“Who Lost Iraq?” ~ by Dr. Earl Tilford

By Dr. Earl Tilford

Iraq was in fact ours to lose, after U.S. troops vanquished Saddam Hussein's army and took over the country.
“Who Lost Iraq?” by Dr. Earl Tilford
The Center For Vision & Values
The Center For Vision & Values

Grove City, PA -(AmmoLand.com)- My parents originally named me “Victory Japan” because my slightly premature birth resulted from mom and dad dancing in the streets of Saint Petersburg, Florida on the night of August 16, 1945—the day after the United States won its last war.

Seventy years is a lifetime by the Biblical standard of our allotted three score and 10 years. Go back to 1945 and subtract 70 and you are two years away from the end of Reconstruction.

In my lifetime Republicans blamed Democrats for “losing” China to communists and not winning in Korea while Democrats blamed Republicans for losing Vietnam and want to blame the GOP for losing Iraq. In this heated and increasingly bizarre presidential campaign season, with the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, “Who lost Iraq?” has become a key issue. Predictably, Democrats blame former President George W. Bush while Republicans blame current President Barack H. Obama.

It was President Bush who on December 14, 2008, as he was about to leave office, signed a Status of Forces Agreement that stated, “All the United States Forces shall be withdrawn from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.” While former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in her book “No Higher Honor,” claims there was an understanding with then Iraqi President Nouri Maliki that a residual force might remain, it seems Maliki later “reneged.” Bush left it to Obama to negotiate a new understanding.

Leon Panetta, one of Obama’s secretaries of defense, claims in his book “Worthy Fights” that Maliki insisted a new agreement providing immunity from Iraqi prosecution of U.S. forces would never be accepted by the Iraqi parliament. Perhaps Maliki preferred chaos and Iranian domination to a tough political fight in his own parliament. Panetta wrote, “To my frustration the White House coordinated the negotiations but never really led them.” President Obama satisfied the documentation, blamed Bush, and withdrew the troops.

It’s a moot point since the Obama administration is losing the entire Middle East and Afghanistan to an Iranian-Russian “axis.” Meanwhile, the United States, a nation of 330,000,000 people, has politically devolved into a democratic mob choosing between a bombastic business mogul, a former secretary of state who may be indicted or inaugurated, and a self-declared socialist who honeymooned in the USSR.

The question shouldn’t be “Who lost Iraq?” It should be “Who is losing the Middle East and Afghanistan?” Beyond that, the larger questions are “Who are we and what have we become as a people and a nation?” After all, we elected Barack Obama—twice.

The unmitigated evil ISIS does is meant to intimidate its co-religionists, terrify Christians and Jews, and enslave entire nations. It also issues from the mainstream of Saudi Wahhabism, a form of Islam that originated in 18th century Arabia. Millions adhere to it and mean to foist it on the Judeo-Christian West from Eastern and Western Europe and on to North and South America.

It is partially our fault that a ridiculous confluence of political progressivism and Eastern religious fundamentalism threatens the existence of Western society. During the last quarter century, many Christians and Jews in Europe and North America abandoned their religious faith for a postmodern philosophy spawned by leftist academic, religious, and political elites who reject notions of definitive truth and absolutes like good and evil. Believing in little to nothing invites those who fervently embrace a cause, no matter how ill-informed or intellectually bankrupt, to attack and destroy us.

When President Obama, former President Bill Clinton, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders refuse to recognize the evil inherent in Salafist Islam they empower Al-Qaeda and ISIS. We, as a people, have weakened our own academic and religious institutions and by extension our body politic by not acknowledging evil for what it is. Consequently, we are confused to the point that we cannot or will not act to destroy the very real threats we face.

The recent political debates—regardless of parties—are illustrative. Republicans insult and snipe at each other over ridiculous issues like who can or cannot speak Spanish, while Democrats spew bilge about America being a society of racists and homophobic bigots unwelcoming to immigrants and refugees.

When political debate devolves to candidates campaigning for the American presidency by performing skits on “Saturday Night Live,” it’s clear we are a confused people who lost not only Iraq but also are about to lose ourselves to a postmodern world of our own making.

