So, we continue to fight shoulder to shoulder with the Iranians to defeat the terrorists that the Bush Administration created, IS or ISIS if you're not into that whole brevity thing.
On Monday, thousands of Shiite militiamen were assembling at an Iraqi army base east of Ramadi preparing a battle to retake the city, after Iraqi forces, backed by US airstrikes, failed Sunday to hold onto it. The entry into the fight of the Iran-backed militias was approved by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who initially resisted their involvement in hopes that Iraqi Army forces could hold Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.
I want to thank Trudy Rubin because Paul Bremer has been on my mind lately and this was also my thoughts when that college student confronted the smarter Bush brother.
On that May 23, Mr. Bremer fired tens of thousands of military officers without pensions or severance. His order propelled the birth of an armed Sunni resistance among ex-Iraqi officers, which morphed into al-Qaida in Iraq and ultimately the Islamic State.
Mr. Bremer’s decision reflected the lack of coherent planning in the Bush administration about what to do after the U.S. invasion. Before the war, the U.S. military had recognized the danger of disbanding Iraq’s armed forces at a time of high unemployment and great social upheaval; it had planned to dissolve the units closest to Saddam Hussein, while vetting the rest and creating a smaller force that could help rebuilded the country.
But George W. Bush’s emissary, Mr. Bremer, changed the plan, apparently without consulting top U.S. military or State Department officials. After Mr. Bremer’s announcement, I knocked on doors in a Baghdad neighborhood populated by senior Sunni army brass and heard the same message over and over: “We laid down our arms, as you asked in leaflets dropped from your planes, and this is how you reward us. We will fight you.”
As Al Franken used to say, "We fired the police and military and told them to take their guns and go home." Unemployed and pissed off. And for good measure we fired all of the government administrators just because they were Baathists. As if they had any choice about joining the Baath Party, if they wanted to work.
In fairness, Ms. Rubin does criticize our current president.
None of this absolves Mr. Obama from responsibility for his role in the Islamic States’s emergence. Most glaring was the strong U.S. support for Mr. Maliki after he lost a close election in 2010. U.S. officials should have tried harder to help the winner, Iyad Allawi, form a government. As a secular Shiite, Allawi was far more skeptical of Iran and might have allayed the Sunni resentments that helped fuel the Islamic States. Mr. Obama also should have pushed much harder to keep a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq.
That is likely true, the overall effect of our invasion was to remove a counterbalance to Iran in the region and install Shiite Muslims in charge of Iraq, though. Not that we can do anything about that now, except go to war against Iran if you're a crazy-ass neocon. Well that would be, send someone else to war if you're a crazy-ass neocon.
Back to CSM and the possible good news.
The militias are also moving in with the blessing of Anbar’s majority-Sunni provincial council and Sunni tribal leaders – raising the prospect that a combination of Shiite militiamen, Sunni tribesmen, and government forces could retake the city.
Such a possibility is fraught with all kinds of potential dangers, from sectarian fighting among groups presumably working toward the same goal to the threat of cleansing operations by Shiite forces in the Sunni city once the fighting was over.
But a victory against IS by the three fighting groups – Shiite, Sunni, government – could also help pull Iraq back from the brink of a sectarian civil conflict like the one entering its fifth year in neighboring Syria, some regional experts say.
Maybe we can make lemonade yet.