A reader, Eric, commented on this posting, and provided some excellent sources of alternative views. We can continue to debate whether there were WMD, but the rationale for invasion of Iraq is generally considered a mistake and the unintended consequences were to give rise to Iranian domination over the region. However, reality is reality, and Eric presented two very credible views of the role the general's advice to keep residual forces in Iraq and the negotiations with Maliki over the immunity of residual forces. Maliki said he could bypass his parliament to give assurances and Obama said it would only work if parliament agreed. That may have been a missed opportunity, but nonetheless it did not resolve Baghdad's unwillingness to be inclusive and the conflict would have erupted anyway. That is why I called the problem "mostly Baghdad's fault" because the Obama administration was determined to withdraw troops and did not put more pressure of Maliki or take him up on his unilateral offer. Nonetheless, the fact remains, the Bush administration set up the compromise on the status of forces. Amb. Chris Hill's role is laid out in his memoirs "Outpost", and I invite readers to read his book. Eric's two sources, from Foreign Affairs, and Politico are worth reading and I will replicate his links here. I keep wondering how many secular Iraqis were left in Baghdad after the conflict. Obviously not enough to offset Maliki. I still think Biden's plan will eventually happen de facto without federalism and yesterday it appears from Pentagon comments that Plan B if the lilly pad strategy fails is to continue US support of the Sunni tribes and Kurds. I also note that the generals' recommendations were to leave residual forces of 10 K US troops there, we will eventually meet that total there anyway, I do not oppose it. However, to say that 10K troops...or even 24,000 could have stopped ISIS's blitzkrieg is a leap given Baghdad's unwillingness to address the inclusiveness. of the Sunni tribes
4. Withdrawal Symptoms: The Bungling of the Iraq Exit (link) by OIF senior advisor Rick Brennan.
5. How Obama Abandoned Democracy in Iraq (link) by OIF official and senior advisor Emma Sky.