Playing to Lose
I thought that abandoning South Vietnam, the new Democrat Congress totally cutting them off from aid during an armed invasion, was the most shameful act in the history of American foreign policy. But now there's this about our failed status of forces negotiations with Iraq:
No matter what they said publicly — because America bashing is as fashionable in the Middle East as it is inside the Obama White House and NPR’s studios, “What the senior American military commanders told [Filkins] was that every single senior political leader, no matter what party or what group, including Maliki, said to them privately, we want you to stay.”
So what’s the problem?And so then you turn to the White House and its like, well, what does the White House want? And so there were these long negotiations that went on for more than a year over, you know, will the Americans keep some troops here? And it’s fascinating because, you know, Maliki was saying one thing in private and one thing in public and then the White House was extremely ambivalent, the Obama White House. And I remember I spoke and I quote in my piece one of the American ambassadors at the time, James Jeffrey, and he said we got no guidance from the White House. So we would literally sit across Maliki and Maliki would say, you know, what do I got to sell to my people? How many troops do you guys want to leave here? And he said we had no answer for him because we didn’t get any guidance from the White House.
Bolding in the above passage by Matt Lewis, who goes on to note that Filkins added, “that part of the reason this ultimately didn’t happen — a completely understandable reason (as far as I’m concerned) — is that Iraq refused to grant American soldiers immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts.”
Gee, how much arm-twisting would it have taken from — to pull two names out of the blue at random — Bush and Cheney, to get immunity for American soldiers?
Perhaps with a Hillary-esque “What difference does it make?” in her mind, Terry Gross of NPR goes on to ask Filkins, “Do you think it would’ve made a difference had we been able to keep 5,000 troops in Iraq?
Just like with South Vietnam, the fate of a friendly nation was at stake following a successful -- if rather too long and costly -- war. And the Democrats threw it away. They threw away an entire country. On purpose.
There are several answers, each too distasteful to bring up so early in the day. But we'll be revisiting this one -- often, I think.
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