WASHINGTON – It’s that term “military advisers” that sends the chill. It means a military presumably rich enough to dispatch fleets of aircraft carriers around the world, and gritty enough to parachute soldiers into any neutral country we dared.
President Eisenhower ordered military advisers into Vietnam; Jack Kennedy inherited them, let their numbers bloom into the thousands and so we had our first war, one we lost, that lasted over a dozen years.
The military adviser is the friend of the militarist, like Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who never saw a war he didn’t like. The military adviser is a neutral observer only until he or she gets shot at, which is inevitable in that these personnel will be deployed as spotters for Iraqi artillery and our bombers.
President Obama’s quick acceptance of brand new “boots on the ground” in a country we shattered in March 2003 in shock and awe shows how alone he is in the White House. Nobody, it would appear, wanted to wipe Iraq’s dust from his soles more than Obama.
All we had left there were the billion-dollar embassy, some idle telephone receivers and oil contracts. We were out!
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. John Dempsey followed early this year with plans to sharply cut back the ranks of the Army, Navy and Air Force that the militarists had built up during the two wars Obama had twice campaigned against.
Unfortunately, Hagel and Dempsey – stuck in an old building across the Potomac – were not enough to stand up against the internationalist Department of State and McCain and the rest of the Republican war party. Neither, apparently, was Susan Rice, his top national security adviser.
Now, even with the primary against Hillary Clinton long behind him, along with two general election victories, Obama has thrown the jingoists a new piece of string that he vowed he never would. That’s how isolated he is and that’s how formidable the forces of war are now and have been for a half-century.
The second Iraq War (2003 and onward) is the second-biggest mistake this nation ever made – an offspring of our most egregious pattern of lies ever assembled. It was and is the young century’s object lesson on how once the dogs of war get loose they become nearly impossible to call back. Vietnam, our biggest blunder, now sells us sneakers and sportswear.
The conspiracy behind the second invasion of Iraq was pervasive, and based on the false premise that Iraq could ever be one nation. The plot involved political action groups, lobbyists, at least one national wire service reporter sent here to tilt the coverage toward war, the Democratic National Committee, the entire Bush White House and, sadly, Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., recently said his vote for war was a mistake. Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton strongly supported invasion, but now also says her vote for war was a mistake.
Terry McAuliffe, when he was national Democratic chairman, answerable to Hillary Clinton, pushed the House and Senate Democratic leaders to clear the way for a vote authorizing the Bush-Cheney war. McAuliffe is now Virginia’s governor. Many attribute Clinton’s 2008 primary defeat to her votes for the war.
The results are heaping servings of death, and renewed mayhem. As one index, the State Department is probing whether Iran, the world’s chief dispenser of terrorism, can help bring peace to its neighbor, Iraq.
Obama’s best course now is to have his military advisers take a quick look at the landscape and come quietly home. Get out!