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Iraq And Regional Responses

How Iraq’s neighbors look at the new crisis in their midst. The region weighs in on Iraq.

Germawa camp for displaced Iraqis, in a hot dusty plain in the largely-autonomous Kurdish area of Dahuk, 260 miles northwest of Baghdad. (AP)

Germawa camp for displaced Iraqis, in a hot dusty plain in the largely-autonomous Kurdish area of Dahuk, 260 miles northwest of Baghdad. (AP)

US Secretary of State John Kerry, zooming into Baghdad today after strongly hinting in Cairo yesterday that Iraqi leader Nouri al-Maliki needs to go. Flying in from Amman, as ISIS militants took Iraq’s main border post with Jordan. Flying on to meet with more Arab leaders about the crisis. Almost every player in the Mideast and larger region has a sharp interest in what emerges from the stunning blow-up in Iraq. Some could crank it up. Some might crank it down. This hour On Point: we go to Turkey, the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia and Iran – on the blow-up in Iraq.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Mohammad Marandi,  Iranian political scientist. Professor at the University of Tehran’s Institute for North American and European Studies.

Soli Ӧzel, Professor of International Relations and Political Science at Kadir Has University. Foreign news editor and columnist for the Gazete Habertürk, a large daily newspaper in Turkey.

Siraj Wahab, Senior Editor at Arab News, a leading English news site in Saudi Arabia. (@sirajwahab)

Shadi Hamid, fellow at the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy. Author of the new book, “Temptations of Power: Islamists & Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East.”  (@shadihamid)

Also: Egypt Update

In Egypt, three Al Jazeera journalists were jailed for seven years in a case that has raised questions about the country’s respect for media freedom.

 Guest:

Louise Loveluck, correspondent for Christian Science Monitor in Cairo. (@leloveluck)

From Tom’s Reading List

Middle East Eye: Turkey vulnerable amid crisis in Iraq – For Turkey, the ISIL offensive and the taking of 80 hostages, indicates a growing insurgency that could potentially disrupt its stability and impact domestic politics ahead of the presidential election in August.

The Guardian: Saudi Arabia rejects Iraqi accusations of Isis support – The fear in Saudi Arabia is of an Afghan-style “blowback” of returning jihadis.

Al Jazeera: Why is Iraq so important to Iran? – Iraq is hugely important to Iran. The majority of Iraq’s population are Shia Muslim, as is Iran. Iraq is also home to the holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala, and to the Askari shrine. These sites are important to all Muslims, but for the Islamic Republic of Iran they represent the very heart of Shia history.

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  • HonestDebate1

    This is awful.

    • Don_B1

      What isn’t “awful” to you? Things full of “awe”?

      • HonestDebate1

        Honest debate.

        • Ray in VT

          Then why do you insist upon conducting yourself in such a fundamentally dishonest manner?

          • HonestDebate1

            I get a kick out of your flailing but even more so by seeing who actually likes it. Bravo, victory is won.

          • 1Brett1

            We are all duly impressed and humbled…Why, I’ll bet you’re standing on a mounded hill in your yard, shooting your guns in the air as I write this! Touché; well played.

            Edit: I know, I know, don’t try to figure it out; my head will explode/alrighty then/etc.

          • HonestDebate1

            Nah, I’m listening to Santana.

          • 1Brett1

            And playing along on air guitar whilst admiring your self in the mirror, no doubt.

          • HonestDebate1

            I play my organ on that one. I don’t do guitar and I don’t like mirrors.

  • Ed75

    The group ISIS reminds me of two verses from Revelation, 9:2,3:
    And he [the angel] opened the bottomless pit; and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. And out of the smoke came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

    • 1Brett1

      That’s a lot of smoke, Ed!

      Your description reminds me of deus ex machina.

      • Ed75

        Black smoke!

        • 1Brett1

          You missed my “deus ex machina” reference, Ed!?!

          Maybe you haven’t had your coffee yet, so let me break it down for you:

          If the Lord works in mysterious ways, as it were, and He is directly involved in the day-to-day operations of people/natural disasters/war, and so forth, then who are you, a mere mortal, to question his omnipotent activities? Maybe He is intentionally causing trouble in Iraq/the general region? Maybe the ISIL activities are being orchestrated by God to achieve some ultimate end?

          Maybe ISIL’s actions remind you of biblical [Oops, I meant Biblical, with a capital B] fire and brimstone events because God is trying to tell you something so you can tell the world, etc.? Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next Noah? (Please don’t let modesty interfere with greatness, after all.) And just maybe (and here’s where the “deus ex machina” thing comes into direct play) God is planning a catastrophe of Biblical proportions, with there being a propitious outcome as a result?! Surely this isn’t a case where God slept in late giving Satan a foothold? …God may be old, but He certainly is still at the top of His game, isn’t He?

          • Ed75

            I hope he’s still at the top of His game, but I guess I would put it a little differently. Evil is allowed by God, and can’t happen without his will, but God never does evil directly. And he allows it to bring about a greater good. Sometimes he intervenes so it’s not as bad as it would have been (St. Augustine).
            But why would he allow it? He might allow it here to get the Sunni and Shiites to work together. He might allow it to raise up a nation to move the West to abandon it’s seriously sinful practices, which must end sometime.
            On my part this isn’t prophecy so much as observation, and I only point it out to urge people to seek God and make their peace with him while there is time, we never know.
            I guess I would phrase the ‘Deus ex machina’ differently, though Revelation 20 (I think) clearly shows the arrival of God on the scene. I would put it differently because God is always here with us.

          • 1Brett1

            That’s interesting, Ed, and I suspect your views are shared by other Christians/Catholics…

            So, God “allowed” and willed Jews to be exterminated in Nazi Germany so that, what? Wouldn’t a greater good potentially have been allowed to flourish if HItler had never risen to power in the first place, sparing the lives of so many innocent people?

            People could have only learned some valuable lesson (whatever that lesson may have been/may be) by exterminating 6 million Jews?

            All this time later, what did we learn from this tragedy? What were we supposed to learn? And if you can not answer those questions with absolute certainty, you a devote Christian man, then surely God failed in his desire to teach humans some invaluable lesson. He is supposed to see all angles of possible futures, I would imagine. He couldn’t come up with anything else? I mean, if you can only say that you don’t know God’s purpose (beyond vague generalities) or that God’s mysterious ways can’t very often be revealed, then He has failed miserably, then he is an imperfect being, fundamentally flawed even.

            And, if God wills and allows evil to flourish in such a manner, but His intention, if you will, is to teach we humans some valuable lesson, this seems an ineffective way to teach. If these “consequences” are as oblique as they seem to be and seem to have no causal relationship to other events (e.g., natural disasters), we humans can’t really know they are for human transgressions/sins, so we can’t really learn anything from them.

            Again, this seems like a vengeful god, one who uses harsh punishment and torture to teach people lessons. If one were to judge Him as a parent (He is our heavenly “father,” after all), then he would be an abusive one who harms his children to teach his other children to either fear Him or to live their lives in fear of being punished in such torturing ways that inflict large-spread pain.

            If that is where you choose to put your faith, that is certainly your prerogative. I choose not to have faith in such ideas.

          • Ed75

            Thanks for the lengthy reply. Many people did leave their faith after the Holocaust, and similar events, but I would suggest a different viewpoint. God is omnipotent, of course, so nothing happens without his direct of permitted will. So how was the Holocaust possible?
            Let’s assume for a moment that God is all good and just, and is love, as St. John tells us. He didn’t will suffering or death in the world he created. But man, whom God created with free will, chose to break friendship with God (original sin), which damaged man and the world (we all inherit it from Adam). Did God abandon man to death? No, he immediately promised a redeemer. And in time God himself suffered to redeem man from the sin man had committed (and suffered a lot), making it possible for man to be restored to God’s friendship. Still, as Jesus tells us, ‘My kingdom is not of this world’, and the ruler of this world (the evil one) will not be cast out until the end of the world.
            We have a clue to the Holocaust in the words of Mary at Fatima to the children, that (1917) ‘The current war will end, but if men do not stop offending God there will be a worse war’, and that was World War II. These punishments are to separate and drive us from sin, which will cause our eternal death (which God died to prevent), even if they cause our death in this world (‘Do not be frightened of the first death, be frightened of the second death’- Jesus.) If we as a society are lost in sin, God has to allow disasters to drive us away from sin. Sorry for the lengthy reply. You might read a book by a Protestant pastor called ’23 Minutes in Hell’, it parallels what the children at Fatima were shown about Hell (and that any situation in this world is worth going through to avoid Hell).

          • 1Brett1

            Any reasonable and intelligent parent knows that the purpose of punishment is to teach the child a lesson. The child must understand what the punishment is for and what behavior will bring forth which punishment, otherwise the punishment is useless. Random, seemingly unrelated, punishments are the least effective way to teach children lessons; they even contribute to children developing immoral thoughts and behaviors.

          • Ed75

            The punishment of God does teach a lesson, but it also has to do with justice: we broke rules that God had the right to make on us, we disturbed the order of creation (original sin, personal sin),so in justice we should suffer. But then God, after stating the punishment, called (in Catholic theology) his Son, who is sinless, to suffer and die to pay for our sin. What kind of a God would do that – state a punishment and then fulfill it himself? The lesson here it seems is not only to avoid sin, it’s deadly, but the great goodness of God. Catholics spend their lives contemplating this mystery.

          • Ed75

            PS If forgot to add then that our suffering participates in the suffering of God in redeeming our world, we ‘fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ’, but he suffered and was innocent. See John Paul’s letter on redemptive suffering. Also suffering used right makes us virtuous, forces us to become virtuous. And finally death cleanses us from sin (‘… anyone who has died has been set free from sin’ St. Paul).

          • Ed75

            Sorry for another idea. Jesus prayed to his Father in the Mount of Olives ‘If it is possible, take this cup from me …’. But it wasn’t possible. This tells us if there were another way, other than suffering and death, God would have saved the world in a different way. This all to give you some other ways to see the situation.

    • Matt MC

      Yeah, that sounds JUST like them!

      • Ed75

        9:7 reads: And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle: and on their heads were, as it were, crowns like gold: and their faces were as the faces of men.
        The main point though is where they come from, where the spirit that drives them comes from.

        • Matt MC

          I agree. Your subjective interpretation of an ancient text with no relation to current events should be applied to geopolitics in the 21st Century. Go you! Your brain had swallowed the entire world!

          • Ed75

            Well, it’s interesting about Revelation. In Catholic theology the Book of Revelation does a number of things, two are of interest here. One is that it describes the world at the end of time. But the other is that it describes the world at any time from Pentecost to the end of time. So at any time these actors can be found in the world. My only point here is that the ISIS group is evil, and very dangerous to everyone, IMHO.

          • Matt MC

            You seem like a fairly reasonable guy with a particular religious worldview, but surely you can see that your definition leaves literally everything open to interpretation. Basically, everything after the death of Christ until the end of the world can be interpreted as a passage in the Book of Revelation. To me, that is so vague as to lose all meaning. If that is the case, why read the book at all, if it can merely apply to anyone at anytime anywhere? Might as well write a new story if that is the case.

          • Ed75

            Good point. But Revelation only gives the spiritual picture of the ongoing struggle of good versus evil in the world, on the very macroscale, so not everything can be found there. John wrote it with the Roman Empire and the Jewish leaders (who were attacking the Christians) in mind.
            But I wasn’t making an application of the Book of Revelation, I was just saying that this image from the Book of Revelation seems to me a good description of this ISIS group, as I thought it was a good description of the Nazis.

  • Ed75

    And it seems to me, since ISIS is against the Sunnis and Shiites (though they come from Sunni people) that it isn’t a sectarian struggle with them, they’re out there all by themselves on a whole other level of savagery. We really haven’t seen a group aiming at world dominion since the Soviets, and before them the Nazis.