Forget who lost Iraq? It’s gone. From Libya to Afghanistan, the Russians and Iranians are filling a vacuum created by the feckless foreign policies of the past eight years.

Dr. Earl Tilford
Dr. Earl Tilford

About the Author:

Dr. Earl Tilford is a military historian and fellow for the Middle East & terrorism with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. A retired Air Force intelligence officer, Dr. Tilford earned his PhD in American and European military history at George Washington University. From 1993 to 2001, he served as Director of Research at the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute. In 2001, he left Government service for a professorship at Grove City College, where he taught courses in military history, national security, and international and domestic terrorism and counter-terrorism.

  • 31 thoughts on ““Who Lost Iraq?” ~ by Dr. Earl Tilford

    1. This can be either a parting thought or a continuation of the discussion. Arguing against adoption of the constitution Patrick Henry gave a speech titled “Shall Liberty or Empire be Sought?” https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Henry's_speech_in_the_Virginia_Ratifying_Convention Some excerpts:

      “The honorable gentleman who presides told us that, to prevent abuses in our government, we will assemble in Convention, recall our delegated powers, and punish our servants for abusing the trust reposed in them. O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone…Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all? You read of a riot act in a country which is called one of the freest in the world, where a few neighbors cannot assemble without the risk of being shot by a hired soldiery, the engines of despotism. We may see such an act in America.

      “A standing army we shall have, also, to execute the execrable commands of tyranny; and how are you to punish them? Will you order them to be punished? Who shall obey these orders?”

      “If we admit this consolidated government, it will be because we like a great, splendid one. Some way or other we must be a great and mighty empire; we must have an army, and a navy, and a number of things. When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: liberty, sir, was then the primary object…But now, sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country into a powerful and mighty empire…Such a government is incompatible with the genius of republicanism. There will be no checks, no real balances, in this government. What can avail your specious, imaginary balances, your rope-dancing, chain-rattling, ridiculous ideal checks and contrivances? But, sir, we are not feared by foreigners; we do not make nations tremble. Would this constitute happiness, or secure liberty?”

      “It is on a supposition that your American governors shall be honest, that all the good qualities of this government are founded; but its defective and imperfect construction puts it in their power to perpetrate the worst of mischiefs, should they be bad men; and, sir, would not all the world, from the eastern to the western hemisphere, blame our distracted folly in resting our rights upon the contingency of our rulers being good or bad? Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty! I say that the loss of that dearest privilege has ever followed, with absolute certainty, every such mad attempt.”

    2. Yeah, that is the problem with the First Amendment, it is so hard to get people to stop spewing!

    3. How in God’s name can you people keep spewing this crap? Here’s the reality, Iraq was BS, Afghanistan was BS, Vietnam was BS, basically ANY military action without a Declaration of War is BS. After WW2 we should have pulled everything back to US soil and let the whole damn world figure itself out. Europe would have had to pay for it’s own defense against the Soviet Union and would be a collection of scrappy little countries that wouldn’t be in the throes of an Islamic invasion that will breed them out in two generations. America would not be 19 TRILLION in debt, our economy would not be perpetually bubble and collapse. Build a damn empire is what did this to us, when we made the mistakes of the old world Europe, surprise we are now smack dab in the middle of all of old world Europe’s problems.

      Oh, and before the keyboard warriors respond, USMC, 0311, so f$%k off.

    4. Well, Darren, I did not write that you are a hard core communist, but is the shoe fits, then wear it. You use the same worn out phrases that the communist, Marxist, socialist, progressives use. You sell the same clap trap. I bet if I asked the other readers what they thought of you, they’d say, “yep, commie.”

      1. LMAO I could care less about the opinions of people too stupid to tell the difference between a libertarian & a leftist. Keep drinking that statist Kool Aid!

    5. Roosevelt? That’s mighty progressive of you to admire him. You want some welfare with that imperialism?

      1. I did not say that I admired him. I just used him as a book mark in time. Nor did Roosevelt institute welfare.

    6. We need to evacuate our emissaries and military from the Mid East and advise our citterns there to do the same,
      Mistakes have been made by the U.S. What Party or leader in charge does not matter at this time.
      If and more likely when we are attacked here, we should relentlessly kill our enemy. Not as an occupying army but as a country defending itself.

