Baghdad embassy

Not So Great Expectations: Paying the Price of Hubris in Iraq, Afghanistan

Developments over the past few days on several different fronts are coming together in a way that outlines just how arrogantly the US conducted the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how the consequences of that hubris are now diminishing the previously dominant role for the US in the region going into the future. At the same time, these developments drive home the message of the terrible waste of lives and money the war efforts have been.

In today’s New York Times, we learn that the staff at the gargantuan US embassy in Baghdad is about to be cut in half. It appears that one of the driving forces behind these cuts is that the Iraqis are not making it easy for embassy personnel to move freely into and out of the country:

At every turn, the Americans say, the Iraqi government has interfered with the activities of the diplomatic mission, one they grant that the Iraqis never asked for or agreed upon. Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s office — and sometimes even the prime minister himself — now must approve visas for all Americans, resulting in lengthy delays. American diplomats have had trouble setting up meetings with Iraqi officials.

Perhaps Mr. al-Maliki should study the activities of the US Customs Service if he really wants to learn how to make it even clearer to selected foreigners that he doesn’t want them in his country.

But al-Maliki is not the only elected Iraqi official who sees an opportunity to repay the US for the hubris it has shown the region, as the Times quoted Nahida al-Dayni, whom they described as “a lawmaker and member of Iraqiya, a largely Sunni bloc in Parliament” with regard to the embassy compound:

The U.S. had something on their mind when they made it so big. Perhaps they want to run the Middle East from Iraq, and their embassy will be a base for them here.

That US actions in the Middle East would have prompted such an attitude among local officials should have been foreseen, but the Times article informs us that the State Department seems to have been hit by a bit of shock and awe: Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @granick So that's the fault of whom? Hell, there's FAR MORE than was confirmed in 2011 than that lets on. @normative
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emptywheel @normative First confirmation was NSL IG report released in August. https://t.co/pbO9QjMv6y Maybe I'm only one who read report? @granick
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emptywheel .@granick That's false. It was confirmed (also by DOJ IG) in August. https://t.co/pbO9QjMv6y
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emptywheel @regretblues AAG NSD. But she's a former USA. She should know these authorities bc she has had to approve them.
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emptywheel @KenDilanianAP Yup or providers may have already said they won't comply & Admin want to avoid challenge @froomkin @RachelBLevinson @granick
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emptywheel @KenDilanianAP @froomkin @RachelBLevinson They may have legal reasons not to want to: like a guarantee from providers they'll sue. @granick
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emptywheel @froomkin @PressSec may be trying to do say, "we're no longer going to ask for it. Either authorize us to get it way we want or we'll die"
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emptywheel DC Press: Ho hum. Rand Paul is running for President on same plank our forefathers revolted against King George. How cynical of him!
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emptywheel @granick There is one tiny area where DiFi's bill improves on USA F-ReDux tho (but I'm laying low about it) @jakelaperruque
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emptywheel RT @attackerman: After a decade reporting on "Guantanamo's Child," @shephardm interviews Omar Khadr. http://t.co/5CecJG8teO
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emptywheel @JakeLaperruque Bingo. 1) FISC has ALREADY approved 2) we have examples of summaries fr Vaughn 3) FISC proven unreliable arbiter @granick
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emptywheel @JakeLaperruque Once you've defined bulk as "all" then it's very easy for IC to get to "not-bulk" w/in terms of law. @granick
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