Sunday, September 04, 2016

The real Hillary

For PROPUBLICA and THE WASHINGTON POST, Jeff Gerth and Joby Warrick continue reporting on Hillary Clinton's time as Secretary of State as it pertains to Iraq:

In written memos and in meetings as part of the president’s national security team, she questioned Maliki’s ability to keep the country united and warned that instability could lead to a resurgence of al-Qaida in Iraq, or AQI, the terrorist group that later renamed itself the Islamic State, the officials said.
“She was seized with this,” recalled Deputy Secretary of State Antony J Blinken, who was national security adviser to Vice President Biden and then deputy national security adviser to President Obama during key discussions about Iraq policy. “She recognised that AQI was down but not out, and pressed the Iraqis, and us, to keep taking the fight to them.”
But, in scaling back civilian assistance to Iraq, Clinton’s aides cut aggressively and sometimes unwisely, internal auditors later concluded. The reductions met cost-cutting goals but did not “fully consider US foreign policy priorities in Iraq,” an internal review by the State Department’s inspector general said.
Some of the cuts were not fully implemented until after Clinton’s departure in early 2013, though the plans were largely in place, former aides said. The report is silent on Clinton’s role in the reductions, or views about them.

Brooke Darby.

Hopefully, that name will eventually pop up in Gerth and Warrick's reporting because it's an important name in this story.

Darby was the State Dept employee sent to face Congress when things got too hot for Patrick Kennedy and others.

In terms of scaling back, Darby's especially important here.

With few US troops, the idea of the State Dept's consulates -- in addition to the Baghdad embassy -- was scoffed at by Congress and so was the State Dept's notions that they would be able to send staffers out and about in Basra.

Again, it was Darby who was left to face Congress on these issues.

And it was Darby who was told to her face that the plans seemed risky and ill thought out.

At some point, Brooke Darby's name needs to pop up in this reporting.

While I'm hanging no blame on her -- and check snapshots in real time when she testified, I didn't then either -- she is an important witness to what took place.

The real key in this story:

"She questioned Maliki's ability to keep the country united and warned that instability could lead to a resurgence of al-Qaida in Iraq."

In late 2011, Hillary's questioning Nouri al-Maliki's ability to lead.

I'm not surprised.

I was at the April 2008 hearing where she called him a "thug."

She was correct then and history only demonstrated that.

But he wouldn't be in power in 2011 were it not for US President Barack Obama.

In March 2010, Iraq finally held elections.  (They were supposed to take place in 2009 but they under-represented Sunnis and the objection to that pushed the elections back.)

Nouri lost.

He refused to step down.

The government couldn't meet, couldn't do anything.

For eight months.

A political stalemate.

And this was predicted before the election by Gen Ray Odierno.

US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill insisted no such thing could ever happen.

Well Chris was all a dupe and idiot who will be most remembered for his time in Iraq for two things (a) openly insulting Iraqis (in front of Iraqis) and (b) mocking the assassination of JFK with an insulting Halloween costume.

Vice President Joe Biden argued the US had to support democracy.  He insisted that Ayad Allawi's group had won the elections and that the US had to back them.

Samantha Power argued for Nouri and insisted that the eventual drawdown of US forces could not happen in a year or so without Nouri in charge, she insisted a new prime minister would put a question mark over Iraq's future.

Her point of view won out.

It was a huge mistake strategically.

And, of course, in terms of democracy, it was an out right betrayal.

But Barack sided with Samantha and ordered the US staff in Iraq to negotiate The Erbil Agrement (a legal contract) to give Nouri a second term.  The day after it was signed, the Parliament finally met and named a president, a prime minister-designate, etc.

Elections had been in March 2010.

It was now November 2010.

At the time, Iraq held the world record for longest time between an election and the sitting of a government.

So a year or so later, Hillary's got concerns?

Well she should have voiced them then.

Hillary's time as Secretary of State was typical of Hillary's entire career.

She stayed silent as much as possible to let others stake out ground.

She didn't want to take, she didn't want to take the blame if things went wrong.

She had no real core, no real beliefs, nothing she wouldn't sell out.

In terms of Nouri, she knew what he was.

She publicly stated what he was in 2009.

She privately told people that Nouri could not -- in 2010 -- be named prime minister after those election results.

But she failed to fight that view or even air it.

She wouldn't even get Biden's back when Joe was arguing it before Barack.

That's who wants to be president now.

That's the real Hillary.

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