      1. Instead of prosecuting a defensive war when it is in our own streets, maybe it would be better for our civilian population, our industry (what is left that is), and our infrastructure to fight the defensive war in their countries. What do your think, come on brother it makes sense. Roosevelt (and every POTUS since) thought so.

        1. Roosevelt? That’s mighty progressive of you to admire him. You want some welfare with that imperialism?

        2. Thank you sir for your service. I did not mean that we should fight here in our streets. When attacked we should then mount a counterstrike against the perpetrators and short of nuclear weapons or wholesale blanket bombing as Senator Cruz has suggested all out warfare.
          It is my belief that occupying their lands and doing remote airstrikes alienates the other populations against us.

    7. BTW, Darren,

      More people have been the victims of mass murder and genocide because they believed as you think we should believe, than probably any other reason .

      1. Darren, I was part of that U.S. power projection. I lived it and my experience does not match up with your version of why the U. S. projects power. History does not match up with your version, either. Nor do I need to rely on some other author. Just because someone writes something down in a weekly column doesn’t mean it is true. No sale. In fact, I don’t think that you are convincing anyone.

        1. I understand getting caught up in your identity as an American & a veteran but maturity & honesty require facing the truth. Perhaps you should read more. There’s no way to know how the world, the whole picture, works from only an on the ground view. It’s sad that so many refuse to see this. Not only do we lose our liberty but many their lives.

          1. Darren; It’s not that I believe there are too many educated derelicts in the world , it’s just that lightening is not distributed right. I have had the privilege of knowing many well educated Idiots in my 78 years but I will give you credit in ranking in the top 10%. BTW don’t bother replying to my comment you have already consumed too much oxygen .

          2. I think you and your weekly reader author should review the definition of empire. Your implication that I don’t read enough is a clear insult, so don’t be accusing others of insulting you. I have three University degrees, cumulating in a doctorate, and I am a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff School and the U.S. Army War College. I have had my written work go before the Supreme Court of the United States, and I am a published author. I have done every thing that my country has ever asked of me and done it well. I think that all you do is read liberal tripe and have not tested your theories against the real world. You write like a teenager.

            1. Knock it off WB I haven’t insulted you. You make a fool of yourself suggesting that I & the folks at Stratfor are liberals.

              I’m not impressed by your credentials. More military education just means that you received more indoctrination. Doing the govt’s bidding is nothing to be proud of, you betray the cause of liberty by helping the govt.

              ‘ “Empire” is a dirty word. Considering the behavior of many empires, that is not unreasonable. But empire is also simply a description of a condition, many times unplanned and rarely intended. It is a condition that arises from a massive imbalance of power. Indeed, the empires created on purpose, such as Napoleonic France and Nazi Germany, have rarely lasted. Most empires do not plan to become one. They become one and then realize what they are. Sometimes they do not realize what they are for a long time, and that failure to see reality can have massive consequences.’


              George Friedman also wrote:

              “But the question I raise is how the United States should behave in the world while exercising its power, and preserve the republic at the same time. I invite readers to consider two themes. The first is the concept of the unintended empire. I argue that the United States has become an empire not because it intended to, but
              because history has worked out that way.

              “The issue of whether the United States should be an empire is meaningless. It is an empire.”

              If you like to have a serious discussion I’d be happy to oblige. If you want to keep on with this indignant & superior act your on your own.

      2. No way, people suffered genocide because they relied on the govt to protect them & it turned on them. Genocide happens because people give the govt the power to implement it. Disarm the govt & arm the people is the way to keep safe & free. People like you are taking us to tyranny by empowering the govt. A govt with the power to oppress will do so.

    8. Darren…..
      I applaud your naïveté view of the “real world”, but you probably forgot that humans were forced to leave the Garden of Eden due to a manufacturing defect which is not easily recognizable until that defect emerges in the individual.
      Your “Startrek” ideas of peaceful coexistence are commendable. Keep up your daydreaming, but move over so real men can get the real work done.

