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Iraq Teeters On The Edge Of Civil War

We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

It was two years and four months ago that the last American troops marched out of Iraq.  After most of a decade and more than $2 trillion spent there.  After nearly 4500 American deaths, and more than 32,000 Americans wounded.  After an Iraqi death toll so big it’s still being debated.  After all that, right now Iraq is on the verge of civil war.  Some say it’s effectively there.  Fallujah and Ramadi overrun with insurgents.  Al Qaeda back, and trouble north, south, east and west.  Bombings in Baghdad.  Syria’s upheaval bleeding in.  This hour On Point:  the new trouble in Iraq.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ned Parker, Baghdad bureau chief for Reuters. (@nedmparker1)

Lukman Faily, Iraqi ambassador to the United States. (@FailyLukman)

Sarhang Hamasaeed, senior program officer for the Middle East and Africa at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Denise Natali, senior fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.

From Tom’s Reading List

Reuters: Islamist militants kill 30 in attacks around Iraq — “Suspected Sunni Muslim militants killed at least 30 people around Iraq on Thursday including 12 soldiers in an assault on a remote army base in the north, deepening insecurity with a national election just two weeks away. Sectarian bloodshed has increased since the Shi’ite Muslim-led Baghdad government began an offensive against insurgents, some of them affiliated with al Qaeda, dug in around Falluja and Ramadi in the western province of Anbar.”

New York Times: Iraq Shuts Down the Abu Ghraib Prison, Citing Security Concerns – “In a statement, the Justice Ministry said it had moved 2,400 prisoners to other high-security prisons in central and northern Iraq, adding that Abu Ghraib’s location — west of central Baghdad and on the edge of insurgent-controlled areas of Anbar Province — had become a ‘hot zone.’”

The Wall Street Journal: Tensions Percolate Ahead of Iraqi Election — “Over the past four years, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has overseen a gridlocked Parliament, contended with renewed sectarian conflict and made a host of political enemies. But when Iraqis go to the polls on April 30 for the first parliamentary elections since U.S. forces left in late 2011, they are expected to reward the 63-year-old Shiite politician with a third four-year stint.”

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  • Fredlinskip

    Perhaps if we send in a few more troop surges, the Shiites and Sunnis will start getting along?

    • hennorama

      Ouch.

  • nj_v2

    Thanks, Dubya!

    • William

      Actually, Thanks Bill Clinton and his Iraq Liberation Act of 1998.

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

        This can easily go back to Reagan and Bush and their support of the Iran/Iraq war ( even providing chemical weapons) and the hatred fostered there, but, in the end, Dubya had to prove he had bigger pants than papa bush and he went in there and broke it with the childish idea that it would be a simple mopping up operation to put it all back together. Sadly, hundreds of thousands of lives were lost because we put an idiot in the Oval Office so he could relive his glory days by landing on an aircraft carrier.

        • William

          You would have thought if it was such a bad idea that Obama would not have done the same thing to Libya. Apparently, nobody learned from JFK/LBJ’s failed war in Vietnam. There is some credit to the thought that if we had not invaded Iraq and Saddam was still in power he would have or would be pursing a nuke weapon to counter Iran’s nuke weapons program. Perhaps an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure.

          • Ray in VT

            Libya and Vietnam are highly dissimilar cases.

          • William

            The sad fact about Libya is Bush got Gadaffi to give up his chemical weapons program and while a nutter he kept control of his country. Obama should not have listen the Europeans who just wanted the oil in Libya. Now Libya is a failed nation on it’s way to becoming the next Somalia.

          • Ray in VT

            I guess that we should just stand back and let a dictator massacre his own people, as change and possible representative government is just too messy.

          • William

            North Korea is just one big death camp. FDR knew Stalin was a mass murderer prior to WW 2 but ignored it. FDR refused to bomb the German concentration camps when we learned of them. Castro and company have been putting people against the wall to shoot for 50 some years. The world and history are full of tyrants that will kill their own citizens and that is just a sad reality of humankind.

          • Ray in VT

            So that we failed to act in the past is a good justification for failing to act in the present. The cases that your mention are also highly disparate. No one was willing to go to war in the 1930s against a major nation like the Soviet Union, and we certainly needed them in World War II. As for bombing Auschwitz, for instance, much of the killing there had already been done by the time that we could have bombed it, and military necessity may have called for resources to be used elsewhere, such as in the bombing of armaments factories and infrastructure. North Korea has China as a backer, and an action against Korea is likely to provoke a reaction from China. Castro is less of a monster than some whom we have supported, and for much of his reign he had the Soviets at his back. Libya was a different case.

          • William

            I think FDR’s sort of a dupe when it came to Stalin. Calling him “Old Joe”, like he was some sort of crazy uncle and allowing so much Communist spies in our nation/government was criminal on his part.

            We should have bombed the camps in 1943 when we first found out about them. It would have saved tens or hundreds of thousands of people. It is one of the mysteries of FDR that he did not do it.

            North Korea – certainly don’t want to go to war over that place with China as their big buddy.

            Cuba – Castro is a tyrant nonetheless and should be treated as such. You have to admit seeing Barbra Walters chumming it up with that murder was a low point for the American media.

            Libya – Big mistake and now that country is on the path of ruin. With luck, we won’t send any of our troops over there as “peacekeepers”.

            The USA has been bleed white the last 70 some years since the end of WW 2 trying to make the world a better place. It’s time for a change away from “doing something” to “there is not much we can do”.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, so under FDR we just let spies in willy nilly. I guess that they weren’t really spies then.

            Major camps, like Auschwitz, were not in bomber range in 1943, and the extermination camps that were highly active towards the end of the war were not in range in 1944. There are some 40,000 Holocaust sites in Europe according to the American Holocaust Museum, exactly which ones should we have gone after, and how much military pressure should have been taken off from bombing the Reich’s military infrastructure and the Wehrmacht? Sounds like a lot of 20/20 hindsight.

            I think that your isolationist thinking ignores many realities in places where we have interests or commitments.

      • Ray in VT

        Clinton didn’t invade Iraq, so one can’t pin the invasion on him.

        • William

          Clinton’s Iraq Liberation Act is very similar’s to LBJ’s Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which put on the path to war in Vietnam. Both were based on what we now know were false intelligence or just lies.

          • HonestDebate1
          • Ray in VT

            Oh, so Bush’s desire to invade Iraq as far back as 1999, his administration’s grasping at straws to tie Saddam to 9/11 and to Al Qaeda, it’s determination that it was going to go to war in mid-2002, it’s subsequent PR campaign and it’s rush to invade before inspectors could determine, correctly, that so much of what the administration was building its case for war on was bunk can be pinned on Clinton. Brilliant.

          • William

            Are you saying Bill Clinton, the man the press calls the great President of all time, after Obama, made a mistake with his Iraq Liberation Act? Do you think he will admit it?

          • Ray in VT

            I think that invading the country was a mistake. The Iraq Liberation Act did not call for or commit us to doing that. Was it a mistake? Maybe if it played a role in us invading that country, but that was Bush’s call, not Clinton’s.

          • William

            Clinton needs to own up to this mistake. He pushed very hard for his “Iraq Liberation Act” and set the country’s mindset of going to war. That is his legacy. He should apologize.
            Invading Iraq a mistake? Too soon to tell…Iran getting a nuke weapon in the next few years so how would the Saddam react to that? Most likely get one too….and use it. Who knows.

          • Ray in VT

            The act did not all of military action to remove Saddam. Again, why is Clinton to blame for Iraq if Eisenhower isn’t for Vietnam?

          • William

            When you are President and you tell another nation “your government has to go” what exactly is that telling them? War is on the horizon or the USA is going to back down? History tells us war. Just like in Cuba in 1961, Vietnam when we took out Diem, Grenada, Panama, Somalia. You do what we say or here come the Marines.

            Truman boosted the support for Vietnam/France in the late 1940′s with advisers going in 1950. Ike came along and did not much but keep the level of advisers to 500 which in hindsight was a good plan.

          • Ray in VT

            It isn’t telling them we’re going to invade you, because that isn’t what the act said and Clinton didn’t do it. Bush did. He chose to invade, so don’t blame Clinton for it.

            Truman sent advisers to advise the French. When they left, then we could have too, yet Eisenhower’s administration kept them there, supporting the South Vietnamese government. So, again, how is Iraq Clinton’s fault but Eisenhower’s actions escape your blame? Seems like an incredible double standard, considering that Clinton committed no troops, and the act that you repeatedly mention called for no military action.

          • Don_B1

            It was Secretary of State John Foster Dulles aggressive world view that probably kept President Eisenhower from getting out of Vietnam.

          • Ray in VT
          • Don_B1

            I put it on my mental list of books to read sometime last winter!

          • Don_B1

            Why don’t YOU start with admitting all your mistakes, starting with admitting that President Bush, or his manipulating Vice President and cabinet officers, started out determined to go to war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and then Clinton’s will take care of themselves.

          • Ray in VT

            And the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution led to immediate escalation by LBJ, not 5 years later by Nixon pushing much questionable intelligence, some of which was rejected by the intelligence community.

          • William

            LBJ was a country fool that thought he could cut a deal with the Communists. Nixon used bombs and bullets which is what the Communists understood and deserved. Nixon got us out of the failed JFK/LBJ Vietnam War.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s an interesting take. So, LBJ didn’t use bullets and bombs? That would be news to history. You criticize LBJ for thinking that “he could cut a deal with the Communists”, yet that is exactly what Nixon did, and shortly, relatively, thereafter South Vietnam fell to the Communists. Your grasp of the facts seems shaky at best.

          • William

            LBJ was a deal maker and could not understand why the Vietnamese would not cut a deal. That is how he thought and he was wrong. Nixon used the bombs too and a blockade that got the Vietnamese back to the peace talks. Kissinger told the Communist North Vietnamese that “I can’t control Nixon so you need to get back to the peace talks”. Nixon cut a bad deal (the deal allowed 100k communist troops to stay in the South) with the Communists since he and the nation wanted us out of Vietnam and out of JFK’s “pay any price” doctrine. If Nixon had not got caught up with Watergate and had been in office longer he might have continued a larger foreign aid plan for the South. Without our B-52′s and billions of dollars in military and civilian aid the South lost.

          • Ray in VT

            It seems as though Johnson did quite a bit of bombing in North Vietnam as well, in addition to the commitment of troops. I don’t know if a war weary public would have tolerated further military action there, and the communists had continued their actions in the face of our bombings, so why would a bit more have helped? We supported corrupt and ineffective governments in the South, and we fundamentally failed to recognize the internal nature of the conflict. This wasn’t just something being orchestrated from Hanoi or Moscow. Significant elements within the South opposed the series of regimes that we propped up there.

          • William

            Sure, the South was corrupt, less corrupt than the North, but still more corrupt than the West, which was one of the things we should have recognized early on. But it’s difficult for us to cast stones when our President, JFK, went along with the coup to take out their President Diem. Which bears to ask “Who was more corrupt?”

          • Ray in VT

            More corrupt than the North or just more to our liking? I don’t like actions like the coup against Diem. A better course would likely to have been to let him fail on his own.

          • nj_v2

            Here’s the act:

            http://www.iraqwatch.org/government/US/Legislation/ILA.htm

            Please point out any information based on “false intelligence or just lies.” Also point out any references to direct military action/invasion while you’re at it.

            Go ahead, we’ll wait.

          • William

            It’s all in the title and was used as one of the justifications for going to war in 2002. So you think a foreign nation, i.e. the USA, telling the Iraq leadership “you got to go” is no big deal?….just sort of a meaningless threat?..Nope…Bill set us on a path to war….he owns it.

          • nj_v2

            In other words, you can’t. Thanks for clarifying.

      • TFRX

        Go back to Williamworld.

        • William

          This is “big boy rules” and that leaves you out.

      • nj_v2

        Clinton singed it, but it was actually Rep. Benjamin Gillman’s (R/NY) act. But you can keep calling it whatever you want as long as it fits your partisan agenda.

        • William

          The thing about being the President is once you sign it, you own it. If Bill did not like it, he should have not signed it. He owns it.

          • Ray in VT

            Again, where did that call for us to invade Iraq? I am sure that it is in there, and please tell us how that act compelled Bush to invade.

