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What Should The United States Do In Iraq?

American options, American action in Iraq.  To get in, to stay out, and the emerging White House plan.

In this Monday, June 16, 2014 file photo, Demonstrators chant pro-al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as they carry al-Qaida flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP)

In this Monday, June 16, 2014 file photo, Demonstrators chant pro-al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as they carry al-Qaida flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP)

Iraq is, right now, coming apart at the seams.  What should the US do?  The White House isn’t saying yet.  But everybody else is, and the range of fervent recommendations is vast.  On the gung ho end:  get back in there.  Special forces, intelligence, drones, bombers, politics, arms into Syria, deals with Iran, boots on the ground.  Essentially, renewed American war.  At the other end, this firm advice:  do nothing.  Do not get involved.  Let Iran handle it.  Let it take its course.  And if a threat to the US develops, hit it then. This hour On Point:  what to do, what not to do, now, in Iraq.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Josh Lederman, White House reporter for the Associated Press. (@joshledermanAP)

Barry Posen, Ford International professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Director of the MIT Security Studies Program. Author of “Restraint,” “Inadvertent Escalation” and “The Sources of Military Doctrine.”

Denise Natali, Minerva Fellow at the Center for Strategic Research in the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.

Max Boot, senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Author of “The Savage Wars of Peace,” “War Made New” and “Invisible Armies.” Contributing editor at The Weekly Standard and the Los Angeles Times. (@MaxBoot)

From Tom’s Reading List

POLITICO Magazine: The Case For Doing Nothing in Iraq — “Maliki’s heavy-handed employment of surveillance, incarceration, and violence has driven Sunni Arab fence sitters into the arms of ISIS fanatics; he’s part of the problem, not the solution.That ought to make us cautious about meddling in Iraq’s internal politics. Restraint strategists are alert to the costs of intervening in the internal politics of other countries and the low odds of success inherent to doing so.

Washington Post: The United States should not cooperate with Iran on Iraq — “The idea that the United States, a nation bent on defending democracy and safeguarding stability, shares a common interest with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a revolutionary theocracy that is the No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism in the world, is as fanciful as the notion that Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler could work together for the good of Europe.”

The Wall Street Journal: Iraqi Government Forces Battle for Control of Major Oil Refinery — “Iraq’s counterterrorism units backed by other security forces and helicopter gunships battled insurgents on Wednesday for control of the country’s main oil refinery, trying to keep the fuel hub that supplies Baghdad from falling to a powerful week-old offensive by Sunni Muslim militants, Iraqi officials said.The gunships bombarded positions of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham fighters inside the refinery in the northern city of Beiji, a state oil official said.”

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  • Ray in VT

    I think that, as much as I would rather avoid such entanglements, that we do need to act. I would prefer taking measures to support the Iraqi forces who are fighting ISIS and its allies. I think that the battle needs to be theirs, because if they either can’t or won’t stand up and fight for their own country, then how can our soldiers hope to do the job? I think that there is a lot that we can do in the support role, such as air strikes, and I find that preferable to “boots on the ground”.

    • northeaster17

      The Iranians appear to be interested in taking a role. Since they are neighbors that seems to be a more appropriate action. But things are kind of quiet for the complex right now. And if you don’t use it you lose it. There is going to be a big behind the scenes push for us to go back in. I’m not real optimistic.

    • jimino

      intended as reply to hd

      • Ray in VT

        Hindsight is always 20/20, but some things can certainly be blatantly seen for what they are at the time.

  • HonestDebate1

    “It’s harder to end a war than begin one. Indeed, everything that American troops have done in Iraq -– all the fighting and all the dying, the bleeding and the building, and the training and the partnering -– all of it has led to this moment of success. Now, Iraq is not a perfect place. It has many challenges ahead. But we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people. We’re building a new partnership between our nations.” -President Obama 2011

    • jimino

      Do you really want to get into a litany of things said by elected
      officials and their agents about Iraq to be judged in hindsight?

      • HonestDebate1

        “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members … It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.” -Hillary Clinton

        • Ray in VT

          How much of that is based upon the lies told by the Bush administration to America as a part of its push to invade Iraq is difficult to ascertain.

          • HonestDebate1

            “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

          • Ray in VT

            It’s a good thing that Bush rushed to invade Iraq in 2003 before the U.N. inspectors had the time to blow the lid off of the administration’s bogus WMD stories. That was probably Clinton’s fault too though.

          • HonestDebate1

            “Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.”
            –Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

          • Ray in VT

            What does that have to do with the lies that Bush and Co. told to get us into Iraq in 2003?

          • HonestDebate1

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

          • Ray in VT

            Why not just post the whole thing:

            http://www.snopes.com/politics/war/wmdquotes.asp

            Tell me, did Al Gore has access to the intelligence that the Bush administration denied the public that showed just what a steaming pile the claims prior to the Iraq invasion was? I guess that we can equally blame the lied to as well as the liars themselves, at least when it serves to attack Democrats and cover for Republican failures.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t like that link because you can’t copy and paste from it.

            “Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.” – Senator Barry

          • Ray in VT

            Plus it lets you leave out parts of the quotes that talk about the preference for diplomatic solutions or statements regarding how invading is likely to result in very bad outcomes in terms of regional stability and such.

            For instance, that quote comes from then State Senator Obama as a part of a speech opposing the war that begins with “I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.” and continues after the quote that you use with ”

            But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

            I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

            I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.”

  • HonestDebate1
    • Ray in VT

      “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.” Obama is the worst since the one before him.

      • HonestDebate1

        Did you see Megyn Kelly grill him last night?

        • Ray in VT

          Nope, but I did see Shep Smith tear into the Iraq war boosters who are so vocally trashing Obama now and calling for intervention, as well as Glenn Beck’s thoughts on how misguided is the attempt to impose democracy.

          • nj_v2

            It’s rare day when something is so clear that even Glen Beck gets it right.

          • Ray in VT

            Every once in a while he isn’t a total buffoon.

          • nj_v2

            Unlike DisHonestMisdebatorGreggg

          • Ray in VT

            I would apply my same comment there as well.

          • HonestDebate1

            Surely not!

    • nj_v2

      Hahahahaha!!

      Citing Dick Cheney on anything to do with Iraq.!

      Nobody was more wrong about Iraq than Dick, who should be in jail for war crimes.

      We’ll be greeted as liberators.

      This’ll only take a few weeks.

      Oil will pay for it all.

      Etc.

      Etc.

      A starting point for what to do with Iraq: Dismiss any and all idea from any of the neocon war mongers who advocated, promoted, and lied about the need to invade in the first place.

      Especially Dick.

      And the mindless, partisan, forum clown posse dim bulbs who cite him.

      • Ray in VT

        I suggest the term TOP Juggalos or perhaps Tuggalos.

      • HonestDebate1

        He’s a patriot.

        • Ray in VT

          I thought that he had other priorities.

          • HonestDebate1

            He doesn’t golf.

          • Ray in VT

            Did he give it up “for the troops”?

          • HonestDebate1

            That was Bush.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m sure that that was a great comfort to my neighbor who came back from Iraq a quadriplegic. Maybe Obama should take up shooting friends in the face instead of golfing.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are not a serious person.

          • Ray in VT

            Lame. Maybe Obama can collect deferments while less worthy “patriots” go to die in some foreign war.

        • jimino

          His entire family is a bunch of taxpayer-supported cowardly blowhards.

          • HonestDebate1

            I guess asking you, Ray and NJ to address or refute what he actually wrote would be a bit much to ask,

          • Ray in VT

            The usual blah, blah, blah Obama hating, Bush era bluster, and neo-con talking points can be pretty generally be refuted by basic facts and common sense.

          • HonestDebate1

            He certainly isn’t refuted by you, NJ or Jimino.

          • Ray in VT

            It’s hard to refute the sorts of fantasies that the likes of Cheney embrace and promote, as such beliefs will never be countered by facts or reason. I’m sure that this time we’ll be greeted as liberators, have the streets paved with flowers for us and we’ll be in and out really quick with only minimal losses.

          • jimino

            His entire premise is a lie. He makes no recommendation about what should be done, just what Obama did or didn’t do wrong.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, like this: “The fall of the Iraqi cities of Fallujah, Tikrit, Mosul and Tel Afar, and the establishment of terrorist safe havens across a large swath of the Arab world, present a strategic threat to the security of the United States.”

            Is he right or wrong?

          • Ray in VT

            That’s right, however to just be blaming Obama for such things is just blind partisan delusion.

          • jimino

            A larger threat than Saddam Hussein remaining in power in Iraq?

          • Human2013

            Can you leave this conversation and go enlist in the Army!

          • Human2013

            Preferably the Iraqi Army and then share your story.

          • Bill O’Brien

            the idea that we need to stamp out any “terrorist safe-havens” that pop up around the world is ludicrous, because:
            1.it can’t be done, the world is simply too big,
            2. doing so (even if we could) would not prevent terrorist strikes against U.S. targets (a 2-room apartment in Berlin is enough), and
            3. trying to do so only creates more terrorists…

        • adks12020

          I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

        • TFRX

          A la Shakespeare (I think), “He is a good man. All men are good men.”

          Go away, toad.

        • John_in_Amherst

          In what universe is patriot = war criminal who lied the country into waging war that benefited the company he headed?
          He should be tried for war crimes if not treason.

    • TFRX

      Deadeye Dick says what?

      Remember when he used to be something besides a source of regret and wasted power?

  • jimino

    If the army of the putative country of Iraq, which vastly outnumbers and is much better armed than the militant insurgents, won’t fight for their “country”, why should we? I don’t ask this to necessarily advocate doing nothing. I ask it because if we get further involved, we need to be ruthlessly pragmatic. No BS speeches about democracy and freedom being our goals. If we can’t answer that question, we better stay out and let them settle their differences.

  • Markus6

    People can always come up with a reason why this time, the military option will work; why this time it’s different. Now, we’ve got better drones, or better intelligence, or better trained allies or whatever.

    But given our track record and that of others in these wars, the burden of proof has shifted to those who want to do what hasn’t worked before. So, unless they can show with overwhelming data why this time it’ll work, the default choice should be to stay out of this.

  • Matt MC

    Let the Kurds have Kurdistan. Let the Sunnis have Sunnistan. Let the Shiites have Shiitstan (OK, they can pick a different name, if need be). Maybe it is not such a bad thing that the arbitrary borders of Iraq are dissolving. Although, I wish people (in general) could get along with people that don’t look or think like themselves. Stop being so ethnic, Iraq!

  • anamaria23

    This a thousand year old war that cannot be solved except from within.
    To risk one more American for a country that does not want us there, that will not fight for itself, whose leadership is grossly corrupt, should not even be considered. The U.S has given too much already. Even David Petraeus is warning against new involvement which could only increase the terrorist threat to us.
    When Dick Cheney and family offer up their children and grandchildren to Iraq and let us know what tiny bit of good the Iraq invasion benefitted the U.S, then let him lecture us. He and his daughter are laughable.

    • Human2013

      I completely agree. Most Americans don’t understand the tension between these rivalries. Quite Frankly, neither do I. I do understand that the world is changing and although it may be awhile for our Middle Eastern friends, organized religion will decline.

      Here in the US, Christians are losing ground in a significant way and the same will start to unfold in the Middle East. It’s possible it will be centuries from now, but it is going to happen.

    • John_in_Amherst

      Dead Eye Dick and his daughter Laughable? more like detestable

  • TyroneJ

    The US has no business in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria. Period.

    Especially when the bottom line is we are just there trying to enforce borders drawn by colonial powers long ago.

  • NewtonWhale

    Dick Cheney was right…in 1991.

    Too bad the ghola of Dick Cheney didn’t listen to him 12 years later:

    “I think if we we’re going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we’d have had to hunt him down. And once we’d done that and we’d gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we’d have had to put another government in its place. What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi’i government or a Kurdish government or Ba’athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable? I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it’s my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq.”

    http://web.archive.org/web/20041130090045/http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/pubs/soref/cheney.htm
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BEsZMvrq-I

    Watch here as Dick explains in 1994 exactly how the disaster he and Bush created in 2003 would unfold:

    “Once you took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then
    what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world and if you take down the central government in Iraq you can easily see pieces of Iraq fly off. Part of it the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of eastern Iraq the Iranians would like to claim, fought over for eight years. In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey then you’ve threatened the territorial integrity of Turkey.

    It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.”

  • Human2013

    There is no solution but time….

    Meanwhile, back here in the states, our poor grow poorer and it’s not a difficult forecast to see a civil breakdown coming in the next decade or so.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    The answer is clear.

    The Patent Office simply needs to remove trademark protection to the name “ISIS”. Problem solved.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    “I am very optimistic about — about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration.”
    -Joe Biden, Feb. 2010

    • Ray in VT

      A lot can change in 4+ years.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Sure, BUT it was predictable precisely because of the way the Obama regime pulled out.

        Even that ‘dolt’, Bush, predicted it.

        http://www.aei-ideas.org/2014/06/bush-warned-this-would-happen-in-iraq/

        • Ray in VT

          So, Bush predicted disaster if we withdrew prematurely, yet set up the withdrawal anyways? Good one, Dubya.

          The problem, of course, is that things appeared relatively stable in 2011, although there was dysfunction. The actions or inactions of the Malaki government, I don’t think, can be blamed on the Obama administration, nor can the fact that the Iraqis wanted us out of their country. How long were we supposed to stay? Decades? If the elected government there couldn’t get its stuff together after years of support, thousands of lives lost and north of a trillion ultimately spent by us, then what was the option? Just stay longer and spend more lives and money?

