Joseph Miller is the pen name for a ranking Department of Defense official with a background in U.S. special operations and combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has worked in strategic planning.
President Barack Obama has taken a lot of flak since his Sunday night “60 Minutes” interview, in which he blamed the intelligence community for his failure to tackle the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. And that is right and proper. Because not only was his excuse of blaming us a lie, but when questioned on his lie, White House press secretary Josh Earnest doubled down with a whole new lie — both of which are easily, publicly proven false.
On Sunday, Obama said the intelligence community had underestimated the rise of ISIS, saying in an interview with CBS, “Our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that, I think, they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.”
But we know that isn’t true, as nearly a dozen administration officials have testified to the threat posed by ISIS publicly over the last year.
The fact that the president chose to use the word “they” instead of “we” immediately drew condemnation from friend and foe alike, who saw it as the president’s attempt to pass the buck. (RELATED: Obama Has Spent More Time Playing Golf Than In Intel Briefings)
To mitigate the fallout, Earnest’s office issued a statement stating that, “…A lot of that [decision-making] was predicated on the will of the Iraqi security forces to fight for their country.”
But this was also not true.
In 2010, General Lloyd Austin, then-commander of United State Forces in Iraq, directly informed the president that over 20,000 U.S. troops would be required to maintain the gains made by U.S. forces against al-Qaida and its affiliates, and to mentor the fledgling Iraqi security forces– because he knew they were not ready to go out on their own. (MILLER: The Facts Are In, And Obama’s Policy Is A Direct Danger To The United States)
But in order for Austin’s plan to work, the United States would have to negotiate and sign a security agreement with the government of Iraq to give the U.S. legal authority to keep U.S. military forces in that country beyond December 2010. The White House claims they were forced to withdraw because then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refused to grant U.S. force serving in Iraq post 2010 immunity from Iraqi prosecution– a prerequisite for the presence of U.S. forces anywhere else in the world. But the administration made no attempt to seriously negotiate an agreement with the Iraqis, and cited our withdrawal from Iraq as a major achievement during the 2012 elections, giving the American intelligence community the distinct feeling that the move was politically motivated. (MILLER: Obama’s Current StrategyIs Doomed To Fail)
Instead of investing any time in negotiating the agreement, the Obama administration used the Maliki regimes refusal to grant immunity as a political out for withdrawing all U.S. combat forces from Iraq by the end of 2010. That saw the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces and the end of Operation New Dawn, the successor to Operation Iraqi Freedom. It also saw the rise of ISIS, and brings us to where we are today. (MILLER: What It Will Take To Win The War Against The Islamic State)
Today, Gen. Lloyd Austin is in command of U.S. Central Command– the U.S. combatant command in charge of fighting all wars in the Middle East, Central Asia and parts of North and East Africa. From that post, he once again recommended to the president that ground forces would be required in order to achieve the White House’s goals, this time against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. (MILLER: Iraq A Symptom Of Larger Obama Failure — Syria)
Once again, the president overruled his commanding general and has chosen to use air strikes alone to “destroy” a terrorist army of 30,000.
The president clearly does not think the mission is worth the cost necessary to complete it; but by pursuing his ends without authorizing the necessary means, he is dooming that mission to failure. (MILLER: Special Forces, Not #Hashtags, Mr. President)
The United States military and intelligence community have learned a lot over the past decade of conflict. Our commander in chief, unfortunately, has not. Since the start of his administration, President Barack Obama has ignored his generals and the intelligence community. Over the past few weeks, he has half-heartedly pursued a strategy that destines us to fail in our mission, and over the past three days, he and his White House have lied to prove otherwise. To those who wear our nation’s uniform, or serve in her intelligence community, that’s insult — and injury.