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Friday, March 20, 2015

Interesting News From General Petreus

General Petreus was a hero of the Iraq war.  He led American forces to victory during the surge and those same American forces destroyed nearly all the remnants of al Qaeda in Iraq by the time 2008 came to an end.  Of course, we know what happened then.  President Obama went ahead with his plan to withdraw all American forces from Iraq even after the enormous human sacrifice and cost of victory there.  Instead of leaving a small force behind to guarantee both peace and the ability to prevent the rise of any new terrorists, Obama just pulled them all out and left a vacuum.  The result of the vacuum was first that ISIS was formed out of the remnants of al Qaeda in Iraq.  ISIS formed itself in eastern Syria and participated in the fight against the Assad regime in that country.  Then it swept into Iraq and took about a third of that nation under its control.  The Iraqi army just collapsed since the Baghdad government had purged huge numbers of officers and enlisted men from its ranks in order to assure fealty to the prime minister.  There were no American forces there to deter ISIS or to prevent the success of the ISIS attack.  It is important to remember that the ISIS attack which swamped the Iraqi army consisted of at most 15000 fighters who could easily have been defeated had an American force of the same size been left in Iraq.  Next we got the presence in Iraq of Iranian forces and their allies in the Shiite militias.  This was another group that American forces had successfully fought to overcome, but now they are back.

Of all the Americans who could comment on the situation in Iraq, none is more knowledgeable than General Petreus.  The general, however, has been silent for a long time.  After all, he was under investigation by the Justice Department for sharing information with his mistress (a woman with a high security clearance, we should add.)  Because the investigation was hanging over his head, Petreus was silent in public -- about everything.  That investigation is now over, and Petreus has agreed to a plea deal under which he admits to improper behavior and gets a small punishment. 

With the plea deal complete, the White House immediately brought Petreus back as a "consultant" to help deal with the crisis in Iraq.  It is a position that requires no Congressional approval, so it was done without fanfare.  Petreus is back as an advisor as I write this.

That new position makes comments made by Petreus to a reporter for the Washington Post about Iraq extremely important.  Petreus told the Post that the biggest problem/danger that he sees in Iraq is not ISIS, but the level of control that Iran is now asserting in Iraq.  It seems that the worry is that Iran will make Iraq into a satellite which takes orders from Teheran on all matters of importance.  Particularly given the Iranian conduct of attacking Americans, supporting terrorism, and the like, having Iran control Iraq is a major problem in combatting terrorist groups.

Meanwhile, president Obama is busy telling us how Iran is meeting its obligations with regard to nuclear weapons programs and at the same time also telling us that there may be a need for sanctions against our ally Israel because the people there had the temerity to vote for a man Obama does not like.

I bet that there is substantial upset at the White House in those comments by Petreus.  I can hear Obama now yelling, "Who finalized that plea deal with Petreus?  Who actually took the steps that let him express his opinions once again?  Who did that?"


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