This claim from national security adviser Susan Rice stands in such contrast to reality that Foreign Policy’s Paul McCleary gave it the subheadline, “Really? Really?” Speaking to a group of Iraq War veterans who began the day wondering how the US and Iraq could possibly have lost Ramadi, a city for which Americans bled to pacify, Rice tried a novel approach to the question — complete and utter denial of reality. McCleary notes, “Susan Rice whiffs” in the main headline:
Even before National Security Advisor Susan Rice started speaking Tuesday night, at a poignant German Embassy photography exhibit of soldiers wounded in combat, U.S. vets there who had served in Iraq were privately fuming over the fall of Ramadi — and how it could have been allowed to happen.
Rice further stoked their frustration. “Now that we have ended two wars responsibly, and brought home hundreds of American troops, we salute this new generation of veterans,” Rice told the audience of about 150 people who were seated between the hauntingly beautiful mural-sized portraits of severely disabled veterans.
Such a description of the U.S. military departure from Iraq in 2011 — when American forces left after failing to negotiate a security agreement to stay — raised eyebrows across the crowd that included active duty and former troops and officers, among them at least two generals and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen. “Responsibly, right?” one retired Army officer said sarcastically to FP’s Lara Jakes afterward.
Point of order: which wars does Rice believe to have ended? We’ve certainly walked away from one war in Iraq, and we’re in the process of walking away from another in Afghanistan. Neither of those wars “ended” at all, not even the one in Iraq for the US. We’re currently conducting air raids around Ramadi in an attempt to push back ISIS as the Iraq army flees both the city and the weapons we’re providing them, as well as elsewhere in Iraq, while our coalition partners bomb Syria.
Andrew Malcolm can’t quite believe it either, or the lack of pressure from most of the DC media:
He added, “We have seen a lot of success. But we’ve also seen significant periods of setback.”
No kidding. The loss of Ramadi. The loss of Mosul. The loss of Falluja, each of which required significant investments of American treasure and lives to capture in the first place. Poof. Lost, just like that. (The full Earnest press briefing for May 19 should be posted here sometime today.)
We have no way of knowing what kind of glue this White House staff is sniffing. But they’re taking something powerful to so seriously distort their thinking. They talk of the ebb and flow of protracted battle. This one has been mostly ebb. …
The D.C. media have been consumed in recent weeks re-litigating the Iraq war by getting every prominent Republican on record on what he or she might or might not have done had they been president 12 years ago and known or not known about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
Those news people should now watch the video above — to the end.
So … the White House believes that two wars have ended even though we’re continuing to fight both of them, and think that the rapid expansion of ISIS shows that their strategy is a success. With that sense of unreality, the failure of American policy abroad suddenly becomes … much more understandable. Perhaps the White House just needs better spokespeople: