Citando a review ao livro «Blood Year: Islamic State and the Failures of the War on Terror» de David Kilcullen, um oficial australiano que actuou no Iraque como estratega de contra terrorismo, onde se analisam os papéis de Bush e Obama e se extraem conclusões desalinhadas do pensamento convencional a este respeito:
«There is plenty of blame to go round. Mr Kilcullen’s contempt for George W. Bush’s defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, is searing. If invading Iraq was an irresponsible distraction from the real fight against al-Qaeda, Mr Rumsfeld’s insistence on a “light footprint” strategy meant that the number of troops available to contain the entirely predictable (and predicted) chaos following the removal of Saddam Hussein was “criminally” inadequate.
Yet Mr Kilcullen is full of praise for Mr Bush’s commitment to the troop “surge” in 2007 led by General David Petraeus. Mr Bush may have made a lousy call over Iraq in the first place, but he understood the moral and reputational imperative to repair some of the damage and was sufficiently flexible to apply new methods when old ones had failed.
The same could not be said for his successor, Mr Obama. As Mr Kilcullen sees it, by the time the new president took office in 2009 Iraq was in a much better place. AQI had been more or less eradicated, the violence had largely abated and, under American guidance, the government of Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad showed some willingness to share power with Sunnis and Kurds. But Mr Obama, instead of maintaining enough boots on the ground to keep things going in the right direction, headed for the exit at the first opportunity when, in late 2010, he and Mr al-Maliki failed to agree to a deal extending the legal status of American forces in Iraq.
It was given a helping hand by a feckless Mr Obama, already guilty of “passivity in the face of catastrophe” according to Mr Kilcullen. Had Mr Obama punished Bashar al-Assad for crossing the “red line” by using chemical weapons against his own people, as Mr Obama had promised, the author believes that the regime might have fallen and IS would not have taken hold in Syria.
Mr Bush learned from his mistakes. But in Mr Obama the author sees an ideological stubbornness that prevents him from doing so and that in some ways echoes the theories of Mr Rumsfeld. Mr Obama relies on technology and modest air campaigns to constrain the West’s enemies while refusing to commit the forces on the ground needed to defeat them (his partial U-turn on Afghanistan is typically grudging and insufficient). The longer America leaves IS to embed itself in the cities it has captured the greater the harm it does and the more lethal the force that will eventually be required to remove it, Mr Kilcullen argues.»