Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Iraq - What We're Leaving Behind

Normally I don't have much use for the mainstream news, and certainly not anything that has to do with the NBC news organization. However ...

I was tooling around last night, bored with Monday Night Football's snooze fest and happened upon Brian Williams' Rock Center. Ted Koppell was presenting his first story for the new show, and it had to do with Obama's mandate that all US troops be out of Iraq by year's end. I only caught a piece of it, so went to NBC's site and watched the whole thing. It is scary.

There's a bit of anti-war politics at the beginning, which is to be expected. However, what follows in part 1 and part 2 should put a chill in all of us. The absolute lunacy of completely abandoning Iraq from a military perspective is clear to see, and it is amazing to see two liberal leaning journalists openly questioning why Obama is doing it.

The videos can be seen at: http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/

Other things concern me as well, most from a military perspective. We are arming the Iraqis with up to date military hardware - in some cases superior to what our front line forces are fielding. Eighteen F-16 Block 52 fighters are on order, with statements being made about an additional 18. This model of the Fighting Falcon is superior to any the USAF now flies. C-130J transports, equal to the newest ones the USAF is receiving. New build T-6 trainers, equal to what our aviators are trained on. M1A1 Abrahms tanks. Weapons systems of all levels, and professional US civilian run training on all of it. We are leaving huge stockpiles of supplies, vehicles, and ammunition, along with billions of dollars of infrastructure - paid for by our tax dollars.

The goal is to allow the Iraqis to stand up to Iran by themselves. The reality is that Iraq and Iran are now closer than at any time since they fought their war. Iran is exerting its influence, and has openly stated that as soon at the US military is gone, they will exert even more influence. The Iraqi military and government are just as corrupt and two faced as the Pakistanis are. Chances are that the two countries will become allies against us, and we may fight our own weapons systems at some point in the future.

Our military forces are still deployed in foreign lands as a result of the outcome of WWII and Korea. We are not still in Vietnam because we lacked the will to win that war, retreated, and lost. Now we abandon a nation that is teetering on the brink of success or failure - as we define those concepts - so a liberal politician can fulfill a campaign promise just in time for the next election cycle. Our enemies are patient - they merely wait for us to give up and leave. It amazes me that anyone is stupid enough to believe we can just walk away while the issue is still in question without begging for the worst possible outcome to occur.

I sincerely hope this does not turn out as I fear it will. It would be very interesting to get a glimpse 10 years into the future and see how this ends up.

Now, Obama is getting ready to do the same thing in Afgthanistan, where the situation is even more tenuous.

Update - Within days of the last US troops' departure, the unraveling of Iraq may have begun. The country's president has issued arrest warrants for the Vice President. He has also issued statements that he may disolve the coalition government that the US had painstakingly put together. Huge suicide blasts in downtown Baghdad. It's very possible that nation will disolve into utter chaos very shortly.

Update II - Related. The Obama Administration announced it will continue pursuing direct negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan, making it one of their top goals for 2012. Obama is doing this in spite of objections from the elected Afghanistan government. The supposedly secret initiative was leaked to world wide news outlets.

Let me predict what the bottom line of these negotiations will be, from the Obama perspective:

"Hey, Mister Moolah Moolah. You keep your buddies in check for 2012. Make sure everything is very quiet leading up to my re-coronation in November. Once I'm locked back in for another 4 years, I'll pull our troops out as fast as I can, just like I did in Iraq, and you can do whatever you want. I don't care. Just let me get re-elected before you go nuts."

Am I being cynical ... yeah, I guess. However, I think this is pretty close to what he is wanting, even if he won't state it publicly to us.


Anonymous said...

We have spent almost a Trillion dollars in Iraq and will we ever be reimbursed for that? At least we are selling them military tech that is fit for export, meaning that if something it is lost that tech will not end up in Russia or China. Selling them this hardware provides jobs for many workers that are currently being effected by American budget cuts. Offering this tech allows us to also extend the olive branch to their future military and will help build a long lasting relationship. Remember when we sold F-14s to Iran and they back stabbed us? Those F-14s are now useless due to a lack of parts and sabotage from support engineers that were kicked out. I would rather see us recouping some of that cost, then to see the Russians or Chinese(sell their own tech) profit and build better ties. After the latest debacle with the downed stealth drone, should we really be worried about SELLING C130s?

67Cougar said...

I remember very well when we sold F-14s, F-4s, F-5s, AH-1 Cobras, and tons of support equipment to Iran, just before the loonies took over - the same loonies that are still running Iran, and who stand a very good chance of bending Iraq into a willing partner. I remember very well when a lot of that hardware ended up in Soviet hands, at a time when the Tomcat and the Phoenix missile were front line equipment defending our fleets. I remember very well reports from 2011 of significant numbers of Tomcats and Phantoms still being front line operational for Iran, flying beside the MiGs that Russia has provided them. Are they a significant threat to us now, 30 years later - no. Were they in the 1980s, and did it compromise our defense by handing operational examples to the Soviets? You bet...

We have huge numbers of recently retired C-130s and F-16s sitting in desert storage. Hundreds of airframes that are still viable, ones that can be upgraded and provided at lower cost and lower exposure. Countries all around the world are doing that, used F-16s are changing hands all over the place. These aircraft would be perfectly acceptable for use in Iraq.

If Iraq turns out to be a dependable partner over the next decade, then an 'upgrade' of their armed forces could be offered.

As far as Iraq paying for them, are they really? They will be purchased through FMS (Foreign Military Sales) contracts. Many, many FMS contracts are actually paid for by the taxpayer, and provided as foreign aid (no charge) to the receiving country. I have seen nothing in the reports of these deals to indicate that Iraq will actually give us cash (or the equivalent in oil, or something) in return for all of this.

I know folks who were involved with the Iraqi military recently. There was no trust, because our folks couldn't tell who was an ally and who was an enemy - while they were wearing the same uniform. Thinking that they will all love us because we give them state of the art weaponry is blind wishful thinking - at best.

As far as ingratiating ourselves to the Iraqi military, I suppose so. What good will that do if the country turns on us - not a damn bit. The Iranian military was an integral part of US Defense policy, and great friends to our armed forces - right up until the mullahs took over in 1979. Think Iraq would be any different?