June 13, 2014

"We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq."

Said President Obama, observing that what is happening now in Iraq is not simply a military problem and blaming the leaders of the Iraqi government for not doing enough to overcome sectarian differences.

ADDED: At Slate, Reihan Salam writes "We Never Should Have Left Iraq/A U.S. military presence could have mollified Sunnis and prevented the new civil war." Excerpt:
Under Saddam, Iraq’s Shia plurality was subjugated by its Sunni minority. The fear among Sunnis has long been that once the Shias come to power, they would be the victims of all manner of reprisals. A similar dynamic has long been at play in Syria, where the Assad regime, closely tied to the Alawite minority, rules over a Sunni majority. It also played a role in the Bosnian civil war, where various ethnic groups fought desperately to avoid minority status, which many believed would amount to a death sentence.

107 comments:

Matthew Sablan said...

Military problems are the natural out growth of political problems. Warfare is just politics by other means. This is International Relations 101; by definition, NOTHING IS EVER simply a military problem.

Gahrie said...

So who the hell is supposed to be paying reparations to who?

And how are White men responsible?

mccullough said...

Good. Now shut the fuck up about it and tell your diplomats and aides not to tweet about this. The US is not going to do anything so nothing left to say. Same with the Ukraine. It's only stupid statements and reset buttons and fake red lines that make the US look weak. So does blaming W. and calling Afghanistan the good war. Get the fuck out of these Islamic states and quit trying to cut deals with them. You can't reason with these people because they don't think like you do. Take the nukes out of Pakistan and tell Iran you will bomb them if they don't stop their nuke program and then do it if they don't.

But shut the fuck up. You only make the US weaker when you open your mouth.

Matthew Sablan said...

Decisions are days away. We're clearly prepping to enter stage four of the Yes Minister four-stage strategy.

The Drill SGT said...

short version:
Iraq, you're F'd!

Matthew Sablan said...

You know who I feel the worst for? The scores of civilians who sided with America over the last several years. It's going to be unpleasant for them, no matter who wins.

Abandoning Iraq may be the right move, I don't know. I do know between that, our hesitating in several other places in the Mid East and the missile shield debacle, we are going to come across as unreliable partners. That may do more to undermine our foreign partnerships than anything Bush ever did.

Widmerpool said...

From the excellent Dexter Filkins article in the New Yorker:

American diplomats made one last effort to preserve their influence. In a meeting, Jeffrey asked Maliki to commit to several goals in his second term: granting amnesty to thousands of Sunnis who had been detained without charges; dismantling prisons where American officials believed that Iraqis were being tortured; and signing an agreement that would allow American troops to stay in the country. Later that year, the U.S. brokered a deal to bring Allawi and other members of his coalition into the government. In time, Maliki either ignored or jettisoned every promise. “He looked us straight in the eyes and lied,” the former diplomat told me.

The consequences became clear when negotiations began over the crucial question of withdrawing American troops after 2011. The leaders of all the major Iraqi parties had privately told American commanders that they wanted several thousand military personnel to remain, to train Iraqi forces and to help track down insurgents. The commanders told me that Maliki, too, said that he wanted to keep troops in Iraq. But he argued that the long-standing agreement that gave American soldiers immunity from Iraqi courts was increasingly unpopular; parliament would forbid the troops to stay unless they were subject to local law.

President Obama, too, was ambivalent about retaining even a small force in Iraq. For several months, American officials told me, they were unable to answer basic questions in meetings with Iraqis—like how many troops they wanted to leave behind—because the Administration had not decided. “We got no guidance from the White House,” Jeffrey told me. “We didn’t know where the President was. Maliki kept saying, ‘I don’t know what I have to sell.’ ” At one meeting, Maliki said that he was willing to sign an executive agreement granting the soldiers permission to stay, if he didn’t have to persuade the parliament to accept immunity. The Obama Administration quickly rejected the idea. “The American attitude was: Let’s get out of here as quickly as possible,” Sami al-Askari, the Iraqi member of parliament, said.

