For Americans who have not forgotten the Iraq War, this past week has been surreal. For Americans who fought, suffered and lost comrades in the war, this past week has been hellish. But for the Obama administration, what started as a disaster had by Tuesday turned into an insult. By Wednesday, it had become farce.
The week begins in Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, where over roughly a decade, 1,300 Americans died fighting.
On Sunday, the Islamic State terrorist army sacked the city, routed its defenders, occupied its streets, and took control of tanks, vehicles, artillery and other U.S. weaponry.
Just seven years prior to this major defeat, when the United States had given control of the city back to the Iraqi government, “many of the American Marines present at the ceremony there were not even carrying weapons,” The New Yorker reports. “After so much bloodshed, Ramadi had become one of the safest cities in the country.”
Back in Washington Tuesday evening at an event devoted to honoring severely wounded troops, National Security Advisor Susan Rice bragged to the gathered Iraq and Afghanistan veterans: “Now that we have ended two wars responsibly, and brought home hundreds of American troops, we salute this new generation of veterans.”
By “responsibly,” could she mean pulling out of Iraq after failing to secure a basic status of forces agreement? Could she mean Iraqi faltering, Kurdish unrest, Iranian gains, and U.S. floundering– or simply the sacking of Ramadi? Indeed just a month before her remarks, on Thursday, April 16, Army General and outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey dismissed Ramadi as “not symbolic in any way.”
Ms. Rice’s description “raised eyebrows across” an “already privately fuming… crowd that included active duty and former troops and officers, among them at least two generals and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen,” Foreign Policy reports. “’Responsibly, right?’” one retired Army officer said sarcastically.”
Then, it’s unlikely any of our gathered veterans should have held out hope for realistic or reassuring words from the woman who said that accused Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had served “the United States with honor and distinction.”
When criticized for that, she complained that the backlash was reminiscent of the anger she felt after going on cable TV to dismiss the deadly Benghazi terrorist attack as no more than a reaction against a mean YouTube video. Quite right. (RELATED: It’s Now Clear The Stunning Negligence That Led Up To Chris Stevens’ Death In Benghazi)
And while military spokesmen rush to clean up the mess and explain away rampant allied corruption, the near-total failure of Iraqi leadership, and the growing disaster that is the White House’s crumbling ISIS policy, the commander in chief of U.S. armed forces prepared to give a speech.
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama will travel to the U.S. Coast Guard academy in New London, Conn., where he will use his commencement speech to deliver a crucial message to our newest military leaders: “I am here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security.” (RELATED: Obama Prepares Troops To Fight… Global Warming)
“Saturday Night Live” in its prime could not have acted out a more spot-on parody. And besides, no one is laughing anymore. It’s has become farce.
The Wednesday before, Iraq veteran and former Marine Gen. James Mattis told The Daily Caller, “The president came out and said we didn’t have a strategy on this [ISIS]. I would only endorse what he said. Honesty is honesty.”
On Tuesday morning, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates agreed, saying the United States doesn’t “have a strategy at all. We’re basically sort of playing this day to day.”
The fall of Ramadi “was a failure of a lot of things,” Department of Defense spokesman Col. Steve Warren conceded to reporters at the Pentagon later that day, “[Iraqi] leadership being one of them, tactics being one of them.”
Over the weekend, an ISIS narrator taunted his enemies in a video showing off American weaponry captured in Ramadi: “This is how we get our weapons: The Iraqi officials beg the Americans for weapons, and then they leave them here for us.”
And across the ocean, on a sunny New London day, the head of the U.S. military issued “the first generation of officers to begin your service in a world where the effects of climate change are so clearly upon us” their very own special challenge: to “decrease the harmful carbon pollution that causes climate change.”
It all happens so fast. A plan to defeat ISIS come and gone in a week, while its architects pat themselves on the back and sail through their days congratulating themselves on the pull-out and worrying about coal power.
“Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday,” begins a 19th century nursery rhyme penned in the long-lost tradition of scaring children with poetry.
“Christened on Tuesday,
“Married on Wednesday,
“Took ill on Thursday,
“Grew worse on Friday,
“Died on Saturday,
“Buried on Sunday.
“That was the end,
“Of Solomon Grundy.”
It all happens so fast.