    • Shag_Wevera

      I think I heard “Obummer” say it is President Obama’s fault.

    • HonestDebate1

      So this pending civil war is GWB’s fault? Yea, that makes sense….NOT!

      • Ray in VT

        Who kicked over the can and unleashed the ethnic tensions there? He got this ball rolling, but I guess that it’s Obama’s fault for not fixing the mess.

        • HonestDebate1

          I know, gassing the Kurds was not an ethnic tension thing. They all got on fine before GWB. Right?

          • Ray in VT

            Who said that? That was a long time before Bush decided to churn up a war and invade. It’s a good thing that Saddam’s ability to do such things had been eliminated by 2003. It’s just a shame that the inspectors weren’t allowed to do their job by those who had deemed months before that there would be an invasion.

          • HonestDebate1

            Did Bush “unleash” it or not?

  • william lees

    The US will tell all the Sunnis and Kurds to learn to like the new Saddam,Nouri al Maliki. Sectarian non inclusive government? Check.Political imprisonment?Check.Son purchasing palaces,LITERALLY,in other countries?Check( Nice Maseratis he has in London on You Tube) A small group accumulating all the money?Check.
    Unconditional backing by US State Department and delusional think tank experts?Check.The US will arm another despot and demand the citizenry all stay together as one country.Otherwise,Brett,Barak,and John would have to admit backing this tyrant after he LOST the last election was what General Soleimani demande so the US buckled under and made it so.
    When Maliki can’t form a government post election it will be because he lied ALL the time.He has never kept his word.He will turn to his Iranian handlers and ask them to supply troops to “keep order”. The POTUS,State Department,and “experts” will gather under the “Jellyfish Flag” talk of sanctions and watch another country disintegrate.If Maliki had not received their backing ;the split up could have happened peacefully.They still will fail to admit Maliki was a huge error.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Shouldn’t have gone, shouldn’t have stayed, shouldn’t have surged, shouldn’t go back.

  • Ray in VT

    I read some of this piece yesterday, and Filkins mentioned some heavy handed tactics by the al-Maliki government which contributed to tensions between the Sunnis and Shiites:

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/04/28/140428fa_fact_filkins

  • Ed75

    Much of the ancient Christian community has left Iraq, terribly sad.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Terribly smart

      • Ed75

        That too. Last year, maybe two years ago, the Vatican had a Synod to discuss a strategy to encourage Christians of all denominations to stay in the Middle East, that these societies need them. In the end, they said, even if one’s life is in danger, one has the hopeful and fruitful act of martyrdom. They weren’t too hopeful that the situation would change.

  • John Cedar

    The good news is that they are no longer pursuing weapons of mass destruction nor offering compensation for killing our former presidents nor gassing their own people with chemical weapons. nor invading their neighboring country of Kuwait, nor living under the evil oppressive dictator known as Saddam.

    • Ray in VT

      And they weren’t doing a number of those things prior to Dubya & Co.’s dishonest selling of an invasion and the subsequent loss of blood and treasure that that campaign cost us, as well as the probably over 100,000 Iraqis who have died in the violence since.

    • HonestDebate1

      It amazes me how many people are so certain that if we had avoided this war everything would have been just peachy. It’s an alternate reality.

      • Ray in VT

        Who’s arguing that?

        • JS

          Thats just his dis-honest non-0debating way, the “polar opposite argument”: if you disagree with me, you believe the polar opposite of what I believe.

          • jefe68

            It’s childish behavior in my opinion.

          • JS

            Absolutely, and it makes me wonder if they know what they are doing, and enjoy the disruption, or do they fully believe their nonsense.

          • jefe68

            Could be a bit of both.
            It’s the same when confronted with climate change, which is a lot worse than people think it is. But that’s another show.

          • HonestDebate1

            Read your own comments and when you’re done read Jeffe’s.

          • jefe68

            The man child has pontificated…

          • Ray in VT

            I think that there is a good measure of fact in your statements.

        • HonestDebate1

          Anyone who says Iraq was unnecessary is by default saying the alternative was fine.

          • Ray in VT

            Please don’t tell me, or others what they think. You chastise JS’s comments, yet you are making the very argument that he is saying that you are making.

          • HonestDebate1

            If you can read the above and conclude I am telling anyone what they think then God bless you. You guys have the nuance of a jackhammer.

          • Ray in VT

            Nuance is another word that you should probably look up, as it likely means something different from what you either think or claim.

          • jefe68

            He’s confused and suffering from Limbaughitis.

      • ognywogny

        It was pontless, cost us blood and treasure and many said it would come to this anyway. Oh, and we became an aggressor nation under the dimwit cowboy. Now we have the GALL to tell Russia to stay out of Ukraine. Except for our insane power, the world would laugh us (rightly) into derision.

        • HonestDebate1

          Do you really see our liberating Iraq as the same as Russia annexing Crimea? The better analogy would be Hussein attempting to annex Kuwait. Did you support that?

          • Don_B1

            Just how many Iraqis do you think consider themselves “liberated” today?

            How many are living worse lives today than they did even under Saddam?

          • HonestDebate1

            Fallujah.

          • Ray in VT

            So why, after some 10 years of us spending our blood and treasure there can al-Maliki’s government not hold one of its own cities against guys in pickups? His government’s actions have much to answer for with its crackdown on Shiite’s but that is probably really Obama’s fault too.

          • Don_B1

            President Obama’s fault only in the twisted minds of people like [Dis]HonestDebate1.

            Unfortunately there are an incredibly large number of such ideologically or racially blind people.

          • Don_B1

            The people of Fallujah threw out the al Qaida after their last momentary incursion, but I doubt the people there are overly grateful to the U.S. invasion, to the degree that they consider themselves “liberated.”

            They rightfully know that they are in a long-term struggle that will bring a lot of violence in the future.

          • ognywogny

            There were no WMD’s (and they knew it) and we INVADED a sovereign nation. NONE of our business, just like Ukraine, Russia and anywhere else.

          • HonestDebate1

            Do you really see our liberating Iraq as the same as Russia annexing Crimea?

            “If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.”
            –President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

            “He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.”
            –Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

            “[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.”
            Letter to President Clinton, signed by:
            – Democratic Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others, Oct. 9, 1998

            “We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”
            – Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

          • ognywogny

            Yes it is the same. And you wanted to implicate democrats I see. GWB is the war criminal and should be life in jail in the Hague. Socialism in USA forever.

      • JS

        There you go with the false “only two options” * dis-honest non-debate tactics again. If someone disputes something you agree with, you assume that they must believe that polar opposite of what was said, and challenge them on it, even thought they said no such thing. Try a new tactic now and again.

        It would have been dishonest enough if you had just asked, “do you think things would have been peachy”, yet you go further, and say people actually believe this. So sad.

        • Ray in VT

          Telling people what they think is only dishonest debate when people do it to him.

          • JS

            I went through so much of this is 2003. I opposed the war, therefore it was said I supported Saddam! That bloody rush/lust for war was so sickening

          • Ray in VT

            I found much of the administration’s line to be less than convincing, and much of that skepticism was well founded.

          • HonestDebate1

            If you call 12 years, 17 UN resolutions, failed sanctions, second chances, the gathering of 50 allies and Congressional approval a rush to war then you are not being objective.

          • Ray in VT

            Please indicate what U.N. resolutions authorized the invasion, as well as enlighten us as to why the inspectors were not given the time to carry out their investigations when they returned to Iraq in late 2002.

          • HonestDebate1

            Why? And if I say Res. 1441 as I have in the past I already know your position. I disagree completely. What does it have to do with refuting the rush to war claim? UN resolutions are part of the slow slow deliberation; they are part of the paper trail. But more importantly the UN cannot authorize us to do squat. It’s nice if they do as with Iraq but who needs them? Certainly not Obama as he has proved with his unilateral actions.

            And Hussein, as you well know from my repeated enlightenments of your darkness, did not give inspectors the agreed to access. The idea that after 12 years (actually more) of thwarted inspections at every turn and 4 years of no inspections with no verifications, that we should even try is loco. Totally whacked.

            “Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.
            -Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

            What do you call a mockery that goes on 14 years?

        • HonestDebate1

          Please don’t tell me what I think.

          • Ray in VT

            Right. That’s dishonest debate, except when you do it to others.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t do it to others.

          • Ray in VT

            “Anyone who says Iraq was unnecessary is by default saying the alternative was fine.”

            Telling people what they are saying, even if they are not saying it or saying something else. More “honest debate”, except when people do it to you. That’s sick.

          • HonestDebate1

            You cannot be serious. There is no one singled out in my general statement of logic. Defeat my logic. You can’t.

            Compare it to this:

            “If someone disputes something you agree with, you assume that they must believe that polar opposite of what was said…”

            That is totally untrue because it’s made up. All I have to do to refute it is to say “no I don’t”. Then what? Is JS going to double down on the mind reading and insist differently? It’s nuts.

            I am so far in people’s head here it’s pathetically hilarious. Don’t hate just debate.

  • HonestDebate1

    It took a lot of blood and treasure to liberate Iraq, The last administration handed over an Iraq that was secure and on the path to recovery from a tyrant. We replaced a sworn enemy in the heart of the Middle East with an ally. That was a remarkable achievement. The Sunni awakening was a result of an extremely skeptical population finally putting their trust in America’s support. That was the turning point. Then we abandoned them and that trust was broken.

    Obama came into office and pissed it all away.

    • Ray in VT

      That would be a terrible situation if it bore much of any resemblance to the facts.

    • Matt MC

      lol

    • jimino

      This a perfect example of debating without resort to facts; or more accurately, by outright lying. I suppose some uninformed or stupid person could possibly rely on your contention, thereby making you a “winner” of the debate. But “honest” it ain’t.

      • HonestDebate1

        I’m not here to win anything. I doubt this view will be discussed and I think it cannot be separated. I am here to keep the debate as I see it honest.

        What fact do you dispute?

        • jimino

          Everything except that it took a lot of blood and treasure.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

          • jefe68

            No, it’s not alright. If you’re going to post loaded screeds without any evidence to back it up on any level, it’s not alright.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s a matter of record, what I wrote is true.

          • Ray in VT

            Hardly. Simmering tensions existed still, and some of that was only kept in line with the force of American arms. To call Iraq an ally is quite a stretch, as is your characterization of the Sunni Awakening and our subsequent relationship. It may be true to you because you believe it, but factual is another story.

          • HonestDebate1

            “Simmering tensions existed still, and some of that was only kept in line with the force of American arms.”

            Exactly! Thank you.

          • Ray in VT

            So, how many more American lives and money are you willing to pony up in order to keep Iraqis from having at each other? Specifically how much more in taxes can we expect you to contribute to this endeavor?

          • HonestDebate1

            tilt!

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, you are tilted. Sideways I often suspect. It would explain much of your content.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m rubber you’re glue… yadda yadda.

          • jefe68

            No, it’s not. Instability was happening from day one in Iraq. And you just agreed with Tim and now in less than a few minutes you contradict yourself.

            What is really the most damming is your over simplification of this complex post WW1 nation and how you weigh in on this only to post an anti-Obama meme.

          • HonestDebate1

            I was making the same argument well before I ever heard of Obama.

          • Tim from Durham, NC

            By any objective measure, Iraq was far more peaceful in 2010-11 than it had been since the 2003 invasion. The “Anbar Awakening,” had brought numerous tribal sheikhs into the fold of mainstream politics, and most importantly, had gotten Sunnis to buy into the idea of electoral governance and federalism, to the extent that Sunni votes helped drive al-Iraqiya to take more seats in parliament than any other party.

            Blaming it on Obama is off base though. Obama didn’t “cut and run,” he followed the time table developed by the surges architects. In 2010-11 there was no way to predict that Syria would erupt into a protracted, and ever more sectarian civil war. That, more than anything, has helped destabilize Iraq.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that the Sunnis saw that the international fighters were trying to tell them how it was going to be in their own lands, and they didn’t much care for that. That we funded them also probably didn’t help. It wasn’t really that they liked us or the government in Baghdad. It’s just that they hated the Islamists more. The actions of al-Malaki’s government certainly haven’t helped the situation, or, as you mentioned, the situation in Syria.

