to: [Paul Miller]
date: Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 12:20 AM
subject: re American Power and Liberal Order: Operation Iraqi Freedom was an inflection point, not an outlier
I read with much agreement the excerpt from your book, "American Power and Liberal Order: A Conservative Internationalist Grand Strategy", at http://nationalinterest.org/feature/american-power-liberal-order-17715?page=show. I support your advocacy of American leadership of the free world. The need for it is critical.
I agree that the stigmatization of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) is the chief obstacle to your thesis. However, I disagree with your attempt to skirt the OIF stigma: "advocates of restraint sometimes overgeneralize from Iraq as if it were the paradigmatic case of the United States’ role in the world. But Iraq was a single outlier, not a representative sample of U.S. foreign policy".
Skirting the OIF stigma invites skepticism of your thesis because your premise is obviously wrong. The Iraq intervention was paradigmatic. The 1990-2011 US-led enforcement of Iraq's compliance with the UNSCR 660 series set the foundation and over its progressed course, which culminated with OIF, defined American leadership following the Cold War. While OIF was not a "representative sample" in terms of usual routine, it was not an "outlier" but rather an inflection point. A rough analogy for OIF's significance to US foreign policy is the Korean War.
The intervention to "bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations" (P.L. 105-235) manifested the principles of American leadership of the free world that you advocate. US efforts in Iraq did not fail before President Obama disengaged the OIF peace operations. According to the UN Security Council official assessment of Iraq's progress in December 2010, the US peace operations with Iraq were succeeding. See http://www.un.org/press/en/2010/sc10118.doc.htm (UNSC, 15DEC10).
President Bush upheld paradigmatic American leadership of the free world with Iraq. President Obama's disengagement of the OIF peace operations was a deviation from American leadership of the free world.
Rather than skirt the OIF stigma, to clear the obstacle, I recommend that you de-stigmatize the Iraq intervention by setting the record straight on the law and policy, fact basis - the why - of Operation Iraqi Freedom. For that purpose, I suggest you review my explanation of OIF's legal-factual basis at http://operationiraqifreedomfaq.blogspot.com/2014/05/operation-iraqi-freedom-faq.html. It's essentially a cheat sheet synthesizing the situation, controlling law, policy, and precedent that defined the operative enforcement procedure for the "governing standard of Iraqi compliance" (UNSCR 1441) and, in the operative context, the determinative fact findings of the Saddam regime's breach of the Gulf War ceasefire that triggered enforcement with OIF. The US case versus Saddam is in fact substantiated; on the law and facts, President Bush's decision for OIF demonstrably was correct.
Again, I support your advocacy of American leadership of the free world, Professor. I hope my feedback will help strengthen your position.
PREFACE: This direct message to Paul Miller responds to his 06MAR17 War on the Rocks article, Reassessing Obama’s Legacy of Restraint. Professor Miller didn't respond to my DM, so I don't know whether he's read it.
Perfectly planned victory is not the norm in US military history. We've usually succeeded - imperfectly - in contests of war and peace with perseverance and adaptation to the competition, which was the norm carried forward to the OIF peace operations when the enemy defeated the post-war Plan A. President Bush and the US demonstrably were right on Iraq. The "mistake" was President Obama's radical deviation contravening the Strategic Framework Agreement.
The 1990-2011 US-led enforcement of Iraq's mandated compliance with the UNSCR 660 series, especially UNSCRs 687, 688, 949, 1441, and 1483, was the defining international enforcement of the post-Cold War. Thus, your current tack to counter Obama and Rhodes' "misleading narrative" is self-defeating because their methodological assessment of the Iraq intervention is correct insofar OIF did manifest the paradigm of US-led enforcement of the liberal international order that you advocate. As such, stigmatizing OIF effectively disqualifies the [US-enforced liberal policy] paradigm you advocate. The prevalent view in the politics - contrary to the controlling law, policy, precedent, and determinative facts of the Iraq issue - that Bush's decision on Iraq was a "mistake", which you (emphatically!) concede, effectively discredits the [US-enforced liberal policy] paradigm you advocate. For your advocacy to succeed requires establishing in the politics that Bush and the US (and Blair and the UK) were right on Iraq in the first place. Whereas your concession that OIF was a "mistake" is tantamount to surrendering your case. Your argument in the War on the Rocks article, while impressive, was wholly contained within the frame disqualifying the [US-enforced liberal policy] paradigm you advocate. All you did was scuff at Obama and Rhodes while admitting their keystone premise is essentially correct. Effective advocacy of the [US-enforced liberal policy] paradigm requires you to repair the foundation of the politics
Once again, to relitigate the Iraq issue effectively with the bedrock law, policy, precedent, and facts of the OIF decision, see http://operationiraqifreedomfaq.blogspot.com/.
7 Mar 2017
Critical responses to pundits:
Explaining the grounds for Operation Iraqi Freedom to a law professor (Chibli Mallat);
Correcting Politifact's fundamental distortion of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement;
Correcting the Iraq section of Miller Center's "George W. Bush: Foreign Affairs" (Gary Gregg);
Comments on Stephen Knott's "When Everyone Agreed About Iraq";
Augmenting William Inboden's critique of J.E. Smith's Bush biography regarding Iraq;
Objection to Paul Miller's characterization of OIF as an "outlier" in American Power and Liberal Order;
Critique of the Iraq portion of chapter one of Anne Pierce's A Perilous Path;
Critical response to John Rentoul's "Chilcot Report: Politicians".