    • nj_v2

      Didn’t take long for someone to trot out the Hitler comparison. Toss in Stalin for good measure. Next time add Mussolini and the case will be solid.

      Saddam Hussein was as bad as Hitler, too. Good thing we nipped that one in the bud.

      Now, a bunch of guys riding around in pickup trucks waving rifles are the new Nazis. Good thing we understand this now.

      There’s no shortage of deep insight here on the forum from some quarters.

      • HonestDebate1

        They are actually riding around in the American Humvies and tanks they seized.

        • northeaster17

          Just one more reason we should never been there in the first place.

      • Ed75

        I guess my comparison is more that these people – like the Nazis and Soviets – are aiming at a world dominion, and that the are willing to kill and do anything to get it. Most dictators don’t have world-wide ambitions.

  • anon

    I’d like to know if Saudi Arabia (the government) really supports ISIS, because if they really were the way they’re portrayed – mujahideen whose goal is to establish an Islamic state – then they would want to take down the Saudi ruling family. IT’s hard for me to believe that the Saudi government would be funding them.

    • jefe68

      Sunni’s make up the majority in Saudi Arabia, which could point to one reason why there would be support.
      If they are, they are playing with fire.

      • anon

        The Sunni people in Saudi are one thing, and I’m sure a lot of them support a group that is fighting against Assad and Maliki. But the government? They might be against Assad and Maliki, but they’re not going to put into power an Islamic state that’s going to overthrow the House of Saud.

      • Don_B1

        There are individual “princes,” etc., who live in Saudi Arabia, get their share of the oil money in $millions, and, because of their fundamentalist beliefs, support violent jihadist groups such as ISIL.

        I have not seen anything implying that the Saudi Arabian government supports ISIL, but then it doesn’t have to, directly. But it does want to bring down Bashir Assad because he is supported by Iran, and ISIL is probably the best chance to do that.

        I did like the comment by the ex-C.I.A. officer on GPS with Fareed Zakaria on Sunday, when he quoted another source as saying the goals of Iran in Iraq are to “put the Sunni down, keep the Kurds in, and help the Sunni.” He pointed out that the Prime Ministership of Nouri al Maliki is not helping in any of these.

  • http://www.google.com Big Brother

    The worse this gets, the more this station will blame George Bush. It is amazing to me that the more needy people that Barack Obama creates so that he can help them, the less people are critical of him.

    • brettearle

      So your premise is that a President of the United States carries on Foreign Policy, by disenfranchising private citizens from foreign lands, in order to gratify his need to be needed?

      Do you have any idea what a bizarre and distorted assumption that is?

      Either back that claim up or delete it. Otherwise you will be polluting this Forum with Detritus.

    • jimino

      When the truth is that people like you are the true blameworthy. And the more you are proven wrong the more certain you get that your view is correct. That’s called delusional.

    • Salty

      BDS* has been alive and well for many years. I doubt if it will go away for years to come. He had his faults but he also had a clear moral path. That moral clarity is so challenging to some that they feel the need to push him down in order to elevate themselves. This is especially true of the PSM** elite.

      *Bush Derangement Syndrome
      **Political / Social / Media

      • northeaster17

        We all have clear moral paths. Unfortunately Bushes morality lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. His moral clarity also vaulted him and his administration to war criminal status. He did a heck of a job and he won’t be forgotten soon.

        • Salty

          If clarity means “red lines” unless they are unpopular, then yes – you are correct. The WC thing only deserve the slightest response – the action in Iraq was approved by the UN. It needed no second approval.
          The PSM may not like it but they can’t change it.

          • northeaster17

            Approved by the UN based on the lies so nicely articulated by Colin Powell. The war criminal aspect also involves the torture we used on many.

          • Don_B1

            Actually, the UN never, ever approved the invasion. It only approved the inspections. The Bush administration decided NOT TO GO BACK to the UN for the approval to invade, simply declaring that the inspection approval was enough.

            But then, all your assertions here are attempts at passing lies to people who have not followed the events in Iraq for 15 years.

          • HonestDebate1

            Res. 1441.

          • Ray in VT

            Care to provide the text there that approved or called for an invasion of Iraq?

          • HonestDebate1

            I didn’t say it called for the invasion now did I Ray? It damn sure made clear there if Hussein did not comply (yet again) that member states had every right to attack without consequence from the UN.

            Here’s the text:

            http://www.un.org/depts/unmovic/new/documents/resolutions/s-res-1441.pdf

          • Ray in VT

            So what text was it that said that “member states had every right to attack without consequence from the UN”?

          • Don_B1

            All it said was that member states had the right to “defend themselves from threats of attack,” but Iraq was never shown to have made any enforceable threats, other than the laughable vacuous threats of tyrants in weak positions. Saddam Hussein never had any capability to carry out any of his threats.

            And his military was never a threat to Israel.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, we were told that Saddam had “operational” ties to al Qaeda, which had attacked us, and the intelligence community (wink, wink) toetaly supported those statements by Bush & Co., ergo Iraq was a threat. Good thing we got the troops in and found all those WMDs that the inspectors wouldn’t have found when they went back in in late 2002.

          • Don_B1

            Which appears to be proof that the Bush administration said what people wanted to hear to each audience, not matter how orthogonal each statement was to the others.

            The problem was that the Bush administration became captured by their goals and not the reality that there was no way to reach their goals.

          • Ray in VT

            Daydream Believers was what Fred Kaplan called his book on the era/actions. I think that it fits the views of some who were involved.

          • Don_B1

            No, you do all your “dirty work” by inference!

          • Don_B1

            For conciseness on the issue, see the following from Wikipedia on the statements about the passage of Res. 1441:

            The message was further confirmed by the ambassador for Syria:“Syria voted in favour of the resolution, having received reassurances from its sponsors, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, and from France and Russia through high-level contacts, that it would not be used as a pretext for striking against Iraq and does not constitute a basis for any automatic strikes against Iraq. The resolution should not be interpreted, through certain paragraphs, as authorizing any State to use force. It reaffirms the central role of the Security Council in addressing all phases of the Iraqi issue.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_1441

            Either the Resolution did not authorize an invasion or the Bush administration and others lied to Syria.

          • HonestDebate1

            Who cares about Syria? Nearly 50 countries (the coalition of the willing) begged to differ.

          • Don_B1

            So the Bush administration ran a duplicitous diplomacy to trick the world?

            Those nearly 50 countries were “bought” with all kinds of goodies to agree with the Bush administration at virtually no cost in troops or lives or other expenditures. Their agreement not to complain about being deceived is even more worthless than what you think of Syria’s statement of why it voted for Res. 1441.

            But then most of your comments here are worthless contributions to the discussion of the issues.

          • Salty

            United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 provided the legal support. Actually the cease fire that ended Gulf War 1 did as well…

          • Don_B1

            The Bush administration claimed the U.N. Resolution 1441 supported it after it decided not to go back to the U.N. for the final approval it had promised to get, but to get that U.N. Resolution passed it had promised that the Resolution would not be sufficient for an outright attack on Iraq.

          • anamaria23

            Was not approved by UN.

          • Salty

            United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 provided the authority as did the cease fire that ended the first Gulf War.

          • Salty

            …and UN Res 1441 was a grand slam, 15 – 0 vote to pass

          • Ray in VT

            And what part of that resolution authorized any member nations to invade Iraq if it did not meet the terms laid out in 1441? The U.S. and the British considered a further, perhaps more forceful, resolution in early 2003, but it was withdrawn because it seemed clear that it would have been vetoed.

          • jimino

            You change history with every single comment you make.

          • Salty

            I didn’t realize I had that sort of influence. Thanks. I need to make sure my wife and kids know how important and powerful some think I am! :-)

          • jimino

            It’s only in your own brain so definitely affects only a tiny area.

      • jimino

        I would say holding blameless the very person who decided to invade, directed the utterly incompetent occupation, hand picked the current Prime Minister who everyone blames for the current situation, and negotiated the date of our withdrawal, while casting about for someone, anyone else, to blame, is as deranged as one could possibly get.

    • Don_B1

      There are a whole panoply of people from Rand Paul to Democrats who fault President George W. Bush for opening Pandora’s Box with his incredibly ignorant invasion of Iraq in March 2003. See:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/fareed-zakaria-who-lost-iraq-the-iraqis-did-with-an-assist-from-george-w-bush/2014/06/12/35c5a418-f25c-11e3-914c-1fbd0614e2d4_story.html

      for a concise explanation of why. It was the George W. Bush administration that “picked” Nouri al Maliki to lead the new Iraq government.

      • http://www.google.com Big Brother

        You are making my point.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    It appears that we are seeing megalomaniacs using their personal magnetism to spin up a their fervent followers int a frenzy of fear and hate in the name of religion. Ironically they are razing hell on earth: doing the devil’s work in the name of god. What makes the Middle East ripe for such strife? On the surface I see disenfranchisement, poverty, lack of hope and money being funneled in in the form of guns and ammo rather than food. Pawns of pawns of pawns slaughter each other in some twisted game of chess. Is their any hope for the people of this region with the local, regional and global machinations wrestling for control with religion being USED like gasoline being poured on the fires that burn?

    I pray that our separation of church and state does not fail us here as we have no shortage of amoral players who wrap themselves up in the bible, the flag and freedom while their sole loyalty is to amassing power and wealth for themselves.

  • Ed75

    Just an unrelated note, did people see where Pope Francis excommunicated the Mafia over the weekend? I haven’t heard it in the ordinary news.

    • Don_B1

      It was all over MSNBC this morning.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Another Obama miscalculation.*
    http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2014/06/30/140630taco_talk_filkins

    * Apparently, they don’t require mathematics at Columbia and Harvard, where young Barry attended class.

    • Red

      Ah yes, Monday morning Obama Hate™

      • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

        I don’t know. I’ve never met Filkins. But I’ve read his dispatches for years. Plus, us original Obama campaign finance types have the right to buyer’s remorse. Even in your America. Hoober Doober

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Live on C-SPAN2 {now}. Escalating Violence in Iraq. A panel before the National Press Club.

  • HonestDebate1

    ISIS has taken over Hussein’s chemical weapons stockpiles. Terrific.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Did they get his WMD? You know, the piles that Cheney claimed were hidden over there. Hoober Doober

      • HonestDebate1
        • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

          Cause I can’t spell Addington, Libby, or Wolferwitz. Hoober Doober

          • HonestDebate1

            Well you just did. Surely you can spell Clinton too.

          • Don_B1

            I guess you can’t spell
            Paul Wolfowitz, either.

          • HonestDebate1

            I have an excuse, I’m an idiot.

          • Ray in VT

            An IQ of 6 will do that.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s 12 smarty pants.

          • Ray in VT

            I have made clear that I think that that is far too high, based upon your comment history.

          • Don_B1

            Finally!

            You used your intelligence to get something right.

            A smart idiot, but when one uses intelligence to try to get everyone else to act stupidly, that could fit the meme of an idiot, since it is not likely to succeed.

        • Ray in VT

          Love the same old list of cropped quotes and the glossing over of the lies told by Bush & co. about Iraq WMDs and links to Al Qaeda that got us into this whole mess to begin with.

          • Salty

            If you are insinuating GB blamed Iraq for 9/11 then read you recent history again – he never made that claim. There is a treatment for BDS.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m saying that the administration lied about Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda in the wake of 9/11 as a part of the push to a war that W. wanted perhaps as far back as 1999.

            There was a great cure for that. Unfortunately America didn’t take that cure in 2004 and had to wait until 2008. Like with other maladies, however, even once the illness passes the after effects can be long lasting, which is why we continue to have to deal with the impacts of his blunders.

          • Salty

            I never heard those claims. Others made them, not the Bush administration. GB went to great pains to say that SH played no role in 9/11. And BDS causes folks to blame the present on a fictional enemy from the rather than analyse the current for treatment or causes.