          • HonestDebate1

            Fair enough, and I do understand that Obama followed the SOFA negotiated by Bush. In my opinion President Obama was more concerned with withdrawal than the situation on the ground. Now the Al Qaeda flag flies over Falujah. Obama also failed to negotiate a SOFA in Afghanistan to the peril of the world. I don’t hold him blameless for failing to keep the fragile peace we fought so hard for.

            Not surprisingly, I also heap a lot of blame on Obama for the situation in Syria which has now spun out of control. I guess my point is that a strategy of America ceding our role as the rudder in a dangerous world has failed.

          • Tim from Durham, NC

            Al Qaeda forces were driven from Fallujah by joint tribal and government assaults soon after they took the city months ago.

            I do agree that more could have been done to preserve peace. Part of the problem is that Democrats had just spent two election seasons denigrating the war and our mission; it was hard to reverse course when they took power. I agree with the Democratic critique of “why the invasion was a horrible idea,” but the argument “the invasion was a bad idea, so let’s just pull out ASAP,” doesn’t hold weight. This is a region that, like it or not, is of vital interests to the US on many levels.

          • HonestDebate1

            Thanks for the update, that’s good news. I hope it holds.

        • jefe68

          All of it.

    • jefe68

      Well, that’s in interesting fable you’re spinning.
      I guess this CNN article from 2006 is one you missed.
      Instability in Iraq was happening as early as 2003.

      Look, you come on this forum all puffed up with your right wing jingoism which is all well and good. But again the facts prove you to be wrong, period.

      http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/03/17/iraq.anniversary/index.html?eref=yahoo

      • JS

        Facts? We don’t need no stinking facts!

        • jefe68

          In HD’s case no, facts are like mosquitos, annoying little things that need to be swatted.

          • JS

            You give it to much credit, by implying that it even notices what a fact is.

          • HonestDebate1

            Y’all really put me in my place. I’m so embarrassed.

          • Ray in VT

            I would be if I struggled with facts and definitions as you do. Perhaps that’s just not a problem in the circles that you inhabit.

          • jefe68

            I’m sure he owns a few horses with more sense then he has.

          • Ray in VT

            There are times that I think it likely.

          • Don_B1

            “What a web we weave, when we practice to deceive.”

            That is how those who try to construct alternate reality stories [lies], forget and give themselves away when they can’t make the pieces fit.

          • jefe68

            That comment sums you up buddy boy.
            Bugs is right, what a maroon.

      • HonestDebate1

        Er …Jeffe, there was a something called the Iraqi surge that happened in 2007. Did you miss it? What relevance does your link have? How does it in any way contradict my comment?

        • jefe68

          Oh the inanity. The surge worked, and then Iraq fell apart. What part of this are you having problems with? The war failed and the aftermath was a failure.

          • HonestDebate1

            Are you saying the surge did not work? Wow.

          • Don_B1

            What do you mean by “worked”?

            The surge got “Al Qaida in Mesopotamia” reduced to negligible effectiveness but did nothing to resolve the tension between Sunni and Shiite factions, which, have been aggravated rather than reduced with the election of Nouri al-Maliki, who has adopted many policies to oppress the Sunni groups.

            So the “surge” “worked” as a short-term tactic against al Qaida, but did nothing for the current real problems of Iraq.

            But continue your disinformation campaign to sow confusion and hate for President Obama, which just distracts from and confuses the real issues under discussion as identified by the show’s title.

            But those who are regular here know that is your whole purpose all too well.

        • TFRX

          Yeah, the surge!

          “You can’t come in here unless you say “swordfish” ‘the surge worked’! Now, I give you one more guess.”

          (Adapted from either Chico Marx in “Horsefeathers”, or every Sunday gasbag show durng the 2008 election season. I honestly don’t remember which.)

    • nj_v2

      Like i’ve said before, serious cognitive issues at work here.

    • Kathy

      The so called “Sunni awakening” was mostly about us paying people to stop shooting. It was more of a Sunni siesta. There was never any expectation by anyone with a clue that the civil war was paused, not ended.

    • TFRX

      You said “liberate”.

      You can stop your losing schtick now.

  • Matt MC

    I think we just need to elect another Bush. Keep it all in the fam.

    • AnneDH

      Hope that was sarcasm.

  • Markus6

    I blame Bush most for this mess, but the congress voted for it (republicans and democrats), along with a number of other countries, so there’s lots of groups who have some level of blame. Debating how much each group is at fault seems like a waste of time and a distraction from a more important point – why are we still there and threatening to get more involved..

    And by the way, what are the real costs and what could we be doing with whatever resources we’re thinking of applying? I always hear troop levels cited as the measure of our commitment. If you’re taking those seriously, you’ve been duped. Our government long ago found that by replacing soldiers or other government employees with contractors, they can fool people into thinking they’re cutting back. I know several agencies very well and they now average 70% contractors.

    So, what are the real numbers (soldiers, contractors, payments to locals, etc.)? And shouldn’t we be thinking about the fact that we’re 17 trillion in debt and projected to add additional trillions of debt in the future?

    • AnneDH

      Why are we still there & threatening to get more involved? We still don’t feel like we’ve gotten enough revenge for 9/11, that’s why. Dumb, I know, considering this is Iraq and not Afghanistan, but Iraq was simmering up in 2002 in a much more convenient way for good ol’ American-style attack.

      Sheesh, our leaders can be soooooooo dumb.

    • TFRX

      but the congress voted for it (republicans and democrats

      There was no debate before that invasion to speak of. Unless one wanted to be called a traitor, a terrorist lover, or perhaps even (gasp) French.

      That’s not a result of Democrats. That’s the neocons, a piss-pants scared mainstream press, and selective intelligence reportage, if not actual fabrication.

      That’s Condi and her “smokinggunmushroomcloud”. That’s Colin (I used to be respectable) Powell lying to the UN.

      Twelve years later and Rumstud is not in a military prison somewhere. That ain’t no “bipartisan” result.

      • Markus6

        So, you’re saying the democrats should not be responsible for their own votes because the media and neocons were being tough on them?

        Well, it’s at least one of the more creative excuses I’ve heard.

        • TFRX

          Let’s not pretend we had a debate. It was much more a fluckking pep rally.

          Your deescalation of the battlestorming bloodlust fomented by the right and the right-wing press into “being tough on them” is bullshat.

          And let’s not pretend every go-along to get along Republican gets off scot-free. Nobody’s asking the rank and file GOP to own their shat from then. Some of the worst hacks over Iraq never even stopped going on the gasbag shows, never got shunned by polite society.

        • Don_B1

          Just because Democrats showed a lack of resolve, etc., does not mean that the prime culprits should go free. Particularly when those prime culprits timed things to force a vote just before an election where they had the Democrats between a rock and a hard place.

          Sometimes staying live to fight another day is the best policy.

          And Hillary, at least was held “responsible” in a way, as that issue was a major reason for her loss to Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries.

  • Human2013

    George Bush infamously couldn’t discern between Sunni and Shia. The ignorance of our leaders is unfathomable.

    • Ray in VT

      I think that many people lack much information and insight into other cultures and countries. I would hope, though, that our leaders might be better positioned than the man on the street.

      • AnneDH

        For example, what was REALLY behind the 9/11 attacks: our occupation of various of their holy sites.

        • Ray in VT

          The presence of our troops in Saudi Arabia certainly angered militant Islamists, who didn’t really want us in the country where the most holy sites were. I don’t think that that was the only beef that they had, but it was one of them at the very least.

      • Shag_Wevera

        Don’t underestimate our cultural ignorance Ray. We choose to be pretty dim, on the whole.

        • AnneDH

          Yep, we’re pretty much sheep. The American public needs education on foreign policy politics if we’re going to consider ourselves informed voters.

    • HonestDebate1

      Oh please, that came from some idiot in Vermont.

      • Ray in VT

        I give the former ambassador far more credit for knowledge than former President Bush, and I have far more faith in him giving it to us straight, based upon the record of former President Bush in that arena. The overly simplified ideas that the Bush administration had regarding post-Saddam Iraq should have been a warning sign to anyone with even half of a clue. Even Cheney had the right idea in the mid-1990s.

        • AnneDH

          I can’t picture Cheney having the right idea about anything. I believe many of Bush’s infamous decisions would have been very different if it weren’t for him.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that he has some good points in 1992 and 1994, as referenced here:

            http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2007/09/27/16571/1992-cheney-deposing-saddam-not-very-damn-many-lives/

          • AnneDH

            Interesting. Obviously something changed his mind in 2003.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah. I don’t know if he has ever addressed a question regarding the change in his positions. I suspect 9/11 would be cited as one factor, but, again, I don’t know if he has spoken on the matter.

          • JS

            “9/11 changed everything”…. the most convenient excuse for shifting positions

      • AnneDH

        There are no idiots in Vermont.

        • Ray in VT

          Oh, there are some.

          • AnneDH

            LOL. Well, yeah, we do have some.

          • Ray in VT

            Every place has at least some. It’s largely a matter of degree I think.

    • James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

      God told Bush to invade, remember? When God tells you to do something it doesn’t matter what differences there are between the Sunni and Shia.

      • HonestDebate1

        That’s silly.

        • Don_B1

          If that is silly, your prognostications are ridiculously hysterical.

        • nj_v2

          DishonestMisDebatorGreggg makes a strong bid for head of the conservo-clown-posse.

          https://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/1007-03.htm

          President George Bush has claimed he was told by God to invade Iraq and attack Osama bin Laden’s stronghold of Afghanistan as part of a divine mission to bring peace to the Middle East, security for Israel, and a state for the Palestinians.…

          The revelation comes after Mr Bush launched an impassioned attack yesterday in Washington on Islamic militants, likening their ideology to that of Communism, and accusing them of seeking to “enslave whole nations” and set up a radical Islamic empire “that spans from Spain to Indonesia”. In the programmeElusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, which starts on Monday, the former Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath says Mr Bush told him and Mahmoud Abbas, former prime minister and now Palestinian President: “I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.’ And I did, and then God would tell me, ‘George go and end the tyranny in Iraq,’ and I did.”

          (excerpts)

          http://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/07/iraq.usa

          George Bush: ‘God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq’
          President told Palestinians God also talked to him about Middle East peace

          George Bush has claimed he was on a mission from God when he launched the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a senior Palestinian politician in an interview to be broadcast by the BBC later this month.

          Mr Bush revealed the extent of his religious fervour when he met a Palestinian delegation during the Israeli-Palestinian summit at the Egpytian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, four months after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.…

          (snipped)

          • hennorama

            nj_v2 — quick prediction:

            “Someone” will write “why are you listening to a terrorist? You should be ashamed of yourself!”

            And/or,

            “That was disproved by someone else denying it happened! Apologize immediately!”

          • Ray in VT

            That’s sick.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — TYFYR.

            I dunno if that’s the case, but the GS Response-O-Matic is likely spinning right now.

            In some support for [nj_v2]‘s post, there’s this to consider, from Jonathan Turley:

            “Onward Christian Soldier: Donald Rumsfeld Reportedly Sent Briefing Booklets on Iraq War to Bush Containing Inspirational Biblical Sayings”

            FTA:

            GQ has an array of daily briefing booklet[s] sent by Donald Rumsfeld to George W. Bush on the Iraq war and the war on terror that featured Biblical sayings. This is the reading prepared for a president who called the war on terror a “crusade.” Such Biblical inspirational sayings as “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him…To deliver their soul from death” were coupled with triumphant pictures for the President’s daily briefings. The covers read like a Sunday school workbook for an adolescent student.

            Strangely missing from the briefings on Christian war-fighting is Matthew 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

            Less surprising is the omission of Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”

            See:

            http://jonathanturley.org/2009/05/18/onward-christian-soldier-donald-rumsfeld-reportedly-sent-briefing-booklets-on-iraq-war-to-bush-containing-inspirational-biblical-sayings/

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1184546/Donald-Rumsfelds-holy-war-How-President-Bushs-Iraq-briefings-came-quotes-Bible.html

          • Ray in VT

            Alrighty then.

          • jefe68

            It’s sicker than sick, it’s despicable…

          • HonestDebate1

            Did you even apologize for your not verifying the source and spreading propaganda. If so, I missed it. Apologize immediately!