    • northeaster17

      The read we get on the people of Iraq is there’s no question but what they want to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.
      Dick Cheney, 2003

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        We were.

        Then mistakes were made.

    • MrNutso

      … my belief is, we will in fact, be greeted as liberators ….

      • jimino

        90 days at most. $30 million tops. New source of oil on the market allowing the democratic Iraq to finance its newly minted liberated country.

        Why is there a problem now? I thought we had this mission accomplished.

  • John Howard Wilhelm

    Afghanistan was the grave yard of the Soviet Union as I argued
    it could be in our Afghan statement at the 1980 Republican Convention.

    Yet when the Soviets left we simply walked away with disastrous
    consequences here.

    Since the outset of the Syrian uprising we have consistently walked
    away with terrible results and even greater dangers to our allies and
    our homeland.

    Nothing a Max Boot suggests will do any good unless intelligent
    liberals, not an oxymoron, speak out about the most incompetent
    foreign policy presidency since the end of WW II.

    Without a new professional foreign policy team and a dramatic
    response now in both Syria and Iraq, the situation we face in the
    next administration will be worse than a Dunkirk or a Saigon.

    • hennorama

      John Howard Wilhelm — what nonsense.

      • John Howard Wilhelm

        This tells me nothing. If it is nonsense, give specifics so I can learn. Otherwise a comment like this itself is nothing more than nonsense and an unfortunate example of how poor dialogue about policy issues has become in this country.
        Or even give me a call, I am in the Ann Arbor telephone book. JHW.

  • LianeSperoni

    I heard it reported that Mitch McConnell stated that he did not think Obama was going to seek Congressional approval for use of force in Iraq. If that is true, then I don’t understand what the ground rules are. Obama did seek Congressional approval for Syria, so why not Iraq? So is it once-at-war, always-at-war?

    .

    • Ray in VT

      I think that part of a difference could be that in one case we would have been making strikes against a foreign government, while in the other case we could be lending military assistance to an existing government.

      • LianeSperoni

        I see your point, but geesh, if we are “helping people” with bombs we don’t need any democratic permission?

        • Ray in VT

          Well, the President has some fairly broad latitude to deploy the military and assets in ways and times than don’t require the legislative process. Some actions certainly do, but many things do not.

          • LianeSperoni

            But isn’t it an authorization for the “use of force?” Does it have to be against a state?

          • Ray in VT

            This could certainly fall under the Authorization for Use of Military Force from 2001, which sort of granted pre-approval in some cases, and this could qualify. That is meant as neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of that piece of legislation.

          • LianeSperoni

            Thanks for the info- I did do some quick research and it appears that there is some controversy as to whether the 2001 UMF covers ISIS.

          • Ray in VT

            There’s certainly enough controversy or criticism of the AUMF and an open ended, never ending war against an idea.

    • northeaster17

      The problem here is that Mitch McConnell is the one quoted. His agenda is but one. Too cause trouble through lies and distortion

      • LianeSperoni

        I don’t know. I kind of doubt the President will seek authorization.

    • hennorama

      Liane Speroni — this is the dismissive way that Sen. McConnell discussed the matter, with his own spin on it:

      “The president briefed us on the situation in Iraq and indicated he didn’t feel he had any need for authority from us for steps that he might take and indicated that he would keep us posted,” McConnell said.

      The same article indicated the White House disputed Sen. McConnell’s account:

      A White House official disputed McConnell’s account, saying flatly that the president didn’t tell congressional leaders he would never need to seek authority for action in Iraq.

      Source:
      http://thehill.com/policy/defense/209838-obama-to-leaders-iraq-plan-wont-require-congressional-vote

      • MrNutso

        Key would be what the actual actions may be. There is quite likely some actions the President can take without Congress’s approval.

        • hennorama

          MrNutso — Thank you for your response.

          Indeed. But what we’re seeing is (surprise!) political posturing from Sen. McConnell. Quoting again, in part, emphasis added:

          “The president ….indicated he didn’t feel he had any need for authority from us …”

          This allows the good Senator to later say “The President is doing things on his own, again …” etc.

          • MrNutso

            No doubt. I discount all statements from Republicans. If Obama said I will consult with Congress, they would say he just needs to act, don’t come to us for cover.

  • hennorama

    One thing we certainly shouldn’t do — listen to those who were wrong about Iraq War II from the beginning:

    Dick Cheney
    Donald Rumsfeld
    Paul Wolfowitz
    Lewis Paul Bremer

    Et al

    And all the neo-conservative talking heads and “think” tanks as well.

  • MrNutso

    We are treating the situation as if it was the fall of 2002 and not the (soon to be) summer of 2014. The (2003 – 201?) Iraq war is over. There is an elected government in Iraq. That government has chosen to govern in less than sane fashion, is now seeing a civil war/stateless invasion and is asking for U.S. assistance. We need to evaluate the situation as it is today and not as if it is a continuation of our own invasion.

    I would also note, that the crisis is really only faced by 1/3 – 2/3 of Iraq. The Kurds appear to be capable and willing to defend their territory, and should be first in line for U.S. assistance. The Shiites want our assistance to crush the Sunni led ISIS so the can continue mistreating Iraqi Sunnis. I don’t really know what Iraqi Sunni’s want.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Maybe Biden will now get his way — an Iraq divided into three countries. It is almost certain the Kurd’s will have their own country. Maybe Biden is a genius. Naw, after all this is still: “The Joker”.

    As an aside, I ran across this “fact-check” that claims Biden never promoted splitting Iraq into 3 countries. Of course, that was when it was a “political loser” to hold that position. It is amazing how the media fact checkers work overtime to prop up Democrats.

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/10/16/fact-check-has-biden-proposed-dividing-iraq/

    • Ray in VT

      The fact checkers just usually side with the Democrats because Republicans avoid the facts like the plague much of the time.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Yes, like Paul Ryan convention speech was “fact checked” and hammered for simply quoting Obama accurately.

        I remember a NPR interview when one of the big-wigs at Politifact (Pulitzer prize winner) was called on their unbalance. They brought up examples of “fact checking” Democrats and they were examples of straight “fact checking”. No room for nuance. For the GOP they often stray from fact checking into political analysis. And usually they do it most during election years.

        • Ray in VT

          I seem to recall Mr. Ryan, who is well noted for his lack of sticking to the facts and distorting research, using something that the President said and turned it into an attack for something that he didn’t promise to do. It’s pretty easy to pull such stuff over on some people, like claims that Jeep is going to ship all Jeep production to China.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Actually, they had a long winded analysis that admitted Ryan was ‘accurate’ and they picked some nits that “THEY” got wrong. The bulk of their gripe with Ryan was, in their OPINION, he committed political hypocrisy. And this was in a political convention speech. It was amazing.

            And what is worse the ENTIRE analysis was lifted from left wing blogs.

          • Ray in VT

            I was referring to his Janesville plant statement.

            Yes, amazing for how he criticized the President for gutting Medicare while he himself promoted many such cuts, as well as his voucherization of the program. An amazing bit of duplicity.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Interview w. David Petreaus – US shouldn’t become the air force for the Shia factions.*

    * or words to that effect. On MSNBC this morning, Chuck Todd show.

  • Human2013

    Would we call in the Pakistani Army to help the left rid the country of the tea party?

    • Human2013

      I know it sounds enticing, but

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      We need more Tea Party. We need a balanced budget ASAP.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    There’s someone new
    We’re through We’re through
    It’s over It’s over It’s over.
    –New Foreign Policy Initiatives, Barack Obama, architect

    {apologies to Roy Orbison}

  • John_in_Amherst

    from the National Priorities Project…
    10478187_10152420048664404_6471655187839026913_n-1.png

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Or use the $812B to reduce the $17.4T debt by 4.6%

    • Markus6

      I think these numbers are probably wrong. My guess is this is an advocacy organization and they rarely play it straight. However, I’m sure the point is right – that the costs are enormous.

      It’s great to remind people there are more than lives being lost and damaged. I’m amazed at how few people think thru the cost of these things.

      Thanks

      • tbphkm33

        The cost is several times lower than it really is. Does not account for associated or related expenses, nor future costs such as veterans healthcare.

  • X Y & Z

    The Obama Administration’s engagement policy with Iran has been beneficial for both countries. Perhaps the US and Iran can come together to defeat a mutual enemy, al-Qaeda.

    • MrNutso

      Which might have occurred a decade ago, if Bush et. al. had not put them on the axis of evil.

      • X Y & Z

        True, there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq before the US invasion, but now President Obama can correct the problem he inherited by defeating al-Qaeda in Iraq. Iran will be more than willing to help the US defeat them.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard
  • hennorama

    Senator McCain — please shut up. You defame yourself every time you open your mouth.

  • keruffle

    Iraq
    New tack
    No boots
    Iran cahoots
    Sectarian
    Barbarians
    More derision
    Bush decisions
    No plan
    Miss Saddam
    @keruffle

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    We’re going to hang out the washing on Maliki’s Line.
    Have you any dirty washing, mother dear?
    We’re gonna hang out the washing on the Maliki’s Line.
    ‘Cause the washing day is here.
    –ISIS/ISIL {if they allowed singing, that is}

  • pete18

    Certainly there were lots of mistakes made by the Bush administration on
    Iraq, much if it around poor planning and bad administration of the post war period and a hubris and overly optimistic assessment of how Iraq would transform into a democracy. However, there was no doubt that most of the intelligence agencies of the world, both before and after 9/11, viewed Saddam’s WMD program to be active and a threat. To expect Bush to ignore that in the aftermath of 9/11, or to pretend that he purposely lied about the intelligence to “get oil” or make himself, Cheney and Haliburton rich is sophistry. The choice to go to war was certainly one that people could have honest disagreements over, I supported the idea but I heard many good arguments against it. But one shouldn’t rewrite history after the fact. The majority of Democrats in the Senate and almost 40% of democrats in the house passed the resolution giving the president authority to use force in Iraq. Many democrats were outspoken in their belief that Saddam had WMDs and that action should be taken against him. Bill Clinton was one of them, you might remember that he happened to be the guy in office looking at the intelligence BEFORE Bush had his hands on the wheel.

    I repost this video as a reminder.

    • hennorama

      pete18 — yes, and?

    • ian berry

      Very diplomatic and well written but theres no excuse for that feigned ignorance of going into Iraq in the first place. Those guys were smoking cigars on the back step of White House on the launching of The Dogs of War.
      Clear as day what was really going on.

    • Kberg95

      That’s just so much crap. There is more than sufficient evidence that these guys wanted to go into Iraq for the oil from the start and that they used 9/11 as a pretext and lied us into it. 40% of Dems approved it in the house, but 60% opposed it.

      • pete18

        “There is more than sufficient evidence that these guys wanted to go into Iraq for the oil from the start and that they used 9/11 as a pretext and lied us into it.”

        Such as?

        • Kberg95
          • pete18

            Planning for a possible war in Iraq has been ongoing since the end of the first gulf war. Iraq had been suspected of developing WMDs and had been violating UN resolutions for over a decade. The idea of “regime change” was instituted by the Clinton administration.

            That such planning continued or became even more energized after 9/11 isn’t a surprise. Where is the suggestion in any of these unclassified documents that the motivation for pursuing these plans was for reasons other than national security?

          • Kberg95

            You have a very selective way of reading.

            Yellowcake uranium was a lie. Joe Wilson exposed it and his wife Valerie Plame was outed as a covert CIA operative.

            The aluminum centrifuge tubes were a lie. As the George Washington University archive web page states: “Administration determination to
            exploit the perceived propaganda value of intercepted aluminum tubes – falsely identified as nuclear related – before completion of even a preliminary determination of their end use”

            The mobile bioweapons labs were a lie.

            Hussein in league with Al Qaeda was a lie. Mohammed Atta meeting with Iraqi security forces was a lie.

            The administration knew all these things were lies but kept on using them as reasons to go to war.

            UN Weapons inspectors repeatedly said Iraq had no WMD right up until the invasion but no one listened to them. As far back as 1997, “An International Atomic Energy Agency
            report declares Iraq to be free of nuclear weapons, stating that its nuclear facilities were destroyed by U.S. bombing during the Persian Gulf War and that “There are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapon-usable nuclear material of
            any practical significance.” Mushroom clouds my ass.

            Interviews with senior officials at the time indicated that the administration was looking for pretexts to invade Iraq from the start, even though there was no credible evidence that Iraq had WMD.

            Hell, Cheney drew up maps about how they were going to divide up the Iraqi oil fields among multinational oil companies.

            They lied about how many troops it would take to secure Iraq. They lied about post war reconstruction. The list goes on.

            They lied about everything. What they did not lie about,they were ignorant about, which was probably even worse.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Baghdad is going to become Teheran’s Blackpool. At least the parts where the Iranian army is entrenched.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Max Boot: what about the Status of Forces Agreement? Ignore it?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    How about we deport Max Boot back to Moscow where he comes from. Do we really need to listen to Russian interventionist crappy-ola?

  • creaker

    So – when is ISIS going to use all those WMD’s Iraq had that they secretly transported to Syria?

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      When they truck them back from Israel. Hoober Doober

  • Michiganjf

    Smarter voices speaking out KNOW that putting people on the ground in Iraq is a likely way to get us sucked right into the conflict IN A BIG WAY!!!

