Posted by Curt on 10 September, 2014 at 5:19 pm. 16 comments already!



Via Ace, something to keep in mind tonight while The One is doing his johnny-on-the-spot shtick about fighting jihadism in Iraq. “Lie” is my word, not Tim Arango’s, but read his comment and tell me what’s more likely. That the vast American intelligence community was “ignorant” of how bad things were in a country where we’d spent eight years developing assets? Or that the White House had every reason to know how dangerous Iraq was becoming but chose to suppress that information because the truth was problematic?

Is “ignorant” really the best word to describe willful blindness to a politically inconvenient truth? Obama got elected promising to bring the troops home; the only way he could do that without major domestic headaches was to claim that Iraq didn’t need them anymore. So he did, the truth notwithstanding. Imagine how many low-information voters will watch tonight’s speech and wonder where this bolt-from-the-blue known as ISIS came from. Last they heard, Iraq was doing just fine.

You guys know better, though. I’ve linked it more than once before but it’s worth re-reading Peter Beinart’s post from a few months ago about Obama’s history of malign neglect in Iraq. He had one Iraq goal as president — to get out, come what may, just as he promised voters he would do in 2008. And he did it, even though that meant denying Iraq a small but potent residual American force that could have held Maliki’s sectarian impulses in check (which in turn would have made Iraq’s Sunnis less inclined to turn to ISIS) and would have been well positioned to smash ISIS once it crossed the border from Syria. Dexter Filkins of the New Yorker has written about this at length. Quote:

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