The last American combat troops departed Iraq on December 18, 2011. Some U.S. officials believe that Maliki never intended to allow soldiers to remain; in a recent e-mail, he denied ever supporting such a plan, saying, “I am the owner of the idea of withdrawing the U.S. troops.” Many Iraqi and American officials are convinced that even a modest force would have been able to prevent chaos—not by fighting but by providing training, signals intelligence, and a symbolic presence. “If you had a few hundred here, not even a few thousand, they would be co√∂perating with you, and they would become your partners,” Askari told me. “But, when they left, all of them left. There’s no one to talk to about anything.”

Donald Douglas said...

Yeah, well, Obama fiddles...

My crisis update this morning, 'Iraq Crisis: Beheadings, Sharia Imposed as #ISIS Encircles Baghdad; 1,700 Shia Troops Executed; Refugee Crisis Mushrooms'.

Sigivald said...

Ironically, one can almost honestly argue this one "is Bush's fault", since the withdrawal timetable was made by his administration.

But that doesn't work so well after trying to take credit for it when it was working ... and one has to deal with pushback about Congress' influence.

Mark said...

Heck of a job, Barry.

tim maguire said...

I can think of no clearer statement Obama could make of his intention to put boots on the ground than his declaration that we will not put boots on the ground.

holdfast said...

Exactly what mccullough wrote - it's not so much what they do or don't do, but how no matter what course they choose, the Obama Admin manages to look like 12 year old girls doing it. Seriously, that Jen Psaki needs to go ASAP, and she can take Marie Harf with her. I wouldn't trust either of those airheads to get me a latte.

They need someone in there, female or male, who speaks with a little gravitas and tweets not at all. I know that politics is supposed to be celebrity for ugly people, but that doesn't mean that top level government reps should act like a Kardassian.

Johnny Lanctot said...

You guys are all too harsh. A sternly worded letter is being drafted as we speak...

Hagar said...

IIRC, even George W. and Rumsfeld's "light military force" took 6-9 months to assemble and ship to the Gulf, so no, we most certainly are not going to do anything much for the remainder of Obama's term, and at least a couple of years after that.
And everybody knows that, so the most our military can do is to try to guess what the world is gong to look like in 2018 and try to prepare for that.

We also have a situation now where nobody - including our own military - will believe anything this administration says.

garage mahal said...

Iran is fighting Syria inside Iraq. Mission Accomplished!

harrogate said...

There's a Meme going around this morning that basically sums up what I think about the discussions over these last couple of days:

"Getting lectured on Iraq by the same people who got us into that dangerous war in the first place is like getting fire safety tips from an arsonist."

I know that people on this site do not like to hear that argument, generally living in a world where the Iraq Occupation was wildly successful and awesome. But the above statement seems to me to be currently aligned with a hell of a lot of Americans.

May such reticence endure as long as possible.

Meade said...

Why we should have elected Romney.

Rusty said...



harrogate said...
There's a Meme going around this morning that basically sums up what I think about the discussions over these last couple of days:

"Getting lectured on Iraq by the same people who got us into that dangerous war in the first place is like getting fire safety tips from an arsonist."


Shhhh. The grownups are talking.

Hagar said...

Petulant bombing is going to hurt, not help.

The basic thing now is not just that Obama does not know what to do, but that if he did, he no longer has anything to do it with.

damikesc said...

"Getting lectured on Iraq by the same people who got us into that dangerous war in the first place is like getting fire safety tips from an arsonist."

Does that also work with pols of a party who feel that gun control will stop gun violence but run cities with strict laws that are murderous hell holes?

Paul said...

When we defeated Germany and Japan it took DECADES for us to get them back on their feet. We had boots on the ground for that time period and ex-Nazis and Japanese rightest did perform sabotage and attacks on our troops.

When we helped South Korea repel the communist invaders from North Korea and China, we again stayed for decades.. in fact we are still there! And NK now and then sends saboteurs to South Korea.

We made huge mistakes in Vietnam, left, and the communist took over.

When George Bush gave his speeches after 9/11 he told the nation the war against the terrorist would the a very long time. He also said any nation that harbored those terrorist were, in our eyes, terrorist themselves.

So it is no shock when we invaded Afghanistan (which actively trained the very terrorist that caused 9/11) and then Iraq, which also trained Al Qaeda terrorist and defied the UN agreements.

And now Obama cuts and runs from BOTH countries way to early.

And we will pay for that.

Afghanistan and Iraq, having cultures of corruption and also having ineptness of their military (as did South Korea and Vietnam) needed GENERATIONS of supervision before standing on their own.

Obama failed to deliver that and as a result both countries will revert to their old ways and the terrorist, literally, will have won.

They will become training grounds for new generations of terrorist (and with the 5 terrorist traded for our deserter as recruitment posters!)

Thank Obama.. we can't vote him out, so lets vote Dems out to show our displeasure.

Pookie Number 2 said...

"Getting lectured on Iraq by the same people who got us into that dangerous war in the first place is like getting fire safety tips from an arsonist."

Well, that's an important point if one feels that saying "I told you so" is more important that pursuing America's interests. It's neither mature nor helpful, but I suppose it works for some inferior minds.

Dale Light said...

Rather predictably, Fareed Zakaria blames the Iraqis and Bush:

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

Paul said...

And one question...

Where was the CIA when all the terrorist were talking about invading Iraq? In fact, were was the CIA when the terrorist were talking about attacking the American Embassy? Don't we spend 60 BILLION on the NSA and CIA stuff?

Well, what the heck do we need them for if all they do is spy on US?

Seems Obama, Hillary, Kerry, and the CIA/DIA/NSA are always asleep at the switch.

And it's kind of strange after 9/11 the terrorist had a real hard time making any kind of attack or gain. Yea, when Bush was president.

Mike said...

I agree with Harrogate. Let's not ask Hilary! for advise on this matter since she voted to go to war. Especially not Hilary! since she was also married to the bastard that signed the Iraqi Freedom Act into law. And let's cross the UN off our list of responsible parties to any future discussion since we obtained not one but TWO votes to authorize force there too.

The Drill SGT said...

Hagar said...
IIRC, even George W. and Rumsfeld's "light military force" took 6-9 months to assemble and ship to the Gulf, so no, we most certainly are not going to do anything much for the remainder of Obama's term, and at least a couple of years after that.


On the other hand, we managed some SF teams to call Tacair for the Northern Alliance in 6 days...

Michael K said...

This didn't happen this week. The explanation is here .

Even before the U.S. forces left, American-trained leaders were being replaced with more and more “favored” officers from sects, tribes or families linked to the government. They weren’t chosen for their competency, a big mistake.

The increasing sectarianism of the central government turned people against the security forces, too, and against public officials. A punishing operational tempo for both elite and normal units meant that “select and trusted” Iraqi units were being shuttled to the various trouble spots across the country. Those on the frontiers were worn out fighting local insurgencies, terrorists and criminals. The Iraqi Army was, in effect, in combat continuously for several years after U.S. forces departed. There was little re-training and little rest. This kind of operational tempo will exhaust even the best soldiers. For Iraq’s soldiers, their level of training and toxic leadership became a recipe for disaster.


Obama owns this. There are rough times ahead. The next domino is Turkey which has been sliding down the Islamist slope since Erdogan took over.

Cedarford said...

This was all pretty much guaranteed when the Bremer decisions handed all the power and control to the Shia, along with igniting the Civil War and tens of thousands of US casualties.

The window dressing was Democracy and how the Iraqis were all noble purple-fingered Freedom Lovers. American tried legitimizing a winner-take-all majority rule that cared not a fiddle for minority rights (Alewites and Shia in Syria, Sunnis in Iraq, Coptic Christians in Egypt.)

It's all now blown up in the faces of Bushes loathsome Neocons as well as Barry's Samantha Powers sort of activist bitches that supported the "oppressed" without a clue in their silly female heads that the "oppressed" Sunni Syrians and Iraqi Shiite groups as well as Zimbabwe blacks and Ukrainian ethnics were just waiting their turn to become the new oppressors.

bbkingfish said...

"...unreliable partners."

"Partners." Hmm...must be the new conservative term for "occupying army of invading forces."

Just kidding, Matthew. We have crossed paths before. I enjoy your posts, and appreciate that you are sincere and thoughtful in your beliefs.

You should be aware however, that, according to International Relations 101, by definition, there is no such thing as a "reliable partner," only marriages of convenience. Don't worry. This concept will be covered thoroughly after the midterm.