            (I wonder if a SoF agreement had been reached with Iraq that would have allowed for a deterrent force if we would be in this mess.)

          • HonestDebate1

            But you forget, the left has such high regard for Bush as an orator that they acknowledge his brilliant technique of saying one thing over and over to convey the exact opposite message.

          • Ray in VT

            His technique of claiming ties between al Qaeda and Saddam that the intelligence community said didn’t exist?

          • northeaster17

            Hey Salty check this out.

            http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/06/18/cheney.iraq.al.qaeda/

            Is this then why we went to war? See below

            “Bush, who has said himself that there is no evidence Iraq was involved in 9/11, sought to explain the distinction Thursday, saying that while the administration never “said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated” with Iraqi help, “we did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.”

            “The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda [is] because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda,” the president said.

          • Don_B1

            President George W. Bush signed an agreement for all U.S. Armed Forces to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

            President Obama tried to get that agreement amended to allow a for of up to 30,000 to remain, but, as Fareed Zakaria explained on his GPS with Fareed Zakaria program on CNN, and in an OpEd in the Washington Post. an Iraqi explained to him that Maliki had spent years in Iran and Syria and was going to do what the Iranians wanted, and that was: “No Americans in Iraq.”

          • HonestDebate1

            Maliki wanted 20,000, Obama offered 3000, not 30,000.

          • Don_B1

            President Obama also offered lower numbers, down to as low as 5,000, but none of his requests were accepted.

          • HonestDebate1

            He offered 3000.

          • Don_B1

            So now you contradict yourself in an attempt to point out an error in my low number, which still meets all I needed to show your statement about President Obama wrong?

          • HonestDebate1

            I said 3000 all along, no contradiction. You, on the other hand….

          • Ray in VT

            He also offered more than that at other points.

          • jimino

            So you think we should do whatever al- Maliki wants? Why?

          • HonestDebate1

            I didn’t say that. 3000 was not serious. Maliki figured he may as well just go all Shia and take his chances.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, if maybe 800 militants can send 30,000 Iraqi Army soldiers running, then certainly 3,000 Americans would have been an overwhelming force with which to contend.

          • HonestDebate1

            The militants had already run Ray. We had the war won. What’s so hard to understand? 20K was a reasonable number.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, so the war was won, and we had spent years and billions of dollars to train an Iraqi Army so that we can hang around forever to keep the peace?

            Maybe we can park 20,000 soldiers in some country to try to keep a lid on simmering ethnic and sectarian tensions that have been around for a thousand years. There’s always money for that. If we point enough guns at people who hate each then they’ll get along.

          • HonestDebate1

            The troops would have been for training and offering intelligence to the Iraqi army.

            We have 50K in Japan; 40K in Germany; 28K in South Korea. That;s what we do. You’re not making sense.

          • jimino

            Are the Japanese, Germans and South Koreans trying to kill our troops such that every trip they take away from their base runs a significant risk of death?

            Start making sense.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s the point Jimino. They don’t even need them.

            Before our surrender the troops were not being stalked and killed. The war was won.

          • Ray in VT

            So obviously if we had guys there who weren’t even combat forces, then that would have stopped this. With a few American advisers entire Iraqi divisions wouldn’t have deserted in the face of a few hundred militants.

            Those cases are all very different, with little to no ethnic tensions, long standing hatreds or the various internal issues that Iraq faces. You’re not making any sense. Lame.

          • jimino

            “We know that Iraq and the Al Qaida terrorist network share a common enemy: the United States of America. We know that Iraq and Al Qaida have had high-level contacts that go back a decade.” [Bush, 10/14/02]

            “The use of armed forces against Iraq is consistent with the
            United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary
            actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” [Bush’s Letter to Congress, 3/21/03]

            “If we’re successful in Iraq … we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.” [Cheney on NBC's Meet the Press, 9/14/03]

          • HonestDebate1

            That was all true and none of it tied Hussein to 9/11.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, it’s just that Saddam was training the people who attacked us on 9/11, and we had to act right then or else face our cities disappearing in mushroom clouds.

          • Salty

            All of this sounds reasonable and historically sound. Thanks. Perhaps some were not informed enough not to draw false conclusions and intent from these communications.

          • Ray in VT

            You didn’t hear about any claims of ties between Iraq and al Qaeda? Were you paying a great deal of attention back then? That question is not meant as an attack but an actual question.

            I’m not sure that a Status of Forces agreement would have prevented the al Malaki government from acting against the Sunnis in such a way that has apparently driven many towards ISIS. I think that a large part of the current situation is due to the inability of the Iraqi government to govern its own country.

          • Salty

            No, I heard claims of contact but not of any type of joint Iraqi / al Qaeda. The deterrent force in South Korea has worked for 50 years. I realize…different cultures, different parts of the world…

          • Ray in VT

            There were a fair number of claims by top Bush administration officials, including the President himself, that Saddam’s Iraq had had not only contact, but had also provided I think the term was “operational contact” with al Qaeda, which included training in chemical and biological weapons, in the years leading up to 9/11. Wikipedia being what it is, there is some, I think, decent links to sources here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein_and_al-Qaeda_link_allegations. From what I have read from reports on the pre-war intelligence some of the claims of links were considered to be questionable by the intelligence community, while the claims of Saddam supporting the training of al Qaeda in biological and chemical weapons came from perhaps a single source, whom the CIA thought was lying to them, so their assessment round about early 2002 was that his claims were without merit, and he later admitted that he made the claims in order to make himself more valuable to the U.S. and maybe get off light, as I think that we had picked him up on terror charges.

            I think that Korea is a very different situation. There the divisions, geographically, politically and culturally pretty much didn’t exist prior to the partition of the peninsula following the end of World War II, and it was possible to just sort of draw a line in the sand, put up some barbed wire and keep the peace, despite the occasional rumblings from the lunatics from north of the DMZ.

          • jimino

            How do you think that,before we invaded Iraq, almost 70% of Americans had come to the conclusion that Saddam Hussein had played a direct role in the 9-11 attack? Were you one of them?

          • HonestDebate1
          • Ray in VT

            Ooooh, 1998 videos. That has a lot to do with the information acquired by the government prior to our invasion of Iraq in 2003 that ran counter to the Bush administration narrative or flat our rejected claims made by top officials and how that information was systematically kept from the American people.

            I don’t seem to recall Bill Clinton getting 4,500 Americans killed in Iraq to find WMDs that didn’t exist, as doubts existed in the intelligence communities for months prior to the invasions and we rushed the inspectors out before they could throw cold water on the administration’s war hysteria.

          • HonestDebate1

            Gee wiz Ray, do you want more 2002-3 quotes?

            Your framing is bizarre we didn’t go to Iraq to find the “WMDs” (weapons of mass destructions?) that didn’t exist. We went to prevent what we are seeing right now which is unacceptable in a post 9/11 world.

          • Ray in VT

            Quotes based upon the lies and half truths told to us all by the Bush administration in its drive to war? Great. Let’s just gloss over the lies and criticize those who acted or spoke upon the lies that they were told, and not the tellers of the lies. That way we can try to make the Democrats in some measure equally culpable for Bush’s Iraq debacle.

            Oh, we went to Iraq to prevent an Islamist takeover that wasn’t really a problem there because the country was ruler by a secular regime that hated the Islamists and was hated by them? Awesome logic.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

          • Ray in VT

            Lame.

          • Salty

            We need a double dose of BDS treatment… This is getting really bad… I think the “Little Clinic” at Krogers even treats BDS now.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup, gotta sweep those lies under the rug. It easier to blame Obama that way.

          • Salty

            That doesn’t even make sense… Try again…

          • Ray in VT

            Step 1: Ignore the history of how we blew the place up in the first place. Step 2: Blame Obama.

          • jefe68

            You know that’s what this is really about, to dump on Obama. It’s pedestrian.
            The reality here is we have been involved in the Middle East using our military since the 1980′s. We should be asking ourselves to what end?

      • Salty

        Do you mean the ones the French, Russians, Britts, Australians, Iranians, Dutch, Spanish, Chinese, Italians, Canadians … … all said were there or the ones the Dutch found or the ones later found in Syria?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    When in doubt send John Kerry.*

    * Secret Service handle: Wind Bag.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    ISIS, Ltd. A wholly-owned division of U.S. Foreign Policy, LLC.

  • X Y & Z

    U.S. Senator Rand Paul: U.S. arming ISIS terrorists

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/06/22/368155/rand-paul-us-arming-isis-terrorists/

    A U.S. Senator reveals the fact that the Obama regime is supporting terrorist groups with direct ties to al-Qaeda!

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Hence my last comment. HD

    • hennorama

      X Y & Z — citing and promoting an Iranian state-owned source, huh? What a surprise.

      • X Y & Z

        Senator Paul made the claim on Meet the Press.

        • hennorama

          X Y & Z — Bullshit.

          Quote Senator Paul saying “U.S. arming ISIS terrorists” using the MTP website then.

          • X Y & Z

            And your argument is that President Obama had NO knowledge that ISIS was receiving U.S. support?

          • Ray in VT

            Your statement seems to take for granted that Senator Paul’s statement is factually accurate, yet what would be your evidence that it is so?

          • hennorama

            X Y & Z — support your [BS] or quit typing.

          • X Y & Z

            Can’t deal with the fact that your failed and incompetent President has been caught supporting al-Qaeda?

          • hennorama

            X Y & Z — drone on, dronebot.

            Support your BS or quit.

          • X Y & Z

            I posted a link from Senator Paul who made the claim.

            You just can’t accept the fact that the Obama Administration has been outed for supporting ISIS (al-Qaeda) in Syria and Iraq.

          • Ray in VT

            A claim having been made is not a fact. It is a claim.

          • hennorama

            X Y & Z — NO.

            You posted a link from a state-supported Iranian source, whose management is chosen by Iran’s leader.

            If Sen. Paul said “U.S. arming ISIS terrorists,” then you would be using the MTP website.

            Stop lying.

          • X Y & Z

            Senator Paul made the claim on Meet the Press.

            When did NBC’s Meet the Press become part of Iranian state TV?

          • hennorama

            X Y & Z — stop lying.

            Quote Sen. Paul saying “U.S. arming ISIS terrorists,” using the MTP website then.

            Otherwise, stop typing AKA lying.

          • X Y & Z

            The truth isn’t lying. Sorry

          • hennorama

            X Y & Z — I agree — you are Sorry.

          • X Y & Z

            The only thing I’m sorry for is the fact that Obama is President.

          • hennorama

            X Y & Z — yet another attempt at distraction.

            Support your BS and stop lying.

          • X Y & Z

            Senator Paul’s claims that the current Administration is supporting ISIS (al-Qaeda) in Iraq and Syria.

            Just keep denying the facts if that’s what you prefer.

          • hennorama

            X Y & Z — you are a liar. Quote Senator Paul having said “U.S. arming ISIS terrorists,” then.

          • X Y & Z

            Due to the fact that On Point discourages bloggers on this from ‘Feeding the Trolls”, I am precluded from responding to you.

            Sayonara Troll.

          • hennorama

            X Y & Z — keep running away, Cowardly Lyin’.

          • hennorama

            X Y & Z — so you are unable to quote Sen. Paul saying the above, then.

            That means you are indeed lying and promoting an Iranian state-owned source.

            That’s no surprise, of course.

          • Ray in VT

            “Has been caught”? Please provide evidence and not merely a claim.

          • hennorama

            X Y & Z — so you’re not a US citizen of resident then? (“your … President”).

            Please stop trying to interfere in US domestic affairs then.

          • X Y & Z

            I am a US citizen calling for the impeachment of the current US President.

          • hennorama

            X Y & Z — if you are a US citizen, then President Obama is your President, too.

