A Flesh Wound

President Obama described the fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi as a “flesh wound” and a  “tactical setback.” This is the kind of double speak that was often heard during the Vietnam War as President Lyndon Johnson and his generals tried to reassure the American public that what appeared to be significant defeats were merely temporary bumps in the road that would easily be overcome.

Those bumps became potholes as this country eventually lost the war and was forced to leave the country to the Communist Vietcong. Years later historians and journalists concluded that the Vietnam was was never winnable and that our war policy was made within an isolated bubble often termed group think – an aversion to seeing the reality of a situation and an unwillingness to tell the man in charge what he didn’t want to hear.

Now the current Iraq war against the Islamic State is not another Vietnam, in large part because President Obama pulled our troops out and left behind a token force. The Iraqis told us to leave and the American public has lost its will to fight for a corrupt and incompetent government in the Middle East.  But the original decision by President Bush to dismantle the leadership of the Iraqi army coupled with President Obama’s decision to take our troops out has led to disaster on the battlefield.

Obama still clings to the view that this is not our war and that others will have to defeat the Islamic State. Claims by critics of the President that 10,000 US troops should be embedded with the Iraqis fall on deaf ears as the President is in no mood to return to Iraq- American is no longer the policeman to the world. The result of is that we are left with bland assurances that victory over the fanatics is within reach and the loss of key real estate is but a “flesh wound.”

It’s time to talk straight to the American people and admit that the Iraqi forces are unable to defend what is left of their country and that our strategy is really no strategy at all, except to send in advisers, weaponry and an occasional special operations attack. The fanatics cannot be defeated with this non-strategy, only a Bush-like surge of 10,000 US troops will drive the Islamic State back. But with the American people seemingly behind him and the Islamic State posing only a tiny threat to the homeland the double speak, group think and non-strategy is what our Iraq policy has become. Don’t look for the Marines in Ramadi any time soon, they left years ago.


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