          • Ray in VT

            Why? Not providing sources, providing false “quotes”, cropping quotes so as to affect the greater thrust of the speaker, deciding what other people mean even if they are explicitly saying that they are saying something else or just repeating whatever one can find around the web, no matter how dubious, seems to be “honest debate” when you do it. When others do it to you, however, it is sick. Such disparate standards are definitely not honest debate.

          • HonestDebate1

            She represented it as true and did give a source. A bogus one she never apologized for.

          • HonestDebate1

            BS. The henpecker tried to make the same argument an eon ago. It was made by a terrorist and denied by the Bush administration and everybody else in the room, Including Abbas. Get a clue NJ. You’ve been lied to. Your opinion of Bush is a caricature. The claim is ridiculous on it’s face. Are you that gullible? Or just that uncurious?

          • Ray in VT

            Please provide information that the individual in question is a terrorist, and if so, then why does Bush pal around with terrorists?

          • HonestDebate1
          • Ray in VT

            Ooh. Some guy’s wordpress blog? I’m sooo impressed.
            I am familiar with his membership in the PLO, and I assumed that that was your lame basis for labeling him a terrorist.
            So, because he is a member of the PLO, then he is a terrorist? So then, why is the Israeli government, and did former President Bush, pal around with terrorists? Please provide information as to what acts of terror the speaker in question was a part of.
            Of course you could always just declare him to be a terrorist, declare victory and move on. That, I think, will be your likely course of action.

          • HonestDebate1

            He is a senior official of a terrorist organization. He was the head of the PLO planning center for a decade. And if you know that then why mock the Jerusalem journalist who agrees with you? You’re making no sense.

            Charles Manson didn’t murder anyone. To the best of my knowledge neither did Osama Bin Laden but I’m not sure. Or what about the PLO biggest dog of all Arafat? Was he a terrorist?

            So shoot the messenger and pinball around all you want. Take his word as gospel and disregard everyone else.

          • Ray in VT

            “Take his word as gospel and disregard everyone else.” As is often the case, you are confused about my argument. I am seeking to know why you call him a terrorist, considering that Israel, for instance no longer considers the PLO to be a terrorist organization. Just more hyperbole and insults. It shows the weakness of your argument when you have to result to such dishonest tactics. So, then, please tell me why George Bush and members of the Israeli Parliament pal around with terrorists, which they must do, as they meet with members of the PLO, which Israel recognizes as the legitimate leadership of the Palestinian people.

          • HonestDebate1

            The decade was 1971-81 smarty pants. GWB pals around with Satan for all I know. Who cares?

            George Bush did not say God told him to invade Iraq. That’s the point I made and you avoid like the plague. Are you deaf, dumb and blind?

          • Ray in VT

            So, shall we also condemn anyone who met with or worked with Nelson Mandela, for instance, in recent years, as the ANC was once considered a terrorist organization? Considering that the PLO renounced violence some 20 years ago and has been recognized as legitimate by a number of nations, including Israel, upon what grounds do you call Dr. Shaath a terrorist in the present tense? Do you have evidence that he is engaging in terrorist activities?
            I am neither deaf, dumb nor blind. I just take issue with your many inaccurate statements, some of which are just blatant lies.

          • nj_v2

            http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/05/22/bush-god-iraq-and-gog/

            The revelation this month in GQ magazine that Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary embellished top-secret wartime memos with quotations from the Bible prompts a question. Why did he believe he could influence President Bush by that means?

            The answer may lie in an alarming story about George Bush’s Christian millenarian beliefs that has yet to come to light.

            In 2003 while lobbying leaders to put together the Coalition of the Willing, President Bush spoke to France’s President Jacques Chirac. Bush wove a story about how the Biblical creatures Gog and Magog were at work in the Middle East and how they must be defeated.

            In Genesis and Ezekiel Gog and Magog are forces of the Apocalypse who are prophesied to come out of the north and destroy Israel unless stopped. The Book of Revelation took up the Old Testament prophesy:

            “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle … and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

            Bush believed the time had now come for that battle, telling Chirac:

            “This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins”.

            The story of the conversation emerged only because the Elysée Palace, baffled by Bush’s words, sought advice from Thomas Römer, a professor of theology at the University of Lausanne. Four years later, Römer gave an account in the September 2007 issue of the university’s review, Allez savoir. The article apparently went unnoticed, although it was referred to in a French newspaper.

            The story has now been confirmed by Chirac himself in a new book, published in France in March, by journalist Jean Claude Maurice.Chirac is said to have been stupefied and disturbed by Bush’s invocation of Biblical prophesy to justify the war in Iraq and “wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs”.

            (snipped)

          • HonestDebate1

            What a joke! Lets assume for a brief second we can believe anything the convicted embezzler Chiraq says. Let’s say he was not profiting from the “Oil for Food” sanctions and that he didn’t do everything in his power to under cut Bush. Let’s take him at his word.

            What you have snipped is a far cry from God telling Bush to go to war. Are you now opposed to metaphors? The whole thing is stupid. Bush made the case and the world agreed. The war was righteous, legal, unavoidable and honorable. Had we not acted the UN would have relegated to a debating society. How many red lines should be crossed until enough is enough? How long should people suffer while politicians profit from sanctions that are a charade and ostensibly to help citizens and avoid war? It’s stupid.

        • James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

          It may be silly but it’s also the truth. Bush claims that God talks to him.

          • HonestDebate1

            That would be a little bit different, don’t ya think?

    • Shag_Wevera

      I don’t think Bush was as stupid as he was simply ignorant and indifferent. I want to believe he was that stupid, but somehow I just can’t.

      • MrNutso

        I always said that I hoped that Bush (and by extension the administration) was lying about Iraq. I thought it was better that we knew the reasons for going into Iraq were false as opposed to believing the reasons were true and actually having no clue what we were doing.

      • Human2013

        There is nothing “stupid” about George Bush. He grew up in the home of a very accomplished man and attended some of the best schools in the world. His problem was privilege and with privilege comes ignorance and lack of humanity and understanding.

        • Steve__T

          Really?

          What about:

          “The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th.” –Washington, D.C., July 12, 2007

          [EDIT] Some conspiracy theorist believe this to be true.

          or

          “I’m the commander — see, I don’t need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being president.” –as quoted in Bob Woodward’sBush at War

          or

          “Oh, no, we’re not going to have any casualties.” –discussing the Iraq war with Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson in 2003, as quoted by Robertson

          or

          “Do you have blacks, too?” –to Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2001

          or

          “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.” –Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

          or

          “I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe — I believe what I believe is right.” –Rome, Italy, July 22, 2001

          or

          “I wish you’d have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it…I’m sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn’t yet…I don’t want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I’m confident I have. I just haven’t — you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I’m not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.” –after being asked to name the biggest mistake he had made, Washington, D.C., April 3, 2004

          or

          “I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.” –Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008

          or

          “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” –Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

          I could continue but if you think he’s not short a couple cards from a hole deck, think again. Ignorance doesn’t come from privilege, ignorance comes from not knowing. Privileged ignorance come from choice, and most stupidity from the privileged, comes from not givin a dam.

          • Don_B1

            That is really a great collection! Thank you for sharing!

            What it comes down to, though, was whether people believe that George W. Bush actually believed what he said, or whether he was just saying what he knew he had to say to sell his war policies.

            And at the back of all that was his ignorance a product of intellectual laziness or inability?

          • Steve__T

            I Don’t believe he could actually say intellectual, well maybe with practice.

            And don’t forge this one .
            “I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe — I believe what I believe is right.”

            Kinda reminds me of some one on the forum here. And he’s admitted several times he’s stupid and dumber than a box of rocks. Who could complain rightly, that those who try to have an honest debate with him are insane.
            Because to try to do the same thing expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

            So one mans insanity is one mans dumb ass luck?

            What Me Worry?

          • Don_B1

            Love it!

      • TFRX

        Ignorant and stupid are two different things.

        At what point does Bush II’s incredible intellectual incuriousity become its own self-sustaining form of stupidity?

        • hennorama

          TFRX — indeed. At least ignorance is curable, as the saying goes.

          • Ray in VT

            Sometimes, unless one is committed to being ignorant.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — a good point, as we have recently seen with at least one Determinedly Ignorant Real Truther, now conspicuous in his absence.

            One hopes that absence indicates an educational sabbatical rather than the alternative.

          • Steve__T

            That’s because you can’t fix stupid.

  • Tim from Durham, NC

    I hope the guests speak to the fact that, while most American media seems to have determined that a 3rd term for Awlaki is a forgone conclusion, this is not the feeling you get when you read regional sources or look at Iraqi/Arabic message boards. There seems to be at least the perception that Allawi or another candidate has a fighting chance.

    There is also the fear that in a close/violent election, Awlaki will be seen as having only won out due to the successful suppression of Sunni votes by al Qaeda linked extremists, and the neutralization of secular leadership using draconian de-Baathification laws. This would further undermine his credibility in the east.

    Either way, I think we might see a more solidified opposition to Awlaki come out of this election.

    Good sources:

    http://www.aawsat.net/2014/03/article55330216

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/ayad-allawi-interview-iraq-politics.html#

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Is the US embassy still “housed” in the complex visible from the international space shuttle? If not, what are the Iraqis using it for?

    US tax dollars well spent, ‘eh?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Did you serve in Iraq? –Tom Ashbrook

    No, I served during Vietnam. That mess largely fixed itself. Ask the Vietnamese. Their only problem now is Obama’s good buddy, China.

    • jefe68

      China and Vietnam have been antagonistic towards each
      other for centuries.

    • northeaster17

      We can thank Nixon for that

    • Don_B1

      I don’t detect much “good buddy” talk from President Obama about China, particularly in the “pivoting to SouthEast Asia” policy moves President Obama is making.

  • Kathy

    Bush’s war on Iraq will go down in history as one of the largest mistakes in US history. The only reason we were able to get out was we paid off everyone to stop shooting long enough for us to pretend the war was over. Now they’re going back to it just like anyone with a lick of sense knew they would.

    • William

      JFK’s Vietnam War was the largest mistake in US history.

      • Shag_Wevera

        Why does JFK get all the credit? Didn’t several administrations carry that one?

        • William

          JFK’s foreign policy was “pay and price, bear any burden” and he started the bigger involvement. LBJ just followed up with his legacy and went bigger. There is speculation that JFK was taking so many drugs that it might have clouded his judgement but hard to say now.

      • MrNutso

        In terms of the human cost, probably. More Americans killed plus those killed in Cambodia by the Khmer as a direct result of U.S. involvement. However, I wonder if Kennedy would have escalated the conflict the way Johnson did, if Kennedy has not been killed.

        • Ray in VT

          Those sorts of what ifs are always tricky at best.

          • MrNutso

            No doubt. I think if you want to point blame for the worst effects of Vietnam, point to Johnson and Nixon. We can blame Ike and JFK for getting started in Vietnam, but Johnson and Nixon both took this to another level.

          • AnneDH

            Didn’t Nixon finally get us OUT?

          • MrNutso

            After first bombing and then invading Cambodia, he declared victory and left. However, post Nixon’s resignation, Congress eventually eliminated all war funding resulting end of U.S. involvement.

          • AnneDH

            Okay, well, I didn’t like Nixon’s war behavior (or Watergate) much, either.

            But here are 2 things that I bet not many people know (or choose to remember) about him:

            1) He established Public Radio & Television
            2) He introduced a bill for universal health care that failed. The Republicans were aghast.

            Apologies for going off-topic, but every time I hear people dissing Nixon I can’t help bringing these up.

          • MrNutso

            And created the EPA. If he hadn’t been a crook, he would have been a great President. If Ted Kennedy had not turned a deal on health care we would have had national health care for the last 40+ years.

          • Ray in VT

            Did he actually introduce it? I know that he had something in the works at the time. Wasn’t the EPA also established under his watch?

          • AnneDH

            I remember reading about it somewhere recently but am blanking on the source, sorry.

          • Don_B1

            President Nixon and Senator Kennedy were in talks about healthcare proposals, but I have not heard of an actual bill being introduced, though it may have been.

            But Senator Kennedy more than once stated his regrets for not taking up the compromise they had worked on, accepting the compromises that Nixon wanted. It would have been a better system than the PPACA, which was all that could pass in the current Congress.

          • Don_B1

            Yes! President Nixon saw the public’s support for action to improve the environment and stop the pollution that was leading to disasters like a river in flames, etc., and decided to get out ahead of the public (and most politicians!).