            Call for whatever you want; it’ll carry as much weight as the rest of the BS you promote, including an Iranian state-sponsored website.

          • Ray in VT

            So is he not your President as well?

  • Bigtruck

    Once you break it you own it
    … Contrary to the hawks Obama has been right on most of these decisions. Let him do his work and maybe your kids will see old age.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      The Cheney Doctrine: Who says we broke IT?

      The Chickenhawks are right in one regard. The whole region was a cluster before the US invaded in 2003.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    A new caliphate emerging worldwide: the Obama one.

    • Bill O’Brien

      i hate to ask…but, what does that even mean?

      • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

        Read the news. Start w. NSA. Then move on to drones. HD

        • Bill O’Brien

          what does any of that have to do with a caliphate?..never mind, you want to post a million giggling inanities, its a free country…I’ll leave you to it, brother.

  • http://www.google.com Big Brother

    Another show that will take a failure of Obama’s foreign policy into proof of Obama’s infailability.

    • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

      What good is a cynic who’s only plan is to play the critic?

    • hennorama

      Big Brother — paraphrasing VP Biden:

      “With [no] due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey,”

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

      It is a big complicated world out there. Do you think that President Obama is omnipotent and he can do anything he wants to?

      • HonestDebate1

        I would ask you the inverse: do you think Obama is utterly helpless and unaccountable?

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

          He is t he President of the US. How is he responsible for things that happen in other countries? Especially since Bush stirred up Iraq? If anything, this is the result of the failure /lies of the Bush administration.

          • HonestDebate1

            He pulled every troop out of Iraq.

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

            Did you want him to leave troops there – against the agreement that Bush signed? Our troops being there CAUSED the problem.

          • HonestDebate1

            Do you think Obama is utterly helpless and unaccountable?

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

            No.

          • jefe68

            You ask loaded questions that are designed to give you the answer you want.
            I think both Bush and Obama have been bad at dealing with the problems in the Middle East. It’s clear that invading Iraq was a huge mistake, huge. To try and frame this without that narrative in play is absurd.

            Andrew Bacevich was on Bill Moyers recently, his summation of our military endeavors in the region seems to be spot on: “We have been engaged in the Islamic world at least since 1980, in a military project based on the assumption that the adroit use of American hard power can somehow pacify or fix this part of the world. We can now examine more than three decades of this effort.

            Let’s look at what U.S. military intervention in Iraq has achieved, in Afghanistan has achieved, in Somalia has achieved, in Lebanon has achieved, in Libya has achieved. I mean, ask ourselves the very simple question. Is the region becoming more stable? Is it becoming more democratic? Are we alleviating, reducing the prevalence of anti-Americanism?”

            http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-chaos-in-iraq/

          • northeaster17

            With the backing of the majority of the American people. The same people who have no desire to venture back into Iraq any time soon. Despite the efforts of the Neo-Cons who put us there in the first place.

          • HonestDebate1

            Sure, Americans at one point supported slavery and sexism but we don’t have mob rule.

            It was one thing to pull out combat troops but why not leave behind intelligence capabilities, training forces, a modest military infrastructure, etc. The minute we pulled out Maliki began replacing generals with thugs and going all rogue. He really had no choice without America’s help.

          • Don_B1

            The only “constraints” on Maliki were the Shia voters that might not support him in the future and the Iranians who support him in his efforts to suppress the Sunnis who oppressed the Shia under Saddam Hussain.

            Maliki’s ego and controlling personality have not helped him either.

          • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

            We were no longer welcomed there by the sovereign democratically elected government. So what were we supposed to do? Stay their and proove all of our detractors and enemies in the region correct by maintaining an occupying army there? Why isn’t that rich!

  • Salty

    …but isn’t the world supposed to love us now? After all, we are enlightened and have evolved. Didn’t the GAT* take care of all that?

    *Great Apology Tour

  • anon

    This guy is saying no Saudi citizens can give money to rebels? Either he has no clue or he’s purposely telling an untruth. In the Gulf, people hand charity to people that they trust, and many people give a lot of money that way. Most of it does not go through official channels .I personally don’t know about supporting ISIS or other fighters, but it’s not hard to see how it would work.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    A Caliphate: presuming that all these Muslim dudes are going to cooperate and work together. Sounds like a boogey man invented by the Bush administration. Or perhaps, Mortimer Snerd.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    NSA is full-time busy spying on Americans. Even with the help of the GCHQ, they can’t be everywhere all the time!

  • MrNutso

    The CIA never see’s anything coming.

  • X Y & Z

    In a future episode of On Point,
    I hope that Senator Paul can be a guest so that he can elaborate as to how the Obama Administration has been supporting ISIS (al-Qaeda) in Syria and Iraq.

    • hennorama

      X Y & Z — ISIS is not (al-Qaeda), you idiot.

      • X Y & Z

        Due to the fact that On Point discourages bloggers on this from ‘Feeding the Trolls”, I am precluded from responding to you.

        Goodbye Troll.

        • hennorama

          X Y & Z — run away, Cowardly Lyin’.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Imagine the files and transcripts the NSA has on FISA judges and jurists at the appellate level and, SCOTUS. Incredible that the 3rd branch is so blasé about the devastation of the Constitution under the Bush & Obama regimes.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The next president will certainly have the right if not the obligation to blame everything* in his/her first 4 years in office on the Obama administration. After all, sauce for the goose..

    * Certainly, the middle east implosion is fair game.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Good thing the US didn’t spend tens of $Bs on Egypt since the Carter administration. Or the world could legitimately think we’re propping up evil tyrants all over the place. What intelligent, morally-courageous American leader would want that in his wikihistory?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    I will fix the mess I made in Iraq and the region at large.
    –Barack Hussein Obama {visionary for all time}

    If wishes were horses beggars would ride.
    –Old English aphorism

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    I believe in the light footprint.
    –Gen. George S. Patton, 3rd Army

  • HonestDebate1

    So if we had never went to Iraq and Hussein had another decade in power then everything would have been peachy. Where do you guys get this whacked premise?

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

      We support Saddam Hussein before we didn’t. He was a tyranny and he killed his own citizen – using WMD we sold him.

      He was a counterweight to Iran.

      It was already a bad situation. Taking Saddam out only made it worse.

    • Ray in VT

      That isn’t what the people who continue to be opposed to Bush’s boneheaded and bungled invasion are saying at all, yet that never seems to stop you from claiming it. Why do you insist upon telling them what they are saying, even when they are not saying it? That is not honest debate.

    • MrNutso

      On a certain level, why does that matter. Why are we not invading North Korea? Why didn’t we invade Burma or other countries who are or were ruled by despots?

      • HonestDebate1

        No one on the planet had the paper trail Iraq had beginning with their invasion of Kuwait and refusal to honor the cease fire agreement. 12 years and 16 UN resolutions later, the inspectors were gone, he was shooting at our jets, he swindled the world with “Oil for Food”, he was brutalizing how people and it was a post 9/11 world.

        • Ray in VT

          Plus Bush thought that waging a war would make him a successful President. All of that justifies the lies, half truths and distortions told to the American public so that we could get our troops in there for the cake walk that we knew it would be before the inspectors could find out just what a bill of goods we were being sold. We could just drop a little liberty and democracy on them it was going to be alright.

          • 1Brett1

            I’ve still got my Bush liberation poster hanging prominently in my rumpus room!

    • jimino

      Who said that? Stop telling everyone else what they think.

      • HonestDebate1

        I told nobody what they think because I addressed no one in particular. It’s a general observation and a few below seemed to have claimed ownership of the notion. So there’s that.

        • Ray in VT

          Oh, so you’re not specifically telling someone what they think, you’re just ascribing notions to a range of people when they are not advancing such notions. That is not honest debate.

          • 1Brett1

            Ray, now, he didn’t mention anyone by name, so zit’s zokay to build strawmen!

          • HonestDebate1

            Exactly… except for the part about honest debate.

          • Ray in VT

            Telling a group of people what they are saying despite the fact that that is not what they are saying is not honest debate, unless you have decided the the words honest and debate mean something other than what can be found in dictionaries. Tell me, do you have a “by any definition” like conception of “honest debate” similar to that of your position on lie that I can similarly laugh at?

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — it’s been clear for quite some time [since it changed its moniker to the hilariously inapt current version] that the entity [Debates?NotHe] uses different definitions for the English words contained in its moniker, but justifies doing so since it believes it is correct.

          • jefe68

            I get it, HD want’s to be like royalty and be addressed in the third person.

          • hennorama

            jefe68 — it has already self-proclaimed the titled of Sir Nobler Than Thou, so that’s to be expected.

          • HonestDebate1

            Please don’t tell me what I think.

          • Don_B1

            In other words, what you think is not related to what you post here?

            It is already obvious that what you post here has little relevance in the real world.

          • jefe68

            To wit o naive. . . thou playlist the fool so much bett’r than a nobel.

          • HonestDebate1

            Who did I address? Who did I tell what they thought? If no one fits my general observation then what am I to make of Mr. Blanchard’s reply?

            We would have been better off if we hadn’t gone to Iraq: agree or disagree?

            It’s not about me Ray. As you guys fall all over yourself to try and make it so you cede the argument and prove me correct. Look at poor Hennorama for an example of telling me what I think. That’s what she is reduced to.

          • Ray in VT

            Who did you address? Probably some imaginary “libs” whose arguments you may be seeking to destroy.

            I think that we would be better off if we had not foolishly invaded Iraq. That is not, however, saying that “everything would have been peachy”.

            It’s not about you. Just your lies, distortions and dishonest tactics.

        • jefe68

          And yet you are.

    • Don_B1

      Certainly Saddam Hussain (and his thoroughly wretched sons) was on a path to revolt, but it would have been owned by the Iraqis, not us, which would have been a big difference. It still would have been fraught with discord and violence, much as Egypt’s revolt against Mubarak has been, and will, unfortunately, continue to be for some time.

      The bottom line is that it takes humans quite a few generations to progress from tyranny of dictators to any form of semi-democracy and even then, there are forces in capitalism, as is being seen now in the U.S., which can take a democracy to oligarchy and possibly some feudalistic patrimonial capitalistic system that is far from a genuine democracy.

  • stephenreal

    Everybody on the planet Earth realizes that the Sykes-Picot line is dead. Nobody is living that illusion anymore. The Sykes-Picot line was drawn with zero regard to the locals and their families along with their friends (ie big government). We are gonna redraw the map with or without you but we are not gonna fight for a 19th century imperial english map. That is a fantasy wrapped in a mirage.

  • X Y & Z

    The foreign press corps has been reporting for years that U.S. has been supporting terrorist groups in the Middle East with direct links to al-Qaeda. At long last it’s finally being reported on in the US.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    John Kerry! John Kerry!
    He was a fighter, a fearless and mighty adventurin’ man!

    And hapless. But it doesn’t work in the lyrics.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    You go into the world with the Clintons and the Obama you’ve got. Sorry, Charlie.

  • 1Brett1

    Obama was warned not to wear mom jeans…now look at what’s happened!

  • Seth DeKooters

    On Point should have non-Zionist American spokespersons from time to time on Middle Eastern issues. Why is it that the parade of American pundits, “intellectuals”, etc. are almost inevitably Zionists whose Middle Eastern views are entirely shaped by Israeli concerns, e.g. the Brookings Institution “scholar” on today’s show.

    • brettearle

      So, let me get this straight:

      The only reason we have an interest in the Middle East, and in stabilizing Iraq, is our support of Israel?

      Even the most ardent of savvy supporters of policy, that does not favor Israel, would strongly disagree with you….
      ……unless of course they need to demonize the Jewish state, for the sake of demonizing the Jewish state….

      ….Which is, I suspect, your glaring agenda.