    What happens if dozens of Americans are captured, or if someone like our Secretary of State, John Kerry, is captured and tortured?

    We’ll be pulled in deeper and deeper until it’s OUR problem again!

    STAY OUT OF IRAQ!

    Let these religious fanatics with their ancient animosities sort out their region into a geography that “works” for them, as best they can sort it out.

    THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO THAT WILL BE TO OUR ADVANTAGE IN ANY WAY!!

    Don’t listen to conservatives who have been WRONG time and again, for decades!

  • Sue Rushfirth

    We broke this … and now we own history’s judgement of the manner in which we broke it. Bush and his cohorts, those who supported the invasion of Iraq (looking at you Kerry and Clinton,) those who re elected George Bush, those who disbanded the Iraqi army, those who insisted on western democracy rather than a Federal system, the broken promises to the Kurds,the selection our man Maliki, the continued support of Maliki … and on and on.
    Too many lives already lost, too many people injured and in pain, too much money and a lot of responsibility. We have broken it and we will have to live with that but there is nothing very much we can or should be doing now.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    We should resist the McCain urge to turn our armed forces into Hessians for Hire. Signed.. Vietnam-era Veteran*

    • creaker

      Trading American blood for Iraqi oil is just wrong.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        We are still waiting for that “war for oil” OIL. Where is it?

        • Red

          Ask Dick Cheney & Pals.

        • creaker

          What do you think you are paying for at the pump?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            No, no, no. The claim was that the US (meaning government) would get the oil to pay for the war. Last I checked the Iraqis not only didn’t give up the oil but they gave the contracts for development mostly to the Chinese.

  • creaker

    Suppressing civil wars just does not work – it only delays them. And we’ve seen this in country after country.

  • LianeSperoni

    embedded in the population…
    what else do you need to know? we’ll be fighting the same Iraqi people we claimed to have liberated.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Guest: We don’t have to scratch every itch.

  • Jadusta

    Mr. Boot’s comments just now sounded almost exactly like what was said about Vietnam and our need to get involved there in the early 1960s. But something tells me Mr. Boot would think the Vietnam war was a valid and successful use of US men and money.

  • creaker

    And we’re seeing the flipside of giving up energy conservation efforts.

  • optimisto1 .

    I know exactly what US should do in Iraq – to install a Sunni secular dictator an US ally just like king of Jordan, to give him weapons and power, so he will restore peace and order in Iraq. That’s it.

  • hennorama

    They put this idiot on the air? Dunkirk? What a fool.

  • hellokitty0580

    This whole “Iraq is Obama’s fault” needs to stop. That is absolute bunk. When Obama pulled troops out of Iraq he was carrying out the treaty that GW signed. Furthermore, blaming Obama doesn’t change the situation. It doesn’t stop ISIS from what it’s doing. It’s a pointless waste of energy. It’s a ridiculous exercise of politics. Whether you support Obama as a politician or not, you can’t dispute those facts.

    Additionally, how much more can we do for Iraq? We’ve lost so many people to a war that was started based on false premises. I’m not saying that the United States doesn’t get involved at all. We can certainly work on a political solution. I think that’s the humane thing to do. But at this point, I think the region needs to figure out it’s problems. We can be there to support that, but people in the Middle East have been fighting for reasons Westerners find hard to grasp for centuries. We’ve been in the middle of it for a long time and to no avail. More military action the US’ part isn’t going to solve anything.

  • LianeSperoni

    Tom that sounds like Containment

  • DeJay79

    Take Every Dime and Life we spent and might spend in Iraq and Put it into clean Energy! This entire country could be running on 100% solar and wind energy IF we had done that. then OIL is irrelevant and we could and should just let them settle their country their way!

    STAY OUT, STAY OUT, STAY OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      You are on the right track but wind and solar just don’t cut it.

      However, a $100B investment in F-T coal to gasoline plants WOULD have made the US truly independent of mid-East oil. Private investments aren’t made because they NEED a minimum of $60/barrel oil to be competitive.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Renewable energy can easily meet all our needs. Fossil fuels are ruining our shared earth.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Sorry, but wrong and wrong.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            You are sorry and wrong – I’m glad you admit it!

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Solar (probably the most promising renewable) grew 418% since 2010 but is still only .2% of total electric grid power. Of course the electric grid is only a fraction of the energy we use.

            Scale Neil. Scale can only happen if it is affordable.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Land based wind power is the lowest cost source of electricity, and solar PV is the next lowest. Both are growing very quickly.

            And this is against the active opposition of oil and coal interests.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Grossly wrong on the cost. Growing but not fast enough to make a dent.

            Neither will be a serious choice for base load power. Check into storage costs.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            We do not need to use our military to defend renewable energy.

            We do not have to ally with dictatorships to insure the supply of renewable energy.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            My proposed coal to liquids plants don’t need military protection either and $60/barrel oil looks pretty good right now.

          • Ray in VT

            And how would such plants deal with CO2 emissions and the global problems that they are driving?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            CO2 has yet to create any problems — global or domestic. Long term? That is a question mark right now.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah right. According the the GWPF and Heartland. I prefer to go with the legitimate scientific community and not some secretly funded “think tanks” with questionable “experts” and their allegations of conspiracy or incompetence by the global scientific community.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            OK, but what IS clear is the US cutting back on CO2 will have a negligible impact on future warming — and this is according to the alarmists.

            But what the hell, let’s destroy the economy even though it will have no impact on the climate.

          • Ray in VT

            Of course. We should do nothing. That always works, plus we have the Chamber of Commerce cooking the books on this one to tell us how bad Obama is on the matter.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            What Obama did on coal is worse than nothing. Because he signaled coal is dead, power companies have decided NOT to invest in scrubber to remove damaging particulates and milk the plants for as long as possible. So now we have dirty air and higher costs. Thanks, Obama.

          • Ray in VT

            Some good ole fashioned requirements to clean up their businesses would take care of that. They’ve been fighting efforts to get them to clean up their act tooth and nail.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I am pro-scrubber. Not this CO2 nonsense.

          • Ray in VT

            Hey, if you want to plug your ears to what the scientific community has concluded is happening, then fine.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I don’t think they’ve “concluded” what you think they have.

          • Ray in VT

            Perhaps you don’t recognize my statement as reflecting the position of the scientific community based upon your highly selective use of seemingly only “skeptic” sources.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            The “consensus” is not what you think it is.

          • Ray in VT

            Please tell me what I think that it is.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Settled science!!!

          • Ray in VT

            There seems to be a quite high level of confidence, based upon the evidence, that a number of factors regarding climate change and the role of humans in it are quite settled, of course that doesn’t help the fossil fuel companies, which is why they fund the denial machine.

          • DeJay79

            That is what is so funny about this whole debate once “people of your position” get pushed far enough to give in and admit we have a problem, then (because of lack of vision, i am guessing) comes the “too little too late… why bother” attitude.

            Are you kidding me! So deny, deny, and deny more. Opps to late to do anything just keep burning oil and coal for the sake of keeping my little economy running. BS!! and you know it.

            Going green Hard and Fast would be the Biggest shot in the arm to this countries economy we have seen since the end of WWII, But traditional (old white) business men just don’t understand how to make money, “how do I make money selling less?” So if doubt and fear are your reasons for holding up change then I say to you “Get the hell out of the way and let the people who can and will save this economy, country and planet do their best!”

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            It is still coal – still incredibly dirty, incredibly polluting, and terrible for climate change.

            No thanks.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Not dirty when converted to liquids. Great bridge fuel until nuclear or solar or something else becomes competitive.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Where does the energy come from to do the conversion?

            The carbon in the coal is still released into the air, so it still causes climate change.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            .85C of warming since 1880. Not a problem.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            No problem according to you? We have 0.6-0.8C more “baked in” because carbon dioxide is leading temperature rise, this time.

            Ice doesn’t consult with you before it melts – it just melts. Ocean acidity is already having profound effects.

            http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/2014/06/other-effects-of-climate-change.html

            Other Effects of Climate Change

            The sun will be around for approximately another 5 Billion years; at
            which point it will expand outward to about where Jupiter is. Until
            then, we can predict the general trend. It is a fusion reactor, all
            fueled up and pumping out the energy, transmitting it for free – and it
            is the single largest source of energy – that already supports all life
            everywhere, all the time.

            The moon orbiting the earth is the other major source of energy, and
            eventually, the ocean tides will dampen the earth’s oscillation (equal
            and opposite to the moon orbiting) – until the moon moves away from the
            earth too much to stay in orbit, and it flings away …

            The earth’s tectonic plates will be affected by the melting ice caps and
            the warming oceans, too. This is because the mass of the ice caps
            presses the earth down under them, by a fair bit. Antarctica is being
            pressed down by almost 1/2 mile. Warmer water is less dense, and it will
            be spread out more (covering more land) so it will exert slightly less
            pressure on the earth under it, and this cannot help from changing the
            forces on the tectonic plates.

            Also, the mass of the ice caps, and large mountain ranges, affect the
            gravitational pull of those areas of the earth – and they raise the
            ocean level around them. This is why the oblate spheroid the spinning
            earth forms is “sagging” toward the southern hemisphere – Mount
            Chimborazo in Ecuador is actually closer to space/farther from the
            center of the earth than Mount Everest, because of the “extra”
            gravitational pull of the ice on Antarctica.

            http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9428163

            Guess what? Once Antarctica’s ice melts (and it sure looks like it will -
            if we humans don’t use our big brains and stop burning fossil fuels!) -
            then not only will climate change raise the ocean level by hundreds of
            feet, it will change the shape of the earth, which will change the
            pressures on the tectonic plates – it will also affect spin of the earth
            and the orbit of the moon, too.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            How do you sleep at night?

          • DeJay79

            quoting how much solar and wind have been held back does not speak to how much they can do in the future. all it does is illustrate how much people like you have hated on them and held them back.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I’ve been routing for solar since the ’70s. I had solar panels heating my water since the ’70s — in New England.

            Try again.

          • DeJay79

            ok then I don’t get why you think/suggest we give more incentives to fossil fuels? that is the last thing they need.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Simple. Energy security is a much more important immediate concern for the well being of all the folks than resource scarcity.

            That said, we could have been more aggressive in pursuing alternatives (especially nuclear from thorium and we really screwed up fusion).

      • DeJay79

        Coal, Oil, Gas, they are all limited resources that are damaging to the planet. Even if EVEN IF you could make then 100% clean through technology they are still Limited, as in There is only so much of then and once they run out they run out. A finite resource will lead to economic trouble and instability.

        Do you want more economic instability? Compared to the life of the human species Wind and Solar are limitless, and infinite. Open your mind and know that someday we will power this whole planet by wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro power. Once you accept that fact then we all can move forward into a great future. Stop think old world and step into the future with me and others.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          “A finite resource will lead to economic trouble and instability.”

          So yes, in 400 years we will run out of coal. Certainly this is enough time to develop affordable alternatives. Currently solar and especially wind are not scalable.

          btw — I am an all of the above guy. I am routing for renewable success.

          • DeJay79

            why wait, why make things worse for the climate in the mean time?

            I’m glad that you admit that “affordable alternatives ” our possible. Now we just need you to see that they are possible TODAY not just in some magical future time.

            is it just that you doubt the power of the human mind and our ability to create new and inventive ideas? We can do it and 100Billion would have gone a long way to making it work!!!

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            “Why wait?” Cost. Cheap energy means prosperity. Why push so many poor folks into poverty when it is unnecessary.

            Again, “all of the above”. Personally I believe nuclear (both Thorium and fusion) hold tremendous medium term promise in the near term (20-30 years) for base load power. Then the sky is the limit.

            As to the climate, I say maybe it is an issue. We’ll see. The climate field is going through major growing pains right now. .85C of warming since 1880 isn’t really a concern.

          • DeJay79

            we are not helping anyone when we hide and delay the “True” cost of economic growth. Cheap oil has made shpping items so cheap that one store can sell everything to everyone all from several large warehouse across our nation.

            But the true cost of that cheap oil has not yet been realized if we were able to see the future we should have been charging much more for that oil to be used to create the fund that is going to pay for all the damage it will do. If we had done that then I know that the electric car first made in 1859 would have beat out the gas one. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_electric_vehicle)
            Just imagine how much better they would be today if we had been messing with that technology for the last 155 years?

            That is why I say do it now, clean energy now! I have not been waiting for this for the last 5 or ten years. We, as humans, have been waiting on this CORRECTION of energy technology for 155 years!!!

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            While I despise waste cheap oil has been a boon to society. Battery technology just isn’t there for a competitive electric car.

            btw — I drive a hybrid (Camry). I bought it the first month it was available and it is still running great (8 years this month).

            Toyota is the leader in electric car technology and they have decided to move to hydrogen Fuel Cells for the next generation. What do they know about the future of batteries? [Note: a hydrogen fuel cell car IS an electric car].

          • Ray in VT

            “.85C of warming since 1880 isn’t really a concern.” Perhaps according to you and the “skeptic” sites that you frequent, but the climate science community as a whole I think disagrees with your assessment, especially considering where we are headed.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Dr. Richard Lindzen, MIT, gave this lecture recently on the state of Climate science.

            Watch it and then get back to us.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jOD4CK8MSM

          • Ray in VT

            Pffffffffff. One of the few actual scientists who sign onto the “skeptic” nonsense. It’s pretty amazing how few actual scientists they manage to convince with such stuff. Its much easier to convert the non-scientists, especially those ideologically opposed to government action. They seem especially susceptible to swallow such things whole.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            No. He is one of the actual scientists willing to PUBLICLY talk about the uncertainties in the science.

