Let me give a hat tip to Andy McCarthy at NRO. He posted a link and excerpt from a blog post by Steve Schippert at ThreatsWatch.org. This article is a very important analysis of what really happened in Iraq, and explains why Obama’s narrative from this week is worse than simple political spin. It is dangerously naive and dead wrong. Obama’s 2007 “plan” would have guarunteed failure in Iraq, led to Al-Qaeda establishing a significant operational stronghold, and led to the deaths of many people who we now count on for stability in the country.
Here is a significant excerpt:
I would remind the candidate that the Anbar Salvation Council (which later grew exponentially and developed into al-Sahwa al-Iraq – the Iraq Awakening) started with one man, Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu al-Risha, and seventy men fighting al-Qaeda in defense of their families, not in pursuit of a ‘political’ anything. They simply wanted to live and end al-Qaeda’s assassination and murdering spree against their families and tribe. Sheikh Abdul Sattar, later assassinated by al-Qaeda in Iraq, had seen 10 family members, including 4 brothers, killed by al-Qaeda for their cooperation with US forces. He had had enough.
Obama’s plan – unoriginal and pieced together like a quilt from others against the Iraq war – was entirely Baghdad-centric, about laws and revenue sharing and conferences. The Anbar Awakening had nothing to do with Baghdad when they began and when they turned the neighborhood tides in Ramadi and elsewhere in Anbar province. It was about killing the terrorists before the terrorists killed them. One must, after all, live to ultimately see progress on any scale beyond one’s neighborhoods.
Obama wanted laws written, press conferences, and an immediate pull back of US troops. As Senator Chuck Schumer so brilliantly said at the time about ‘the plan,’ US forces were to withdraw post-haste to the periphery “in more of a counterterrorism role.” This would have abandoned the Anbar Salvation Council – and Anbar Sunnis and Shi’a alike – entirely. It would have been feeding them to the bloodthirsty wolves of al-Qaeda so that domestic American political figures could champion themselves as ‘ending a war’ and conducting business “in more of a counterterrorism role.”
This is precisely what I tried to scream when I wrote “This Is Counterterrorism, Senator” over a year ago for National Review Online. And winning the counterinsurgency is about aligning a population with us. Neither of these, counterterrorism nor counterinsurgency, could have been successfully addressed by ‘The Plan’ put forth by Obama and others in opposition to The Surge. The Surge was all about protecting the population within their own neighborhoods, while ‘The Plan’ was about abandoning said population to complete animals unassisted. Yet Obama – and surely others – would oppose it all over again.
The Iraqis have done what they have done for themselves in spite of the likes of Obama, Schumer, Pelosi and all the rest. What’s more, now that The Surge has accomplished much of what it set out to do to help the Iraqis – again in spite of Obama, Schumer, Pelosi and the rest – a presidential candidate who opposed the surge, would still oppose The Surge and had absolutely no clue about the Anbar Salvation Council when it was pleading and begging for US support (since at least September of 2006) wants to champion their success as somehow his brainchild and a sign of the political development he envisioned?
One is left to suppose that he overlooks the fact that so many in Anbar and throughout Iraq are alive in spite of attempts to push such a sacrificial ‘Plan.’ There’s no other way to describe it. Dead people – crucified, baked and beheaded – do not live to contribute to ‘political progress.’ Sheikh Abdul Sattar – and today, his brother Sheikh Ahmed al-Rishawi – understood this. Too many Americans seem flip to dismiss this comfortably from afar.
It is stunning to realize how dangerous this man is.
(Note to Neil – I have no idea what is going on with RS3 editor, but carriage returns are being ignored, resulting one complete runon paragraph. I’m having to use multiple blockquotes to separate the paragraphs)