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June 22, 2014 - Harry Eagar
From this morning's New York Times:
"Sunni militants have gained control of a major Iraqi border post with Syria and several nearby towns, the Iraqi government said Sunday, trying to cast a positive light on what it and Western officials described as a worrisome development by saying Iraqi troops had made a 'tactical decision' to withdraw from the locations.
"The Iraqi prime minister’s top military spokesman, Gen. Qassim Atta, in his briefing Sunday, said that Iraqi Army troops had left the Al Qaim border post, and the towns of Rawaa and Ana, but that the units were joining the battle elsewhere."
If estimates are correct, the ISIS forces amounted to about 2 regiments, and 3 regiments make a division.
At the first of this month, the Iraqi national army listed a strength of 14 divisions. 4 ran away the moment ISIS attacked, leaving 10 less whoever has run away in the last few days.
On paper, the Iraq army is still 10 times bigger than ISIS, and that's not counting whatever police forces that are supposed to be in the service of the state.
What happened was that the army bugged out again. The Maliki government is toast, and its only strategy is to lie and pretend as long as it can in hopes of finding some really, really stupid and evil Americans who will ride in to rescue its worthless hide.
Dozens are queuing up for the role of stupid-beyond-belief Americans, like Ryan Crocker, John Bolton, the tag team of Dick and Liz Cheney and, not least, the Republican standard bearer in 2008 (the period during which, we are now being told, our 2003 policy was "bearing fruit"), John McCain.
In one of the silliest remarks to gain currency in American pop culture, Scott Fitzgerald said there are no second acts in American life. There are if you are a rightwing Republican failure.
Bloomberg News has a hard-hitting interview with an Iraqi deserter.
“ 'Our morale collapsed and we lost the motivation to fight,' the 25-year-old Sunni Muslim said in a phone interview last week from the Kurdish-controlled part of northern Iraq, which he says he reached after hiking for hours with tears pouring down his face. 'If there’s a strong Iraqi army, why didn’t it come for Mosul, and how come more areas have fallen? There is no more hope in the army.' ”
An outsider's view:
“ 'For long-term stability, you absolutely need an apolitical, professional army,' Austin Long, who teaches at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in New York and specializes in Iraq, said by phone. 'There just seems to be no prospect right now for that happening. Maliki’s response to this crisis has been to turn to the Shiites even more so than he has before.' ”
And the head incompetent of the incompetents in the US Army, which bugged out when it could no longer stand the heat, said:
"General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked in a June 18 Senate hearing why the Iraq army, which the U.S. spent $25 billion to train and equip, had performed so badly against ISIL. He pointed to a lack of army leaders 'supported by a central government that is working on behalf of all the people.' Dempsey said the Iraqi army 'has not broken down entirely on sectarian lines, but it could.' ”
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ISIS frightens Liz and Dick Cheney