            There are more climate scientists moving from the alarmist camp to the skeptic camp these days. I’m not aware of ANY going the other way.

          • Ray in VT

            There is plenty of talk of the uncertainties of science in the scientific community, just not the sort of spreading of doubt that those opposed to the idea of climate change would like.

            I know, just look at all of those people fleeing to the “skeptic” camp. An 80 year old who ran a blog the “Climate Scam”, right? He sounds like he was really convinced. He’s the recent high level convert, right?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I was talking about academics.

            And remember alarmism feeds the funding monster so it is quite difficult to become a ‘skeptic’ and thrive.

          • Ray in VT

            Is there some flood of academics becoming “skeptics”? Mostly it just seems to be the same incestuous community of members associated with the same half a dozen or so “think tanks” that are usually tied up the wazoo to the fossil fuel companies.

            It’s hard to be a “skeptic” and thrive because most of them seem to be stuck promoting positions not in line with the current science.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Reality check Ray.

            There is an industry attacking any scientist who doesn’t toe the party line. That isn’t science. Many of the attacks come from scientists on the government payroll.

            The “think tanks” have no real power. The government does.

          • Ray in VT

            The “industry” attacking “any scientist who doesn’t toe the party line” is I’m sure what the conspiracy claiming “skeptics” allege when so many of their bogus claims, shoddy research and questionable assertions get pushed back on by the scientific community. It’s a good thing that something like the EPA or NOAA has more pull when it comes to something like climate than the stooges at Heartland.

          • DeJay79

            “all the above” is just a political approach to try not to piss off the coal and oil industries to much while slowly working on solar and wind. I see it as nothing but a 50lb shackle on true energy independence.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I don’t see any evidence of a conspiracy by the fossil fuel industry holding back renewables. There is evidence they have held back nuclear because there is an easy choke point via federal regulation. There IS a conspiracy to EXPORT all the new found US fossil fuels. Not good for energy security OR the American people.

            Wind just isn’t a viable source for scalable power. Solar holds some promise but is still burdened by unpredictable clouds and the predictable sunset.

          • Ray in VT

            Foes of renewables certainly seem to be on the march in Arizona, where measures are being undertaken to tax solar in places like Arizona and Oklahoma.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Are you talking about poor non-solar grid customers complaining about subsidizing rich solar customers via net metering?

            I don’t blame them.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m talking about industry and its paid stooges seeking to squash competition from people trying to produce their own power by making it more expensive for them to do so:

            http://newsok.com/oklahoma-house-passes-solar-surcharge-bill/article/3955378

            It’s not at all surprising that ALEC is behind such moves.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            There isn’t enough information in the article to tell if it is a good or bad law. It doesn’t even say what the surcharge is. It doesn’t even talk about the net metering scheme.

            ““This neither unfairly advantages or disadvantages a class of customers,” said PSO spokesman Stan Whiteford.”

          • Ray in VT

            “net metering scheme”. Enough said. I guess that I should provide any power that I make back to the power company for free. I get that that is a deal that the utility companies like, as they get something for nothing.

            I bet that those facing fees for putting up wind or solar on their own property may disagree with Mr. Whiteford’s sentiment.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Sigh. I’m not against net-metering but since the net-metering is subsidized by non-solar customers the fairness should be considered.

          • Ray in VT

            I thought “fairness” was generally disparaged by many who favor most of the positions that you seem to? Also, if people only get a fraction of what the power is worth, as is the case in most places, then how are they being subsidized?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            An ideal net metering “fairness” model would have solar customers sell their excess power back to the grid at the instantaneous “wholesale” market price. Further, they would get a cash payment for excess power instead of the ‘credit’ system.
            So the ‘solar’ customer would get a great price during peak market and a lousy price when power isn’t needed.

            The current solar customers aren’t paying for the grid infrastructure that provides their backup power when the sun isn’t shining.

            However, the overhead for the small payer doesn’t justify this kind of complexity.

  • creaker

    The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules. It is a philosophy, and a very correct one. History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous. —Jean-Luc Picard, Symbiosis

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Shia: We’re fighting to kill Americans.
    Sunni: NO! We’re fighting to kill Americans.
    Kurds: You sons of dogs, what do you know about fighting the imperialist powers?
    Al Qaeda: Your mothers wear combat boots. We KILL Americans.
    Taliban: You goat herders couldn’t find the earth on a globe. We will rule Afghanistan again one day.

    America: Thanks for killing each other off.. Allah’s blessings on us all.

  • njcs

    let them fight! these people haven’t been modernized to our world. If the ISIS took the whole country, setup a government, fantastic, now there’s a target to bomb!

  • X Y & Z

    The US cannot allow al-Qaeda to take control of Iraq.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Al-Qaeda has disavowed ISIS. Iran also wants to defeat ISIS – are we going to ally with Iran and piss off Saudi Arabia?

      • X Y & Z

        Do you think Saudi Arabia is really an ally of the US?

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          We *call* them an ally. Do you think we can even pretend to be allies with both Iran and Saudi Arabia at the same time?

          • X Y & Z

            The Obama Administration has been holding direct talks with Iran which have been promising.

            On the other hand, how many of the 911 hijackers were Saudi nationals?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Who held the US Embassy hostages?

            We should not be allies with either.

          • X Y & Z

            Who overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953 and replaced it with the tyrannical Shah?

            The US did.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Yes, I know – this is just about the first act of the newly created CIA. Done by Kermit Roosevelt. We overthrew Mohammad Mosaddegh.

            We also supplied both Iran and Iraq in their war against each other.

            We supported Saddam Hussein before we overthrew him.

    • DeJay79

      you should focus on learning more and talking less. because until then you just sound kinda dumb, sry but its true

      • X Y & Z

        Nice of you to put your IQ score next to your name.

        • DeJay79

          I like to help people feel better when they talk with me
          ;)

      • Markus6

        Y’know I completely disagree with XY&Z, but I understand his argument, it is not without some merit, but I just think it’s obviously wrong.

        But I don’t know how it helps to get personal. There are people on this forum who say dumb things and may even deserve being called that, but what was said is not dumb.

        • DeJay79

          point taken, just fell arrg, and fiesty at the time. nearly hit delete but just as i was going to Max boot spoke again and really set me off.

          • Markus6

            I have those moments too. And for the same reasons.

      • X Y & Z

        Thanks DeJay. You’re a good person. I apologize as well.

  • Cecilia Blewer

    The USA isn’t the only big player in the region. Our so-called ally, Saudi Arabia, is funding ISIS and giving them arms — arms they have bought from us with their oil. The US needs to address the Saudi connection to cut off ISIS’s resources.

  • LianeSperoni

    I wonder if the people of Iraq feel so humiliated by our wars and torture that when a powerful group like ISIS achieves major victories- they will follow this underdog.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Look for His Highness to get America embroiled again in Iraq. Or as they say in Brazil these days, watch Obama kick an own goal.

    * Perhaps a hat trick of own goals.

  • Kathy

    Just me, but I think it’s unethical to have anyone on this or any other show who advocated for the Iraq invasion in the first place. These people have already demonstrated their incompetence.

  • hennorama

    Mr. Boot — your standard for Iraq is “pretty stable”? Please.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Why does the right wing in America always employ “foreign policy experts” with names like SS action figures?

  • Max Utrillo

    Our foreign policy is the height of arrogance. We seem to believe that if we throw enough money and military power at a problem in another part of the world we can make happen whatever we wish. It’s just not the case. Our involvement doesn’t change the way people in other parts of the world feel about each other. Other nations will happily take our money and weapons but that doesn’t mean they are willing to do things the way we want. Our meddling often makes things worse.

  • ian berry

    The surge wasnt a troop surge as much as it was a $$$$ surge. Now the $$$ is gone and guess what?

  • MrNutso

    Wrong. Iraq went south, because Maliki reneged on deals he made to share power. If the Iraqi government will not act in their own best interests, we should not be supporting them.

  • Ed75

    On thing about this ISIS group, they are as vicious and dangerous as the Nazis were, they have to be fought at every turn and in any way possible, or they will kill many, many people.

    • Kathy

      If it’s that important, you could do what they do. Go get a Kalishnikov and head to Iraq!

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Pull US taxpayer subsidies from overseas “projects” and watch the world flush down the crapper.

  • MrNutso

    Max, all of this could be avoided if we never invaded in the first place.

  • jefe68

    If I heard Max Boot correctly he is suggesting that US should have kept a large military presence of 20,000 or more troops? For how long? For another 15 years or more? And at what costs?

    • TFRX

      For six months more, at which point we can make a clear-eyed assessment to take another six months to

      make a clear-eyed assessment…

      • jefe68

        And in that lies the rub made by rubes.

        • hennorama

          jefe68 — …made by rubes’ lies

        • TFRX

          Rubes? The Friedman Unit was created by a serious intellectual!

      • MrNutso

        Reminds me of Michael Smerconish interviewing a U.S. official in Iraq and how we would know when the conditions exist that the U.S. can pull out. Answer: the conditions will exist when the conditions exist.

        • TFRX

          You had me at “Michael Smerconish”.

    • hennorama

      jefe68 — those details are unimportant, obviously. Just get ‘em in there, and have them put their collective fingers in the dikes.

      Presto change-o, and Ta Da!

    • pete18

      That’s actually a pretty small number. We’ve had over a quarter of a million troops in Germany from 1950-1993. We currently have 40,000 there and 50,00 in Japan. Think of the costs involved with radical Islamics grabbing hold of oil rich Iraq. To not have US soldiers there to provide support would the be one of the most foolish strategic moves imaginable.

    • HonestDebate1

      “At what cost?”

      A pittance compared to what we are now facing.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        How is it paid for?

        • Ray in VT

          A tax cut.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Up is the new down?

        • HonestDebate1

          A pittance means cheap. And remember, in 2007 after four years of raging tax cuts and wars the deficit was $150B.

          • Ray in VT

            After cutting taxes, slashing revenues and running up then record deficits and not even getting back level during an economic bubble. Good times.

          • pete18

            Revenues went up after the tax cuts, not down.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, by 2005 revenues got back to 2000 levels. A great accomplishment indeed.

          • HonestDebate1

            You claimed revenue was slashed. That’s wrong.

            Absolutely it was a great accomplishment. The Clinton recession, 9/11 and wars were a big hit. Bold action was needed.

            And also consider those at the bottom got much need relief as a massive redistribution of wealth downward caused by the tax cuts lowered their liability while simultaneously transferring them money from the top who paid more. Usually liberals like that sort of thing.

          • pete18

            So you agree, tax cuts did not slash revenues. Better to make factual arguments rather than ones based on talking points.

          • Ray in VT

            What an extremely dim comment to make in light of the facts.

          • pete18

            I must have struck a cord.

          • Ray in VT

            Not at all. I’m just calling a spade a spade.

          • pete18

            In reality, you don’t seem to like having the spades in your hand shown to the poker club. All I did was point out the joker in your deck and rather than acknowledging it or pointing out the error in my card reading, you went off to the ad hominem and the arguments of others.

          • Ray in VT

            In reality I have little interest in engaging with or respecting the positions of those who will deny or disregard basic facts. I have little patience for such twaddle and those who advance it, no matter how sincerely they may believe in what they are saying/writing. The significant decline in revenues under Bush’s tax cuts that occurred despite a growing economy are there for anyone to see who wants to see it, and while tax cuts can provide some stimulatory effect, to attribute the growth seen prior to the Recession to those cuts, which never produced revenues in proportion to GDP that was attained under other Presidents from roughly the preceding 40 years, is a mistake.

          • pete18

            Revenues did not decline after the Bush tax cuts, that is an uncontestable fact.
            You can speculate as to how a different approach might have increased revenues more, but that is speculation
            and a completely different argument. The fact is that revenues went up, to state otherwise is demonstrably untrue.
            Those are the basic facts.

          • Ray in VT

            So, were revenues higher in 2002 than in 2001, or were they higher in 2003 than they were in 2002, 2001, or 2000 despite the fact that U.S. GDP was higher?

            That the revenues declined during that period in an uncontestable fact. Those are basic facts. Revenues did bottom out in FY 2003 and got back to 2000 levels in real dollars in FY 2006. Those are also basic, unconestable facts. Ultimately revenues got back above 2000 levels for a short time before the bubble burst, and if that is the low bar that you want to set, then fine, but doing that requires one to ignore years of lower revenues and shares of revenue as a part of GDP at low levels not seen since the 1950s.

          • pete18

            As you might remember, the dot com bubble burst in 2000 and plummeted the economy over a year and a half span. As you can see by the charts, revenues had a downward trajectory in 2000, which boosted by this tiny little event called 9/11 continued over a two year span with no bottom in sight.

            The Bush administration had
            two tax cut initiatives, one in 2001 and one in 2003. The tax act in 2001 cut rates on income and investments but was designed to be phased in over NINE YEARS. The act in 2003 accelerated the cuts in the 2001 act making them take place immediately, with some of the cuts actually applying retroactively. After the full application of the cuts, the plummeting economy began to recover and receipts went UP every year until the crash in 2008. The 17.9 percent of revenue as a share of GDP in 2007 is actually one of the higher rates in history and is higher than EVERY YEAR so far of the Obama administration.

