Ed Driscoll

America's Foreign Policy Mobius Loop

“Change: Obama sending Special Ops troops back to Iraq — without legal immunity,” Allahpundit writes at Hot Air:

In other words, it’s not so much that Special Ops won’t have immunity as that both sides are now ignoring Iraq’s joke of a parliament and handling things through executive agreement. So much for Iraqi democracy. The White House’s thinking, I guess, is that there’s no need to worry about American troops being tried in Iraqi courts anymore since there’s really no Iraq anymore. The Shiites will have their hands full with Sunni maniacs for years to come; if they put a single U.S. soldier on trial, they’re forfeiting America’s help forever in that war and they know it. Not even a strong interventionist like Rubio in the White House would dare put more servicemen in harm’s way if one of them ends up having to endure a show trial now. Iraq could afford to play hardball on immunity in 2011 when its biggest problem was public upset at the thought of an ongoing occupation. Now their biggest problem is ethnic cleansing. Immunity’s not so important these days.

Also, how likely is it that any of the 300 Special Ops soldiers headed over will end up in a situation where the Shiite government might want to try them? There are three reasons why they’re there. One is to gather intelligence on ISIS positions in case O decides he wants to start bombing. Two is to signal nominal U.S. support for the Iraqi state we helped build and to remind Iran that we’re still capable of projecting force just in case they get too ambitious about pushing the Sunnis back. And three, it seems, is to “advise” the Iraqi military, although after reading the stories in the NYT and WaPo this morning, it seems like there’s not much of a military left to advise.

Perhaps one reason why the Rand Paul-inspired “To Hell with Them” Middle East doctrine has grown popular in America post-2009 is that we’ve all seen this movie before:

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Meanwhile, John Kerry gets to live out the sitcom version of Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence. Recall the pushback from the US military after the infamous moment from 2006, when then-Senator Kerry once again smeared American troops by saying, “If you make the most of it and you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq:”


Guess who’s in Baghdad today? And like Kerry, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf and her Smart Glasses™ continue the snark, as Harf takes a grave situation, and uses it to score snark and points against former Romney advisor Richard Grenell, who last week asked when Kerry would be going to Iraq. Harf’s response today:

As the Middle East and America’s reputation simultaneously melt down, you stay classy, Obama administration.

Update: “In an assassination with a great deal of psychological importance, ISIS kidnapped, and then executed, the judge who sentenced Saddam Hussein to death after a trial in 2006,” Ace writes. “With the Kurds’ president Barzani now openly announcing that it’s time for the Kurdish state to split off and be formally a separate nation from Iraq, and the Sunnis ethnically cleansing Shiites, and, coming soon I’m sure, the Shiites ethnically cleansing Sunnis, there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that a state resembling Iraq survives the year.”

As Glenn Reynolds noted, “Ideology required that the Iraq War be a failure, even if it needed a nunc pro tunc effort to make it so.”