Two men are responsible for this disaster, President Obama and Prime Minister Maliki. Standing together in the White House in a December 2011 ceremony, the president made good on his promise. We were leaving Iraq. Prime Minister Maliki was triumphal. He had no worries. Iraq was a happy sovereign state under his leadership. Of course, in the months ahead he reneged on all his promises to share power with the Sunnis and the Kurds. The result of these two foolish men's dithering, and in Maliki's case, evading his responsibilities to the Kurds and the Sunnis, we are seeing today.
Retired General John M. Keane explained brilliantly to the Washington Times on Monday what has allowed a small force of well-equipped terrorists to invest Iraq this week: Up until late in 2011, "We had all our intelligence capability there. We knew where the enemy was. We were flying drones. We're tracking them. We have signals intelligence pouring in, eavesdropping on phone conversations and the rest of it. We're using our counter-terrorism forces to bang against these guys. We're passing that information to the Iraqis so their commandos can do the same." Keane expounded, "On a given day ... that screen went blank."
President Obama led from behind.
Tuesday, in the Wall Street Journal, General Keane spoke out again. It is not too late to stop ISIS from becoming a conquering army. He counsels bringing in "intelligence architecture" to turn on the intelligence screens that, of a sudden, went blank in Iraq in 2011. Send in "planners and advisors" who will advise "down to division level where units are still viable." Strike with "counter-terrorism" because "Special operations forces should be employed clandestinely to attack high value ISIS targets," ISIS leaders. Finally General Keane advises using "air power," which "alone cannot win a war" but can make it nigh unto impossible for ISIS members to stick their heads out of the sand.
General Keane is my kind of general. He is full of fight and has a strategic plan. Our problem is the guy in the White House.