Yep. We’re going to try this again. President Obama just announced that he’s going to deploy 300 special forces to Iraq. Not to fight, but to train Iraqi troops again.
Here’s the deal; I’m relieved that he’s not talking air strikes or boots on the ground and I sincerely hope he sticks to this position but I don’t see what the point of training the Iraqi military is. The problem isn’t that Iraqi troops are untrainably stupid or cowardly. There’s a reason why they’re not "trained" and more training isn’t the answer. The problem is that a Sunni troop isn’t going to take up arms against a Sunni group. The same is true of the Shia and the Kurdish Muslims. They’re not going to take up arms against their own, no matter how batshit extremist a package "their own" comes in.
The "Iraqi military" is a fiction because Iraq is a fiction. This is a country that literally isn’t a country. These are not a united people with a common vision of governance. Britain arbitrarily drew a border around three vastly different groups of people and said, "Poof! You’re a country". The only way "poof" works, is with a brutal dictator who can effectively keep their boot on the whole country’s throat which is what Saddam did.
Without Saddam, there’s nothing cobbling this not-a-country together. There’s no country for a military to fight for. Iraq needs to have a civil war now, and all we can do is sit back and hope that the group that takes power doesn’t destabilize all of Iraq’s neighbors. The best outcome that we can hope for, is that the Sunni, Shia, and Kurds draw borders they can all live with and split up into three different countries. And they need to get there on their own because anything we do to help will delegitimize the outcome. We’ve seen how this movie turned out when we installed the Shah in Iran.
There’s nothing remotely resembling a guarantee that they will split up the country. In my opinion, it’s actually more likely that batshit radical groups stake out their territories and create mini dictatorships (warlords) a la Afghanistan. But we can’t do anything. There’s no victory here for the western world (notice that I didn’t limit the situation to the US).
The west was fucked the minute we killed Saddam, and lots of people told you this was going to happen in 2002. Every single expert on the middle east opposed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The reasons they gave weren’t, "War is bad….oh look, there’s some yummy granola". That wasn’t what they said. They plainly stated that eliminating Saddam would destabilize the region and lead to a civil war between the three flavors of Muslims that make up a made up country. Don’t believe me? Go look for yourself. Limit your searching to a period from September 12, 2001 to March of 2003 (when we went in) so that you don’t get the taint of revisionist history. Do your own research. I’m not going to provide you with links, lest I be accused of selectively dishing up materials that prove my point. But I will give you this little nugget from a peacenick who was right about what would happen until he was wrong;
The ones that warned us not to do what Bush did were right. And none of them had or have a quick fix now that the damage has been done. I don’t know what the answer is because people who are smarter than me haven’t told me, and I’m not going to come up with a rectally generated solution, just so that I can stake out an opinion. To state it plainly; we’re fucked and there’s nothing we can do that isn’t going to fuck ourselves worse unless we plan on having troops in Iraq until the end of time. And if you think you have a solution, I first want to hear you explain the current situation accurately. Because if you don’t have a grasp on what’s happening right now and how we got here, I’m not going to put much faith in your ill informed hypothesis. I’m pretty well informed, and I don’t have a hypothesis.