      • Seth DeKooters

        Sorry Dude, but my agenda is America first – that’s a small F. Many American people are struggling to make ends meet while we propel 17 aircraft carrier battle groups around the world although our only enemies are as a result of pursuing your pet interest – protection of squatters on the West Bank. Stabilizing Iraq? As a result of AIPAC puppetry we invaded it; destroyed its infrastructure and institutions; caused its elite to flee; and then put skanky types in control. Israeli concerns are NOT my concerns. If you are so wrapped up in them migrate there.

        • Don_B1

          It was much much more the oil in Iraq than AIPAC; see:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sbey4hPlrX0

          for a compelling explanation that has not been refuted in any even small way.

          • brettearle

            Thanks, Don.

            He’s a Zealot and he can’t see anything other than what is a millimeter, in front of him.

            But at least we tried.

            Case Unsolved: Hopeless

  • Kberg95

    The idea that any president could do anything about this circular firing squad is laughable. The idea that we could install a stable democracy in Iraq is laughable. Whether we put in 300 advisers or 300,000 troops, we will not materially change the outcome, except to waste more lives and treasure. If all the money and time we spent training the Iraqi Army has come to naught, what more can we do to change their will to fight for their own country?

    • brettearle

      The issue, ultimately, is that no international stakeholders
      –which would obviously include the US–can stand around and watch Iraq implode.

      There is too much at stake.

      Anarchy and Civil War will result in hundreds of thousands more deaths and will result in Radical Fundamentalism taking over a country with some of the greatest geopolitical significance on the Planet.

      Do you really think stakeholders are going to stand around and let it happen?

      • Don_B1

        Unfortunately, the Middle East of Arab-Persian and Sunni-Shia rivalries along with a religion that has not gone through an “Enlightenment” could well “need” to see the consequences of using force rather than diplomacy to resolve their differences.

        The problem is that the Middle East cannot act out its resolution in isolation as Europe did in the 1400s to 1700s. But it will still be a long process as humans do not give up past “wrongs” easily and resentments simmer, as some in the Middle East have for over a thousand years.

        There may be only a few limited things that “outside stakeholders” can do.

        • brettearle

          Don, I have NO idea, what the best thing to do is.

          My point is that the US, and maybe others, WILL intervene, if the situation worsens–just like what was done in 2003. Except this time it’s to repel insurgents; the last time was for regime change.

          It doesn’t matter whether it’s prudent or not.

          It’s a matter of everyone fixing it, after it’s broke.

          That’s the mentality. Regardless of whether you or I might think that the only way for centuries’ old grudges and gripes to reconcile is to let them slug it out, by putting a huge boxing ring around it all.

          Whether we like it or not, that’s not going to happen.

          Why?

          Because when these religious conflicts fomented, there were no Oil Derricks.

          As far as Energy Sources is concerned, many countries haven’t begun to think in terms of Fracking, much less have a long-range goal to wean themselves off Oil.

          Therefore, from the standpoint of Ancient Resentments needing to be resolved, this idea of leaving them, to their own devices, would be significantly anachronistic.

          Additionally, a Radical Islamic Territory would be a direct security threat to the US.

          In my opinion, Realpolitik would most certainly obtain, here.

          • Seth DeKooters

            Glad you got it right for once BrettEarle – the Middle East is a swamp of religious conflicts. But for Israeli/Jewish interests the US should not have been involved. I don’t want my sons or their treasure being spent to intervene on behalf of a Zionist racist fascist state which is exactly what Israel has become. That is the only reason Americans would need to become involved in remaking an area that poses no threat at all to the USA.

          • brettearle

            Mr. DeKooters states below:

            “On Point should have non-Zionist American spokespersons from time to time on Middle Eastern issues. Why is it that the parade of American pundits, “intellectuals”, etc. are almost inevitably Zionists whose Middle Eastern views are entirely shaped by Israeli concerns, e.g. the Brookings Institution “scholar” on today’s show.”

            My comment to that was:

            “So, let me get this straight:

            The only reason we have an interest in the Middle East, and in stabilizing Iraq, is our support of Israel?

            Even the most ardent of savvy supporters of policy, that does not favor Israel, would strongly disagree with you….

            ……unless of course they need to demonize the Jewish state, for the sake of demonizing the Jewish state….

            ….Which is, I suspect, your glaring agenda.”

            Mr. DeKooters’s Radical Anti-Zionist Agenda is underscored below and requoted above….

            in order to display how embarrassing and how annoying it is for me to have to find common ground with someone WHO SEES US PROBLEMS, IN THE MIDDLE EAST TO BE ISRAEL’S FAULT.

            Mr. Dekooters has got it wrong not just for once.

            But for all time.

            Maybe Mr. Dekooters ought to join a Kibbutz so we can knock some ethical sense into his head.

            Although, at this point, it is very, very likely too late.

          • Arkuy The Great

            I read commentary like this discussion between Don and Brett and I start to wonder if the next US intervention, should it be absolutely necessary and unavoidable, will be with about 1000 megatons. Horrific, to be sure, but the region would never be a threat to anyone ever again.

          • Don_B1

            The disruption that would cause across the rest of the world, as well as the end of comity, would ensure that further disruptions would erupt, all for political and economic reasons so numerous as to be unlistable.

          • Arkuy The Great

            There is no question we are talking of a total “gone to hell” situation; comity would have already ceased to exist at that point.

          • Kberg95

            Nuking the region into a glowing parking lot will solve nothing and the environmental damage to the world would far exceed the “end of comity”.

          • Kberg95

            If there ever was a reason to wean ourselves off of the middle-east oil teat, this is a good one. Will there be massive economic disruption? No doubt about it, but we are going to see massive economic disruption if we do intervene and continue to piss away lives and treasure that could be better spent rebuilding our own country.

            As I said before, “Radical Islamic Territory” territory is also a great military target. Unlike Afghanistan, the open desert provides little hiding place from a Hellfire missile fired by a drone or a 2000 lb.JDAM dropped by a B-52 from 50,000 feet.

            There is Realpolitik and there is also reality. The reality is that this country will not stomach sending our military off to this neck of the woods again.

            Anyone who thinks we should do so should also be at the front of the line of volunteers to go in with the first wave.

      • Kberg95

        Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Palestine were artificial constructs that came out of WWI, so Iraq was never a tenable entity without either superpower or a Saddam Hussein to keep the lid on tribal and religious enmities that are over 1000 years old. What is playing out now was going to play itself out eventually and we cannot stop it.

        I disagree that Iraq has the “greatest geopolitical significance on the Planet”. The region does, but not Iraq itself.

        There are so many players who are working at cross purposes right now. Saudi Arabia is an erstwhile ally but they are funding ISIS. Iran is an erstwhile enemy but they are supporting the Iraqi Shias. Then there’s Turkey, Kurdistan, Syria, the Gulf States, all of whom have a stake in this fiasco but none of whom share all of US interests.

        IMHO, we should let the dust settle and let Iraq self-partition. Once ISIS has to actually govern a specific geographic area, they then become a targetable entity.

        The biggest problem with the War on Terror is that organizations like Al Qaeda were non-state actors. Well, if ISIS has to govern, they will be a de facto state and will then be militarily vulnerable in ways stateless terror groups are not.

  • John_Hamilton

    This discussion is near-comedic. Given the history of “U.S.” diddling around in the Mideast, the question of what diddling we should do this time has a Keystone Cops aspect to it. Especially in the broader context of the impending disintegration of our infinite growth on a finite planet economic system in a condition of increasingly serious climate change, the idea that diddling around elsewhere will make our lives meaningful is cosmic humor at work.

    There is something we can do, though. It isn’t too late to put the Bush regime on trial for treason and war crimes. This would show the world that, in Catholic terms, we have a firm purpose of amendment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVNSQ72wvlc

    • John_Hamilton
    • brettearle

      How will War Crimes proceedings, against Bush, specifically and clearly contribute to solving the ISIS debacle–by such a Trial making an actual impact?

      Surely, you don’t think that the US would actually put Bush II up on trial?

      Are you simply recommending this for your own personal show of contempt? Otherwise, what’s the point?

      It’s never going to happen–even if millions of us want it to.

      • John_Hamilton

        Ahh, the beginning of an endless round of tit for tat. I hold this truth to be self-evident, but evidently it isn’t for some. So, here goes.

        Everything that happens in the universe relates to everything else. The recent Cosmos series on the Fox network should have made this clear. Surely you were watching. Given that the two invasions of “Iraq” by the “U.S.” have something to do with the current debacle, the criminals who fomented these wars being put on trial would have something to do with a civilized result. At the very least it would show the world that there is such a thing as the rule of law, and that regimes who foment aggressive wars are held accountable somewhere on this planet.

        Many, many things have been unlikely in human history. Indeed, every last one of us has been extremely unlikely, but here we are. So the idea that advocating for something that is unlikely is pointless is coward talk. We exist in a context of an unsustainable economic system in a larger context of drastic global climate change. As our overstructure of power continutes to deny and do nothing about these problems, they get worse. The impunity of the Bush regime depends on this overall primacy of a doomed power structure.

        So, talking about prosecuting the Bush regime serves a number of purposes. One is as a reminder of how this mess was started, or at least exacerbated. Another is to stand for the rule of law. Another is as an example of the credibility of the powers that be when it comes to ANYTHING.

        And, still another is that if you don’t bring up the topic of responsibility it will indeed never happen. It also is a way of telling not just the Mideast, but the whole world that the “U.S.” has changed its way of being on this planet. That would have a more powerful effect than any diddling around.

        This was an explanation for the dense. It likely had no effect. Density is often impenetrable, depending on the material to be penetrated.

        • brettearle

          My point was for you not to Dream.

          My point was for you to face facts.

          If you want to Dream, go back to sleep.

          • John_Hamilton

            Facts? Whose facts? Why, your facts. I face actual facts, such as what has resulted from “U.S.” diddling around the Mideast. Once we start facing the actual facts we can start looking at what we can do to save our civilization. Meanwhile, one can always dream. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2RGu1v5388&feature=kp

          • brettearle

            The facts–which you apparently don’t have the Objectivity to face–are that NO ONE IS GOING TO PUT BUSH II UP ON WAR CRIMES….regardless of whether IT IS JUSTIFIED OR NOT.

            Is the POINT.

            Either stick to the POINT or go back to sleep.

            I suspect, strongly, however, that you already are asleep.

          • John_Hamilton

            Is it stick to THE point or stick to YOUR point? It might occur to you that the future hasn’t happened yet, and therefore is not yet a fact.

            And, as far as “Either stick to the POINT or go back to sleep” is concerned, I developed an aversion to following orders when I was in the Army. Maybe you could enlighten me on the basis of your authority to give orders. Some serve, some pretend, hope to make up for it by blustering.

            Meanwhile, here’s another song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVqJl-FOYIA

          • John_Hamilton

            To which I responded, but you seem incapable of reading, is that your point is meaningless, just trash talk. You might want to face one simple fact, that “U.S.” diddling around in the Mideast stirred all the simmering conflicts in the Mideast, and more diddling is likely to have a similar or worse result. You take your own projections of the future as “facts,” when they are mere fantasies.

            So, tell yo mama to face facts. No need to go any farther with that one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmDp0E904D8

        • Arkuy The Great

          “Given that the two invasions of “Iraq” by the “U.S.” have something to do with the current debacle, the criminals who fomented these wars being put on trial would have something to do with a civilized result. ”

          Because there were absolutely no other factors in the mix leading to the current circumstance. Sunni/Shia/Kurd violent conflicts extending back centuries are fundamentally (pun intentional) irrelevant. Nope, totally the fault of George ChimpyMcHitlerBurton and his gang of merry havoc-wreakers.

          • Don_B1

            The reason that the Bush administration is at fault for the current imbroglio is that, for better or worse, Saddam Hussain had shut them down as had the other dictators across the Middle East.

