarian government in Baghdad headed by Maliki would almost certainly lead to another civil war and then an all-out regional conflict. This might be averted if we rebuffed Iran by forming a unity government around a nationalist alternative such as Abdul Mahdi. It would be extremely difficult, I acknowledged, but with 50,000 troops still on the ground, the United States remained a powerful player. The alternative was strategic defeat in Iraq and the Middle East writ large. To my surprise, the ambassador shared my concerns with the White House senior staff, asking that they be relayed to the president and vice president, as well as the administration’s top national security officials.”
“Desperate to avert calamity, I used every bit of my political capital to arrange a meeting for Jeffrey and Antony Blinken, Biden’s national security adviser and senior Iraq aide, with one of Iraq’s top grand ayatollahs. Using blunt language, the Shiite cleric said he believed that Ayad Allawi, who had served as an interim prime minister in 2004-05, and Abdul Mahdi were the only Shiite leaders capable of uniting Iraq. Maliki, he said, was the prime minister of the Dawa party, not of Iraq, and would drive the country to ruin.’
“But all the lobbying was for naught. By November, the White House had settled on its disastrous Iraq strategy. The Iraqi constitutional process and election results would be ignored, and America would throw its full support behind Maliki. Washington would try to move Talabani aside and install Allawi as a consolation prize to the Iraqiya coalition.”
“The next day, I appealed again to Blinken, Jeffrey, Austin, my embassy colleagues and my bosses at Central Command, Gen. Jim Mattis and Gen. John Allen, and warned that we were making a mistake of historic proportions. I argued that Maliki would continue to consolidate power with political purges against his rivals; Talabani would never step aside after fighting Hussein for decades and taking his chair; and the Sunnis would revolt again if they saw that we betrayed our promises to stand by them after the Awakening’s defeat of al-Qaeda.”
“(I met) with a council of Iraq’s top Sunni leaders, with the message that they needed to join Maliki’s government. The response was as I expected. They would join the government in Baghdad, they said, but they would not allow Iraq to be ruled by Iran and its proxies. They would not live under a Shiite theocracy and accept continued marginalization under Maliki. After turning their arms against al-Qaeda during the Awakening, they now wanted their share in the new Iraq, not to be treated as second-class citizens. If that did not happen, they warned, they would take up arms again.”
“Catastrophe followed. Talabani rebuffed White House appeals to step down and instead turned to Iran for survival. With instructions from Tehran, Maliki began to form a cabinet around some of Iran’s favorite men in Iraq. Hadi al-Amiri, the notorious Badr Brigade commander, became transportation minister, controlling strategically sensitive sea, air and land ports. Khudair Khuzaie became vice president, later serving as acting president. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Dawa party mastermind behind the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait in 1983, became an adviser to Maliki and his neighbor in the Green Zone. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Sadrist detainees were released. And Maliki purged the National Intelligence Service of its Iran division, gutting the Iraqi government’s ability to monitor and check its neighboring foe.”
“America’s Iraq policy was soon in tatters. Outraged by what it perceived as American betrayal, the Iraqiya bloc fractured along ethno-sectarian lines, with leaders scrambling for government positions, lest they be frozen out of Iraq’s lucrative patronage system. Rather than taking 30 days to try to form a government, per the Iraqi constitution, the Sunni Arab leaders settled for impressive-sounding posts with little authority. Within a short span, Maliki’s police state effectively purged most of them from politics, parking American-supplied M1A1 tanks outside the Sunni leaders’ homes before arresting them. Within hours of the withdrawal of U.S. forces in December 2011, Maliki sought the arrest of his longtime rival Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, eventually sentencing him to death in absentia. The purge of Finance Minister Rafea al-Essawi followed a year later.”
“Maliki never appointed a permanent, parliament-confirmed interior minister, nor a defense minister, nor an intelligence chief. Instead, he took the positions for himself. He also broke nearly every promise he made to share power with his political rivals after they voted him back into office through parliament in late 2010.”
“He also abrogated the pledges he made to the United States. Per Iran’s instructions, he did not move forcefully at the end of 2011 to renew the Security Agreement , which would have permitted American combat troops to remain in Iraq. He did not dissolve his Office of the Commander in Chief, the entity he has used to bypass the military chain of command by making all commanders report to him. He did not dismantle the secret intelligence organizations, prisons and torture facilities with which he has bludgeoned his rivals. He did not abide by a law imposing term limits.”
“In short, Maliki’s one-man, one-Dawa-party Iraq looks a lot like Hussein’s one-man, one-Baath Party Iraq. But at least Hussein helped contain a strategic American enemy: Iran. And Washington didn’t spend $1 trillion propping him up. There is not much “democracy” left if one man and one party with close links to Iran control the judiciary, police, army, intelligence services, oil revenue, treasury and the central bank. Under these circumstances, renewed ethno-sectarian civil war in Iraq was a certainty.”
“I resigned in protest on Dec. 31, 2010.”
“The crisis now gripping Iraq and the Middle East was not only predictable but preventable. By looking the other way and unconditionally supporting and arming Maliki, President Obama has only lengthened and expanded the conflict that President Bush unwisely initiated. Iraq is now a failed state.”