Skip to comments.Gradual Escalation: A Vietnam Shadow Falls on Obama's Iraq
Posted on 05/11/2016 9:30:13 AM PDT by Kaslin
The emerging policy shaping the Obama Administration's slow war against ISIS stirs very bad memories for the U.S. military -- Vietnam memories.
That policy is "gradual escalation." The Obama Administration does not use the term, but that is what we witness.
Gradual escalation proved to be the strategic curse of the Johnson Administration, an error in judgment that, at the time in late 1964, looked so reasonable -- and convenient -- to President Lyndon Baines Johnson. He envisioned leaving America with a transformative legacy, a victory in The War on Poverty.
I don't expect the White House press corps to give this Obama Iraq-Vietnam LBJ comparison more than passing notice. Despite a year of gradually expanding U.S. military engagement in Iraq, it has failed to do more than that. This failure reveals one of the biggest strategic weaknesses in the U.S. system: a biased media.
Here's some backup for my assertion: Apparently not a single member of the White House press corps is a registered Republican. Politico reported in April that 60 percent of White House reporters have no registered party affiliation, but a quarter are registered Democrats. Not a single one is a registered Republican. You'd think at least one maverick would be a public Republican, but no, nada.
Intelligence agencies would call this an indication of behavioral susceptibilities.
The Obama Administration knows the national media will serve as a spin chamber to favor Democrats, even to the point of obscuring serious national security issues.
Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications, Ben Rhodes, recently gave the New York Times a gloating report on his sophisticated information warfare victory over the White House press corps and the national media (the press "blob" as Rhodes called it). Rhodes all but admits to lying about the Iran nuclear deal. He used "handpicked Beltway insiders" to "retail the administration's narrative."
One strand of the narrative was: it's either Obama's treaty or nuclear war.
Baloney, Mr. Rhodes. Your choice was stage drama, not state craft. At least a dozen other alternative policies exist that could have denied Iran's theocratic dictators nuclear weapons. The most promising involve utilize coercive diplomacy backed by military power.
But try and detail a policy requiring complex operations sustained by persevering leadership to a press corps spin drunk on giving Obama an arms control legacy. That -- the legacy `-- was the denouement of Rhodes melodrama. Remember, in 2008, candidate Barack Obama promised Iran unconditional negotiations. He sure delivered.
With every passing week, the Pentagon announces -- sotto voce -- a troop increase in Iraq. We also learn, indirectly, that more U.S. military personnel are operating in Syria. Syrian deployments consist of special operations troops (likely U.S. Army Green Berets) acting as advisers in "limited roles."
It is very difficult to determine the exact number of U.S. combat troops currently in Iraq. Yes, I wrote that correctly, combat troops. The Pentagon says around 3,600. But in February, a U.S. military spokesman in Iraq admitted "it's fair to say" on a daily basis the number exceeded 4,000.
I'll wager it's over 5,000, on a 24/7 basis, given the operations involved.
On May 4, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told Iraqi leaders the U.S. would deploy attack helicopters to Iraq to support the attack on Mosul. More Marines will deploy.
U.S. Marine units have already suffered casualties in engagements with ISIS combatants near Mosul. Yet the White House insists that the U.S. has "no boots on the ground," an echo of the Wizard of Oz ordering Dorothy to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
In Fall 2011, we had Iraq won. Joe Biden touted Iraq as an Obama Administration success. Former CENTCOM commander General Lloyd Austin wanted to keep a residual U.S. force of 23,000 in Iraq , a "presence" to reassure Iraqis and deter Iranian finagling. He also indicated that 10,000 to 15,000 might suffice.
When will Obama's gradual escalation exceed 10,000?
Even at 10,000 (please, NEVER!) it pales in comparison to the 50,000 lost in Viet Nam
Iraq and Afghanastan are annoyances to the glory of Obama. He doesn’t like America. He doesn’t like the American military. He hates citizens that oppose him. They are all annoyances that get in the way of his “fundemental” transformation. He just has to ride out the world dysfunction he has caused so the world’s history writers can start basking in the glory of Obama and tell future generations how perfect and glorious the Obama has been as president.
A half-century on, we still haven't got that.
“This failure reveals one of the biggest strategic weaknesses in the U.S. system: a biased media.”
This nails it, but it does not go far enough. The old media is biased against the U.S. and for our enemies. They are why we lost in Vietnam, and why we almost lost in Iraq, and are now pulling defeat from the jaws of victory.