            So to repeat the main fact, revenues went UP after the Bush tax cuts, there is no denying it. Next time, try critiquing Bush on something that is supported by the data, like his spending. When you do, I’ll join you.

          • HonestDebate1

            Bingo. It is lost on many that the first cuts to be implemented in 2001 were to benefit the poor and redistribute wealth. It was needed because people were hurting. I remember when Bill Archer first laid out the plan and I was livid because to took so long to be implemented. I turned my frustration to Bush when i realized the plan fit the criteria he put forth. They fixed it in 2003 and the results were stark.

          • Ray in VT

            I do recall those things, and to repeat my main facts, revenues plummeted after the Bush tax cuts, as smaller shares of GDP were taken in, despite the fact that the national GDP grew. Your assertion that the economy was in a “downward trajectory” that “continued over a two year span with no bottom in sight” is bull. There were job losses, true, but GDP was still growing by the end of 2001 despite the factors that you mentioned.

            Again, you claim that the tax cuts caused the rebound, or at least are somehow linking the two, but the evidence linking tax cuts to significant economic growth is sketchy at best.

            17.9% on the eve of a crash, on the verge of the bursting of the bubble is hardly “one of the higher rates in history” actually, so maybe before you go and turn on your caps lock and give me some Bush fluffing, then you may want to check the numbers, and I also notice that you have ignored the 40 year percentage of the then GDP revenue lows that Bush’s administration generated during 2003 and 2004.

            Don’t try to b.s. me with your TOP nonsense. When you can stick to the facts, then feel free to get back to me, but, based upon experience, then I don’t expect that any time soon.

          • pete18

            You have a funny way of looking at the economy. The 2001 tax cuts happened before 9/11 and, as
            previously noted, much of their effect was mitigated by the long term phase in. The Stock market crashed after 9/11 giving it its worst one-day
            point loss and biggest one-week losses in history up to that point. The market did rebound after that, but crashed again in the final two quarters of 2002. There were 1.75 million jobs lost in 2001 and another 508,000 in 2002. The GDP growth rate dropped 3 points between 2000 and 2001 and only came up .8% in 2002.
            Those are not good numbers and that was not a recovering economy.

            http://useconomy.about.com/od/GDP-by-Year/a/US-GDP-History.htm

            “17.9% on the eve of a crash, on the verge of the bursting of the
            bubble is hardly “one of the higher rates in history” actually, so
            maybe before you go and turn on your caps lock and give me some Bush fluffing, then you may want to check the numbers,”

            You seem to need caps from time to time to pay attention to pertinent information. In the 80 years that they’ve been tracking revenue as a share of GDP there were only 18 years where the number was higher than 17.9.

            17.9 % has been the average rate of returns for the US since the end of World War Two. To have a rate in the top 23% historically is certainly one of the top rates and to match the average rate since World War Two is more than respectable.

            I’m not sure what being on the eve of a crash or a bubble has to do with anything in terms of measuring receipts.

            “I also notice that you have ignored the 40 year percentage of the then GDP revenue lows that Bush’s administration generated during 2003 and
            2004.”

            I’m not sure what your point is here. Since the economy crashed, one would expect low numbers. Given that Obama’s first FOUR-YEARS (caps, pay attention) in office generated GDP revenues that were LOWER than Bush’s worst years, I don’t think you want to go there. Bush’s numbers trended up after the 2003 tax act, which put in place the full effect of his tax cut initiatives.

            You don’t want to credit those cuts with the improved numbers, which I obviously disagree with but that is your prerogative, but once again you cannot say that Bush’s tax cuts slashed revenues unless you both
            ignore the state of the economy he inherited, the effect of 9/11 on the economy AFTER the 2001 tax act, or the fact that 2001 act only launched a small portion of the tax cuts in that bill during 2001 and 2002. That seems like a disingenuous analysis on your part.

            “Don’t try to b.s. me with your TOP nonsense.”

            I have no idea what “TOP” is. Truth Over Politics?

          • Ray in VT

            TOP nonsense: TEA Old Party nonsense, as in the sort of delusional thinking that feeds the sort of blatantly b.s.ed “facts” and such drive any number of ahistorical and counter-factual claims that seem to be held as gospel truths to those who adhere to the sort of economic libertarian thinking that populates the modern incarnation of the Know Nothing Party that is the TEA Party.

          • pete18

            Ah, I see. That’s good, you nave an acronym for your baseless ad hominem attacks.

          • jimino

            It’s called “cashing out”.

          • HonestDebate1

            Revenue increased by over a half trillion dollars it the same time period, so “slash” is not the appropriate term.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, after 2-3 years of decline revenues managed to get back to what they had been.

          • HonestDebate1

            After the bubble burst, the Clinton recession was shallow especially considering 9/11. But as soon as the rates were lowered in 2003 revenues began to increase. 2007 still holds the record, maybe this year we’ll get back.

          • Ray in VT

            Your statement implies that you believe that one caused the other “as soon as the rates were lowered in 2003 revenues began to increase”. That is specious at best, considering all of the factors at play in the economy, but it is the standard TOP line.

            As is often the case, your facts and/or positions are not in line with current reality or thinking. You may want to investigate revenues from FY 2013.

          • HonestDebate1

            History has shown it to be affective but that’s not the point. You said they slashed revenues. There isn’t even a correlation to make that case.

          • Ray in VT

            Bush I and Clinton raised taxes and we had better growth. Tax cuts can stimulate some spending, but the idea that they’re going to create some sort of super growth by themselves is bunk.

            Despite the fact that U.S. GDP grew every year, even in 2001, tax cuts reduced the percentage of GDP that was being collected, so even though GDP was higher in FY 2003, revenues from federal taxation were off by more than 10%, as the share fell.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are moving the goal post, I never said any of that. There are too many factors.

            I said revenue was not slashed as you claimed.

          • Ray in VT

            You are denying the obvious facts, but that does seem to be the only way that you can keep your house of cards standing. Sort of like denying the dictionary definitions that you don’t like or claiming that the figures that you cite about blacks and crime that really come from white supremacists actually come from the FBI. The rank dishonesty offends the nose even via an Internet connection, which is a truly amazing feat.

          • HonestDebate1

            It is not an fact that revenue was slashed after the tax cuts. That’s a lie by any definition.

          • Ray in VT

            Believe whatever lame lies you want to if that is how you choose, just don’t expect anyone with more than half of a brain to buy what you’re selling.

          • Ray in VT

            Also, care to give me your definition of lie “by any definition” again? I would like a good laugh this morning, and it’s great when you rail against dictionaries while trying to prop up your horse flops.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Why did the deficit balloon under Bush?

          • HonestDebate1

            He spent like a drunken sailor. Revenue certainly wasn’t the problem. His profligate spending is the seed that started the Tea Party movement.

            Analogous story break:

            100 years ago in my misspent youth (I’m not proud of this) me and some friends stole a tank of nitrous oxide from the back of a dentist’s office. At first we’d fill balloons and inhale it. After a while we got some of those big long circus balloons. Before it was done we just put a piece of PVC pipe over the nozzle, opened the valve and huffed till we passed out.

            So while Bush was bad, he just had little deficit balloons, Obama has taken it to the next level regarding deficits.

          • Ray in VT

            Revenue was a problem. GDP shares at 40 year lows. He couldn’t even generate revenues at the rate that occurred under Saint Ronnie, and the deficits blew up on his watch, which was before Obama became President, but I guess that it’s just Obama’s fault for not being able to clean up the mess fast enough.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            How is it paid for?

          • HonestDebate1

            The same way we subsidize the solar industry (and every other penny spent), we print it or borrow it from China.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Dodge …

  • Michiganjf

    Gee!!!!

    Yep, your neocon guest is right!

    Spend a quarter trillion a year in Iraq to keep our forces there in large numbers, and we can ensure a more stable Iraq forever!

  • hellokitty0580

    You know, just because Obama doesn’t shoot from the hip and make split-second decisions doesn’t meant he’s burying his head in the sand either. I think, as he often does, is observing the situation and waiting to make a reasoned and well thought out plan, which is the smart thing to do.

  • Pleiades

    Why are the Iraqis (specifically, al-Maliki) not asking the Russians and Chinese to assist in the stabilizing its nations? Those are the countries benefitting from the oil contracts, and the end goal is the revenue from the oil for who dominates Iraq (al-Makili, Russian oil developers, Chinese oil developers, ISIS, the USA).

  • Kberg95

    I tell you what – the president should go to Congress and ask them to authorize the use of military assets in Iraq AND come up with a way to pay for them. In other words, put up or shut up. Congress will shut up and that will be the end of it.

  • TFRX

    “It doesn’t really matter who’s to blame, Bush or Obama,” per Boot.

    “Now Bart, it doesn’t matter who forgot to pick up who from soccer practice for two hours in the pouring rain,” per Homer Simpson.

    • hellokitty0580

      Love the reference. Classic.

      • TFRX

        (And I’m only paraphrasing. The real quote is out there.)

  • X Y & Z

    Does Obama want to be remembered as the President who lost Iraq to al-Qaeda?

    • Ray in VT

      Kind of like how Truman lost China to the Communists? I guess that Iraqi soldiers abandoning their posts and/or, taking off their uniforms and running away is something that Obama is supposed to bear some responsibility for?

      • X Y & Z

        Iran can supply the boots on the ground (they do have 8 years experience of fighting in Iraq), the US can supply the air-power.

        • Ray in VT

          I am wary of working with Iran in such a way that it may empower them regarding extending their influence further into Iraq, but I think that we need to work with the nations in the region rather broadly to work on this issue.

    • HonestDebate1

      He already is, it’s etched in stone.

      • X Y & Z

        al-Qaeda in Iraq can still be defeated. Hopefully President will defeat them.

        • HonestDebate1

          Have you overhear him use the word “defeat”? Or for that matter “victory”?

          • X Y & Z

            I just can’t believe that President Obama would allow al-Qaeda to take control of Iraq. The consequences would be perilous for the region and the world if he does.

          • wgp2

            Ironically….al-Qaeda didn’t exist in Iraq until after we invaded and overthrew Saddam. But thanks to the Bush Doctrine we do have al-Qaeda in Iraq.

          • X Y & Z

            Agreed, the situation is bad, but allowing al-Qaeda to take control of Iraq with its vast oil reserves would be a nightmare scenario.

          • HonestDebate1

            Al Qaeda doesn’t have boarders. The caliphate doesn’t have time for them.

          • Ray in VT

            Ding, ding, ding. The caliphate finally strikes. How is the Caliph doing these days?

          • HonestDebate1
          • Ray in VT

            Obviously if one of Obama’s people said it then it must be true. Obviously factors such as sectarian differences and nationalistic trends that have driven so much in geopolitics for the last couple of centuries won’t get in the way of a new Caliph reigning from Baghdad or Constantinople.

          • HonestDebate1

            Dude, did you listen to the show? Tom Ashbrook is worried about the Caliphate. It was discussed.

          • Ray in VT

            Let me know how the Caliph is doing, and let me know how the House of Saud, the King of Jordan or others are going to likely react to some Sunni religious leader wanting to claim dominion over Islam, and let me know how the Shiites like that.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            No boarders within their borders?

          • wgp2

            AQ has operated best in vacuums of government or where government institutions are weakest. Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and now Syria and Iraq. My point was that prior to Saddam’s over-throw, AQ wasn’t operating openly (if at all) in Iraq as it was in other less-stable countries.

            Now since the M.E. has gone through an Arab Spring, many of the M.E. is unstable, with the exception of Saudi Arabia (which ironically is the birthplace of the Wahhabism and direct funding of the ultra-orthodox Islamism that gave rise to AQ and all of its off-shoots).

            http://www.globalization101.org/al-qaeda-worldwide-and-vulnerable-yemen-2/

            However, the notion that we can invade and use air strikes against AQ effectively is old-line thinking and for lack of a better term, ineffective in containing AQ. And ISIS is the issue right now with regards to the oil fields.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t necessarily disagree. I just look at it in terms of a radical Islamic Caliphate that goes beyond Al Qaeda. Hussein was a state sponsor of Terror. We already did the heavy lifting, it’s a shame we have lost so much ground.

            I think the Arab Spring was an opportunity missed.

          • wgp2

            I agree that whether the Caliphate takes the form of AQ or ISIS or some other variation of Wahhabism, it isn’t a good thing – democratically speaking. I think most people aspire to self-determination and democratic principles but there are still plenty of people in the world that ascribe to the ‘strong man’ form of leadership.

            As far as losing ground? I’m not sure that we really had much ground to begin with. The foundations of a democratically elected government that didn’t fall into the tit-for-tat sectarianism was tenuous at best. We couldn’t stay there for ever and nor should we have. The notion of importing democracy with an iron fist is quixotic to some degree. America (despite it’s earlier forays into empire building and colonialism from the Monroe era to the 1900s) does better as guiding hand for democracy than an enforcing hand.

            With regards to the Arab Spring I think it will take another decade for that to work itself out. Especially in a region that hasn’t really had the opportunity to self-govern. We can be supportive but we need to tread lightly because the US has a long history of supporting repressive regimes in the M.E. and it wasn’t because we were championing democracy or freedom.

            We need to meddle less in the M.E. and at the same time make strategic economic and policy investments there to minimize the Russian and Chinese economic influences.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’ll agree about the tenuous nature but it was real nonetheless. The fragility of it was all the more reason to protect it.