            AnneDH missed President Nixon’s “opening to China,” one of his courageous actions on the foreign policy front.

            But his internal insecurities led him to the need to know more about his “enemies” which led to attempts to really undermine our democracy, which would have ended the great experiment as Benjamin Franklin, I believe, called it.

          • Ray in VT

            I have long viewed Nixon as a tragic figure. One could see the elements of his personality that would lead to his downfall a long way off, and presumably he was self aware enough to see these things as well, yet he continued down that road. I find it to be very sad, as he did have some good ideas and positions, but the positive things that he did will be overshadowed by the negative things that you mentioned.

          • AnneDH

            His mental demons are the first thing that come to my mind when I think of him.

            I guess that’s why I came to his defense.

          • AnneDH

            Thank you, Don. Indeed, I did!

          • AnneDH

            I was in high school at the time of his Cambodia bombings.

            Were these an over-response to the killing fields & threat of Cambodian invasion of Vietnam?

          • Don_B1

            The U.S. began massive bombing of Cambodia along the Cambodian border with both North and South Vietnam in March 1969, to try to slow the infiltration of North Vietnamese forces into South Vietnam, which was proving difficult for the South Vietnamese to counteract. See:

            http://rabble.ca/toolkit/on-this-day/us-secret-bombing-cambodia

            which reference I use because of the dramatic picture showing just how widespread the bombing was.

            That bombing eventually destabilized the Cambodian government and led to the ascendancy of the Khmer Rouge, who implemented the killings over widespread areas of Cambodia that became known as the Killing Fields (named by a reporter at The New York Times) between 1975 and 1979 between 1975 and 1979. See:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_Fields

            At about the same time, members of the Khmer Rouge began to fear regional aspirations of the now unified Vietnamese government, and began purging their own nationals who had been trained by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and in May of 1975 attacked a Vietnamese island (Phú), leading to the invasion of Cambodia by Vietnam. See:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambodian%E2%80%93Vietnamese_War

          • AnneDH

            Thank you so much for all this much-needed information!

          • nj_v2

            Citizen activism got us out.

          • Don_B1

            In almost six years of bombing escalation (Cambodia) after President Johnson had spent only four years escalating the war from the advisor level to some 500,000 troops.

            And the terms under which Nixon “got us out” were not that different from what Johnson had available.

            The one thing President Nixon did was dramatically slow the death rate of American soldiers, but even that did not prevent the American public from changing from supporting the war to being against it.

        • William

          The Communists in Cambodia were going to slaughter their fellow countrymen despite any involvement on our part. JFK’s doctrine was “Pay any price, bear any burden” and he was part of the generation that went through WW 2 and did not know defeat. Hard to say how he would have fought the war.

          • Don_B1

            Without the disruption of their lives that our incursions into Cambodia caused, the communists may well never have achieved the power to accomplish the genocide that occurred.

            That is what usually happens when a country is overturned by force releasing unexpected (by the majority) chaos. Then that majority turns to people with “simple solutions to complex problems” which never work as intended but turn power over to radical dictators.

        • B.J.D

          You mean as a direct result of North Vietnamese involvement … right?

      • Ray in VT

        What credit or blame does Eisenhower get for first describing the Domino Theory and sending forces to train the Vietnamese in 1956?

        • William

          Ike seemed more cautious about Vietnam than JFK. The Communists did want to spread though out Asia and the world so there was a valid concern about the Domino Theory. We had advisors in Vietnam as early as 1950 helping the French and Vietnamese. I think Ike limited the number to around 500, but they were not suppose to go into combat. JFK raised the bar to 15,000 and authorized our troops to go into combat. JFK made his foreign policy very clear with his “We will pay any price, bear any burden” speech in 1961. We could call JFK’s foreign policy the original “Cowboy Diplomacy” .

          • Ray in VT

            I think that you make some valid points, but please explain how you lay blame for Iraq at Clinton’s feet yet would seem to absolve Eisenhower.

            I think that to call JFK’s foreign policy the original Cowboy Diplomacy ignores a significant amount of previous American foreign policy.

          • William

            Clinton set the war into motion with his Iraq Liberation Act. He was a very popular President and received little if any criticism about his foreign policy centerpiece.

            Ike did not go big into Vietnam and I think because he and seen so much death in WW II and he was a bit smarter than JFK. He made a token effort with 500 troops but that was it.

            It’s difficult to understand why JFK wanted to make such a foreign policy “pay and price, bear any burden” with little regard for the people that would actually have to pay the price or bear the burden. We had been on a war footing since 1941 and yet he wanted to continue a very aggressive foreign policy. Why not a new course? Keep our NATO treaty but Vietnam? Laos? What was to be gained? We did not have a chance to win but still he did not want to pull out and admit defeat. Either he was totally drugged up or just on an ego trip to win the 64 election. Either way, he made the wrong choice.

            If you think about it, how much different has our foreign policy been since “pay any price/bear any burden?” since 1961. So many mini-wars we have been involved in these last 50 years and so many young Americans dead along the way. So many parents grieving for their lost sons and daughters.

            It’s time to move beyond the “pay and price, bear any burden” foreign policy. I’ll give Obama credit he pulled us out of Iraq, Afghanistan which is a change. He got stupid on Libya and wanted to get dumb on Syria but the American people finally said “enough”.

            We have seen a major turning point away from the “pay and price/burden” foreign policy of JFK and it’s long overdue.

          • Ray in VT

            Declaring that Clinton set the war in motion does not make it so. Bush pulled that one off. So, Ike put 500 troops into Vietnam, but gets no blame, yet Clinton never sent a single soldier in, but he gets blame. An interesting difference there.

            I find it also interesting that you seem to ignore the foreign interventions that occurred from the end of World War II until 1961 and place the blame for our adventures starting with Kennedy. Again, this seems out of line with facts and history, but if you have an ax to grind against Kennedy, then that likely does not matter.

            While intervening in the world has many downsides, I do not think that we can refrain from acting in certain situations, and I find the prospect of sitting back and watching while a foreign dictator massacres his people to be unacceptable. In some of those instances it is not wise to act, as acting may lead to a broader conflict, but supporting the downfall of someone like Qaddafi was entirely doable, and there I feel that not acting would have been worse than acting.

          • William

            Enough people here and around the world thought Iraq was a threat. We got hit on 9-11 and the powers that be determined we should take our major threats before they attack. They settled on Iraq. At least Bush got Congressional approval.

            Ike and Vietnam – Ike did not go big on Vietnam which was a wiser policy than JFK’s.

            I don’t ignore the foreign interventions between 45-61. Greece, Korea. The CIA did have their hands in other places too. The policy of the USA was direct action against mostly Communism via the US military. It worked in Greece and Korea, but we got stupid in Vietnam.

            JFK drew a line in the sand against Communism and that line was in Vietnam. He ignored the very recent loss by the French in Vietnam. To me JFK is over rated and for years got a free pass on his Vietnam Doctrine and his “pay any price/burden” doctrine.

            We don’t need to always involve ourselves with other nations problems Libya was a huge mistake and we looked like the stooges for the Europeans. There was no need for us to become involved there.

            We have done our best for the last 70 years to try and keep the world safer. Now is it time for the USA to step back and let the UN do it’s job. We need to rebuild our country and set on a new foreign policy that is much less quick to send in the Marines.

      • northeaster17

        From Robert McNamar’s 1995 book:

        A pivotal period of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, punctuated by three important events: the overthrow and assassination of South Vietnam’s president Ngo Dinh Diem; President Kennedy’s decision on October 2 to begin the withdrawal of U.S. forces; and his assassination fifty days later.

        https://www.bostonreview.net/us/galbraith-exit-strategy-vietnam

        • William

          JFK doomed South Vietnam when he gave the green light to kill President Diem. Like him or not, Diem was the best leader available for South Vietnam.

          • Ray in VT

            One of my friends who was there at the time didn’t have much respect for a regime whose police arbitrarily kidnapped and raped women coming off of the trains and mistreated the Buddhists.

          • William

            Look at Chicago or other major US cities now and we have the huge levels of violence too.

          • Don_B1

            Too much of the “violence” in Chicago may be by the police, but their actions are not even close to what South Vietnam’s police were taking part in.

          • Ray in VT

            Look at the crime rates. They’ve fallen in half in many places over the past 20 years, and some are statistically as safe as they have been at any time in the past 40+ years.

    • Iraq veteran

      I don’t remember paying anyone to not shoot at me….

      • Don_B1

        The payments went to the different religious factions to stop shooting at each other!

        Or were you just trying to inject some snark?

        • Iraq veteran

          Perhaps I was. Perhaps you’re being a bit of a troll. Either way I meant what I said. Be it us or each other I dont remember anything along the lines of payments to stop the violence. What I remember was the lull because we were publicly stating that we were pulling out. They wanted us gone so they stopped fighting long enough for us to leave. I’d love it if you linked me to a story that talks about it so I can have a starting point for my own personal research.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Kathy, I think you can just add it to the list. We don’t do this intervention thing very well.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Iraq and Afghanistan prove that once the baby sitter leaves, the toddlers start throwing feces all over again. Civilization. It’s for high EQ adults.

    Look at Pakistan. Once the British empire left, it started slowly devolving. And it’s readily apparent now, it’s never going to get its act together.

    • Don_B1

      Where do you place today’s U.S. civilization, with the radical right throwing feces like never before to achieve some fantasy of nostalgia that never was, while denying the real enemies of the future of this country, climate change and any real policies that would work to correct the bad macroeconomics that our economy faces.

  • ian berry

    Remind me what Senator Clinton’s position on the Iraq war was.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      She was for it. Before she was ‘agin it. [she voted for the Senate resolution]

    • TFRX

      Remind me what intelligence was ginned up to get people to vote for the Iraq invasion.

      • MrNutso

        And remind me of the tone in the country towards those who questioned or opposed the war.

        • TFRX

          I believe the term you’re looking for is Dixie Chicked.

          • HonestDebate1

            Love’m

          • Ray in VT

            Funny how saying that the President is a disgrace can get one group death threats and practically boycotted in some circles, but those same circles will stand by their man when he calls another President a “subhuman mongrel”.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yea uncle Ted skated on that now didn’t he. I went and paid big money to see the Chicks on their first show back in the States. People can choose how to spend their money, ain’t it a bitch?

          • Ray in VT

            Seems like boycotts of businesses and speech against individuals who promote right wing positions often gets described as being against freedom, liberty and the First Amendment and such. Funny how it works when the shoe is on the other foot.

          • HonestDebate1

            C’mon, that’s ridiculous. The Dixie Chicks pissed off their audience. They misjudged who they were. It was a stupid thing to do.

          • TFRX

            You really spend that decade in a cabe, dintcha?

            Death threats on line one, jagoff.
            And Foxfukkers whipped up the hangin mob against the Dixie Chicks like a firestorm.

          • HonestDebate1

            Oh please. Country music has a base. I know a little about entertaining audiences with music. Pissing off your audience by injecting stupid political opinions is just dumb. They are free to be dumb but the fact remains.

        • James

          So your saying Senator Clinton wasn’t wrong about Iraq, she was just a coward, and didn’t vote with the 153 other legislators who opposed the war.

          • TFRX

            Come back when you can fool someone in to thinking all the intelligence was given to Congresscritters.

            That debate didn’t even take place. Do you even remember what “public discourse” and the press were doing 12 years ago?

          • HonestDebate1

            Hillary was saying the same things in 1998. So were all the Dems. So let’s blame Bush.

          • jefe68

            It’s interesting to note that you seem to not to hold GW Bush to the same scrutiny as Obama. One does wonder why…
            Partisan hack methinks?

          • MrNutso

            Maybe. I assume she based here decision (as many did) on what would affect their political future. In hindsight she made the wrong choice. But, I don’t really know how she based her decision.

            Secondarily, while many may have voted out of political cowardice, they didn’t not vote for incompetent execution of the effort.

          • Don_B1

            And their vote was for a proposal that required U.N. approval for whatever action President Bush authorized, which was never obtained.

          • northeaster17

            Being lied to by the Executive Branch about the safety of the country can sway many.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      And Sec. of State Clinton’s Iraqi ‘reset’?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Death to anyone who disagrees with me!
    –Islam

    Now, there’s an intelligent, adult like philosophy of live and let live.

