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The Fall of Ramadi Sparks a Debate in Washington

May 27, 2105 (EIRNS)—The debate in Washington on what happened in Ramadi and what to do about it, boils down to only two choices: either President Obama continues what he’s been doing—providing the Iraqi security forces with weapons and training and exhorting the Sunnis to join with the government against ISIS—or sending in a large ground force, which Obama has pledged not to do. A recent article in Mother Jones by Kevin Drum exemplifies the problem, in that he documents both sides of the argument but never offers a true alternative.

Anthony Cordesman, a senior analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., takes the side of sending in more troops, though he doesn’t argue for ground combat formations, in a May 21 column posted on the CSIS website. The key challenge, Cordesman writes,

"is remembering a key lesson from Vietnam and from all past train and assist efforts. Insurgents cannot be allowed to have a massive intelligence advantage on the ground, to learn the weakest links in the government forces and their defense, attack them, roll-up the weaker units, expose the flanks and position of the better units, and then force them into what at best is partially organized retreat."

Cordesman, after excoriating (and properly so) the Department of Defense for its repeated vacuous and overly optimistic statements on what was actually happening in Ramadi before and after it fell to ISIS, calls for deepening the US involvement in the conflict, specifically by embedding US Army advisors into Iraqi combat units. "Forward deployed train and assist teams—usually special forces or rangers—are necessary to spot good combat leaders and warn against weak, ineffective, or corrupt ones," Cordesman writes, and to overcome the rigidities in the Iraqi chain of command stemming from sectarian prejudices.

Washington Post National Security Columnist Walter Pincus remembers a different lesson from the Vietnam War.

"The Vietnam experience showed that when dealing with such situations the provision of additional American personnel to ’train and assist’ can easily and perhaps inevitably lead to sending more forces to do the actual fighting,"

he wrote in a May 25 column responding specifically to Cordesman. The losses that the US suffered there should be a key lesson, Pincus argues. "Foreign governments have to find their own way."

What neither Cordesman not Pincus are offering is an alternative policy, one that begins with telling the truth about the Saudi role in 9/11 by releasing the 28 classified pages of the Congressional Joint Inquiry report of 2002. The alternative also requires the immediate impeachment of President Obama for covering up the role of the Saudis in 9/11 and for continuing the destructive regime-change policies of his predecessor that have helped give rise to ISIS in the first place as a tool of those policies.