A Refresher on Iraq for Republican Revisionists
1• Following the division of the Ottoman Empire in 1920, Great Britain draws arbitrary borders in parts of greater Arabia, ignoring 1,200 year old ethnic and religious enclaves. The new State of Iraq is born based on those borders, comprised of a Shiite majority, a Kurdish region in the north, and a Sunni minority wielding power.
2• Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, takes control of Iraq in 1979. His brutal policies crush any pockets of ethnic or religious dissent, a policy he would later apply to any would-be Jihadists on his turf as well. Saddam kept tight control via his Republican Guards, several divisions of which were tasked with protecting Saddam and controlling Baghdad alone. A monstrous dictator though he was, he held Iraq together.
3• Based on assurances of the presence of WMDs contrived by the administration, Congress authorizes Bush to invade Iraq. The vote in the House is 215 Republican yeas, 6 nays, with 81 Democrat yeas, 126 nays. In the Senate, it was 48 Republican yeas, 1 nay and 29 Democrat yeas with 21 nays. Bernie Sanders, the one and only 1 Independent voted nay.
4• The Bush administration had made their case for the urgency of regime change in Iraq by early 2003. American and “coalition” forces attack, Saddam Hussein is overthrown. His fate decided by his Shiite enemies whom we turned him over to, he meets “justice” at the end of a rope. The Shia cheer. The Sunnis disappear. The Kurds begin making noise about a Kurdish state. The Turks freak out. The mullahs in Iran grin. The Syrians start getting ideas. The Israelis lose sleep. Donald Rumsfeld insists less than 7,000 US troops are all that will be required to control Baghdad, a city of 5 million people, in place of the 250,000 Saddam used to maintain order. What could go wrong?
5• Things go to hell fast. Rather than being treated as liberators as promised, we were greeted as invaders. An insurgency quickly developed, American casualties mounted, and for the first time ever, terrorists poured across the border into Iraq, because A) Rumsfeld insisted we didn’t need as many troops as Saddam had, and B) The administration never considered that possibility. Seriously.
6• After several trial runs, the Iraqis elect a Prime Minister who meets with Bush Administration approval, Nouri al Maliki, a Shiite. Maliki promises to include all factions in his unity government, Sunnis as well. He fails to live up to his promise, further humiliating and isolating a majority of the country he’s tasked to lead.
7• The Bush Administration signs an agreement before getting outta’ Dodge, that would effectively turn over all operations to Maliki’s government and the Iraqi people, essentially ending America’s fiasco in Iraq. Barack Obama is elected in 2008, based partially on his pledge to bring the troops home. President Obama asks Maliki to consider keeping a contingent of US forces in place until his country is completely stabilized, and that he’d contribute to further providing security for our forces. Maliki says NO. We’ve got this, and no, we won’t make any more guarantees. As per the agreement drafted by the Bush Administration, the last American combat troops come home in 2011.
8• Summer, 2014, the feces once again begins hitting the ceiling fan. The terrorist organizations that formed over the past decade have surged, and a Sunni insurgency the likes of which not seen since Saladin, threatens the stability in Iraq. Nouri al Maliki rethinks his previous position, and tells president Obama; Why yes thank you, I would like a little help now that you mention it. President Obama is now left with the decision on how to proceed from here.
9• June 16th, 2014: Rush Limbaugh, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Ann Coulter, Dick Cheney, and virtually every high-profile Republican with a microphone and good relations with Fox News all come to the same conclusion simultaneously: Points numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 are now suddenly Obama’s fault. Everything was just swell until he came along.