    • Shag_Wevera

      I missed that line in the Quran.

    • Shag_Wevera

      There is a story in the Quran about Muhammed traveling through the same alley each day, and a woman dumping garbage out the window on him daily as he passed by. One day, the woman wasn’t there to dump trash on him, so he stopped to see if she was okay.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Does Iraq hold together? –Tom Ashbrook

    Nope. 3.5 to 1 against. I’ll set the spread.

  • Ray in VT

    Holding some of these multi-ethnic, religiously divided nations together is very tricky. Tito managed to hold Yugoslavia together for a long time, but, as has been mentioned, without that firm hand at the helm, then the place came undone. That doesn’t mean that that is what necessarily has to happen in Iraq, but it helps to show how troubled such nations can be.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Two things you could say about Saddam 1) he held the country together 2) his presence acted as a check against Iran.

      And don’t you wonder what we could have done with the money had we chosen to spend it at home?

      • Ray in VT

        True. I think that one can accurately state those two points, and one should not be accused of somehow endorsing Saddam for saying them.

      • Don_B1

        The only problem with that is that conservatives would have insisted on tax breaks/cuts and that would only have hastened the Great Recession and the Fall 2008 financial collapse, or at least made it worse.

        But don’t give up hope: the VSPs of the developed world are marching right toward the next recession with their demands for austerity in a depressed economy. Just look at what Sweden, of all countries, and which had survived the initial stages of the Lesser Depression nearly intact, until they pushed austerity a few years ago and they are now in deflation:

        http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/20/further-notes-on-sweden/?module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=Opinion&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs&region=Body

        Make sure to look at the link to Professor Krugman’s first post on the subject.

  • James

    Man if only we spent another 10 years, a couple more billion dollars and maned a couple thousand more young men. Clearly then we would have peace in Iraq right everybody?

    • Ray in VT

      I think that you may have meant trillion.

      • James

        My mistake.

        • Ray in VT

          It’s easy enough to do.

      • hennorama

        Ray in VT — updating the late Sen. Everett Dirksen:

        “A [tr]illion here, a [tr]illion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

        Source for original quote: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/everett_dirksen.html#w5fPt8rmqvL24S8L.99

        • Ray in VT

          I also thought of that quote.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — well, you know what they say: … “some minds sometimes think the same way on some topics,” or something like that. Seems I heard it somewhere. ;-)

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      I vote: “wrong”

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Iraqis will greet one another as liberators. With garlands of flowers and candied fruits. A paradise on earth. We light our lamps beside the golden gates of the city.
    –The Republican party in Baghdad

  • TyroneJ

    Democratic forms of government are intrinsically unstable. Which means it takes constant work, rules which have checks & balances, and respect for following the rules by all participants to make them function. Some cultures are not mature enough for democracy, and when such cultures are given a democracy to run, they quickly ignore the rules and degenerate into a tyranny of the majority and ultimately a dictatorship, sometimes still with the facade of elections. Iraq, Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Venezuela are just a few examples where the experiment has been done, and the results unequivocally show their cultures are not mature enough to sustain a functioning democracy. So yes, a civil war in Iraq is as predictable as the sunrise.

  • George_Dedham_MA

    Why would it be such a bad thing if a Iraq were to break up
    into three countries, one Sunni, one Shia, and one Kurd? Why is it so important it be a single
    country?

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Oil, glorious oil.

  • Tim from Durham, NC

    Tom, can you ask the ambassador what the Iraqi government will do to ensure that attack helicopters and drones provided to them by the US aren’t used to further escalate the sectarian conflict? How do we prevent these from being used in revenge attacks?

    This year’s slew of bombings are clearly the work of Sunni terrorist groups, but there are also reports of seemingly state sponsored massacres being carried out by Shia militia groups as well:

    “What happened next in the troubled Sunni-dominated town remains unclear, but according to eyewitnesses suspected Shia militants raided Buhriz for hours without any intervention from the army.

    The gunmen reportedly rounded up a group of men and shot them before hanging some of the bodies from electricity poles.

    Among those who were killed were teenagers and elderly men, the eyewitnesses were quoted as saying, also telling Iraqi Sunni-controlled television networks that the gunmen had set fire to Sunni mosques, shops and houses.”

    http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/5837/19/An-unnoticed-massacre.aspx

    “When seven Shias get killed, I want seven Sunnis to get killed, too,” Shia lawmaker Hanan Al-Fatlawi told the Al-Sumeria television station last week.”

    “Gun battles erupted in cities with Sunni majorities across Iraq on Tuesday after security forces from the Shiite-led government stormed a Sunni protest encampment in a village near the northern city of Kirkuk. The clashes left dozens dead and wounded”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/24/world/middleeast/clashes-at-sunni-protest-site-in-iraq.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    “One of Baghdad’s most deadly sectarian pogroms, which saw at least 40 people, apparently all Sunnis, killed by Shia militants in a rampage in a Baghdad suburb last weekend, has further damaged sectarian relations in Iraq.
    Witnesses said gunmen, some masked, set up roadblocks and stopped motorists in the mainly Sunni suburb of Jihad, near Baghdad airport, demanding to see identity cards. Those with Sunni names were shot dead; Shias were released.” – This is an older event

    http://www.theguardian.com/guardianweekly/story/0,,1818778,00.html

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Democratic process. Not sure you want to go there. It’s barely working here in the USA.*

    * With a Supreme Court who is actively hostile to the lives of We the People.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    No model? What happened to that Iraqi Constitution that adolescent US Republican gofers wrote for you? {Dan Senor and the yobs}

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Q. How do you stop a maniac intent on killing you and your family?
    A. Not by giving him lectures on representative government.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Dear Iraq. Here’s the title and here’s the keys. Don’t drive it off the cliff.
    –The American People

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Did Richard Nixon waste all the treasure when he settled for the same peace deal LBJ obtained with the North Vietnamese?

  • William

    Joe Biden suggested years ago that Iraq be slit into three different countries. That appears to be a decent idea now and something worth considering.

    • JS

      Something for the Iraqi’s to consider, and to deal with, not US

      • William

        Yes. We need to stay out of it and let them sort it out themselves.

  • hennorama

    There seems to be no end to the mistakes made by the U.S. with regard to Iraq, and whether we stay or go, whether we continue to support the present government or not, the outcomes will likely be bad on some level.

    We own all of the mistakes, each of which has compounded the other.

    That said, arguing over who did what and when changes nothing about what we do now or next, which are the only things that matter, as one of Mr. Ashbrook’s guest said.

    [PS: And as the same guest said, studying past U.S. actions in Iraq can inform our future decisionmaking in other, future situations (assuming we learn from our mistakes, of course).]

    • Iraq veteran

      I think we have learned a small amount from our mistakes. I point to Lybia.

      • hennorama

        Iraq veteran –thank you for your response.

        I agree.

        However, the lengthy military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan will have unpredicatble repercussions due to the various resentments built up over time. As I have pointed out in the past, one can see how the the Amritsar Massacre, on April 13, 1919, which is famously depicted in the film Gandhi, and is not only remembered to this day, it later led to violence in the UK many years later.

        Over two decades later, a witness to the Massacre, Udham Singh, assassinated Sir Michael Francis O’Dwyer, who was the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab at the time of the Massacre, and who had tacitly approved of Brigadier General Reginald Dyer actions.

        As you know, it only takes one determined person to wreak considerable havoc, and predicting and preventing all such individual acts is practically impossible.

        That legacy will be with us for decades.

        • Iraq veteran

          I have no doubt. I can only hope that a simple assassination is all that comes back on us and not another 9/11ish attack.

    • ian berry

      Thats the problem, there has not been an argument or debate. What kind of future deterrent is there without the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for all those compounding mistakes? People learn nothing when theres no consequences for their bad decisions.

      • hennorama

        ian berry — Thank you for your response.

        The “we” in the original post was intended to exclude any consideration of the actions of any individual or individuals. All of those individual actions are part of the collective overall prosecution of Iraq War II. Assigning blame and/or giving credit are interesting, but not terribly instructive when analyzing failure and/or success.

        As a nation, we can learn from analyzing the failures and/or successes, and applying the lessons learned in the future.

        We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it.

  • keruffle

    Saddam was bad
    Now much worse
    Country gone mad
    George Bush curse
    @keruffle

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    “War for oil” “War for oil” “War for oil”
    We heard that refrain trumpeted continually for 5 years.

    We are still waiting for that oil and it is clear that it is never coming. It never was.

    Yet, nary an apology from those that leveled that phony charge.

    Me? I say maybe it is too bad it wasn’t “war for oil”. Maybe we could have gotten something tangible out of this mess.

    • northeaster17

      Actually didn’t the Bush administration and it’s supporters push the notion that the war would be paid for by Iraqi oil? War for oil? That had to be part of it. War of convenience? Absolutely.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        No. That was always the meme pushed by the conspiracy theorists on the left.

        • nj_v2

          Same people who push the round-earth conspiracy.

    • nj_v2

      Hahahahaha!!!!

      WftC surges into lead for clown-posse chief, at leas temporarily overtaking DisHonestMisDebator for the title.

      In cahoots with multinational Big Oil, BushCo planned for control of the oil from the outset, Cheney and Wolfowitz counted on oil revenue to pay for the war and reconstruction, but they f*****d up things so badly the sectarian violence and instability ruined their little neocon plan, and now Clown-in-Chief wants us to think the dissentors who made the war-for-oil claim were wrong!

      Hahahahahahaha!!!! Ya just couldn’t make this stuff up.

      http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Oil_and_War_in_Iraq

      Oil and War in Iraq have been inextricably intertwined, it seems, in the war plans of both the Pentagon and the oil industry–otherwise known as “Big Oil”–long before the recent war in Iraq.

      However, in the words of one US oil company executive, the plans for Iraq’s oil “‘all turned out a lot more complicated than anyone had expected’. Instead of the anticipated post-invasion rapid expansion of Iraqi production (an expectation of an additional 2m b/d entering the world market by now), the continuing violence of the insurgency has prevented Iraqi exports from even recovering to pre-invasion levels.” [1]

      “In short,” wrote Ian Rutledge, in the April 11, 2005, Financial Times (UK), “the US appears to have fought a war for oil in the Middle East, and lost it. The consequences of that defeat are now plain for all to see.”

      Greg Palast, writing March 17, 2005, for BBC News’ Newsnight, reported that insiders at the U.S. Department of State related that there were two conflicting plans “setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of ‘Big Oil’ executives and US State Department ‘pragmatists’” on the other. “‘Big Oil’ appears to have won.” [3]

      Palast wrote that, “The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was … drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.” In fact, insiders told Palast, “planning began ‘within weeks’ of Bush’s first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.”…

      (snipped)

    • HonestDebate1

      Congrats on your NJ bestowed title, I’m very humbled. I got a kick out of Donald Trump saying we should have taken the oil but it’s not the way America rolls. Everybody knows the war was about revenge for daddy.

      These people are a hoot!

    • hennorama

      WftC — the War For Oil concept leaves out important qualifiers, and allows for significant misinterpretation.

      Many interpret it as War For [Ownership Of] Oil, which certainly has not been the case. Instead, Iraq War II was War For [Access To] Oil, as was Iraq War I.

      The US and the world economy need to keep the oil flowing freely, regardless of who owns it. Having limited/no access to Iraq’s oil resources (and Kuwait’s, had Saddam Hussein succeeded in Iraq War I) is simply an unacceptable outcome. This required a regime change, by any means necessary, which is what happened.

      • HonestDebate1

        The following is compiled from excerpts of Bush’s speech to the UN on Sept. 12, 2002 and must be discarded to hold the view this was a war for oil:

        In 1991 UN resolution 668 demanded that the Iraqi regime cease at once the repression of its own people, including the systematic repression of minorities, which the council said threatened international peace and security in the region. It was ignored.

        A UN commission on human rights concluded in 2001 tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution and torture by beating and burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation and rape.

        Wives are tortured in front of their husbands; children in the presence of their parents; and all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state.

        Resolutions 686 and 687, demanded that Iraq return all prisoners from Kuwait and other lands. Iraq’s regime agreed. The Secretary General’s high-level coordinator for this issue reported that Kuwaiti, Saudi, Indian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Bahraini and Armeni nationals remain unaccounted for; more than 600 people. One American pilot is among them.