Real American said...

a sternly worded letter? that's overkill. How about a tweeted picture of Michelle Obama and her fake somber face...#saveourpeaceinourtime

sane_voter said...

I knew when Obama won he would make sure that Iraq would be a failure. Because Bush got us into it, he and the Dems would always make the claim that anything bad that ends up happening is ultimately Bush's fault.

For a while there Obama and the Dems were riding high with his foreign policy "wins", but now this is a huge millstone around all of their necks and reminds everyone why you can't trust the Dems with foreign policy. The American public has to be reminded of this every couple of decades.

Very unfortunate for the Iraqi's and all our Iraq vets who now appear to have sacrificed for nothing.

Robert Cook said...

"Ironically, one can almost honestly argue this one "is Bush's fault", since the withdrawal timetable was made by his administration."

Yes, but there's nothing "ironic" about it.

More to the point, as more the initial cause, it was the Bush administration that destroyed Iraq--opening it to this chaos--by planning and implementing the baseless and illegal invasion of the country. This is just a further ramification and consequence of that original disastrous decision.

Robert Cook said...

"Shhhh. The grownups are talking."


Hahahahaha! Yeah..."Rusty."

Robert Cook said...

"...it is no shock when we invaded Afghanistan (which actively trained the very terrorist that caused 9/11) and then Iraq, which also trained Al Qaeda terrorist...."

No, Paul...Iraq did not train Al Qaeda terrorist...(or terrorists).

Browndog said...


Where was the CIA when all the terrorist were talking about invading Iraq?


Why do you make it sound like the CIA is some rogue outfit?

The CIA are under the direct supervision of the White House.

They started (illegally) arming ISIS out of the Benghazi consulate.

They've been (legally, but stupidly) arming them full throttle all year. Last month a CIA stinger shot down a US chopper in Afghanistan.

BTW- this ISIS "invasion" into Iraq has been going on since March.

Aside--The Obama regime still refers to them as ISIL;which merged with other al Qaida types creating ISIS. This is only important in that the White House/State Dept. is using that distinction to pretend ISIS is some small offshoot, and not ISIL--since, you know, they armed AND funded them.

Levi Starks said...

Seems like it was only about a year ago that Obama was talking tough to Assad, assuring the world that his demise was eminent.
He just doesn't seem to understand that words are meaningless nations that value the rule of law even less than we now do.

Donald Douglas said...

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier, "Iraqi soldiers dressing in civies beneath their military uniforms "in case they have to flee" #Baghdad.

Sh*t's going down.

CR said...

Conservatives now can blame Obama for withdrawing, and liberals GWB for invading. So each side has something to be smug and self-righteous about (he says, smugly and self-righteously).

Matthew Sablan said...

"You should be aware however, that, according to International Relations 101, by definition, there is no such thing as a "reliable partner," only marriages of convenience."

-- Actually, creating and maintaining reliable partnerships [that is, ensuring that each nation's interests conveniently overlap with each other] is all of international relations. The entirety of a nation's reasons for interacting with other nation's is convincing those nations that: 1) It is in your interest for our interests to be met and 2) you can trust us to uphold our end of bargains where we make small trade-offs in your interest so you will back similar trade-offs in our interests.

Statecraft is built around making a reliable state; that's why states that are unreliable in execution [think of a failed state like Iraq right now, where parliament can't even make a quorum to say "Hey, let's raise some money to stop the rampaging enemy Army,"] as well simply unreliable. That's why we have international treaties, laws, etc. Because our marriages of convenience only work if we trust and rely on each other.

Big Mike said...

Even if he privately made the decision not to redeploy US troops, the decision to say so publicly is foolish.

Skeptical Voter said...

Well of course it's not Obama's fault; nothing he did (or didn't do) contributed in any way to this situation.

And besides, Obama has a tee time tomorrow at Palm Springs, so has better things to do than think about this debacle, to which he contributed so much.

damikesc said...

More to the point, as more the initial cause, it was the Bush administration that destroyed Iraq--opening it to this chaos--by planning and implementing the baseless and illegal invasion of the country. This is just a further ramification and consequence of that original disastrous decision.

