Third Party & Independents Archives

Debating Iraqi Intelligence Again

Can Obama now blame Centcom supervisors for his deadly stumbles with regards to containing Islamic State forces in Iraq? Apparently documents were edited to make Iraqi army defeats look like re-deployments, thus sparing the military the embarrassment of having their trained Iraqi allies make a mess of things on the battlefield.

That seems a stretch, even if military intelligence was doctored to put it in a more positive light. That is a serious charge, and Congress has promised to investigate. But Obama's philosophy in the Middle East, and especially in Iraq, was one of disengagement from the get go. He promised to withdraw the US military presence in Iraq, and he did.

Would the Obama Administration have taken Islamic State threats more seriously, absent the alleged editing of emails and perhaps other documents? That's an unknowable, but it might have made some impact. Obama's philosophy, however, has been a combination of civil engagement and apology. A disastrous combination in the case of the Iran deal.

Once again, a little over a decade later, military intelligence and intelligence in general over Iraq is under scrutiny. And that may lead, again, to the questioning of the Iraq war. It's helpful, however, to remember what had occurred before the Iraq invasion.

The van full of explosives in 93. The embassy bombings in East Africa. The USS Cole. 9/!!. And the Taliban in Afghanistan with suspicions of support from Pakistani security forces. The Bali bombing in 2002. And while it was in 2008, the Mumbai attacks were the culmination of various acts of islamic terror in India over the years. That's a partial list, and yet it shows a spreading wave of violent, fanatical attacks by islamic terrorists. Was Iraq the right point to engage? That's a theoretical that - unless it spins off useful ideas on dealing with the situation in Iraq here and now - is best left to military historians.

We're still arguing in the West how to win this war. It's unsettling that is was apparently a tip from Moroccan intelligence sources that led the French to the main suspect in the Paris terrorist attacks. But it also shows that good sources on the ground in areas where it counts is, and always will be, key.

Was Rumsfeld's vision of a mobile, tech-heavy force the wrong one in dealing with Iraq? Should we have this current debate in full public view so that Yale Students, for example, can do a sit-in to protest prejudice among military analysts?

As Carson said to George Stephanopoulos this past Sunday, "I'm not real big on telling them what we would or would not do." True enough, but the debate over intelligence and tactics and strategy has to be had - whether behind closed doors or partially open to the public. It's proving a difficult war to win. But first it has to be fought. And then won.

Posted by AllardK at November 25, 2015 9:22 PM
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