Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Dubik: Where the Obama Administration dropped the ball, badly, on Iraq policy

Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on November 24, 2015.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks to Gen. Ray Odierno (C) and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill (L) at the American Embassy in Baghdad, on July 3, 2010. AFP PHOTO / ALI AL-SAADI (Photo credit should read ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks to Gen. Ray Odierno (C) and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill (L) at the American Embassy in Baghdad, on July 3, 2010. AFP PHOTO / ALI AL-SAADI (Photo credit should read ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks to Gen. Ray Odierno (C) and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill (L) at the American Embassy in Baghdad, on July 3, 2010. AFP PHOTO / ALI AL-SAADI (Photo credit should read ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on November 24, 2015.

“Once the violence and the insurgency were reduced, the nonmilitary elements of the Surge became even more important. Unfortunately, U.S. policy did not see it that way.”

 

Best Defense is in summer reruns. Here is an item that originally ran on November 24, 2015.

“Once the violence and the insurgency were reduced, the nonmilitary elements of the Surge became even more important. Unfortunately, U.S. policy did not see it that way.”

So writes retired Army Lt. Gen. James Dubik in the December issue of ARMY magazine.

I think he is right. Blame for this must be assigned to President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Christopher Hill, the fork-tongued former U.S. ambassador to Iraq. (Side note: There’s an interesting split between many political reporters, who think Biden is the cat’s pajamas, and some national security reporters, who believe he’s a long-winded mediocrity.)

An interesting corollary of Dubik’s point is that he says leaving 10,000 troops in Iraq was not the answer, or at least not the entire one. Some military presence may have been necessary, he says, but it was not sufficient — what was needed was political action.

Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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