Kaine shows a lack of comprehension at the magnitude of the fallout from Iraq retreat

David French:
In Tuesday night’s debate, Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine defended the indefensible — a strategic retreat from Iraq that threw away the fruits of American military victory, helped enable a terrifying genocide and empowered America’s enemies.

Even worse, he did so while spouting a pack of deceptions and half-truths that exhibited a child’s understanding of American strategic interests.

First, it was stunning that Kaine brought up as an accomplishment America’s dramatically reduced overseas deployments — as if the only measure of strategic success is the number of Americans in harm’s way. He said it was a “very, very good thing” that instead of 175,000 deployed, we now have only 15,000.

Well, yes, if America’s enemies were defeated or contained. Instead, American retreat created power vacuums that our enemies filled. Jihadists control more territory, have more men under arms and are more effectively attacking America and American allies than when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state.

Moreover, we didn’t have to maintain 175,000 troops in the field to hold on to our hard-fought gains. Our defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq (the precursor to ISIS) was so comprehensive that the presence of only a small number of American combat troops could have prevented the kind of blitzkrieg we saw in 2014, when ISIS overran large parts of Iraq and Syria.

There was never a question of keeping massive numbers of troops in the field. The question was whether we’d keep any troops in Iraq, and the Obama administration said no.

And that brings me to Kaine’s central deception. He still clings to the old, discredited line that America had no choice but to pull troops out of Iraq because the Bush-era “status of forces” agreement mandated their removal. Yet comprehensive reporting in The New York Times and The New Yorker tells a very different story — of an administration that was unwilling to commit the roughly 10,000 to 16,000 (not 175,000) troops needed to maintain stability and of an Iraqi government that was unwilling to risk political capital at home for the sake of a merely nominal American presence.
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There is more.

The lack of a status of forces agreement has not stopped Obama from sending troops to Iraq to help in the fight against ISIL.  He recently announced that he will send a Marine battalion to help the Iraqis retake Mosul.

Kaine;s response to the issue of Iraq shows just how ignorant many Democrats are when it comes to the U's strategic interests and their ignorance of warfare in general.

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