We did the same in Germany when we helped overthrow Hitler.

But we stuck around for decades and, lo and behold, FORTY FIVE YEARS LATER, Germany could stand on its own.

Iraq had less than a quarter of that time.

LarsPorsena said...

Check the front pages of Israeli newspapers..hardly a mention of these developments whilst we are having the vapors.

Anonymous said...

"More to the point, as more the initial cause, it was the Bush administration that destroyed Iraq--opening it to this chaos--by planning and implementing the baseless and illegal invasion of the country. This is just a further ramification and consequence of that original disastrous decision. "

It was the Lincoln administration that destroyed the South--opening it to this chaos--by planning and implementing the baseless and illegal civil war. These current talks of reparations and civil rights are further ramifications and consequences of that original disastrous decision.

This is the foolishness of people like Barack Obama and Robert Cook.

They don't see that freeing the slaves was the right thing to do, even though we are still paying the cost over 100 years later.

Similarly, you can't go into a country and free an entire people and not expect to have to work at it for generations to come.

If you argue that we should have left the Iraqi's to the whim of Saddam Hussien, morally, you're making the same argument as saying we should have left the slaves on the plantations.

harrogate said...

Pookie Number 2,

It's not to say "I told you so" at all. It's to ask, why continue to accord "expert" status on Iraq to the people who so royally fucked things up already? What's sad is that these people can even get on television at all at this point.

Gary Rosen said...

C-fudd, Samantha Powers hates Israel as much as you do, the two of you should get a room. Bonus: she's a tranny.

Original Mike said...

"Even if [Obama] privately made the decision not to redeploy US troops, the decision to say so publicly is foolish."

The man's out of his depth.

Robert Cook said...

Damikesc,

Hitler started the war that we joined years after the fact. The destruction of and long-term consequences suffered by Germany when the Allies defeated them resulted from his initial aggression. WE were the aggressors against Iraq, we invaded them for no reason, and so the consequences THEY are suffering now are directly OUR fault.

avwh said...

"Abandoning Iraq may be the right move, I don't know. I do know between that, our hesitating in several other places in the Mid East and the missile shield debacle, we are going to come across as unreliable partners. That may do more to undermine our foreign partnerships than anything Bush ever did."

"May undermine our foreign partnerships"?

I think that's now a slam dunk.

Paco Wové said...

All other issues aside, I always enjoy seeing R. Cook defend ruthless dictators. Apparently it's only bad when the U.S. Gov't does it.

Browndog said...

Not sure why anyone would engage a liberal in "debate".

They bring nothing to the table. Not interested in learning, or even dialog. They only look for an opening to sling insults and half-truths without hearing a word you said.

Trying to make the case Bush was a fuck-up? Yea, conservatives will agree he fucked up a few things along the way.

Trying to make the case we never should have invaded Iraq? Yea, conservatives agree that is a legitimate argument to make;subject to debate. Liberals will never concede there is even any wiggle room in any of their positions. So, Fuck 'em.

BTW- Bush "got permission" from everyone under the sun--including libs and Arabs--before he invaded.

EDH said...

It's a little late for the Obama administration to blame Bush after all the flowery talk about the future of Iraq contemporaneous with their military bug-out, isn't it?

Brando said...

I have to take Obamas side here. Otherwise we're talking open ended commitment until some nebulous date when Iraq can manage itself. If the past decade and trillions of dollars and blood spilled so far couldn't get them there, why should we believe another few years and billions will do the trick?

We have to cut our losses at some point. There's no reason to believe we can fix them.

Robert Cook said...

"They don't see that freeing the slaves was the right thing to do, even though we are still paying the cost over 100 years later."

Baloney. Abolishing slavery was the right thing to do. Was waging war against the Southern states the only way to accomplish that? I don't know. Was that the only reason Lincoln waged war against the Southern states? Certainly not. Looming large among other reasons was the secession by the Southern states, leading to the splitting of the union. Lincoln acted to maintain the union--rightly or wrongly. It was a fight over political dominance, and the war proper started when the Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter. The struggle over the matter of slavery led to the secession of the southern states, and it was the secession and resulting national disunity that led to the war.