            The 2003 invasion of Iraq took the lid off the simmering resentments and created new atrocities to further inflame the parties. And now the whirlwind is being “harvested.”

          • Arkuy The Great

            Perhaps so. But all of those dangerous sentiments and passions were already there. Further, Saddam Hussein’s active and brutal suppression clearly did nothing to erase them. If Coalition forces did not force Saddam from power then his own natural expiration would have presented an ample opportunity (his sons and “heir and spare” apparent Uday and Qusay were hardly the steely, brutal, determined leadership type of Saddam).

            Taking the lid off is hardly the same as stoking the fire.

          • Don_B1

            But how the lid comes off is important in how the populace reacts.

            If the different groups all get together to take the lid off, they all have a stake in how the country works to build a better place, not necessarily fight each other for power. No guarantees, but possible, except when an outsider takes the lid off and puts power in the hands of one of the groups.

          • Arkuy The Great

            Syria is a pretty good example of “they all have a stake in how the country works to build a better place” NOT happening. A thousand years of bitter rivalry between tribes do not suddenly go away because of certain external circumstances.

          • HonestDebate1

            If you don’t take the lid off of an innocent looking pressure cooker it will eventually explode.

          • John_Hamilton

            Senseless metaphor. Taking the lid off the notorious pressure cooker would not have made a meaningful difference. Doing competent police work in advance would have made the difference that was needed.

          • HonestDebate1

            Pressure cookers without a lid just boil water. It can burn but it won’t explode.

          • John_Hamilton

            Still a senseless metaphor.

          • HonestDebate1

            I like it.

          • John_Hamilton

            Of course. That doesn’t make it senseful.

          • John_Hamilton

            Hmm. Delusions of greatness. tend to get in the way of sensible thought. You might want to reread the quote you referred to. I’ll just include these seven words: “…something to do with the current debacle”. And of course something to do with a civilized result. Not everything, but something.

            Pretty amusing, someone quoting me, then trying to use it to make a snide comment, not realizing he is demonstrating his inability to read.

  • refwards1

    Tom, the Telegraph says the Kurds told CIA months ago about ISIS invasion and BUR-BBC Newshour just explained the Egyptian verdict: Al Jazeera Arabic (not English) is blatantly pro-Morsi. We do not need to protect dishonest journalists.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10918853/Britain-and-US-neglected-alert-to-Iraq-jihadist-takeover.html

  • brighteyed_explorer

    Russia is supportive of the Syrian regime of Bashar-al-Assad. Will Russia now step in to protect that regime?

    • KrazyHarold

      Putin has offered Maliki Russia’s support to Iraq! The dear leader is playing golf while Iraq burns!

      • brighteyed_explorer

        Will there be Russian troops fighting in Syria and/or Iraq?

    • Don_B1

      Russia has already been supporting the Assad regime, with shipments of arms and other supplies plus blocking resolutions in the U.N., and it continues to do so.

  • KrazyHarold

    Is this a joke? How can you take the dear leader and his lap dog seriously? Isn’t it obvious the Sunnis tied their fate to Saudi’s proxy Isis and have no interest in negotiating with Bagdad? The central government is only in Bagdad and these amateurs are trying to get a regime change! How does this look to the allies of the US? What a freaking joke!

  • refwards1

    Regarding Putin and Assad plus Shi’ia as opposed to US and Maliki: Putin is protecting a client state, a weapons customer, and fully understanding that promoting a minority position (Shi’ia are 10 percent of global Muslims) is annoying but unbalancing to Sunnis.

    US would probably defend its defense of a minority for minority’s sake, and then point out blindly that Maliki represents an internal majority in a country that no longer exists.

    We should have backed the winning Assad from the start. None of this would have happened.

  • pm05

    “How come the US did not know this was happening” !!! Apparently we are supposed to know everything and be involved BUT NOT be involved! We just can’t win!!! Where is the rest of the world! I don’t hear of ANY other country stepping up! Where are they? And … it is ALL on Obama! This is all nuts!

    • HonestDebate1

      Obama read about it in the papers.

      • Ray in VT

        He’s busy working on his revenge and spinning all of his vast conspiracies.

      • StilllHere

        It’s golf and fundraising season.

    • Don_B1

      The U.S. government has been following this group for some time but no one expected that these events, which were a possibility, would come this fast.

      The union of Sunni groups and the ISIL group occurred without much notice anywhere. It was this grouping that led the Iraqi Army soldiers to surrender in the face of the group, as they had developed total frustration with the Iraqi government in Baghdad.

  • S David H de Lorge

    Turkey is one thing. In the minds of ISIS, Sunni Arab lands may be the main thing. A trans-Islamic Caliphate may be worth their ultimate dream, but might they focus first on a trans-Arabic Caliphate?

    With massive armamentarium and cash, and recruits among unemployed young Sunni, might they think of sweeping right past Shiaa Iraq and its implied Persian backup? Might they conceive of building their Arab Caliphate by sweeping on into the Arabian Peninsula, toward the Holy Cities, the Kingdom, and the Emirates? Might they dream of taking the Arab crown jewel of Cairo?

    If so, won’t Israeli leaders come to view this as a real and present danger to Israel’s existence? They would be virtually surrounded. If Israel acts on perceived ultimate threat to survival, what are the chances this thing devolves into radioactive clouds drifting away from Israeli strikes on centers of intolerable military strength?

    • Arkuy The Great

      Israel is more than content to have Sunnis and Shia beating each other to a pulp 1000 miles away from its borders.

      At any rate, ISIS cut right through an Iraqi military that is fractious and feckless. They are not touching Kurdish areas, interestingly, because the KRG is actually a stable, functioning authority and is more than capable of protecting its own territory. I am pretty sure the militaries of Turkey and Iran are up to that task even moreso.

      • S David H de Lorge

        Yes. Is this a response to my comment?

    • brettearle

      Your vision is creative.

      I can say that for it.

      But its plausibility is unsound.

      If there were any sort of widening annexation, of the kind you are suggesting, the chances of Intervention by the West would be quite high–before anything close to such an adventurist expedition would be well underway.

      • S David H de Lorge

        Yeah, well, I was sort of thinking about that. It’s a grand strategic vision, worthy of Saladin, or perhaps of the Prophet Mohammed himself. It also called to mind the armchair geopolitical strategizing practiced by H. Kissinger and, with somewhat less sophistication, a mob of neocons in the more recent past. Might be a basis for a certain kind of epic fiction in it. Might satisfy the agitated paranoia of one who strains to make sense of a worrisome world.

        Serves me pretty well as a flight of fancy with some plausibility for events in the real world. However, I must agree with you that the chances of intervention, from all quarters, is high if any developments like that started to suggest plausibility.

        Meanwhile, why not venture to talk about it? Just for fun. And perhaps for a lick of insight into the fevered imaginations of the

        • brettearle

          Hey,

          I know I can’t prove this:

          But you write like me and you think like me.

          Are you sure you’re not me?

          [I write Literary Satire.]

          • S David H de Lorge

            I may be.

            Wanta be pals?

          • brettearle

            That’s not possible.

            I’m too self-critical.

            Besides, how do i know you’re not my Doppelganger?

          • S David H de Lorge

            Well, then, as you say.

            Go easy when you can. Self-deprecating irony might help.

            You don’t, but neither do you know if it’s not a purely internal condition. Capgras syndrome may be especially challenging.

  • X Y & Z

    S.D. Republican Party calls for Obama impeachment on Saturday

    http://www.argusleader.com/story/davidmontgomery/2014/06/21/sdgop-obama-impeachment/11212075/

    Encouraging news. Impeach Obama, the sooner the better!

    • hennorama

      Meaningless shouts from partisans that aren’t even worth the electrons required to display them.

    • HonestDebate1

      I don’t think it’s possible to make a coherent argument that Obama’s IRS didn’t stomp right over the line that caused Nixon to resign rather than be impeached, no question about it. I think a case could be made that any number of his lawless acts warrant impeachment.

      It won’t happen. This is awful.

      • X Y & Z

        Obama’s assassination of four American citizens was a criminal violation of the Constitution. Even former Obama supporters like Dr. Cornel West and Noam Chomsky are criticizing Obama in some very unflattering terms. Look for the Democrats to abandon Obama at some point in the future as a way of distancing themselves from his law-less Administration.

        • hennorama

          X Y & Z — what total and complete nonsense.

          In other words, your usual BS.

          • X Y & Z

            Due to the fact that On point discourages bloggers on this site from “Feeding the Trolls”, I am precluded from responding to you.

            Adios Troll.

          • hennorama

            X Y & Z — more total and complete nonsense from the Cowardly Lyin’.

      • S David H de Lorge

        Well, you have to read and assimilate those arguments before you can really employ your critical thinking to judge whether it’s possible.

        Or relevant to this topic.

        • HonestDebate1

          Justifiable and and possible are two different things. I am prepared to make the case that Obama has deliberately treated our security with reckless disregard to an impeachable degree regarding Iraq. I deleted that part from the above before posting because it’s a moot point. It won’t happen.

          • S David H de Lorge

            Well then, carry on. Particularly as relevant to this topic.

          • HonestDebate1

            As I said, it’s a moot point.

  • HonestDebate1

    George Bush warned Obama in no uncertain terms what would happen if we abandoned Iraq too soon. All of his generals told him the same thing. All of my radical right-wing radio guys could not have been more prescient about the outcome we are seeing. I blogged my ass off about it here. Everybody and their brother saw this coming. Obama doesn’t care a wit about the security of America. It’s either that our he’s hopelessly incompetent… or both.

    • S David H de Lorge

      Did George tell Obama that before or after he (George) signed the agreement that all US forces would be withdrawn unless something changed? Did George then tell Obama that it would be up to him (Obama) to arrive at a new settlement that would let US forces remain after all, but that the Iraqi politicians weren’t dealing straight and he probably couldn’t find a way, but what the hell, I’ve got some painting to tend to in Dallas?

      • HonestDebate1

        Being President is hard. It’s better to be up to the job,

        • Don_B1

          Where do you get the idea that you are up to the task of knowing what a president should do?

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s my job as an American citizen.

          • jefe68

            It seems you mistake being critical of a president with posting yards of anti-Obama memes and screeds day in and out. It’s more partisan bloviating than anythign else.

        • S David H de Lorge

          I have trouble disputing that. So I won’t.

      • hennorama

        S David H de Lorge — good luck trying to get a direct response from the entity to which you replied. If you engage with it, you will soon find out how hilariously inapt its moniker is.

        The silliness of invoking a “warning” from an outgoing President, after said outgoing President had signed the SOFA detailing the dates of US withdrawal, is just one example of its nonsense.

        • HonestDebate1

          Bush was clear from day one tactics should be based on the facts on the ground and not a date. Obama, not so much. Bush handed Obama a stable Iraq (Obama’s words). The SOFA was a clean break, a gift to Obama, to be changed if both sides agreed. It was then up to him, he failed miserably.

          • John_Hamilton

            Ahh, yes, that military genius George W. Bush. Such a genius that he was able to desert his actual military service and not be charged with desertion.

            And, of course, such a genius that he and his regime were predicting we would be greeted as “liberators,” people would be throwing flowers at the “liberators,” and that there would be no conflict between Shiites and Sunnis. One of the subgeniuses of the Bush gang, Richard Perle, predicted “Our grandchildren will sing songs about us” I have an idea what one of them will be. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rITqN5wPwE&feature=kp

          • HonestDebate1

            There is more evidence Obama is a Kenyan than there is that Bush deserted. Dan Rather had to forge documents to make the claim.

          • John_Hamilton

            Now I see why you call yourself “Honest Debate.” No one else would say so otherwise. I remember a skinny kid decades ago who was being picked on at a bar, said he was going to get tattoos that said “Mr. Masculinity.” I told him to buy some weights. That would have taken some work. Poor guy. He could have become an “honest debater,” had hate-media existed in those days.

