As we witness the continuing spectacle of Dick Cheney polluting the airways while being fawned over by the usual RWS™ and their enablers, it's well to remember how wrong he and the president he controlled were on everything Iraq. From the costs, the time requirements, the liberator-greetings, to the idea of installing Ahmed Chalabi, the failings of the US citizen-rulers, the resistance to holding elections and to the writing of a constitution (how quickly we forget), it's pretty damning. And now, there's this:
In an eye-opening article in Vanity Fair, the one remaining feather in a rotting headdress is taken away, leaving mere smoke. There's nothing those guys said or did that was right. The "working," as in "the surge is working," could have happened years before it did. It's generally understood by all but the most idiotic that the real reason the "surge" worked is that the Sunni tribal leaders agreed to put down their arms: the so-called Sunni awakening. What the article says is that they offered to do so years earlier, the officers on the ground supported it, and the Bush administration rejected it.
After the Awakening, the Sunnis helped obliterate al-Qaeda’s networks in most of Sunni Iraq, a development that many believe did more to dampen the violence than the subsequent “surge” in American troop numbers. Having reached a peak in 2006 and early 2007, the casualty rates for combatants and civilians quickly plummeted.The article includes this quote from a Jerry Jones, then special assistant to Rumsfeld:
What the history books should also record, revealed here for the first time, is that the Sunni insurgents had offered to come to terms with the Americans 30 months earlier, in the summer of 2004, during secret talks with senior U.S. officials and military commanders....
...For a variety of reasons, some of them petty, some of them ideological, and some of them still obscure, these men were blocked by superiors in the State Department, the Pentagon, and the White House.
“From July ’04 to mid-’07,” he points out, “you can directly attribute almost all those K.I.A. [killed in action] in the Sunni regions of Iraq to this fatal error, and if we hadn’t been fighting the Sunni, we’d have had a lot more resources for dealing with Shia militia leaders like Moqtada al-Sadr in places such as Baghdad. It didn’t have to happen. Those lives did not have to be lost.”This is pretty strong stuff. And yet, like some sort of undead wraith wailing from a grave he refuses to occupy, Cheney is still out there, criticizing everything Obama, defending everything he did: the indefensible. The demonstrably failed. Worse, he's still given a platform, still given credence. And in Congress, his defenders and apologists do everything they can to block the changes we need, and the people who intend to carry them out.
As difficult are the challenges we face, we shouldn't have to be wasting time arguing over the obvious.