            I think the Arab Spring was instigated by our liberating Iraq and Afghanistan. Those purple fingers sent a powerful message to the oppressed. It was 2009 when Iranians rose up but we did not support them. IMO that was the last chance to deal with Iran without a bullet. When Libyans rose up, Gaddaffi was on the ropes but we didn’t act. Quick decisive action would have saved untold lives that were lost by ceding leadership to France and breathing new life into Gadaffi. By the time it was settled the terrorist had mostly won. In Egypt, Obama was quick to show Mubarek the door which resulted in the Muslim Brother hood,

            I just think we need a strategy for the middle east based on opportunities for peace. IMO we should have operatives, both covert and overt, on the ground identifying the good guys, making alliances and conducting a full fledged propaganda campaign. We shouldn’t have to wonder who to side with; the lessor of two evils. We should already know. We should shape events.

            Otherwise the end of civilization as we know it is at stake. I don’t think that is an overly dramatic view.

          • wgp2

            Well I think this is where we part somewhat. First…I think you give the Iraq invasion too much credit with regards to the Arab Spring. As for Afghanistan..the first 3 elections since 2004 were marked by fraud. I think the latest election could actually be called inspiring because Afghanis finally said ‘enough is enough’ to the Taliban.

            The Arab Spring really took off after the self-emolation of that street vendor in Tunisia. And I think much of the Arab Spring’s credit should be given to the people on the street rising up and protesting against the local corruption and heavy handed tactics of their own governments. Not because the US invaded Iraq.

            I’m not sure how you think we could have supported Iranian protestors. Would that be boots on the ground? Dropping leaflets? Or the more clandestine operations that we’ve already been accused of by the Iranian government?

            And then there is Libya. First we didn’t invade fast enough, then we invaded to late. Then we didn’t pick the “right” side of the conflict. You do realize that the US has a long history of trying to pick the “right” side of the conflict in the M.E. since the 50s.

            The CIA coup in Iran directly resulted in what we have today. You know why? Because the democratically elected prime minister at the time wouldn’t pledge allegiance solely America. Iran wasn’t willing to say the USSR was worse than the US and thanks to the Dulles brothers and their failed CIA operation, we now have the Islamic state of Iran.

            The strategy you support…”have operatives, both covert and overt, on the ground identifying the good guys, making alliances and conducting a full fledged propaganda campaign. We shouldn’t have to wonder who to side with; the lessor of two evils. We should already know. We should shape events.”

            ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions.’

            Is the very strategy that the US has been operating under since the Cold War and it has done little in the way of stabilizing anything. We’re not supporting democracy in the M.E.. Far from it, we’re supporting the very strong men we later have to depose because they became too independent.

            Keep in mind, the very architects of the last Gulf War were the same people that armed Saddam against Iran, worked with Gaddafi to ‘fight’ terrorism, trained the very ‘freedom’ fighters that became AQ. We pay lip service to Saudi Arabia – the centerpiece of Wahhabi extremism (which they export with the money they make selling oil to the U.S.)

            Really what we need is a more diplomatic and hands-off approach to the M.E. Fully understanding that we will never be able to keep them under our thumb (nor should we) and we should let the M.E. go through it’s own period of self-determination.

            We need to accept the fact that the US can’t fix everything and nor should we. That doesn’t mean we withdraw from the world to our corner, but it also doesn’t mean we drop troops into every conflagration that occurs everywhere.

            Looking back on our history over the last 60+ years…the CIA has caused more damage to American credibility than any other branch of government. It’s this notion that the world is our ‘garden to tend’ that ends up creating these long-lasting issues that bubble under the surface and then become bigger issues in the end.

            Personally, I don’t think the end of civilization is at stake because of the recent events in the M.E., if anything it puts into clearer light that the world has changed dramatically over the last 20 years in which every nation looks to forge its own path in the manner it chooses. The U.S. can be a force for good but it needs to get out the way of itself sometimes.

            Here’s an interesting post by Andrew Sullivan about the issue at hand.

            http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/06/20/the-worlds-biggest-hegelians/

          • HonestDebate1

            The Sunni Awakening was a big deal. That was the point when Iraqis who yearned to be free put their trust in us and began to turn on their oppressors. That took great courage. They believed we would have their back. That was the vision Bush hammered home to the oppressed all over the world. I do think Iraq was a catalyst but that yearning was always there.

          • HonestDebate1

            I hope you are right but where has he shown concern for the region?

          • X Y & Z

            I believe he will act in the best interest of the US and the region and work to defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq.

      • Ray in VT

        Do you have some magic crystal ball that lets you see how this all plays out? If so, then if you’ve had it in your possession for some time, then you should have let the public use it to look into Dubya’s Iraq claims before we blew the place up.

    • Kberg95

      I think he will be remembered as the President who did not waste American lives and treasure in a colossal cluster-[you-know-what] where there was no upside for us.

      • X Y & Z

        If Iraq does fall to al-Qaeda, I fear that a lot more US soldiers and civilians will die as a result in the future.

        Nice cat.

        • Kberg95

          First of all, ISIS is not al-Qaeda. Second, if we go in there, we will be on the side of Iran and fighting against jihadists funded by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates. There are so many conflicting interests that there are no good options. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy. The borders of Iraq were artificial from the start sothere is no way we can “lose” what was an artificial construct to begin with. If you want to send soldiers into a situation where they might be shot at from several sides, I hope you will volunteer to be the first off the helicopter.

          And yes, she was a very nice cat.

          • X Y & Z

            You bring up some good points. ISIS is basically al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria, which is why the must be defeated. Iran is more than likely going to send troops in to fight ISIS. The US is sending at least one aircraft carrier to the region, which can provide the necessary air support. Bottom line, ISIS / al-Qaeda must not be allowed to take control of Iraq.

            Sorry for the loss of your cat.

          • Kberg95

            Enjoy your helicopter ride.

            Thanks for your condolences.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Globally critical = filling station for the world.
    Happy Motoring.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    USA economic growth engine order telegraph: All AHEAD FLANK.
    Increase carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.
    Sea levels rise around the world.
    Middle East region covered in water.
    Bugs are drowned in the falafel.
    Everybody wins!

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Thank you, Miss South Carolina.
    –Bert Parks

  • Red

    Finally, the neocon admits it is all about oil.

  • njcs

    yes, iraq was stable state with a big babysitter and tons of money burned!

  • John_Hamilton

    We hear a lot about “U.S. interests” being the criteria for interventions here and there around the planet. This is the favored euphemism of “neocons” and other “right wing” adherents, but they never say what those interests are. They also misrepresent by omission, pretending that their unspoken establishment interests are the nation’s interest. It’s the old “what’s good for General Motors is good for the country” truism.

    In “Iraq,” it’s pretty easy to surmise what “U.S. interests” are: hegemony and oil. The “U.S.” is the “world’s only superpower,” and Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, Chevron, Conoco Phillips and others are some of the interactive economic superpowers that benefit from and foment “U.S. interests” around the planet.

    Whether it is public or private news providers, no one asks about “U.S. interests,” and just what constitutes “U.S.” and “interests.” This puts them in an enabling capacity for the powers that be, a role they were happy to play in the two previous invasions of “Iraq.” They are still not asking, though they might be a little less happy about it.

  • John_in_Amherst

    Neocon…. as in new con job? WHY is anyone giving any credence to neocons? these guys conned us into Bush War II, and made their buddies at KB&R and Haliburton and Blackwater rich in the process. they should be pilloried. Let them rave on from the stocks.

    • MrNutso

      It begs the question that 12+ years later, there are no new voices to be heard from.

  • hennorama

    Boot says “Iraq had pretty good stability.”

    Right.

    It was so “pretty good” that it has been unraveled by the threat posed by a few [hundreds/thousands of] insurgents arrayed against hundreds of thousands of members of the Iraqi “army.”

    Right.

    • MrNutso

      A mere house of cards.

    • HonestDebate1

      Let’s ask President Obama:

      “This is an extraordinary achievement, nearly nine years in the making… We remember the grind of the insurgency -– the roadside bombs, the sniper fire, the suicide attacks. From the ‘triangle of death’ to the fight for Ramadi; from Mosul in the north to Basra in the south -– your will proved stronger than the terror of those who tried to break it… We remember the specter of sectarian violence -– al Qaeda’s attacks on mosques and pilgrims, militias that carried out campaigns of intimidation and campaigns of assassination. And in the face of ancient divisions, you stood firm to help those Iraqis who put their faith in the future… We remember the surge and we remember the Awakening -– when the abyss of chaos turned toward the promise of reconciliation. By battling and building block by block in Baghdad, by bringing tribes into the fold and partnering with the Iraqi army and police, you helped turn the tide toward peace…. And we remember the end of our combat mission and the emergence of a new dawn -– the precision of our efforts against al Qaeda in Iraq, the professionalism of the training of Iraqi security forces, and the steady drawdown of our forces. In handing over responsibility to the Iraqis, you preserved the gains of the last four years and made this day possible.”

      Sounds like he thought it was pretty stable in 2011. Here read it all, check out the part where he promises the VA will take care of the troops.

      http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/14/remarks-president-and-first-lady-end-war-iraq

      • Ray in VT

        So, despite thousands of American lives lost, trillions spent and years of training, a vastly numerically superior and better equipped Iraqi army can’t stand and fight against militants with AKs in pickups? Awesome. Probably Obama’s fault. Maybe he could just give the Iraqi troops a call and get them to fight, or maybe even join NATO.

        • HonestDebate1

          Hennorama disputed the notion Iraq had pretty good stability. Obama obviously thought it did. That is was still fragile and dependent on our backing was obvious. Still, it was relatively stable and on the correct path.

          But don’t take my word for it.

          “… things appeared relatively stable in 2011…”

          http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/06/19/iraq-isis-isil-mosul-baghdad#comment-1443853779

          • Ray in VT

            So obviously the thing to do was just to remain there, spending billions even if they didn’t want us there. Money can always be found to support some foreign military boondoggle, especially when there is a Republican in the White House.

          • HonestDebate1

            Obviously leaving 15 to 20K troops there would have been the most humane, prudent and cheapest option. The benefits of an ally in the heart of the middle east would have been immeasurable.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, except for the dead and dismembered guys coming home and the billions wasted. Maybe we can camp out there until my great grandkids are old enough to fight for Iraqi freedom if that is what it takes.

            You think that Iraq is an ally? Good luck with trying to get their government to back our play. What odds do you give the Shiites backing us against Iran?

          • HonestDebate1

            We’re not talking combat troops here Ray, get serious. Iraq was an ally, they no longer are. It’s a crying shame.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, so we would have troops there, just not combat troops? Maybe we could have left the KBR contractors there and called them troops if they weren’t for combat.

            “Iraq was an ally”. Keep dreaming.

          • jimino

            An ally against whom?

          • HonestDebate1

            ISIS

          • jimino

            They outnumber and outgun ISIS by a factor of hundreds but refuse to fight them. But you contend that if we just had more Americans being killed in their liberated country Iraqis would be braver and more willing to protect themselves? Nonsense.

          • HonestDebate1

            Read up on the Sunni Awakening.

          • jefe68

            What an absurd statement.

  • Human2013

    “No time for Genesis.” Luv it, Tom.

  • wgp2

    Max Boot and the other Neocons drinking the ‘empire’ kool-aid have nothing but ‘what ifs’ regarding staying in Iraq. Their short-term amnesia regarding Bush’s call to wind down the war by 2011. Maliki would not guarantee persecution amnesty for American forces in Iraq and Iraq itself did not want US troops or any US presence in the Iraq.

    The Neocons and Max Boot continue to conflate ISIS and al Queda because they know that by doing so is the only way they can go to war yet again. What is worse is Max Boot’s disingenuous notion that Syria’s collapse is because the US pulled out of Iraq. Total horseshit.

    For all of the Neocons talk about ‘freedom’ and ‘self-determination’ in Iraq, it is lip service. Iraq has been self-determining itself for 3 years now.

    We couldn’t stabilize or secure Iraq with 100,000 troops on the ground. We couldn’t stabilize or secure Iraq without actually a full-fledged take-over, occupation and colonization. The only thing that kept the sectarian volatility in check in Iraq was Saddam’s boot on the necks of Iraqis using fear, intimidation, cleansing and marginalization.

    THIS is what the Neocons and warhawks like McCain and Graham won’t admit to. These war hawks need to be back-benched and let Iraq partition itself and work through this internal civil war.

    The M.E. is in the throes of self-determination (as the neocons keep trumpeting as the end-goal) but when that self-determination doesn’t align with their worldview it is the end of the world.

    Leave Iraq to itself.

    • NonnerDoIt

      “Iraq has been self-determining itself for 3 years now.”

      and

      “The M.E. is in the throes of self-determination…”

      Great lines, especially the first one. I’d insert “the hell out of” for even more gallows humor:

      “Iraq has been self-determining the hell out of itself for 3 years now.”

      Priceless.

    • Zack Smith

      Exactly. We need to follow the non-interventionist foreign policy of the founders espoused by the founders. No more adventures abroad; bring the troops home!

  • TFRX

    Tom, it must be good to be you.

    I mean that because we listeners are hearing NPR hourly news play soundbites featuring the Iraq “wit and wisdom” of John McCain.

    WHile you (and your crew*) are simply making notes, pulling up internet resources, checking mic levels and cueing up recordings for another hour of hosting live radio.

    (*I’m sure it’s not like when I was in college and had to do everything myself.)