"Similarly, you can't go into a country and free an entire people and not expect to have to work at it for generations to come."

We didn't have any business to march into Iraq to "free its people," (and we had no other justifiable reason to invade Iraq either), and, of course, we didn't. That was not why we went to war against Iraq, although, among the several shifting excuses/lies told to justify the invasion this was a subsidiary element. Again, it was a fight over political dominance, (namely, over asserting American dominance in the region), and over the spoils that would come from that, including control over access to Iraq's oil fields.

tim in vermont said...

Hmmm. I guess they decided this was the right Friday afternoon to bury the fact that they are not going to produce two years of the emails of the lady who took the fifth.

http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/06/13/irs-claims-have-lost-over-2-years-lerner-emails

They lost them. My my my.

Imagine if a private corporation lost two years worth of emails to a "disk crash" and failed to produce them for the government in an investigation.

They never heard of RAID?

BDNYC said...

Presumably these ISIL fighters have to use Iraq's highways to move between cities. Shouldn't it be easy for our drones to spot them in the desert and fire missiles at them? I am sure the besieged Iraqi government would welcome our military help.

Humperdink said...

Not to worry, the Bamster has another concussion conference scheduled for next week. Then off for some additional fiddle lessons, followed by a reset summit with Vlad the Impaler. Between rounds of golf, of course.

As an aside, it was reported several east coast cities are preparing for a few hundred thousand refugee children from Iraq. "Dream" t-shirts being printed as we speak (made by our strategic partner China).

Michael K said...

Blogger garage mahal said...
"Iran is fighting Syria inside Iraq. Mission Accomplished!"

There are people so dumb you wonder how they remember to breathe, Syria is a client state of Iran. The al Qeada terrorists conquering Iraq were fighting the Shia ruling party in Syria.

Humperdink said...

Lars said:"Check the front pages of Israeli newspapers..hardly a mention of these developments whilst we are having the vapors."

The Israelies do not post their national security plans in the newspaper.

Browndog said...

Humperdink said...

heh-I like your style.

Humperdink said...

If these foreign policy triumphs don't earn Obama another Nobel Peace Prize, the game is rigged.

In case anyone was curious, according to recently updated bylaws of the Nobel committee, beheadings/bombings/drone attacks do not negatively impact Peace Prize voting.

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"...it is no shock when we invaded Afghanistan (which actively trained the very terrorist that caused 9/11) and then Iraq, which also trained Al Qaeda terrorist...."

No, Paul...Iraq did not train Al Qaeda terrorist...(or terrorists).

Yes they did. There are translated Iraqi documents authorizing AlQeda training camps in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

I have to wonder how Rorbert Cook can understand the complexities behind the Civil War:

"Baloney. Abolishing slavery was the right thing to do. Was waging war against the Southern states the only way to accomplish that? I don't know. Was that the only reason Lincoln waged war against the Southern states? Certainly not. Looming large among other reasons was the secession by the Southern states, leading to the splitting of the union. Lincoln acted to maintain the union--rightly or wrongly. It was a fight over political dominance, and the war proper started when the Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter. The struggle over the matter of slavery led to the secession of the southern states, and it was the secession and resulting national disunity that led to the war."

And yet so simple minded over the Iraq war:

"We didn't have any business to march into Iraq to "free its people," (and we had no other justifiable reason to invade Iraq either), and, of course, we didn't. That was not why we went to war against Iraq, although, among the several shifting excuses/lies told to justify the invasion this was a subsidiary element. Again, it was a fight over political dominance, (namely, over asserting American dominance in the region), and over the spoils that would come from that, including control over access to Iraq's oil fields. "

Nuance for the Civil War, simple mindedness for the Iraq War.

One might think he loses his head when it comes to partisan politics.

And, he pretends not to get my point. Too difficult to address?

Regardless of what you think of the civil war or the Iraq War, thinking that what's happening now, today, is somehow the fault of Lincoln or Bush is sheer stupidity.

Or, let me put it another way. Had we elected Romney and left 10k plus troops in Iraq, would we be seeing this happen today?

Close your eyes, click your heels together three times, and pretend like the answer to that question is yes.

For the rest of us, we know the answer is no. Therefore, the fault lay completely in President Obama's lap.

bbkingfish said...