            There is no evidence that Obama, not my favorite person in the world, is “Kenyan,” except in ancestry. There is abundant evidence that Bush deserted. Dan Rather, not my favorite person in the world, was actually telling the truth, but “honest debaters” swarmed to attack him. It absolutely could not be let in that Bush the deserter deserted. Though it seemed a sow’s ear has been turned into a silk purse, time has not been kind to the deserter Bush. http://www.mediaite.com/tv/dan-rather-doubles-down-on-texas-air-national-guard-story-bush-was-a-deserter/

          • HonestDebate1

            I am not a birther but as you point out there is the evidence of ancestry. There is no evidence Bush deserted, only accusations.

          • John_Hamilton

            It’s down to sez you, no, sez you. Huge waste of time. There is ample evidence Bush deserted. I used to do reports in the Army where people were changed from AWOL to deserter, which happens when a service member is gone without permission for over thirty days. Bush was missing for over thirty days. He is a deserter. Because of the influence of friends of his father he was not charged, i.e., he got away with desertion due to political corruption, pretty much the story of his misspent life.

            Had you ever served in the military yourself you would have some idea of what constitutes desertion. In the realm of “right wing” disinformationists, the likelihood that more than 1% of them served their country is likely to be around 1%.

            So, you can post all over the Web if you want. It doesn’t change this one fundamental fact: you are full of cr*p, and have nothing meaningful to offer to human civilization. You have plenty of company, so I suppose that provides some comfort.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s not about me.

            There is no way in hell with so much BDS out there that the accusations wouldn’t have been proven by now if they were true, No way, no how.

            Do you think Bergdahl is a deserter?

          • John_Hamilton
          • Ray in VT

            “Dan Rather had to forge documents to make the claim.” An astounding lack of command of basic facts, as usual. Let me guess, they didn’t make typewriters with those fonts back in those days? Do you still believe in that one?

          • HonestDebate1

            Sorry should read: “Dan Rather had to use forged documents to make the claim.”

            Did they ever catch the forger? Was there even an effort?

          • Ray in VT

            “”Dan Rather had to use forged documents to make the claim.”‘ Slightly better, but to allege that the documents are forgeries is also questionable, as many such claims are based upon the typewriter font issue which is not correct.

          • HonestDebate1

            Then why did CBS admit they lied about getting the documents from former National Guard member? Why did Dan Rather issue the apology? Why haven’t the documents been verified as authentic by now?

          • Ray in VT

            Do you have a quote for this first assertion? A number of mistakes were made in the airing of the segment that led to questions regarding the report. Authentication may not be possible with the originals. One also wonders why questions about where Bush was for that year and a half, why he missed duty and why his flight status was revoked weren’t answered.

          • HonestDebate1

            “Burkett admitted this weekend to CBS that he lied about obtaining the documents from another former National Guard member, the network said. CBS hasn’t been able to conclusively tell how he got them, or even definitely tell whether they’re fakes or not. But the network has given up trying to defend them.”

            http://www.nbcnews.com/id/6055248/ns/politics/t/cbs-news-admits-bush-documents-cant-be-verified/#.U6nctMbGRaU

          • Ray in VT

            That is a far cry from “CBS admit they lied about getting the documents from former National Guard member?” That is the guy admitting that he lied to them. That’s blaming people for repeating lies told to them, like if someone was to repeat the Bush administration’s lies about Iraq before the truth was known. It’s convenient when attempting to attack one’s opponents, but it isn’t honest debate.

          • HonestDebate1

            No dude, CBS passed on the lie and had to apologize. Now I suppose anyone in the universe but you could logically make the argument that since they didn’t know it was a lie (noun) they weren’t lying (verb). You have no standing to make that assertion but I will amend nonetheless:

            CBS admited they told a lie about the documents from a former National Guard member.

            Better?

            And BTW you did not answer my questions even though I graciously answered yours.

          • Ray in VT

            Your noun/verb difference has been refuted by the dictionary. That you continue to insist upon such a difference shows a basic inability to accept reality that differs from your personal beliefs or ideology. How very sad.

            Perhaps, as is often the case, your reading comprehension skills are lacking, as I do believe that I did answer your questions. Perhaps you suffer from the same sort of affliction that currently plagues the TOP on something like the issue of Benghazi, where not getting the answers that one wants or believes must exist is equated with not getting answers.

            CBS did admit that they repeated a lie told to them, and that is entirely proper, much like with the introspection that was necessary after the flawed 60 Minutes Benghazi piece.

          • Ray in VT

            So, if Iraq was stable, which it was relatively in 2011, and if “tactics should be based on the facts on the ground”, then what is the justification for leaving tens of thousands of American troops there, considering that the American public didn’t want them there, and neither did the Iraqi public?

            So that Obama couldn’t force the Iraqis into an agreement that they didn’t want and that the Islamist, Iran leaning government that we helped to install acted in such a way as to alienate large elements of the Iraqi population is Obama’s fault? If only he had picked up the phone then he could have changed it all, after all, supposedly he could have toppled the Iranian regime just by saying that we sided with the protesters there in 2009. Obama truly is all powerful.

          • HonestDebate1

            Maliki wanted 20,000 residual forces (much less than we have deployed in any number of places around the globe), that’s not exactly not wanting us there.

            Obama is not running a popularity contest, he needs to act in the best interest of America.

          • Ray in VT

            Having the head of the government want something and having the people want something, or even being able to get something through the Parliament are entirely different things. Ultimately they were unwilling to provide us with terms that we considered to be must haves in terms of assurances for legal treatment of our troops.

            Keeping tens of thousands of troops in areas where we are often hated, and where we have spilled onerous amounts of blood and treasure in an increasingly unpopular war where we aren’t going to solve long standing ethnic or sectarian hatreds doesn’t seem to be in America’s best interest to me. If they won’t fight for their own country, then why are our people supposed to fight and die for it? Maybe let Malaki find a free market alternative. I’m sure that Xi is looking for work.

          • HonestDebate1

            So the ol’ “Obama’s helpless and impotent” routine again.

          • Ray in VT

            Obviously he could have fixed it all with a phone call, just like he could have made a pro-Russian leader join NATO. Cartoonish you perspective is, as always, because obviously by stating that there are things that occur in nations around the world that are outside of the influence of the American President is arguing that the President is “helpless and impotent”. I think that those words better describe the incredibly lame attacks made upon him by his most vehement haters.

          • HonestDebate1

            He’s not up for the job.

          • Ray in VT

            Much like the vast array of TOP farts hating on him 24/7, except Obama’s a cut above.

          • HonestDebate1

            He fixed the economy, gained worldwide respect, united us, delivered on every promise, decimated Al Qaeda, lowered premiums, let us keep our insurance plans, fixed the VA, fixed immigration, slowed the rise of the oceans, healed the planet and all while being the most transparent administration evah!

            Alrighty then.

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, that’s right. He didn’t clean up the sh*t storm that the Republican left fast enough, and he’s obviously to blame for everything bad that happens around the world. Lame.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yea Republicans made him promise all that stuff. That’s funny!

          • Ray in VT

            Where did I say that?

            Some problems have been addressed, but maybe we can blame him for all of the hate that gets thrown at him. It’s probably his fault that people were sticking “don’t renig in 2012″ stickers on their cars, right?

          • HonestDebate1

            I didn’t see those bumper stickers but I remember this:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntWnXRRlcJY&feature=kp

          • Ray in VT

            Yup. I didn’t think that it would happen given the nature of politics and the fine art of negotiation. There was a reason, for instance, why the debates on the Constitution were held in private.

            Now, the video accuses the President at at least one point of lying. Please show the intent that insist must exist, and I will not take an inferring from actions. I would very much like to see you apply the lie standard that you apply to Republicans to Obama, which I have rarely, if ever, seen.

          • HonestDebate1

            You were smart enough to have realized he would not do what he promised to do. Do you think Obama was too stupid to understand what you understood? It’s either that or he lied. Take your pick.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that he thought that he could do it, I just doubted that it was possible. I would perhaps chalk it up to naivete. I don’t think that he realized just what sort of totally blind opposition that he would face to every single move that he made.

          • HonestDebate1

            So he is more naive than you, me and Rush and didn’t lie because he did not know he was lying?

          • brettearle

            And so that’s why, when Bush II said, “Mission Accomplished”, he was referring to the facts on the ground–and we were therefore out of there, the next day, without thousands and thousands of more Deaths, on all sides…..

            Because…..our….Mission
            ….was…most assuredly……accomplished.

          • HonestDebate1

            Bush never said “mission accomplished”. He said stay the course.

            But thank you Brettearle for reminding me about the Abraham Lincoln speech because in that speech he made abundantly clear the challenges and long hard struggle ahead. I think it is worth revisiting and as soon as I get done with my afternoon chores I will post some excerpts. Please check back.

            He would disagree with your statement: “Because…..our….Mission….was…most assuredly……accomplished.”

            Thanks again.

          • brettearle

            I heard his speech when he delivered it.

            And, in retrospect, i needed to hear the Liberal Criticism as valid.

            I’m still strongly Liberal. But on this, you are quite right.

            I just listened to it, again.

        • S David H de Lorge

          Thank you. I will take your wishes for luck to heart. I will also plan to act in accord with the warning, and tend my investments of time.

    • ExcellentNews

      Was this before or after the “Mission Accomplished” stunt?

  • HonestDebate1

    Whatever happened to Ayad Allawi?

  • Fredlinskip

    In ’06 during his presidential bid, Joe Biden spoke of partitioning of Iraq, where “Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions would each be responsible for their own domestic laws, administration and internal security.”
    In retrospect this seems to have not been a terrible proposal.
    Given present circumstances, and thousands of years of sectarian animosity, it seems unlikely Sunnis and Shiites are going to kiss and make up any time soon.

    So now with the help of ISIL, the Sunnis are attempting to set up their own “region“.
    This Sunni “state” is the ultimate fear of “Western” world as it would provide “safe haven for terrorists”.
    I say let them partition- Let the Sunnis have their “state”.

    And what if some terrorist from this region eventually attempts to launch an attack on Mainland America?-
    THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU OCCUPY COUNTRIES-
    People resent it- they take it personal as we would if some other country occupied our country and ousted our government for “our” supposed good; and killed, displaced, and otherwise inconvenienced our citizens in the process

    There were no Al Qaeda or terrorists in Iraq before we invaded

    America is not Omnipotent. We are not God.
    We don’t get to shape and mold the world exactly to our exceptionalist liking.
    We can lead through example.
    “Preemptive War” RARELY brings about long term positive results.
    Sorta common sense, really.

    • brettearle

      You know what?

      It may not matter that what you say IS true…..

      Because, regardless of what side you and I are on–pro-hawk, pro-dove, pro-donkey, pro-elephant, pro-9/11 Iraq invasion, anti-9/11 Iraq invasion–the Fact is this:

      Islamic Militant Fundamentalism DOESN’T CARE about anything OTHER THAN FULL CONQUEST AND DESTRUCTION, IN ORDER TO FURTHER THEIR CAUSE.

      That is ALL THEY CARE ABOUT.

      You will not be able to negotiate with them–NO MATTER WHAT.

      They are clearly beyond even DEMONIZATION.

      They’ll die for their cause.

      Let’s just hope that they don’t expand to the point where the ISIS is completely in bed with ISI in Pakistan–who may have access to LOOSE NUKES.

      It DOESN’T MATTER, ANYMORE, HOW WRONG WE WERE IN IRAQ.

      Radicalized Movements like the ISIS are beyond reparations and beyond OUR UNCONDITIONAL WITHDRAWAL.

      Hopefully, there aren’t enough of them to take over the country, completely.

      But as it is, I just don’t see a way out of reentry–by the US and other stakeholders, in this conflict–unless ISIS simply doesn’t have the manpower and firepower to take over Baghdad.

