PREFACE: Paul Miller is the associate director of the Clements Center for National Security at The University of Texas at Austin. I responded to the excerpt from his book, American Power and Liberal Order: A Conservative Internationalist Grand Strategy. He also wrote the 06MAR17 War on the Rocks article, Reassessing Obama’s Legacy of Restraint. Professor Miller didn't respond to my e-mail, so I don't know whether he's read it.
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.
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;
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".