        In 1991, the U.N. Security Council through Resolution 687 demanded that Iraq renounce all involvement with terrorism and permit no terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq. It broke the promise.

        In violation of Security Council Resolution 1373, Iraq continues to shelter and support terrorist organizations that direct violence against Iran, Israel and Western governments. Iraqi dissidents abroad are targeted for murder.

        In 1993, Iraq attempted to assassinate the Amir of Kuwait and a former American president. Iraq’s government openly praised the attacks of September 11. And Al Qaeda terrorists escaped from Afghanistan and are known to be in Iraq.

        In 1991, the Iraqi regime agreed destroy and stop developing all weapons of mass destruction and long range missiles and to prove to the world it has done so by complying with rigorous inspections.

        Iraq broke every aspect of this fundamental pledge.

        After all of that Bush finally got to WMD.

        Read the entire speech here:

        http://edition.cnn.com/2002/US/09/12/bush.transcript/

  • Iraq veteran

    I saw somewhere in the comments something about a secular dictator…
    They had one. We put him there too.

  • spiral007

    I found it very telling that Mr Parker pretty much laid all the blame on Iraqi politicians regarding our inability to get Iraq to sign the SFA. He never once mentioned the fact that the SFA requires the host country to cede its sovereignty to USA when it comes to US soldiers. Thus as an example they could go and rape Iraqi women but they could not be tried by the Iraqis in Iraq under Iraqi law! (BTW, this is the same arrangement we have on (American) Indian reservations, where Indian laws do not apply to non Indians even if they commit an act on Indian soil against an Indian…there was a case recently to that effect). No self respecting nation, state or government will accept that unless the circumstances are dire!

    An example was given of Japan and Germany….those were different times and these two countries were totally devastated. Plus, cold war was in full swing!

    The second point I would like to make is there was no mention of the ‘elephant in the room’, with respect to the conflict in Syria. A passing reference was made to the gulf states but the fact is that it is Saudi Arabia that is destabilizing Syria (and Anbar province) with OUR blessing.

    We now have journalism through OMISSION which has the effect of providing a very one sided view to the public at large.

    Finally, the goal of Iraq war was never WMDs (that was for the proletariat), it was opening up of the oil fields to western companies, a goal that has been achieved as was mentioned.

    • Don_B1

      The treatment of North American Indians, particularly on their own “reservations,” has been despicable for a long time.

      But the circumstances of Iraq and Afghanistan much more closely resembles those of Japan and Germany after WWII than those of North American Indians today, and your analogy just does not apply.

  • tbphkm33

    Fools – a great number of us warned about this when the Imposter “President” GW Bush invaded a sovereign country. Not many liked the Saddam regime, but it was recognized that he was keeping a powder keg contained.

    More and more of US “moral authority” ebbs away as it is proven that it is just an empty paper empire like so many before it. Destined to the dustbin of history… unless it can learn to be a country amongst many. Not superior, not better, just another nation.

    • spiral007

      Ah! But how will be exceptional then! I have my own list of American exceptional-ism.

      • HonestDebate1

        American exceptionalism is real… or used to be. It is not a statement about the people it’s about our system which is unique in history. We start with the premise we are born with certain unalienable rights. Those rights don’t come from government.

        • Ray in VT

          Are you sure that it isn’t inalienable? Also, please tell me how those rights are in/unalienable (they mean the same thing now and they also did in 1776) under the Constitution. Perhaps you could point me to the part of the Constitution that specifies what rights cannot be altered or denied, even theoretically, by amending the Constitution. It’s in there, right?

          • HonestDebate1

            If you don’t even know which word was used in the DOI then take a history class and get back when you’re done.

            And your premise is whacked. The Constitution does not bestow those rights. That’s the point. But you know that. You may not like it but you know it.

          • Ray in VT

            It doesn’t matter which word was used. They both meant the same thing, and they still do.

            You didn’t answer my question with your incredibly ignorant non sequitur. So, there is no un/inalienable rights as recognized under the law, which is what counts, and not theory. Thanks for clarifying.

          • HonestDebate1

            You just live in your own little world don’t you? It’s just kinda of creepy how you keep wanting to beat a dead horse. I’ve explained the difference 100 times with citations like Black’s law dictionary and others. Inalienable means not subject to alienation. Unalienable means incapable of being alienated. John Adams changed it. So what? You don’t have to believe it. What
            difference at the point does it make?

            The word they used was unalienable that’s indeniable. So what’s with the in/un thing with regards to the statement/declaration of independence/autonomy?

            And again your premise is whacked. Where in the Constitution does it give me the right to breath air (life)? Where does it grant me the right to walk around unshackled (liberty)? It makes me happy to go fishing do I need the Constitution to approve my request?

            My reply was in regards to American exceptionalism. Your goblity goop is stupid.

          • Ray in VT

            I know. I live in the world of valid sources and research, not some bunk espoused on some guy’s blog using definitions from decades later that don’t even really show clear differences.
            I don’t think that there is a difference. Sources indicate no difference existed in the meanings at the time. You argue for a difference, and it is a baseless position based upon the sources from the time.
            So, nothing in the Constitution ensures that these rights are incapable of being taken away? Interesting that such a key concept would not have been embedded in the Constitution if it was so important. Perhaps you missed the bit where the Constitution allowed an entire class of people to be denied liberty for the first 70ish years after its inception. So, how were those rights in/unalienable if they were denied to some? Given that the Constitution delegates much power to the states, and states could theoretically ban fishing, then yes, the Constitution allows the government to take away that happiness.
            Your simple-minded and uninformed views about American history never cease to amaze me. It’s no wonder that you push some view of American exceptionalism based not upon sources, such as de Tocqueville, who emphasize America’s lack of a landed aristocracy, but upon some cockamamie theory pushed by Newt. I think that Dr. Krugman’s view of that man’s fans is pretty right on.

          • HonestDebate1

            Again, what difference does it make? The words are nearly identical in meaning as I have always said. Who cares? You seem to be offended by the notion that our Constitution is based on the Declaration of Independence and that the DOI is based on the central tenet of our founding which is we are endowed with certain unalienable rights. You even go so far as to question whether the word that was used, was used.

            Further, I don’t know if your position is that Bouvier’s or Black’s law dictionaries invented the minor distinction based on no history at all or if you somehow think Blackstone’s commentaries was not written before the DOI. Either way you are going to great lengths to paint my position as unfounded when it is. You don’t have to agree but sticking your fingers in your ears and covering your eyes while claiming I have no basis is not honest debate. I have a basis for my opinion that is widely held.

            I don’t agree with your logic nor your imaginary Supreme Court decisions. I don’t understand the logic that makes no distinction between the Constitution allowing something and society tolerating something unconstitutional. Or that denying someone’s rights somehow means they were not born with them. Or equating the word “deny” with “alienate” [to convey or transfer (as property or a right) usually by a specific act rather than the due course of law].

            Slavery did not square with the Constitution. I just think your positions is bizarre but that’s fine. You are entitled to your opinion.

            I go back to my original opinion that it is really the notion of our creator that gets under your craw. Sorry but you’ll have to take that up with the founders.

          • Ray in VT

            Interesting, so your claim that one that can be taken away and another cannot is “nearly identical”? That seems like a very large difference to me.

            “You seem to be offended by the notion that our Constitution is based on the Declaration of Independence and that the DOI is based on the central tenet of our founding which is we are endowed with certain unalienable rights.” Please don’t tell me what I think. I also find it interesting that that is the conclusion that you draw. Also, please show where such a concept is embedded in the Constitution. You have yet to do so. Also, I think that your view of the “central tenet of our founding” is not well based in the history of the Colonial and Revolutionary period. Perhaps it is because you are not well read in the period in question.
            Definitions from decades later, some of which do not really show clear differences, matter not at all when contemporary sources show a lack of any difference. Please show how Blackstone contrasted the terms. I have repeatedly asked you to do so, yet you do not. Claiming that which is false is a lie.
            Who said anything about the Supreme Court? I posited an Amendment. What prohibits anything in the Constitution from being amended? Why would the “central tenets” of our founding be ignored in the Constitution and be left open to alteration. Bizarre.
            Let me know how claiming a right that is not recognized by law works out for you in court. We live under the law, not under various legal theories, when it comes to rights, and a theory won’t stand up in court.
            Slavery did “square” with the Constitution. It does not “square” with the ideals of the Declaration, but that document does not carry the force of law, as the Constitution does. I know, it must be strange to encounter positions based upon the history of the period and not some bunk handed down to you by your high school teacher (was it?) and reinforced by some guy’s jewelry blog. It must be very confusing for you. I would suggest reading some good books or enrolling in courses at a local college, unless you’ve given your last $20 to Newt again.

    • brettearle

      Not enough is made–even if it is sometimes reported–of all the civilian casualties, as the result of Bush II’s action.

    • HonestDebate1

      Why do you live here? Or do you?

  • tbphkm33

    True – the GW Bush “Administration” was guilty of all those charges – save the sabotage. Then again, the war was essentially GW’s way to sabotage the entire country of Iraq.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Meanwhile — closer to home…

    “How Chicago Became ‘Chiraq’

    This Easter weekend, 45 people were shot in the city that’s come to be known as ‘Chiraq.’ And until Obama can get the guns off the streets of his hometown, the bloodshed won’t stop. President Obama may have gotten our troops out of Iraq, but the gunfire in his hometown of Chicago is still earning it a searing nickname coined by young people who live there.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/22/how-chicago-became-chiraq.html

    • Ray in VT

      Interesting that crime rates in Chicago are way down from what they were a few years ago, yet one would hardly know it listening to some.

      • HonestDebate1

        Chicago is way above the national average for murder by gun shot. Quit celebrating.

    • hennorama

      WftC — you’re kinda on fire today with the off-topic comments that serve only to criticize President Obama.

      Well done, sir.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        “on fire”

        On Earth Day? I hope not — exhaling is the only “pollution” I’m willing to contribute.

        • hennorama

          WftC — TYFYR.

          The idiom was chosen specifically, as I had observed your commentary in the T-Rex forum prior to making my remark.

          And don’t discount the electrons required to both write both your original post, and all the others you “contribute” today.

          Unless you are not powered by fossil fuels, of course.

          Thanks again.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Very good!!!

            Since we are discussing Earth Day and Obama and that you have shown an interest in Tesla: I see that Obama wants to increase the Tesla tax credit to $10K.

            Since only the 1% can afford Tesla’s could this be considered a “tax cut for the rich”?

            Me? I’ll wait until tomorrow to burn brush.

          • hennorama

            WftC — TYFYR, and your very kind words.

            You might want to check your facts, as my understanding of the proposed idea is that the increased maximum credit specifically does not apply to vehicles that cost over $45K, and also that it would be a point of sale rebate rather than a tax credit.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Thanks for those details. I see that the NADA is balking at the proposal. Wonder why? There must be some fine print.

            I guess under Obama’s proposal the Tesla and > $45000 autos stay at the $7500 credit so the 1% are still covered.

          • hennorama

            WftC — TYFYR.

            You’re welcome, of course.

            That’s the thing about [using] sources — they allow you to actually verify things prior to posting them.

            The NADA squawking would hardly be surprising, as a point of sale credit would obviously tip the scales toward EVs rather considerably, making them actually much more cost-competitive, without the buyer having to jump through hoops, and having a definitive immediate discount via a rebate rather than a later and indefinite one via a tax credit on one’s income tax return.

            In other words, instant gratification for the buyer.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Doesn’t “instant gratification” for the buyer also help the seller? The implication from what I read was it gets them mired in red tape.

            Also, this sounds like another $4B clunker. Fortunately, I doubt this will ever see the light of day.

          • hennorama

            WftC — yes, of course, but only for a limited number of dealers, rather than the entire industry.

            And of course, benefitting one segment detracts from another, as vehicle sales are pretty much a zero-sum game. Pick one make and model, to the exclusion of all others, and the vast majority of buyers are done, for years at a time.

            Of course, turning the credit into a rebate would be more budget-unfriendly, as the average budgetary cost per vehicle would be larger than at present.

            It would also make the original false claim that “the gov’t. pays $7500 for every Chevy Volt sold” closer to being true.

