Thursday, July 16, 2015

Obama's Iraq Debacle

As a long term Libertarian both in mind and voting record, I was certainly against the Bush invasion of Iraq. It was none of our business what was going on within that country since it was highly unlikely to have any impact on America or Americans or place either in danger. And like every other Middle East U.S. excursion, both diplomatic and military, it was destined to end badly. Which it did.

So, understand that I am not about to get after Obama on Iraq because I am a hard core Republican, conservative, neocon, etc. I am about to get on him today about Iraq because of his inability to formulate a long term strategy. We constantly see this glaring deficiency in many other areas including health care with his failed Obama Care legislation (too many sub-failures to mention here), economic matters (e.g. still over 45 million Americans on food stamps), government efficiency and effectiveness (e.g. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security likely lose upwards of $200 billion a year to criminal fraud), etc. 

His inability to formulate and execute a long term, winning strategy on any issue is not unique to Obama. This deficiency infects everyone in the Washington political class. But today we will focus on Obama's inability to formulate, communicate, and execute an Iraq strategy to defeat ISIS, the most violent and well financed terrorist group in the history of mankind. 

The basis of our discussion will be a well written article by Ethan Bartion and Erica Wenig earlier this month for the Daily Caller website. Now, many liberals will immediately go over the edge and claim that the Daily Caller is a biased, slanted, right wing rag and cannot be trusted to give Obama a fair shake. However, before you do go crazy, please read the entire article at:

You will see that not only is the article well written and fair but that the information they use to prove that Obama is wasting our time and wealth in Iraq in the absence of a long term strategy is based on sources that have long been a favorite of liberals including the Washington Post, the Associated Press, and official government reports. The article sources from all of these sources and others and can be directly linked to from the article. 

Keep in mind two facts when reviewing the following disaster from the Obama administration:
  1. The President himself has admitted, more than a year after first admitting the same thing, that he and his administration still do not have a strategy for defeating ISIS.
  2. His military and diplomatic advisors had warned him in 2011 that withdrawing all U.S. troops at that time would create a power void since the Iraqi army was not up to snuff from a training and capability perspective. However, from a political Presidential campaign perspective, Obama decided to do the selfish political thing and not the proper military and foreign relations thing. As ISIS rose, it turns out that his advisors were right, Obama did withdraw U.S. forces out prematurely despite his promise that we were leaving behind a safe, secure, and democratic Iraq.
So what is this leadership failure and the subsequent lack of long term planning costing us in Iraq:
  • According to the Pentagon, we have already spent $2.91 billion on this ISIS effort with little to show for it except temporarily stalling a few ISIS advances.
  • This $2.91 billion comes out to about $9.2 million PER DAY so far.
  • About half of these costs are directly tied to our airstrike missions against ISIS but according to Congressional sources, a whopping 75% of those missions return without dropping any bombs.
  • Regardless, we are currently averaging only about 12 airstrikes a day, of which 75% do no damage to ISIS, in a vain attempt to cover an ISIS controlled land mass that is thousands of square miles.
  • The reason is that the planes cannot find any targets without the U.S. having a substantial ground presence to identify targets. As a result, 75% of the missions return after burning millions of dollars of fuel without making any difference on the ground.
  • The Obama administration put together a half a billion dollar training program to train and equip Syrian rebels to fight ISIS but so far that half a billion dollar program has resulted in training a grand total of 60, yes 60, rebels to fight ISIS, according to Obama's Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.
  • Originally, the Obama administration had aimed to train 5,400 rebels per year, according to the Associated Press. This leaves them 5,340 short of their target goal for this year with 60 trainees representing a pitiful .9% of their goal.
  • According to the article, $2.91 billion could have fed every family in Philadelphia for a year, could have wiped out the average student debt of 118,239 college graduates, or could have paid the average annual income tax bill for just over 200,000 American families.
So we have no strategy, no plans, no goals that would define victory, and it is still costing us billions of dollars. And with no strategy in sight, there is obviously no end in sight for spending billions of more dollars. But as we should expect, American politicians care only for themselves, their own short term glory, their own political careers, their own personal enrichment. That is why whenever career politicians like Obama make decisions based on their own political goals and aspirations and not the good of the country, we end paying for it big time in the form of wasted lives and wasted national wealth.

That is why we are big advocates of term limits for all Washington politicians, "one and done.” Because really, how much worse could it be to replace all of the existing career politicians with new people who might at least give us a chance of having a long term strategy for our issues, a strategy that would work and be cost efficient? We get neither with today’s political class and so far it has cost us almost $3 billion just in Iraq. 

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