Tuesday, August 27, 2013
On the overall Syria situation, I have made clear my strong view that the Obama misadministration is leading us into a disaster--almost regardless of the end result of the intervention, our national interests lose. In addition, we are apparently going to intervene in a half-baked manner that would not have been necessary had we maintained a base in Iraq. That base would have given us an ability to come at the Syrians from two sides. A robust US military presence in Iraq also would have helped curb what is growing Iranian influence in Iraq, and hampered Iran's ability to intervene in Syria and Lebanon. Such, however, is the quality of our "leadership" that we are operating with self-imposed and severe handicaps, at the same time that we adopt grandiloquent objectives.
I notice some renewed speculation about the origin of Syria's stockpile of chemical WMDs. That reminds me of a little event in which I participated. The day, April 9, 2003, the day Saddam's statue was pulled down in Firdos Square in Baghdad. I was sitting in my office at a US Embassy in Asia. As were millions of others people around the world, I watched the destruction of Saddam's monument on TV. My phone rang; my office manager said that the Ambassador wanted me to take a call from Iraq's Embassy. I first thought it a joke, but, no, Iraqi Charge Abbas was indeed calling. I picked up the phone, and, in very good English, he immediately said, "I am calling from the Embassy of Liberated Iraq. I have told your Ambassador, you have done a good thing. You have given us freedom!" I was a bit surprised. This man had a reputation as one of the most loyal Saddamers around; just a few days prior he had been agitating for protests at the US Embassy. I had gone into the host nation Foreign Ministry to lodge my own protest over his activities. He previously had been, apparently, a senior official in the Iraqi Finance Ministry, and was very close to Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz. He now wanted to talk, and was willing to come to our Embassy, but I was curious about the Iraqi Embassy and wanted to go there. We agreed to meet there in a couple of days if State approved.
Read more at: The DiploMad 2.0