POLITICO quotes Nonresident Senior Fellow Richard LeBaron on the Iraq War and the rise of ISIS:
Richard LeBaron, a career diplomat who served as ambassador to Kuwait under George W. Bush, called that argument “disingenuous.” The answer to Bush’s rhetorical question about why the surge led to a drawdown, he argues, “distorts history.”
And if there was any “fatal error” that led to the rise of ISIL, LeBaron says, it was George W. Bush’s dissolution of the Iraqi military in May 2003 rather than Obama’s U.S. troop drawdown in 2011.
“The notion that the surge worked is belied by facts after it,” said LeBaron, now a Middle East policy expert at the Atlantic Council. “It gave us some political space to say ‘we’re not leaving a total fiasco’ when we probably were; it was really just a period in which we were able to placate and buy off some of the Sunni tribes who took our money and just waited for us to leave.
“The Bush administration was looking for an exit strategy; the whole country was looking to get out,” LeBaron said. “The surge was designed to get us out of Iraq, not to keep us involved there.”