          • Don_B1

            Thank you for the additional information, as I had not been aware of President Obama’s proposal, not to mention the details, as is obvious from my reply to WftC above.

            It will be interesting if WftC compalins about “instant gratification.” I guess it will depend on the circumstances.

          • hennorama

            Don_B1 — you’re welcome, of course.

            Increasing the maximum credit to $10K, and having it be a point of sale rebate are not new ideas, but I’m happy your awareness of them has increased.

            Even without an increased maximum credit, simply changing the incentive from a tax credit to an instant rebate would be a greater incentive for the average taxpayer, the vast majority of whom would not be able to take full advantage of the nonrefundable existing credit, since their Federal tax liability is under $7500.

            Thanks for your response, and your interest.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t know about the Tesla but the average income of Volt buyers is $175K. It’s a toy for the wealthier. And we subsidize them to boot. Usually liberals oppose that sort of thing.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Yup. Tesla is a toy for the “wealthier” since the low end is $80K.

            Solar panels subsidies enrich the 1%. Goldman-Sachs is making a boat load off of Federal and state tax credits.

          • Don_B1

            No, but it does function as an incentive to put more of Tesla’s cars on the road, thus building its “economy of scale” [you do support that axiom of manufacturing?] so that the cost of electric cars in the future will go down.

            Note that at the current price level, Tesla had to include many expensive “features” to make it comparable to those from Lexis, Infinity, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, etc. When Tesla builds its battery manufacturing facility, the most expense part of a Tesla car is expected to come down markedly, and this may just happen sooner because of the tax credit.

      • brettearle

        Never underestimate the Right’s obsessive craving to demonize its political adversaries.

        If, For Example, the Left breathes the same air that the Right does, the Right would regard this practice as an hypocrisy of the Left–for inhaling O2 that might be polluted with particulates that increase Global Warming.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Is Michael Daly on the “right”? I read the article and I doubt it. The story about how the denizens of Chicago believe they are living in a war zone — much like Iraq. Why is this a left/right issue? You are the one who made it a left/right issue. It is about the people — the children living in deplorable conditions.

          You will be partially excused if you didn’t bother to READ the article and simply decided to reflexively tag team against me with Henny.

          • brettearle

            The POINT is that THIS is a Forum ABOUT Iraq.

            And, instead, you chose to MANIPULATE the subject of Iraq into linking it–insipidly–with YOUR own abiding HATRED.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Try and pay attention. The article was about parallels between Iraq and Chicago. The parallels are self-described by the denizens of Chicago. You are free to believe that isn’t relevant to this thread. I disagree. I thought was interesting.

            And I don’t have any “hatred”. Once again, you are confused.

          • brettearle

            It’s Hatred. Pure and clear.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Hatred for who or what?

          • brettearle

            Political Hatred

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            It isn’t hatred. It is more a frustration to what is happening to our country; mostly imposed on us by the power elites. And both parties are complicit. So is the media.

          • brettearle

            I don’t see the President as faultless.

            And I do agree that our country is in trouble–partially, because of our failing System.

            Two things that all of us continuously forget:

            In terms of what is going on in the world
            –and, to some degree, within our country–the President’s power is limited, unless he wishes to temporarily thrust down, upon a region, or a country, significant military power.

            Other than that, the Global connectivity of Money; of Economies; and of the sustained reduction of US political influence, across the World–some of the decrease in influence, as the result of what is happening in a number of other countries and regions, throughout the World–reduces, noticeably, the President’s actual power and influence.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            If the point you are making is that some of the blame heaped on Obama (and Bush I guess) is undeserved, then I agree.

            My big beef with Obama on domestic issues is that he has been an hapless leader. Almost everything with him has been political and/or about power and control.
            He showed hope with the appointment of the Simpson/Bowles commission but then he promptly disappointed. I can only speculate about his motivation. He is clearly way in over his head. The question is does he realize it? And if he does realize it what kind of gonads does it take to run for a second term when you know your in over your head. I guess the flip is it would take incredible courage to admit your in over your head and pack it in.

          • brettearle

            My use of the word, hatred, above, was too impulsive.

            I take it back.

            But that does NOT mean that some on the Right, on this Forum, don’t espouse a political hatred for the President.

            Moreover, the recurrent criticism of the President being `in over his head’ is a naive observation.

            First, no President could possibly be an expert on everything. Far from it.

            That’s, clearly, what ADVISORS are all about.

            When Bush II was in office, one even heard from Right Wing pundits, if I recall, that Bush II would have in place many consultants to compensate for his gaps in training and experience.

            THAT was a recurrent theme with Bush II, when he was criticized for what seemed like a deficiency in native intelligence: “You don’t have to have a first-rate intellect to be President.”

            [For the record, I NEVER thought Bush II was stupid. Far from it. But he CAME ACROSS that way.]

            In the case of Simpson-Bowles, I do not know what you are talking about.

            The President was often hamstrung–underscored by Simpson–by Republican partisanship.

            Some of the President’s proposals were apparently so far to the Right, that he incurred the ire of his Liberal base.

            There was political wrangling going on everywhere.

            For you to say that the President was in, over his head, calls into question, your analytical objectivity.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Thank you for your response.

            “in over his head” is mostly related to economic issues and budgetary issues. I understand how that could be considered an “inflammatory” statement by his rabid supporters.

            I have a good friend who did “hate” Bush II. He would get ill whenever he heard Bush II’s voice. And he isn’t a left wing type. I think it was combination of the war and Bush II’s “cowboy” style.

            On SB, Obama’s sin was not showing leadership. The GOP are weak mush and he could easily have shamed them into a deal that would have been more to his liking than the original SB deal.

          • Don_B1

            Note that what you think is happening to the country is misbegotten and your “remedies” would only make things worse, much worse.

            Go to your library and take out Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century where you might, if you really pay attention to each paragraph, as if you were studying for a test, discover that a lot of what you think you know is wrong,* and then you can start to reconstruct your life philosophy.

            That will not be an easy road to take but you will find it worthwhile.

            Just remember, there is nothing in life that in too large a quantity does not prove harmful, with the probable exception of love for others. Even being the object of too much love can be suffocating. But what the conservatives want today is too much money for themselves at the cost of everyone else.

            There are a lot of “nice” slogans about how doing the most for yourself can help others, but that is nothing but a false slogan.

            If you need to see how early Americans viewed society, Alexis de Tocqueville’s book might give you a hint, and here is a shortcut to the takeaway:

            http://billmoyers.com/2014/04/18/a-tocqueville-for-today/

            To get a brief summary of the breathtaking insights of Piketty’s book, here are two discussions of that research:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zytqTSh3oGw

            and

            https://www.youtube.com/user/GradCenterCUNY

            though the Piketty talk, from last Wednesday,16 May, has for reasons inexplicable to me, not yet been uploaded. But you might make use of the time waiting by watching the talk on “The Politics of the Creative Economy

            And while you are at it, please read:

            http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/22/class-ridden-america/?module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=Opinion&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs&region=Body

            I do, unfortunately, have my doubts as to whether you will actually do this, but I will say that you will be greatly rewarded if you do take these readings and video talks seriously.

            * John Wooden: “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

          • nj_v2

            Lame, limp defense for mindless, partisan hackery.

          • brettearle

            Good one.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Michael Daly is a political hack? Who knew? What does that make the Pulitzer committee, the New York Daily News and New Yorker magazine.

          • HonestDebate1

            That was deep.

          • nj_v2

            When the shoe fits…

          • jefe68

            Really? You’re going to go on about being deep? The king of the shallow comment…
            is really scoring points on the inanity scale today.

          • HonestDebate1

            Who said I was deep? I’m an idiot.

          • Don_B1

            It is a “right/left” issue because the “right” has totally different remedies, which to different levels of implementation have been tried many times and found not to help. In fact, many of the “right’s” other economic policies, are at the root of why the problem in Chicago is as bad as it is today.

            The “right’s” approach is to blame the individuals living in the poor parts of Chicago (and other large cities) for their plight, and leave themselves harmless in what created the mess. If you have children, I doubt you blame them totally for every scrape they get into. And however it happened, you step in and provide all the help you can to correct the problem, not just send them away from the house to fend for themselves.

        • twenty_niner

          The left doesn’t demonize? Leftists wrote the book on this crap, or should I say statists, which include both socialists and fascists.

          One of my favorites is labeling anyone thinks, God forbid, you need to show at least your Chuck E. Cheese card when you show up at voting booth must be raciss.

    • The poster formerly known as t

      What kind of stupid point are you trying to make here? Are you saying that police states and military occupations are a good thing? Is the solution for Chiraq , in your humble opinion, more borderline hostile police officers with lethal force? Or simply…less gun regulation? What the heck is your angle, here?

      • jefe68

        His angle seems to be right wing memes.

        • pete18

          Your complaint about right wing memes is a meme.

    • HonestDebate1

      It’s awful.

  • twenty_niner

    Again, our last day in the Middle East should go something like this: The last Americans are stowing their overhead luggage as a 747 with the words, “Thanks for the oil, goodbye forever”, painted on sides is rapidly taxiing down the runway. No check-in baggage is allowed; weight has to be minimized – nothing is going to slow down this flight. The pilot immediately applies full thrust as soon as he hits the chevrons. Passengers are just now buckling up; some are yelling, “hit the gas!” Other are yelling, “GO!”. Engines are 110%. The plane climbs rapidly and soon goes supersonic.

  • The poster formerly known as t

    Am I the only person who thought the Iraq ambassador,Lukman Faily, was a classic windbag? He seemed preoccupied with projected a positive image of Iraq and of himself. I don’t think it’s a mere coincidence that he ran in the Boston Marathon. I think it was a political gesture. He admits that there is too much “outside influence” on Iraq’s politics but defines that influence as ONLY influence from other fellow Muslims and the solution to Iraq’s problems is more U.S. aid meaning, lethal weaponry. Would anyone like to wager how long it is before that weaponry is used— and by used I mean abused– asymmetrically by one of Iraq’s ethnic or Islamic sects to keep the other rival ethnic groups or sects in line. What Faily is unknowingly appealing for, is another variation of a “strong hand” to keep Iraq from splintering into independent states. Faily repeatedly made the point that the various Islamic sects of Iraq had representation in the government but dodged the question of why the Iraqi government seemed to lack resolve, and seems divided. Iraq is most likely divided because of hundreds years of meddling or millennia of meddling depending on what one considers meddling. Geography and history doesn’t suggest that Iraq has a history of being a cohesive nation-state that is distinct from its neighbors.

    Is Iraq a real country or is a colonial construction that has been kept together by various colonial powers. Ans why is the prospect of separate and independent Iraqi states NOT on the table? Why is federalization the only option?

  • Antisthenes

    Is it only my impression, but is Ashbrook sounding more like a harrumphing old coot?

  • marygrav

    Are you trying to tell me that Iraq has just now having a Civil War. Iraq’s Civil War began when the US military was there in full force right under the nose of the US generals. G.W. Bush under the influence of the Neocons invaded a hornets nest when he decided to regime change in Iraq. At last we understand why G.H.W. Bush left Saddam in place after the Gulf War.
    Gaddafi should have been left in place, but the Neocons got the upperhand in the Obama administration. Gaddafi’s great sin was that he complied with the EU and US and was going too peaceful in the Middle East. He placed a 12 page ad in Forbes about how he was going to modernize Libya in a world class tourist attaction and bring his people into the 21st Century. This could not be allowed if the Ally was to be the Suzerain of the Middle East.
    Ask youself why Bashir must be kept in place regardless of John McCain’s rhetoric. Bashir is able to maintain law and order. And Capitalism needs law and order to function. And the what keeps Capitalism running smoothly is Energy and energy means oil, cheap sweet and crude. So Syria under the tudorship of Bashir is to servive regardless of the manchnism of Isreal.

  • ExcellentNews

    I cannot comprehend how we can have a program on Iraq and not mention George W Bush the Third, hero of the Conservative movement.

    Whatever happens to Iraq and the Iraqis, we know for sure that 2+ TRILLION dollars in public finds were successfully liberated from the oppressive clutches of our government, and safely stashed in the offshore accounts of Bush contractor shills and crony despots. Where doubtlessly they await an inheritance tax cut to start creating jobs…

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