By John Cookson. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
President Obama opposed the 2003 US-led war which toppled Saddam. He based his run for the White House on ending wars rather than starting them.
So his decision announced at a press conference last night of sending 300 advisers to Iraq – including Green Berets and other special forces – must have been taken very reluctantly.
America has already spent a trillion dollars and lost 4,500 military lives ousting one dictator, training Iraqi security forces and installing a Western-style democracy in Iraq.
So the question is at this pivotal time in Iraq’s history: will 300 US advisers sent in now prevent it plunging in to the abyss?
Acknowledging America’s laudable intentions, and with great regret: I think probably not.
The US sent thousands of its finest to train Iraqi forces for 8 years in the post Saddam era. In 2006 I spent time with intelligent and thoughtful American colonels in towns like Baiji; dedicated men who had taken time to study Iraqi history; honorable commanders who had established a true rapport with their Iraqi counterparts.
The goal: to turn the Iraqi armed forces into disciplined and effective fighting machine, backed by some of the finest military equipment in the world.