The 750 U.S. military advisers in Iraq are part of the contingent of up to 300 (three hundred) advisers that President Obama, 11 days ago, said “will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but…will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region and American interests as well.”
Politics ends at the waters edge, so we should make every effort to respect our president and take him at his word, even if that requires what Sen. Hillary Clinton once called “a willing suspension of disbelief.”
So, to accomplish this, and to square the president’s words with his actions, I offer what I call…
Scott Ott’s 5 Secrets for Squaring Obama’s Words with His Actions in Iraq
1) Part-time advisers: Because the president said he’d send up to 300 advisers, some of the 750 advisers he actually sent must be part-timers. What President Obama meant by “up to 300” was 300 full-time equivalents (FTE). If we assume a 40-hour work week, then each of the 750 advisers is putting in roughly 16 hours per week for a total of 300 FTE. In the coming days, should the president order the deployment of more advisers, you can do the math to figure out how many hours each will work to maintain his commitment to 300 FTE.
2) Non-military military advice:
“There’s no military solution inside of Iraq, certainly not one that’s led by the United States,” [Obama] said.
Because there’s “no military solution,” our U.S. military advisers must, therefore, be offering conflict counseling, training in diplomacy, and perhaps instructions in the proper way to surrender, in order to avoid a military confrontation.
3. Waiting to be asked: Because President Obama said the solution cannot be “led by the United States,” the U.S. military advisers must await specific requests from their Iraqi hosts for (non-military) solutions before offering any advice. This is called: “Advising from behind.”
4. No American interests at stake except avoiding involvement: The president said the advisers would, in part, help Iraqis protect (unidentified) American interests, but would not take sides with any one religious sect. Mr. Obama did say that the U.S. doesn’t want to see “all out civil war in Iraq.” Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that it’s not in America’s interest to get involved in Iraq’s civil war. So, what’s clear is that President Obama will not tolerate the civil war that he’s not willing to stop.
5. Prevent creation of terrorist haven: Former President George W. Bush warned that a complete pullout from Iraq could lead to the nation becoming a haven for terrorists able to hit U.S. interests, even on U.S. soil. Democrats knew, however, that the Iraqi civil war was unrelated to al Qaeda, and posed no threat to the United States. And yet this week, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) declared the establishment of a caliphate in the vast territory ISIS forces have overrun so far. President Obama, who pressed for a total withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, now says he wants to prevent the creation of a haven for terrorists from which, he says, they could strike “eventually the homeland” (that’s U.S.). From this we can conclude that Bush was wrong and Obama is right because…shut up.