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Hullabaloo


Sunday, August 10, 2014

 
How much is the lid going to cost us?

by digby

Byron York muses about the president's "lid" theory and it's actually interesting. He notes that the president has used the word numerous times, as defined here:
"We certainly can't redeploy tens of thousands of U.S. troops to try to keep a lid on the problem if the people themselves don't want to solve it," Obama told CNN June 20.
York explains:
The view of the Iraqi situation behind the president's "lid" remarks is that the U.S. invasion of Iraq unleashed murderous sectarian forces that had been kept in check -- under a "lid" -- by the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. After a period of chaos and great violence, which grew even with the presence of more than 100,000 U.S. troops, President George W. Bush sent a surge of even more troops into the country -- the peak number was 168,000 -- to put a new lid on Iraqi sectarianism. The surge succeeded, but later, when American forces left under an order from commander-in-chief Obama, the lid came off. Now murderous sectarian violence threatens the very existence of Iraq as a nation.

Yes, the United States could re-impose a lid on Iraqi sectarianism, Obama is saying, but only by taking extensive military action, which would certainly involve sending American ground troops back to the country. That is something the president will not do.
That sounds right to me (except for the absurdity that Obama was the one who ordered the troops out when it was Bush's status of forces agreement that did it.) The surge was always a temporary band-aid that allowed us to declare victory and go home. The only way it could ever have solved the problem was to permanently occupy the country with hundreds of thousands of troops, spend even more than we already were spending to pay off various actors, build massive infrastructure, pour endless amounts of money into the country for decades. The American people weren't on board with that. Especially as bridges are collapsing all over America and we didn't have enough money to even pay for school kids to have pencils and paper.

President Obama is right. That's always what it would have taken. And so York asks the right question:
[T]he question for Obama's critics is how many American troops would it take to put that lid back on Iraq, which might, or might not lead to a lasting solution to the problem of sectarian violence?
And none of this starry-eyed BS about "training" and "arming." We've seen that doesn't work over and over again. Let's get real. How many Americans is it going to take to occupy that country for decades? And how much money is it going to cost?

And remember, the American people had a chance to vote for this guy and they chose otherwise:


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