  • Geheran1958

    Absolutely nothing. Iraq was handed the keys to freedom from tyranny and freedom to choose their own form of democratic rule. They blew it. Let them stew in the juice of their own making and let the next US president deal with whatever threat emerges from this episode.

  • Michael Rose

    I confess that I have very few logical answers to the conundrums such as Iraq which aren’t primarily emotion-based. I do, however, gain a lot of insight from many of the opinions (the good, the bad and the adolescent nasty) I find from On-Point and this opinion forum.
    Thanks to those of you who try to formulate well versed thought out opinions. It’s helpful & I’m grateful. And to those of you with far less thought spent on your contentious bomb making, I gain, too. If only much patience in an often trying world.

  • Paul900

    Instead of throwing more money into a bottomless pit, maybe we should get much more serious about energy independence by more heavily subsidizing solar panels, wind turbines, electric cars etc. We could have done a lot with the several trillion dollars already spent on Iraq.

    • Godzilla the Intellectual

      Geothermal is exponentially more viable than the other sources you mentioned. That is the reason you never hear about it.

      it is an outright replacement for coal and 90% replacement for oil. Thus, it is not part of the oil and coal companies’ “all of the above” strategy because they don’t want to destabilize their current models.

      Geothermal is THE solution.

      • keruffle

        Yes, geothermal IS the answer.
        In Iceland and Yellowstone Park.

        • Godzilla the Intellectual

          Wrong. They drill for oil. They drill for gas. They drill for fracking.

          They can DRILL for geothermal.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Nuclear?

  • HonestDebate1

    “I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region, and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.” – GWB 2007

    • Ray in VT

      So why did he negotiate an agreement only months later that called for us to pull our troops out? So pulling out would be bad, but he was going to do it anyways? At least he’s consistent with his illogic.

      • HonestDebate1

        Bush was very consistent that the withdrawal date be contingent on the facts on the ground and not arbitrary. The Bush SOFA had room to leave troops but Obama couldn’t seal the deal.

        • Ray in VT

          Obviously Bush, a true conservative, would have been able to force the hand of the Iraqis who no longer wanted their nation occupied by outside powers. Maybe Obama could have done it by paying off the Sunni tribes, like we did under Bush.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, Obama offered up something like 3000 troops when Maliki wanted 20,000. Bush would have done what it took.

          • Ray in VT

            Including lying to the American people about Saddam and Al Qaeda to get us into this whole mess.

          • HonestDebate1

            Tilt!

          • Ray in VT

            Ah yes, yet another lame post used to avoid the topic when the lies that you defend get you backed into a corner. That’s sick.

          • HonestDebate1

            I am making the case that Obama could not, or was unwilling to, negotiate the stand behind agreement. You are bouncing off into irrelevancy because you can’t refute what happened.

          • Ray in VT

            You said that Bush was willing to do what it would take, and I cited an example of the lengths that he was willing to go to in order to get what he wanted. That isn’t “bouncing off into irrelevancy”. That is citing past precedent.

          • HonestDebate1

            Bush is indeed irrelevant. As irrelevant as he is, he was right. The quote above was prescient as hell. He warned us. That’s all.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s right. His lies that got us into this mess can conveniently be swept under the rug, because the buck only has to stop with the President when he is a Democrat. He warned us, but yet he set us on this track. Heck of a job, Dubya. Mission accomplished.

          • HonestDebate1

            Tilt!

          • Ray in VT

            Lame, as usual.

          • jefe68

            It’s clear this chap knows nothing about the situation and is more interested using this as yet another way to post negative Obama screeds via Fox. It’s pathetic really.

          • HonestDebate1

            Are you seriously not blaming Obama for this? Really?

          • jefe68

            For what exactly? Not be able to control what is clearly a civil war in Iraq?
            Do you think for one moment that occupying Iraq is going to stop the sectarian divisions in Iraq?
            This is your idea of a solution?
            How many troops? 20,000? What if it takes 100,000 or more? Do you advocate that the US occupy the entire country?

          • jefe68

            So how long do our troops have to stay in Iraq? another 12, 15, 20 years or more?
            Who’s going to pay for this?
            You’re awfully flippant with the lives of other peoples sons and daughters.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are the one advocating a policy that will cause much more death and mayhem.

        • jimino
          • HonestDebate1

            The first link offered me 40% off to subscribe. Krauthammer’s piece was great. Where am I wrong?

          • jimino

            Bush’s SOFA called for complete withdrawal on the exact same timeline that Obama followed. Of course, in neocon speak maybe “complete withdrawal” means something besides what it says. Did you want Obama to use executive privilege to renege or ignore the deal Bush made? Or make a separate side deal with Bush-installed al-Maliki, bypassing the Iraqi parliament that would have had you calling Obama a stooge of the Iraqi leader when things eventually and inevitably went to hell, given the way al-Maliki governed? Thank God Obama didn’t allow our country’s fate to be hitched to another fraud like the totally unreliable “curveball” who helped guide the Bush administration.

          • HonestDebate1

            I wanted Obama to look at the security interest of America, he didn’t.

          • Ray in VT

            You can always close out that offer and read the article.

            Where are you wrong? “The Bush SOFA had room to leave troops”. The SOFA states that “All U.S. forces are to withdraw from all Iraqi territory, water and airspace no later than the 31st of December of 2011.” Where is the room to leave troops there?

            Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2008/11/18/56116/unofficial-translation-of-us-iraq.html#storylink=cpy

          • HonestDebate1

            I am tempted to just refer you to the schoolmarm soho wrote of the condition based options. Instead, just read article 30 of your link.

          • Ray in VT

            Article 30 does not have “room to leave troops”.

      • hennorama

        Ray in VT — because Pres. Bush II would be out of office when the withdrawals began and ended, so he could wipe his hands and it would be “MIssion Accomplished” ver. 2.0.

        The SOFA had deadlines for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq’s cities in mid-2009, and then final withdrawal at the end of 2011. It also had “condition-based” review provisions for the dates, but changing them would require agreement from both sides. That put any “conditions-based” decisions to extend the deadline into the hands of the Iraqi government, which obviously did not agree to do so.

        • HonestDebate1

          Exactly, thank you. Maliki wanted help. Obama wanted total withdrawal, he did not care about the conditions on the ground.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            As usual, Obama’s calculus was 100% political.

          • Ray in VT

            I’ll take pragmatic calculus over ideological pretty much any day.

          • HonestDebate1

            How’s that pragmatism working out for Ambassador Stevens, gassed Syrians, slaughtered Iraqis and Nigerian girls. Is replenishing the enemy by emptying Gitmo pragmatic?

            What is ideological about liberation?

          • Ray in VT

            I guess that getting rid of a dictator is only a good idea when a Republican wants to do it. Four Americans died in Benghazi, yet the 4,500 dead in Iraq get dismissed. It was for liberty after all. How did that maybe 100,000 dead Iraqis under Bush’s watch go? Oh, that’s right. We get to ignore all of those dead people too. Maybe we can invade Nigeria too. Plenty of money and blood can get spilled as long as some “patriot” like Cheney wants it. Maybe a burly man like yourself should sign up and go lend them a hand. Maybe we could also let an American soldier to die in enemy hands, and then we can attack Obama for that too.

            “What is ideological about liberation?” That is exactly the sort of la dee da, pie in the sky ideological idiocy that led us to believe that we could quickly topple Saddam, drop a little democracy on them and make a representative state, and it cost us dearly. Congratulations on not learning anything from even recent history.

          • HonestDebate1

            What a bizarre response. Please don’t tell me what I think.

          • Ray in VT

            I might endeavor to tell you what you think if I thought that you were capable of any actual thoughts.

          • jimino

            How long and how often will a “liberated” country need us to dictate how it runs its government and fight its wars?

          • HonestDebate1

            As long as it takes.

  • brettearle

    I hope you’re not making this a Gender issue.

    I heard her clearly. And she got her points across. She was quite thoughtful. It came across.

    But, as you say, Ashbrook could have been more patient with her.

    Keep in mind, too, that her emphasis, I believe, came more from of the point of view of the Kurds–which, while quite important, is removed from the Shia-Sunni focus.

  • Art Toegemann

    Get out. About face. All US personnel and refugees.
    The mission was accomplished at the arrest of Sadam Hussein.

    • Zack Smith

      I agree that we should get out, but the mission was a failure as soon as we devoted a single $ to this misguided war.

  • brettearle

    Makes one believe that the World might have been better off for a Totalitarian Dictatorship, to have remained in place–which, of course, was there, before 2003.

    As quixotic and idealistic, as this may sound, the only way to deal with this
    –if the hemorrhaging continues–might be through an International effort, especially with those who have significant investments in the Region’s resources.

    The UN–being political or not and ineffectual or not–might be the first place to start discourse, for a possible Brokerage.

    What other solution might there be?

    Let them slug it out?

    I don’t think so. Too much at stake.

  • HonestDebate1
  • Godzilla the Intellectual

    Just tell the pentagon they have permission to use the latest drones. The cool, insect shaped ones.

    Next topic.

  • Arkuy The Great

    There are no good options. We are no longer there to keep the peace; good thing or not that is the reality. The Maliki government is corrupt, feckless and sectarian. They refused to reach out to the Kurds to help counter the ISIS advance and, thereby, have probably assisted the creation of a new Republic of Kurdistan (not necessarily a bad thing) and are otherwise too weak and disorganized to mount an effective response.

    Stay away. But keep about 1000 MT on hand at the ready in case the disorder threatens to become globalized.

  • David Johnson

    Our national Security would have been far better off had we spent a fraction of the trillion dollars wasted in Iraq on solar farms, EVs and a complete conversion of all lighting to LEDs. Then we could have let the religious barbarians of the Middle East fight it out among themselves. Instead we chose to throw away our blood and treasure while making ourselves even more hated around the world. Now it is probably too late and we will have to deal with the whirlwind we created.

  • Sy2502

    What we have done so far hasn’t worked, so maybe we should try do nothing, it may actually work.

  • Michael from Germany in LA

    May be this time the US should involve first the international public at large and second her allies. First let the Iraqis ask the US to come and help, and secondly extend this ‘invitation’ to all her allies, especially in Europe and ask them to (finally) take some responsibility.

    • HonestDebate1

      Iraq did ask for air strikes.

  • jimino

    I heard Mr. Boot identify the interests threatened by these new developments as Saudi Arabia,Turkey, and international oil. So let them pick up the tab and supply the necessary personnel.

  • jimino

    Iraqis will reach some level of calm the same way it did after the widespread sectarian killings of 2007-08 were tempered: When enough of them are fed up with the actions of those doing the killing and they devise a way to keep them fighting factions physically separate. And we will not have much of a role to play in determining when that occurs.

  • tbphkm33

    The United States should stay out of Iraq Part III, because:

    • The United States of America already has the blood of a minimum estimate of 350,000, but probably over 500,000, innocent civilians who directly died as a result of the 2003 invasion of a sovereign nation based upon proven lies. The stain on the moral fiber of the United States is immense. Ranking up there with the genocide the founders inflicted upon the Native Americans and the inhumanity inflicted upon the African slaves.

    • While dressed up in language of “humanitarian good,” history shows that the U.S. military is used precious little for the good of the common man. A few missions to provide aid after hurricanes in the Caribbean. Most often the U.S. military is used to extend the colonial aspirations of the few – today the 1% oligarchy. The U.S. goes in and it is guaranteed that more innocents will die. Bombing from afar will accomplish nothing but mayhem and making millions more around the world hate the United States.

    • The U.S. is not the “last” superpower, it is, and has been since World War Two, the standard-bearer of a colonialist heritage. In 2014 the United States is a crumbling Empire trying to come to terms with the reality that it no longer can financially afford this global imperial reach.

    • Above all, this has to play out in the Middle East without artificial manipulation of outside forces. This is the final resolve of the Ottoman Empire. New countries will solidify, such as Kurdistan, and need to do so in a natural way. No matter how horrific that is to the rest of us.

    The world should act through the United Nations in establishing and defending safe zones for civilians. Refugee camps or specific areas (such as around religious sites) that are marked as off limits to warring parties. Under such an auspice, the U.S. could flex its vastly overpaid for military might. Also, the Iranian’s could become a partner with the world body in defending specific religious sites. The Europeans and Asian nations could establish organized refugee centers to provide medical care and determine who really is a political refugee that should be resettled elsewhere.

    No, the United States is like the narcissistic body builder at the local guy, studies himself in the mirror while lifting weights, but cannot carry out even the most simplistic intellectual conversation.

  • Coastghost

    Is Obama exhausted or drugged? The visuals were not at all reassuring: Obama’s measured calm demeanor during his Iraq press conference arguably belies his substantive energetic engagement with events as they quickly unfold.

  • hennorama

    President Obama said that it was not the role of the US to choose Iraq’s leaders, yet simultaneously ratcheted up pressure on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, by repeatedly discussing a “unity government.”

    What is also interesting is that there will be competing military advisors to Iraq’s military and government: those from Iran’s Quds force already on the ground, and those from the US military and intelligence services.

    • brettearle

      What do you think is going on, behind the scenes, if anything–between any nation states–in terms of political discourse and military strategy, competing or otherwise?

      • hennorama

        brettearle — TYFYR.

        Well … given that what we have is essentially a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia for dominance of the region, and the complex web of relationships of the parties, and that these sectarian, tribal, and religious conflicts go back hundreds of years, we can be certain that whatever is said in public is not the full story, and may in fact be the opposite of reality.

