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Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Creamer: NeoCons Should Be Apologizing, Not Advising, on Iraq

The following article by Democratic strategist Robert Creamer, author of Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, is cross-posted from HuffPo:
It takes completely brazen chutzpah for Neo-Con Republicans like John McCain to criticize President Obama’s policies in Iraq — especially as Iraq once again falls into sectarian civil war.
These are precisely the people who kicked open the sectarian hornets’ nest in 2003 when they invaded Iraq and unleashed years of civil war that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees.
Of course the current Iraqi government bears a great deal of the responsibility for the current breakdown in security. As Fareed Zakaria wrote in Friday’s Washington Post:

The prime minister and his ruling party have behaved like thugs, excluding the Sunnis from power, using the army, police forces and militias to terrorize their opponents.

The Sunni insurrection that began in 2003 was finally tamped down by General David Petraeus when he engineered power-sharing arrangements between the Shiites and key elements of the Sunni community. Prime Minister Maliki has systematically abrogated many of those deals, reneged on commitments and created the conditions where Sunni insurgents have real sympathy among many in the Sunni population.
That is why the Obama Administration has insisted that increases in U.S. military assistance be conditioned on major changes that help create a political system inclusive of all of the elements in Iraqi society.
Remember that Maliki came to power as a result of the decisions of the Neo-Cons in the Bush Administration who intentionally dismantled all vestiges of Sunni power — including the Iraqi Army and bureaucracy — shortly after the invasion.
And, most importantly, the invasion that unleashed the sectarian civil war was sold to the American people as a quest to eliminate Sadam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction — and as a means of destroying his non-existent links to Al Qaeda.
How ironic that the Neo-Con invasion itself created the conditions that allowed Al Qaeda-inspired organizations like Al Qaeda in Iraq — and now the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) — to become viable forces in the country.
Now, Neo-Cons like McCain are calling on the President to “bring back” the Bush team “who knew how to win.” Unbelievable. The people who led us into the Iraq War have no business even commenting on foreign policy — much less managing it. In fact, any self-respecting television network should simply ignore anything they have to say, since they led us into the worst foreign policy disaster in half a century.
The Iraq War will ultimately cost the American taxpayers trillions of dollars. It caused the collapse of our international reputation. It costs hundreds of thousands of lives — including 4.500 American soldiers, and it wounded and maimed hundreds of thousands more. And the Iraq War unleashed simmering sectarian conflicts that had existed for centuries throughout the Middle East.
Now those sectarian conflicts have spilled over into an awful civil war in Syria and are part and parcel of international tensions throughout the region. And these “geniuses” should be brought back to manage Iraq policy?
Oh, they say, President Obama should have been a tougher negotiator when it came to maintaining a residual force of training personnel in Iraq. But that ignores that the Maliki government refused to agree to conditions that every other country in the world provides for Americans who are stationed on their soil. The fact is that Maliki did not want American troops to remain in Iraq because he is entirely beholden to the Iranians who did not want any residual American troops in Iraq.
But that, of course, is beside the point where most Americans are concerned. The vast majority of Americans didn’t want to maintain a residual force of American troops in Iraq either. They wanted to end America’s involvement in the Iraq War — and do not want American troops to be sent back to Iraq or any other war in the Middle East.
In fact, Republican attacks on President Obama because he “didn’t finish the job” in Iraq run head-long into the buzz saw of American public opinion. It is completely out of touch with the views of ordinary Americans.
The main reason why President Obama is now faced with having to do everything he can to help stabilize the situation in Iraq — short of sending back American troops — is that the Republican Neo-Con gang kicked over the sectarian hornets’ nest with their pointless invasion and macho military adventurism in the first place.
Remember President Bush’s “mission accomplished” on the carrier deck back on May 1, 2003. That was over a decade ago. The mission was “accomplished” only if the goal was to destabilize the Middle East, cost America trillions of our treasure and kill and maim hundreds of thousands of human beings.
The people who conceived and executed the invasion of Iraq don’t deserve to be given the authority to run a lemonade stand, much less U.S. foreign policy.
And personally, the only thing I want to hear from any of them is an apology.

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