      1. Darren, I don’t think that fear of Islamic conquest is paranoid because the Moslems have been trying to take over the world since 639 A.D. And they have not stopped trying. The Moslems have nearly conquered Europe by force twice. The Moslems have, throughout the last 1400 years, developed, through force of arms, populations in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Micronesia, Africa. Now, they are infiltrating Europe, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. Along with them the Moslems bring a violent culture that will not tolerate people that hold your views.
        I hope that with a little more easy to come by research, and honest thinking about the Moslem invasion, you will come to realize that our military is the only thing between you and a grisly death by beheading.

        1. Amen, Bill. I’m pessimistic that our civilization will survive and like an old man on his death bed has tired of living. I know one thing, that regardless how inept our foreign policy is utopianism like Darren professes will not stop our enemies; it will only encourage them by our weakness.

        2. What I realize is that the US has become a worldwide empire. Every empire justifies what it does by claiming defense, the gullible fall for it. This should be obvious but is missed by those blinded by wanting power, control, or just to prove their toughness. So our liberty dies, killed by charlatans claiming they’ll protect us.

          “The Romans did not have a master plan for the creation of an empire; as it had been in Italy, much of their continued expansion was opportunistic, in response to perceived threats to their security. The more they expanded, the more threats to their security appeared on the horizon, involving them in yet more conflicts. Indeed, the Romans liked to portray themselves as declaring war only for defensive reasons or to protect allies. That is only part of the story, however. It is likely, as some historians have recently suggested, that at some point a group of Roman aristocratic leaders emerged who favored expansion both for the glory it offered and for the economic benefits it provided. Certainly, by the second century B.C., aristocratic senators perceived new opportunities for lucrative foreign commands, enormous spoils of war, and an abundant supply of slave labor for their growing landed estates. By that same time, the destruction of Corinth and Carthage indicate that Roman imperialism had become more arrogant and brutal as well. Rome’s foreign success also had enormous repercussions for the internal development of the Roman Republic.”

          — Jackson J. Spielvogel, Western Civilization: A Brief History [1991]

          Islam is so weak it has to turn to terrorism to strike back. It can’t kick the US out of the mid east. It can’t even deal with tiny Israel. There’s nothing to be afraid of there. It’s all part of the govt’s con to keep people scared & in line. Grow up you guys.

          1. Boo hoo, I come from a wealthy country. I don’t know how anyone could call the U.S. and empire. We didn’t keep any of Germany. We rebuilt them. We didn’t keep any of Japan. We rebuilt them. We didn’t keep any of any of Nicaragua, Panama, Bosnia, Iraq, Granada, or Afghanastan.
            Nor is Islam weak just because they don’t have a lot of technological weapons. What they have is generational tough-mindedness. If you underestimate them you will be their victim.

            1. Perhaps you don’t know that the US has military bases in Germany & 130 other countries around the world. We have kept many countries by installing puppet govts. Amazing how that ploy works so well on unthinking people. & people around here are calling me naive! Ha!

            2. Yes, we do have basis all over the world, and I have been to several of them, but they are not there for the reasons that you imply. How can you call Germany a puppet government.
              Roosevelt and all the other POTUSs have made the decision to oppose threats to America and other democracies over seas. We are there by invite, pay rent to countries that have little other means to support a democratic government and preposition men and materiel should we need to use them. How could anyone (other than a hard core communist) be against supporting fledgling democracies or preventing op fors from making it to the U.S.A.?

            3. Hard core communist LMAO You’re good at using their slanderous methods. How can you be so naive about US power? Check out the decidedly not commie Stratfor on the subject:

              Coming to Terms With the American Empire
              “The United States became an empire in 1945. It is true that in the Spanish-American War, the United States intentionally took control of the Philippines and Cuba. It is also true that it began thinking of itself as an empire, but it really was not. Cuba and the Philippines were the fantasy of empire, and this illusion dissolved during World War I, the subsequent period of isolationism and the Great Depression.

              “The genuine American empire that emerged thereafter was a byproduct of other events. There was no great conspiracy.”


    9. The feckless foreign policy is playing the imperial game. Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan weren’t ours to lose. The US should bring home the troops & intel officers then immediately turn them into civilians. If we try living in peace with the world the world will treat us peacefully. Paranoid fantasies about Islamic conquests only serve to scare people into supporting a dictatorial govt that they think will protect them.

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