I often wonder if the only reason we won in WWII was because we were on the side of the Soviet Union, and a Democrat was in power.
I agree. We lost the war when Brinkley said we lost. We lost when Mike Wallace said if he was with ‘insurgents’ attacking Americans he wouldn’t say anything (he said this later, but his heart knew this back then).
We lost when that shit Dan Rather fought each day in that country to make us look bad.
To my mind, a journalist embedded with US troops that won’t pick up a fricking rifle when the sh!t hits the fan isn’t an American.
That's a false comparison. LBJ must take 100% of the blame for the Vietnam debacle. LBJ set it all in motion. But Obama did not set the Iraq debacle in motion. Bush II did.
Obama plays the role that Gerald Ford played back then. Of course there is huge difference between the two men. Ford was a good and honorable man, playing the bad hand he was dealt as best he could. Obama...neither good nor honorable.
Anyway, to give Bush II a pass just because Bush has an R after his name, that's a mistake that just makes the another Vietnam/Iraq debacle more likely.
It is funny how the Left was all for Isolationism until Hitler attacked the Soviet Union.
“That’s a false comparison. LBJ must take 100% of the blame for the Vietnam debacle. LBJ set it all in motion. But Obama did not set the Iraq debacle in motion. Bush II did.”
Nope. Saddam Hussein set it in motion with the invasion of Kuwait. We were still at war with Iraq when Dubya (Bush II) was elected. We had won in Iraq, it was pacified, when Obama decided to pull out the remaining troops. We kept them in Germany for decades. Then Obama exacerbated the situation by destablizing Syria, Libya, and Egypt with the “Arab Spring” and supplying weapons and who knows what intell to ISIS backers.
We know that he supported nukes for Iran since his candidacy in 2008 at least.
His policy in Afghanistan is another disaster.
What was so great about Kuwait? They are just another backward Muslim country, what do I care if Saddam had it? It was just an intra-Arab squabble that we had no business meddling in.
“It is funny how the Left was all for Isolationism until Hitler attacked the Soviet Union.”
Yep. They call it “The Good War” because it left half of Europe in Soviet hands, and because it saved the Soviet Union.
They were all for Hitler until he attacked the Soviet Union, as well. Hitler was a pretty much center-leftist in the 1930’s.
"I understand some of you think you work for Reuters, or AP or the New York Times or whatever and you take pride in reporting independently rather that on what is best for our military. I admire that independence and we're going to miss you.
Because, you see, our military is stretched toö thin and has too few resources to protect your sorry @$$es if you don't care to be part of our team. Go to the nearest town and hire the Iraqi of your choice to drive you around!"
Damn straight. Take your international impartiality and objectivity on down the damned road. You ain’t welcome here.
You would care when Saddam took over Saudi Arabia and controlled half the world’s oil supply, or more.
We boxed ourselves into a corner as we became so dependent on Middle East oil. Now we have a chance to move away from that, and we should.
We can turn isolationist, if we are willing to accept a world where there are constant wars around the world and trade is nearly impossible.
We have had two centuries of freedom of the seas, first under Pax Britannia, then, since WWII, Pax Americana, as a follow on.
The whole world has prospered because of it, in spite of the blots of WWI, WWII, and the Soviet empire.
Yes, because the Saudis are such saints. /s Better to have an enemy that's upfront about it, than one who pretends to be our friend.
It's a train.
In 1964 I watched as few of my buddies left home to join the Army as advisors and went to Vietnam to “help train” their troops in the role of “advisors.”
In 1964 I watched as many of my buddies left home (joined or drafted) to “help train” Vietnam’s troops in the role of “advisors.”
In 1965 most of my buddies were being drafted (or joined other services to avoid the draft) and were no longer playing the “advisor” role.
In 1966 I joined the Air Force because it was “either join or be drafted.”
MORAL OF THE STORY:
Those who don’t know (or forget) history are doomed to repeat it. Now here we are, the same scenario being played out in the Far East by a President who hates the military and loves our enemy.
Good grief, nothing like Viet Nam. Is the writer 27 years old? Obama is clearly rope-a-doping until he can hand the mess over to the next president.
There's truth in that. But Saddam's invasion of Kuwait did not make a full-blown US invasion of Iraq necessary.
Many Democrats try to give LBJ a pass on Vietnam by going back in the time-line, then saying it was Ike's fault because he sent in the first military advisors. I'm not buying that. LBJ chose to ramp it up, and he sure did.
Same goes with Bush II. He chose to ramp it up, and he sure did.
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