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Kaganed Again
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How you analyze an issue depends on the starting point. An recent op-ed in the Washington Post by leading neoconservatives Fred and Kimberly Kagan on the impending US departure from Iraq lays out five current “American core interests” in the region. They are: that Iraq should continue to be one unified state; that there should be no al-Qaeda on its soil; that Baghdad abides by its international responsibilities; that Iraq should contain Iran; and that the al-Maliki government should accept US “commitment” to the region.

Fred is the Director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute while Kimberly heads the nonpartisan Institute for the Study of War. The two Kagans, enthusiastic cheerleaders for the invasion of Iraq back in 2003, seem to have short memories. In 2003, Iraq was more unified and stable than it is today; there was no al-Qaeda presence; Saddam abided by a sanctions regime imposed by the UN; and Iraq was the principal Arab state restraining Iran. Then, as now, the US was clearly “committed” to the region through the presence of its armed forces and I would add parenthetically that Iraq in no way threatened the United States, or anyone else. It was precisely the US invasion that dismantled the Iraqi nation state, introduced al-Qaeda to the country, wrecked the Iraqi economy, and brought into power a group of Shi’a leaders who are now much closer to Tehran than they are to Washington. Nice job Kagans and one has to wonder why you are still giving advice.

I have heard that the Kagans have been hired as top advisers to David Petraeus at CIA, so it is apparent that being wrong repeatedly has no effect on one’s employability. Of course the dynamic duo has made its way to the top by firmly attaching their lips to General Petraeus’ derriere, praising him exorbitantly after his adoption of their plan for the so-called surge in Iraq. They effused regarding the General and his colleague Ray Odierno, “Great commanders often come in pairs: Eisenhower and Patton, Grant and Sherman, Napoleon and Davout, Marlborough and Eugene, Caesar and Labienus. Generals David Petraeus and Raymond Odierno can now be added to the list.” Someone should point out to the Kagans that the deceased generals whom they cite won their laurels by fighting against enemies who were as well armed, well equipped, and numerous as their own forces. They didn’t earn their stars and garters by blasting the crap out of a bunch of Fedayeen using helicopter gunships and airstrikes, and, when that didn’t work, bribing the insurgents to cease and desist.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Iraq, Kagans 
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  1. Interest #1 sounds like an interest of Iraqi nationalists.
    Interest #2 sounds like an interest of all Iraqis.
    Interest #3 is just mush.
    Interest #4 sounds like an interest of all countries in the Middle East. They should make that a priority. Good luck to them.
    Interest #5 is more mush.

    It would just be so much more honest to say:

    Interest 1: Cheap oil
    Interest 2: American kids fighting other people’s battles.
    Interest 3: American hegemony in the region.

  2. Phil, you are on fire — and that’s the only appropriate response to the flying Kagans’ latest love letter to war. If I hadn’t before, I would really question Petraeus’ judgement here. The Kagans and COIN have been thoroughly discredited throughout the military community (the former as hagiographers), particularly in the very active milblogs, which are teeming with Iraq and Afghan vets, scholars, et al. To keep Kim and Fred attached to the hip seems much more of a vanity at this point than smart administration on Petraeus’ part.

  3. “I have heard that the Kagans have been hired as top advisers to David Petraeus at CIA”

    Good God. One hopes it is (yet another) self-promoting rumor. “Top advisors” are a dime a dozen, of course, but any sort of proximity to or access by these people to decision makers in the American government should be viewed with disgust and alarm.

  4. James says: • Website

    Excellent write-up, Phil. Kagan was mention in following youtube:

    Press TV Talks to James Morris on Republican CNN debate about Ron Paul on Iran:

  5. The precise word is “scathing”.

    Well done, Mr. Girardi. “Kagan” is a surname crying out to be discontinued.

  6. “Nice job Kagans and one has to wonder why you are still giving advice.” And even more, why anybody is still listening.

  7. Carlist says:

    The Kagans shouldn’t despair!

    If worse comes to worse, Newt will pick them up or
    Rupert Murdoch will give them a gig!

  8. Here’s the Iraqi answer to COIN and Kaganry:

    What a rip-roaring success! Thanks a million, Mr. and Mrs. Kagan!

  9. If you’re going to steal, steal big.

    Neocon corollary: If you’re going to fail, fail forward. Nice use of Kagan as a verb in the headline.

  10. Bravo! We can thank the Kagans for cheering on the squandering of a trillion or two (USD) on idiotic Iraq military adventure, and they have done their best to cause Obama to squander hundreds of billions (USD) on Afghanistan quagmire.

  11. Joao Alfaiate – – Arms manufacturers, salemen, lobbyists, lawyers, etc etc etc need the Kagans. Duping the American public is essential part of their programme.

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