The intent of this essay is to advance several observations about how we plan and fight wars, in order to shed light upon why we are performing so poorly. We invaded both Afghanistan and Iraq with inchoate plans and inadequate forces to establish post-war security and governance. After winning the first battle in both countries, President George W. Bush offhandedly decided to build democratic nations, a task for which our State Department and US Agency for International Development had no competence or interest. By default, the mission fell to our military, also without competence but with unflagging devotion and determination.
When 2011 arrived, President Barack Obama went against the recommendations of the intelligence community, the Pentagon, and the State Department. Instead of politically maneuvering to keep a residual force to check al-Maliki’s dark instincts, Obama pulled out all our troops. He fulfilled Bush’s foolish promise. Al-Maliki then proceeded to oppress the Sunnis, leading to the reemergence of the extremists now called the Islamic State. Obama quit, but Bush made it easy for him to do so.
A humanitarian mission to rescue thousands of Yazidis trapped in Iraq is “far less likely” to take place after an assessment carried out by a US team.
US Army Special Forces soldiers and a US Agency for International Development (USAID) team spent several hours on the mountain speaking to refugees on Wednesday.
They have since returned to Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region, and reported fewer Yazidis remain trapped on the mountain than previously feared.
Some 5,000 refugees remain stranded on Mount Sinjar, according to Sky sources. Continue reading