        There’s no telling what’s going on behind the scenes, but the interests of various nominal opponents are in alignment here, making it very likely that there will be some coordination of efforts.

        Thanks again for your response.

        • brettearle

          Well said.

          It seems irreconcilable–as if the Christian Fundamentalists have been right, all along.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — TY again FYR, and your very kind words.

            Unfortunately, this situation is all Fruit of the Poisonous Tree, with only choices between rotten poison, regular poison, and raw poison.

            There is some moral obligation involved, most especially based on the sacrifices of our military and their families, and civilians who served in harm’s way (as well as those of our allies, of course). We also have some moral obligation to the Iraqis who have relied on prior US assurances.

            (And then there’s the money, but it’s only money, right?)

            Wiping the slate clean, and only moving forward, would the US get involved? Would we simply take the target list from the score-settling central government, and just fire away? Would we trust what would happen next, that it wouldn’t require even further US involvement?

            Putting Special Forces/military “advisors” into harm’s way risks an escalation of US involvement as well, especially if our personnelare captured or killed.

            Again, the choices are between rotten, regular, and raw poisons.
            ==============

            Not that this is even remotely likely, but what might happen if the US acknowledged reality, that the civil war in Syria has essentially been won by the Syrian government? If we stopped supporting the opposition, Syrian forces would be much freer to oppose ISIS in eastern Syria, and to control that border with Iraq.

            The choices are few, and they’re all bad, with no antidotes around.

          • brettearle

            Your point about Syria’s a good one.

            But I do not see that the US will have a choice–if the ISIS becomes bigger and stronger–but than to aggressively intervene.

            In the interim, it is also quite possible that no one will necessarily detect and isolate a far greater commitment that the US might be starting to make, right now, in a clandestine way.

            Even without our history in the region, Iraq, and the surrounding area, is much too geopolitically significant for us to ignore, at this point.

            If things get worse, we would have no choice–it seems to me.

            The only alternative–as tired and as hackneyed as it sounds–would be to insist on an international effort, brokered through the UN, with relevant stakeholders.

  • jimino

    At least the “bad guys” have the guts to fight and die for their principles, as opposed to the “chicken hawks” in our country who want someone else to do the dirty deadly work of carrying out their grand(iose) ideas. And don’t even think of asking them to pay for it.

  • Joseph Lapinski

    US and Europe want the oil in Iraq. I believe that is why we invaded Iraq.
    The followers of Muhammad split in to Shia muslim and Sunni muslims, when Muhammad died in 650. The Shia wanted the successors of Muhammad to be from his family. The Sunni muslims wanted the next leader (Caliph) to be chosen by vote, as are Popes. Sunnis attacked the Shias and killed the nephew of Muhammad, Hussayn. These two sides are always going to fight. There is no possibility for reconciliation and compromise to settle this 1500 year conflict. It would as if St.Peter’s successor had to be from his blood-line.

    Many Middle Eastern and Asian cultures converted to Christianity after Christ died. The center of Catholicism was in the Levant. By the time Muhammad came along in 630, Catholicism was based in Rome. So, Muhammad appealed to the many Middle Eastern and Asian Christian population in the Middle East and Asia because Muhammad’s teachings were more recognizable culturally to many Catholics in that area.

    Muslims hate the Christians, not because we don’t believe in Muhammad, rather they hate Christian nations because the Pope, in 1025, sent Christian Crusaders to kill, or convert back to Christianity, the “heretic” so-called Muhammadans and take back the Holy Land. It didn’t work. The Muslims defeated the last Christians (Crusaders) and that was that.
    When the US backed the brutal Shah in Iran, in 1979, against the Muslims, the Crusaders came back, as seen by Muslims, for a new Christian Crusade. Guess what? We did, except we didn’t recognize that Muslims saw and still see it as Christian nations against Islam.

    So, let the Muslims fight or reconcile. The Muslims believe that US and other Christian nations want to install non-Muslim type governments, which we do, which means to them to eradicate Muslim religious beliefs; in other words, to refight the Crusades and win.

    So, Stay out of Iraq and build new facilities to be able to replace the oil needs with American natural gas. Then maybe the Muslims can stop thinking about us as Christian crusaders.

    Good luck with that.

  • ExcellentNews

    Do not scapegoat Bush for Iraq. This is the CONSERVATIVE legacy coming home to roost, after we’ve blown nearly $2 TRILLION on private contractors and assorted Middle East cronies. And I fear the homecoming is just beginning. Nothing good will come for America out of Iraq.

    Yes, it is the CONSERVATIVE legacy. As usual, the republicans will thrown their old idol under the bus in an attempt to deny they had anything to do with it. But the fact is that we went of Iraq because of a deeply flawed thinking that’s permeating the conservative psyche to this day. Guns, God and Country first. Ignore evidence, knowledge, reason. Rely on venomous propaganda by your shills to garner support and bully dissenters. Throw oodles of money into the private sector to compensate for the lack of effective/intelligent governance.

    Again, it’s not BUSH. He may be out and ridiculed by his own, but “his” ideas are alive and doing better than ever before, courtesy of billionaire-funded PACs and “think tanks”.

  • Zack Smith

    Yes we should do something; send Max Boot and the rest of the neocons over to Iraq to fight this battle. The US should pull out 100% of Iraq, Afghanistan and the entire Middle East. We need to re-evaluate our interventionist foreign policy and in my view bring our troops home from around the world to defend the USA, while cutting the military budget significantly. Max and his ilk want militarism, which causes blowback and harms our interests.

    • Fredlinskip

      Are you insinuating we should concentrate more on National Defense, instead of plotting interventionist National Offense?
      Say it ain’t so.

      • Zack Smith

        God forbid the military be used to protect the USA instead of using it as a vehicle to pay off various special interests.

  • Zack Smith

    I would like NPR listeners to acknowledge that Iraq is a bi-partisan catastrophe. Both parties supported the invasion and have been voting in favor of funding the occupation. We need to kick the establishment (Eric Cantor, Pelosi, Reid, etc.) out and bring in politicos that will draw down the empire.

    • Fredlinskip

      The extent of of misinformation campaign that the American people were subjected to before ’02 midterm elections was such that pretty much any candidate that went against that flow of misinformation would have been voted out of office.
      Still, W and Neocons in GOP lead the charge for the occupation-
      that is something I would like Zack Smith to acknowledge.

      • Zack Smith

        Yes W and the Neocons deserve more blame than the Dems, but the Dems do NOT have clean hands and this incessant narrative to “blame Bush” ignores that the Dems took control of Congress in ’06 and the WH in ’08. I left the Democratic party in ’06 because they failed to hold Bush/Cheney accountable (impeachment), which I now realize was because the Dem leadership was also complicit. It was enough to turn me into a Libertarian for god’s sake!

        What was most frustrating was that Obama took Bush’s horrible foreign policy and kicked it up a notch. I’d love to see Bush/Obama sharing a bunk bed in Gitmo. Pardoning Nixon set a terrible precedent.

        • Fredlinskip

          Nixon was impeached resulting from damning incontrovertible evidence from recorded conversations.
          If Cheney (who was around in both administrations) learned anything from Nixon’s demise, it was to make sure no such damning evidence was left to be found.
          Moreover, if when Obama took office, his only priority was the Wars then perhaps I might agree more with you. He took office in the vain hope of working together with GOP in addressing some pressing problems- such as avoiding the 2nd Great Depression or losing our car industry all together or dare I mention our Health Care Crisis.
          You might think that in the face of such great crisis that the two parties MIGHT attempt to put away petty differences long enough to address such problems; such as when Dems attempted to do so after 9/11.
          Unfortunately, after 9/11 many Dems got behind an idiot (W) who mislead our country off a cliff.

    • HonestDebate1

      It is very true that it is bi-partisan but it seems to me what really needs to be acknowledged is it was a good faith effort in the interest of American security and the alternative was likely worse. That is why both aisles in Congress and the UN largely agreed at the time.

    • ranndino

      That’s a false equivalency. The Democrats went along with it after being brainwashed into thinking that the intervention was necessary, but the whole idea and the incredible push for it came from the neocons. As president at the time Bush takes the most responsibility as a de facto president so does Cheney. I remember the weeks prior to the invasion being completely flabbergasted at every US news outlet turning into Fox News and beating the drums of war. Somehow a few hours of internet research clearly showed me that the whole thing was a bunch of crock (and I have blog posts from that time to prove it), but our experts in the government, the media, etc were unable to see through all the b.s.

      • Zack Smith

        I agree that Bush/Cheney deserve more blame for duping the Dems, assuming the Dems were not willing dupes. However, both parties voted in favor of funding continued occupation well after it became clear that the invasion was based on a pack of lies. The Democrats could have held Bush and Cheney accountable in 2006 when they took over the Congress, but chose not to. This is when I left the Democratic Party.

        • ranndino

          I agree. Obama voting against the invasion was one of the main reasons I voted for him over Hillary. If she runs for president in 2016, as everyone expects her to, she’s still not getting my vote. I’ll have to either abstain or vote for a third party candidate.

          • Zack Smith

            I applaud your consistency. On the GOP side it seems that Rand Paul is staking out the most non-interventionist foreign policy. He seems to use some neocon/establishment rhetoric, but in practice he tends to oppose intervention – see Libya, Syria, Ukraine and now Iraq.

          • ranndino

            …and that’s where my agreement with him ends.

  • Michele Briere

    We (the world) need to stay out of this, at this moment. This is a religious war within the muslims of Iraq. Let the lesson of the Crusades be heeded.

  • malkneil

    Wish Hitch was around to comment.

    • X-Christian

      I Loved/hated Christopher Hitchens.
      I’d bet he’d say:

      “The liberated Kurdish (a full THIRD of Iraq) are proving that a society with less religion is stronger, more democratic and more peaceful. The other Iraqis would be wise to take notice and I’ve said this all along. That this portion of Iraq remains free and safe for democracy is an important victory.”

      “As for the rest of Iraq…Iran and Saudi Arabia are getting a taste of what they sowed in their own countries – the consequences of uncompromising theocracy. What can I say. Totalitarianism is hard to kill. With God nothing is possible.”

      “There was good reason to believe that Iraq could develop into a free society – it had oil wealth and an educated cosmopolitan population, culture. Brave Americans gave them a chance. But it was always a risk that it would fail. The thankless deserts of mesopotamia are still under the spell of an imaginary celestial dictator.”

  • marygrav

    The first thing America should do in Iraq is to study world history and understand that Colonialism is over. The Neocons have never aknowledged this fact. It was their Troskyist ideology of eternal revolution that had then encourage George W. Bush to invade Iraq.

    We understand that our ally required Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran to be flatten so that it would be safe. But its efforts went to far. If Saddam and Gaddfi had been left in place, America and its Colonial allies could pinpoint where all the action is coming from. These “Strong Men” and their practices is what the Middle East requires because in order to have Western Style Democracy succeed, there has to be a history of it in the culture where it has to be inforced at the barrel of the US military. Bismarck proved this true. Germany is a successful democracy because Bismarch set all the markers in place and Hitlet and the Nazis was just a 12 year blip in this long history.

    Max Boot belongs in prison for charged with Treason. Him and the rest of the Neocons role in placing the US in two World Wars. This old Troskyite and his cronies are at the root of why the US is in an eternal war. The War on Terror was always that. We don’t need boots on the ground when we do not understand that the enemy does not see death as the West does. And most of all Colonialism is over.

    We must unite with Iran. Iran is not our enemy. It has cooperated with the US even when called “Axis of Evil” by Neocons insinuation. Beware of the “Leaven” of the Neocons. They have nothing to loose because if the American population complains that the Neocons have other interests, we are accused of being racists or worse.

    Read and study the histoy of the West in relation to the World and you will see that drawing a map which pleases the Colonizer is useless. Revolution and conquest is how nations are formed. See how religion plays its part. Then understand how the Islam is being used to unite the people as Christianity was used to unite the West against Communism.

    Iraq was bound to fall apart. Saddam knew how to keep the Sunnis and Shiites from killing each other, as well as the Christians by convincing the populace that they were all Iraqis. When the Colonizer invaded Iraq in 2003, all that was cancelled by Paul Bremer, the American Viceroy.

    Only Barry Posen knows what he is talking about. The politics of Max Boot & company is a passe as the Cold War itself. The US, like the so-called International Community (the old Colonizers under a new brand name) don’t understand that Colonialism is over because the Natives are too well armed! They are well armed because the US armed them in the name of fighting Communism.
    Instead of reading Max Boot, read Madison Grant or Lopthrop Stoddard. Racist to Racist, you could’nt do better.

  • Imran Nasrullah

    I am not sure why we continue to give voice to people like Max Boot and all the other neocons who were wrong pre-9/11, wrong post-9/11, and now. We claim American interests in the region, which is largely oil-based, and never consider what is in the interest of the Iraqi Arabs (Sunni and Shia) and Kurds. Their interests may never overlap with ours, but I think that is okay.

  • ranndino

    The problem with the neocons like Max Boot is that being raised on the myth of American exceptionalism they continue to believe that we are able to go into any country and make a positive difference. It blinds them to history that clearly shows otherwise. It also blinds them to current reality which Barry Posen pointed out so well. The fact that Max Boot is still able to pose as some sort of an expert despite having been one of the engineers of the entire Iraq debacle shows complete lack of objectivity and self awareness. You are not good at foreign policy, Max. Please retire from it and find something else to do.

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