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Friday, January 22, 2016

Thirteen years later, a look back at the Iraq War, its motivations, and its consequences. (Part II)

Part II

At the time, the only real conflict in the region was taking place in Syria, but the revolution to overthrow Bashar al-Assad had nothing to do with the new Iraq, so there probably was not a rush to fully complete the training program.  In 2010, when the training program was still basically in the beginning stages, President Barack Obama ordered the U.S. military to depart Iraq according to a particular timeline.  At the end of the day, I believe the timeline called for the removal of all but the most essential military personnel with one year.  Allegedly, the Obama Administration was warned by the Pentagon that the Iraqi military was in no shape to take over the security of the nation, but it made no difference.  You see, mid-term elections were coming up stateside, and the Administration's political base was not happy that President Obama hadn't fulfilled his campaign pledge to bring U.S. troops home.   Because this post has already stretched into two, I will mercifully bring things to a close.  We left Iraq with an untrained army, holding a billion dollars worth of the world's most modern weaponry. 

Across the border in Syria, ISIS, which had started to draw attention to itself through its regular use of butchery and stark brutality, saw an incredible opportunity.  They took an eraser to their previous maps of "the Caliphate" and added Iraq.  Then ISIS put together a military campaign that relied heavily on its ability to be mobile and move quickly, and invaded Iraq.  The only real opposition facing ISIS were the Kurds and the Peshmerga, as first Mosul fell, and then to the south, Baiji and Tikrit, which was the real catastrophe.  The young, untrained Iraqi Army recruits deserted their positions en masse, living in the sand rifles, GPS devices, mortars, electronic warfare equipment, targeting devices, artillery, and even vehicles.  ISIS is known for its ability to adapt, and that equipment and ammunition not doubt, has been essential in subsequent operations. As for Iraq, the schools are now only half-open, many of the new highways are destroyed by artillery fire, and the Baiji refinery itself as been one of the most contested battlefields of the conflict.  From 2009 to 2016....Iraq is an example of what happens when people who don't respect or understand the military, make decisions that direct impact the battlefield.  In this instance, the decision created one.

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