      • S David H de Lorge

        Well, on another hand, if ISIS stakes out a Sunni quasi-state in the middle of things, and has to hold there — how long before the mainstream, grown up, non-extremist Sheikhs, and 90% of their followers (even more if they are straightforward tribesmen) get sick of it and stand up into another Sunni Awakening? They may be outgunned, but they ain’t fraidycats.

        • brettearle

          “Get sick of it and stand up into another Sunni Awakening”

          You think they’ll be enough to break ranks?

          You think that those who might, or who do, break ranks will face retaliatory measures?

          Radical Factions always drive the political and the violent agenda–even if their numbers diminish.

          Now, if they dwindle, that’s another story.

          But what gives you the confidence that this will happen?

          Where is the evidence?

          Number 2 in command to Petraeus, in Iraq –a Colonel Monsour–said on PBS’s News Hours, about 8-10 days ago, that his information claims that the ISIS don’t have the force to take Baghdad.

          If I thought the comment, above mine, pointed to a viable solution, I would aggressively support it.

          I never liked Bush II and I did not support the invasion, in 2003, as it was envisioned.

          But anyone who believes that Radical Islam is not a serious threat, wherever it surfaces, is an Ostrich.

          US Middle East policy–as currently set up and executed–cannot, apparently, stop Radical Islam.

          Do you literally believe that reparations or withdrawal would ever mollify that sort of Extremism?

          If you do, why can’t I be convinced that such a point of view is not naive or idealistic?

          ,Do you actually believe that a Partition would work?

          Dream on….

          • S David H de Lorge

            Geez, Dude.

            I thought it was fairly well observed, if not concluded, that I don’t have a great deal of confidence about what predictions “will happen.”

            I don’t know where you found, in my comments, evidence that I thought a Sunni Awakening could prevail, that disengagement could be successful or should be our adopted primary policy, or any of the rest of it. I have no idea what reparations you refer to.

            Or is this all offered in support of your report that you practice literary satire? If so, it goes right over my head

      • Fredlinskip

        “It DOESN’T MATTER, ANYMORE, HOW WRONG WE WERE IN IRAQ.”
        Yeah, I think it does.

        I have the pleasure of listening to Cheney on Charlie Rose right now in which he is waxing eloquent about how Iraq is becoming a safe destination for terrorist “wanna be’s”
        WONDER HOW THAT HAPPENED?
        Gee- there were no terrorists in Iraq .we occupied, now there’s lots of “terrorists”. Hmm,. I wonder…. MAYBE THERE’S A CONNECTION THERE??!!

        Cheney said if we just didn’t pull our troops out and extended the longest War in American history for some more years and spent more trillions, Iraqis would be “throwing flowers at our feet“.

        OR NOT.
        Possibly as soon as we leave no matter how long we are there, folks that have been at each other’s throats for MANY MANY centuries will continue lopping off each other’s heads whenever opportunity arises.

        OH, OH Cheney just brought up the fact that George Tenant had told Cheney and Bush before our invasion that our “intelligence” concerning Iraq was a “SLAM DUNK”.

        I guess he STILL, all these years later , has not yet figured out that Tenant was referring to the fact that it was a “SLAM DUNK” that a grossly misinformed American public who were rabid about attacking a scapegoat in response to 9/11- WOULD BE “ALL IN” concerning attacking Iraq.

        ADMITTING HOW WRONG WE WERE as far as invading Iraq is akin to an alcoholic admitting he/she has a problem.
        IT IS THE FIRST STEP IN CLEAR- HEADED THINKING TOWARDS A SOLUTION.

        Because of the Iraq question we went through 3 election cycles that were NOT about the shrinking middle class in America or impending financial collapse. They were not about faulty immigration policies. They were not about trade policy or corporate malfeasance, or the dire predictions of well informed global scientists. They were not about perhaps helping people around the world solve problems so that desperate folks who had no source of occupation wouldn’t be so inclined to take up arms.

        No, No. Our election cycles were ALL about which party is TOUGHER ON TERRORISM.

        GIVE IT UP!! TRIED THAT!! DIDN”T WORK!!

        TRILLIONS spent. 10’s of thousands dead and wounded American soldiers. 100’s of thousands of Iraqi dead. For what??

        Best way to counter terrorism is not going in like a bull in a china shop, blowing countries to pieces!

        But take heart, Brett- I am not President. When Sunnis attempt to establish a place on this planet to live- away from their Shiite adversaries, we will bomb and drone the living hell out of them. Shiites, under the pretense of bringing together their great country of Iraq with support of other nations will attack them as well. On the other side that hero of heroes Asad of Syria will drop lots of barell bombs on Sunni civilians as they gather to shop at their markets

        And you Cheney, and millions of other patriotic Americans will look on with apparent pleasure, watch football, and wonder if Washington Redskins will change their name.

        • brettearle

          It does not matter what idiots we are and what jerks we are.

          IS MY POINT.

          We ARE idiots and we ARE jerks. For making major blunders that have turned into hundreds of thousands of deaths.

          Your flaw–and it is a BIG FLAW–is that even though our country was founded on GENOCIDE and even though we, as a country, exploited a whole race for an entire century, to further our economy, it doesn’t matter, ultimately, NOW–IF YOU WANT TO STAY ALIVE.

          If Radical Fundamentalism proliferates, and proliferates, eventually, if we do nothing about it, a nuclear attack WILL hit our nation.

          This is Obama’s BIGGEST FEAR. Nuclear Terrorism.

          Rose reiterated THAT on his show with Cheney.

          At this point, it may become a MATTER OF SURVIVAL.

          When it comes to survival, THERE ARE NO ETHICS.

          IS MY POINT

          YOU CAN’T SEE THAT BECAUSE YOU CAN’T CONCEIVE OF OUR COUNTRY BE ATTACKED BY NUCLEAR BOMBS–CONFISCATED BY MEN WHO ARE BEYOND JUDGEMENT.

          I have nothing but contempt for traditional patriotism, for Cheney, and I only tolerate Football.

          I have never voted Republican or Libertarian in my entire life.

          You don’t know what you’re talking about.

          This has NOTHING to do with politics–IF Radical Fundamentalism continues to METASTASIZE we will be HIT.

          It will be just a matter of time.

          If the trend continues and we don’t stop ISIS, things will worsen.

          IF ISIS dwindles, that is a DIFFERENT story.

          But as it stands and looks now, that is NOT happening.

          • Fredlinskip

            Let me rephrase your position-
            We need to stop ISIL before “a smoking gun becomes a mushroom cloud.”
            Isn’t that what you’re saying?

            You’re right in that I do believe that ISIL obtaining nuclear weapons and the ability to use them is REALLY a stretch.

            I believe they may have the technology to lop people’s heads off down pretty well- but obtaining and obtaining nuclear weapons may be be a bit beyond their capacities.

            I think that instead of believing that the “greatest fear is fear itself”, you believe, “be afraid – be very afraid” (I think that’s a Dennis Kucinich quote).

            There’s bad folks in the world.
            There’s nukes.
            Neither is a good thing.
            But we can’t run around thinking we get to run around UNILATERALLY running the world.
            If we do we are setting ourselves up as the villains to the world’s Islamic population which number in the billions if I’m not mistaken.

            That’s why I believe it’s good to learn from past mistakes.

            I may go a little bit overboard on my posts sometimes- don’t mean to make it personal.

          • brettearle

            Thanks for your well-considered comment.

            I normally take your side.

            I deplore the Muslim bashing in this country and I especially deplored the Red Scare-McCarthy era.

            But the ISIS is quite different–in my view.

            They do NOT seem to be diminishing. They seem to be getting stronger.

            It has always been my view to oppose the Right Wing Fear syndrome and its unyielding need, sometimes, to flaunt Jingoism.

            But Graham Allison of the Belfer Center at JFK, who’s written a book on Nuclear Terrorism; who has appeared on WBUR a number of times; and who is an avowed Democrat would, very likely, not take ISIS.lightly–in terms of its future potential for access to portable WMD, if they go unchecked.

            You saw the Rose show with Cheney as I did.

            Rose did not treat the ISI-Pakistani link with frivolity.

            When you have a Fascist clan, with growing magnitude, and out of control with extremism, and uniformly active with the potential for undisciplined violence, it is definitely a cause for concern–until it is contained.

            I do not think that this is the time to take the Liberal point of view of saying, “Oh you GOP primitives, you’re just overacting with your simplistic paranoia, kind of mentality.

            We Liberals are the ones who are grown-ups.”

            I don’t think that attitude and mindset is what this situation calls for.

            At least not yet.

          • Fredlinskip

            Yes, admittedly I am using these latest developments to vent some of my LONG-standing anti- Iraq War views.
            My analysis of the current situation may be incorrect as I have been wrong now and again.
            I personally believe that sort of like the situation in Ukraine that as time goes by and cooler heads slowly begin to prevail that the situation will begin to sort it self out and answers will become more clear.
            This doesn’t mean that the situation in either country will suddenly work out happily for all; only that making rash judgments or supporting some ill-conceived military strategy “in the heat of the moment” is not good strategy.

            You say ISIL represents the tip of some vast new threat that could even involve nuclear weapons falling into terrorist hands.
            I disagree.
            Time will tell.

            It is indeed disturbing that Pakistan has nukes. If not for this fact, I have little doubt that our Iraq War strategy would have involved incursion into this country as well.

            It’s kind of a sad fact of 21st century that if your country does not have nuclear weapon capacity, than you are subject to the whims of other nations whims when push comes to shove.

            Look what happened to Gaddafi, shortly after he renounced nukes.
            How long do you think the World would put up with North Korea’s nonsense if they didn’t have nukes?
            If I were Iran, I would be knocking myself out silly trying to obtain nukes- all’s they have to do is look across their border to see what can happen to members of “the Axis of Evil” if America gets a notion.

            Also I am of the opinion that policing the World should not fall entirely on OUR shoulders.

          • brettearle

            Everything you say makes sense–and i am pleased you say it.

            Except for ISIS.

            I am not saying that ISIS is some vast new threat.

            What I AM saying is that we don’t know the level of Metastasis.

            What we don’t know–and i don’t like to refer to Rumsfeld–we don’t know.

            But this threat, we ARE capable of tracking.

            LNG sabotage we are not always good at.

            Deterring Portable WMD imports we are not necessarily good at.

            We have to BE vigilant in order to see how it develops.

            WWII is NOT just WWII.

            It IS indicative of what can happen AGAIN.

            The US intervened too late and were too myopic to save the Jews, the Poles, the Christians, and the Gypsies..

            The English made a CALCULATED error by placating Hitler in 1938.

            You can’t always bury your head in the sand and pretend that there’s always nothing to worry about.

            This Radical Clan has taken over a significant part of a country that is one of the most geopolitically sensitive on the planet.

            THAT is a very serious matter.

            The world is too dangerous for ISIS to obtain.

            As yet, I see NO evidence that this spread is being contained–even though they may not have the Power to take Baghdad..

            But Islamic bashing, generally, is often sick. And It comes straight out of the Radical GOP. Same place as McCarthyism. But perhaps worse.

  • HonestDebate1

    Obama ignored the Kurdish Prime Minister when he offered (months ago) to help defeat ISIS. Is he that stupid or just desperate to hide the truth of the Islamic Caliphate from America? Did he think the situation would just go away on it’s own?

  • stephenreal

    The King of Jordan and his peoples are under enormous social pressures because of Iraq/Syrian revolution. From where I sit? The Sunni Iraqis want their stuff back and I can’t say I blame them after being held hostage to the Maliki government. They want their own country. We should help these people make this happen.

    It’s worth to see what the region is discussing, as it’s a mystery wrapped in a riddle that I barely understand, the Middle East has an extremely complex history.

  • stephenreal

    We can all see the endgame now. At least one part of it.

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