Does the general theme below sound depressingly familiar to anyone?
WASHINGTON — In a major shift of focus in the battle against the Islamic State, the Obama administration is planning to establish a new military base in Anbar Province, Iraq, and to send up to 450 more American military trainers to help Iraqi forces retake the city of Ramadi.
The additional American troops will arrive as early as this summer, a United States official said, and will focus on training Sunni fighters with the Iraqi Army. The official called the coming announcement “an adjustment to try to get the right training to the right folks.”
The United States Central Command’s emphasis on retaking Mosul depended critically on efforts to retrain the Iraqi Army, which appear to have gotten off to a slow start.
Slow start? Slow? Start? The US has been “training” and “retraining” the Iraqi Army since shortly after GWB pointlessly invaded that country and disbanded its existing military.
According to the NYT, the US has spent around $25 billion on training the Iraqi Army. Much of that cash has been swallowed by graft, of course.
I wonder how much of a difference that $25B would have made here at home — in infrastructure investment, education, “retraining” people whose jobs have been offshored, etc. And good old American graft, of course.
Is it not sufficiently clear to everyone that, because the entity we refer to as “Iraq” is a fiction conjured by outsiders who did not understand the sectarian and tribal realities on the ground, it can only be held together by fear and/or brute force? Maybe the people who don’t get that should be “retrained.”
President Obama wisely shut down the occupation in 2011 and got most of our troops out. And now the Obama administration is going to establish a new fucking base?
This isn’t the “surge” McCain and the rest of the neocon psychopaths are howling for, but it’s a small, incremental step down a road we’ve travelled before – and it leads to Shit City. Back in 2002, a politician I admire said this about Bush’s rash, ill-fated decision to invade Iraq:
I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war.
Yeah, what he said. And that goes for a dumb training mission too.