Can 300 US Military Advisers save Iraq?

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.

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