Mattis blasts indifferent Biden for bungling Iraq: The enemy gets a vote
Washington Examiner ^ | September 02, 2019 | Caitlin Yilek
FR Posted by E. Pluribus Unum
Jim Mattis, the former Marine Corps general and Pentagon chief, has lashed 2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden for fueling the rise of ISIS by insisting on the total withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq.
“You may want a war over. You may declare it over. You may even try to walk away from it. But the bottom line is the enemy gets a vote, as we say in the military, and we simply have got to understand that terrorism is going to be an ambient threat,” he said in an NPR interview.
As vice president, Biden was tasked by President Barack Obama with overseeing Iraq policy. In his new book, Mattis, 68, argues that Biden, 76, was “indifferent” to the consequences of complete withdrawal - consequences that included “tens of thousands of casualties, plus untold misery for millions of innocents,” as well as the kidnapping and beheading of westerners, and horrific terrorist attacks across the world.
“He wanted our forces out of Iraq,” Mattis writes in Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead. Whatever path led there fastest, he favored. He exuded the confidence of a man whose mind was made up, perhaps even indifferent to considering the consequences were he judging the situation incorrectly.”
Biden had voted in 2002 to authorize the Iraq invasion, after opposing the Gulf war in 1990. Obama, who has denounced the Iraq invasion, had campaigned in 2008 on pulling out.
The U.S. pulled out its forces from Iraq in 2011, despite warnings from Mattis that this would be folly. At the time, Mattis was head of Central Command, overseeing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama sent forces back to Iraq in 2014 after the Islamic State seized parts of the country.
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They didn’t close their eyes hard enough. If you close your eyes hard enough your enemies go away.
But then they didn’t care if the enemies went away or not