Matthew, you seem simply to be confusing the concept of "mutual interests" with something called "reliable partnerships," which sounds like it might be a concept from business.

If I am incorrect, please tell me who in your estimation, after 200 years of U.S. international relations, are our top five or more "reliable partners." I'll spot you England.

Pookie Number 2 said...

It's not to say "I told you so" at all. It's to ask, why continue to accord "expert" status on Iraq to the people who so royally fucked things up already?

Because the guy leading the fucking up is President of the United States, and he lacks the integrity to acknowledge the error and evils of making military decisions based solely on his short-term political calculus.

I don't think anyone actually considers him an expert in much, but unfortunately, he occupies an important role.

bbkingfish said...

What the heck...i'll give ya the whole darn UK.

Pookie Number 2 said...

If the past decade and trillions of dollars and blood spilled so far couldn't get them there, why should we believe another few years and billions will do the trick?

A fair question, but the answer is that it's worked when we had the maturity and patience to support the development of a civilized society, like in Japan and Germany. Apparently, these things take decades, which is a long time, and there's always uncertainty, but there's some precedent for things taking longer than a decade and still working out well.

Original Mike said...

At Tim's link: "the Internal Revenue Service informing the Committee that they have lost Lois Lerner emails from a period of January 2009 – April 2011."

Liars. If Republicans take the White House in 2016, they need to put people in jail for crap like this.

Robert Cook said...

"BTW- Bush got 'permission' from everyone under the sun--including libs and Arabs--before he invaded."

He didn't get permission from the source that counted: The UN Security Council. Only their approval would have made the war legal.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Obama wants Iraq to fail. Iraq falling to radical Islamists is Obama's desired result, not an accident of poor leadership.

Robert Cook said...

Paco Wove said, stupidly:

"All other issues aside, I always enjoy seeing R. Cook defend ruthless dictators. Apparently it's only bad when the U.S. Gov't does it."

Of course, as Paco well knows but lies in order to pretend otherwise, I'm not defending any ruthless dictators. One of America's great problems is its propensity to ally itself with or install/prop up ruthless dictators to serve our own geopolitical purposes. Saddam was one of these.

However, we don't legally or ethically have the unilateral right to invade other countries, no matter the reason.** It always results in disaster, as well as setting the precedent that other countries have the same right. This is what the UN was established to try to prevent.

**(Our reasons for attacking Iraq were not pure, not to "free" its people, but to assert American dominance in the region.)

As bad as Saddam was, his country was more stable and its people less endangered daily than any time subsequent to our invasion. It was up to the Iraqi people to rid themselves of Saddam if and when they felt compelled to do so, or wait until his death and sort out matters then.

B said...

So far I'm seeing the same short film loop of about 15 tan pickups played over and over ad various other recycled and repetitive shots. I'm not seeing a lot of hard, on the ground reporting here.

I am not sure what is happening over there and I don't think any real grasp of it is going to be feasible for another day or two at least. So I'll reserve judgement on the extent of the Islamist gains, the threat they actually pose, what the Kurds are going to do. Whether the government is really ready to fold or those reports are just typical journalist hysteria is also up in the air as far as I can tell at this point.

Paul said...

Yes Robert Cook, they did. Training grounds with Boeing Jet hulls used were found.

An Iraqi training base about 20 miles south of Baghdad was the site of an old Boeing jet used by the Iraq government to 'train' counter-terrorism. But it had long been suspected of being used by terrorist to.

Two former Iraqi military officers told The New York Times and PBS's "Frontline" in the fall of 2001 that Iraqis and non-Iraqi Arabs were brought here to practice hijacking planes and trains, planting bombs and staging assassinations.

The Americans also found a full obstacle course "”with wooden walls and other barriers to be climbed over or crawled under "” as well as a three-story concrete tower draped with ropes, apparently for rappelling. The defectors said the plane was a Boeing 707.

traditionalguy said...

Bush was pro stability. That was then called Pax Americana. It was and is good for world business and fosters tolerant secular Democracies which will seldom attack their neighbors on religious grounds ... like ISRAEL.

After the surge, Bush had won that goal. But his victory came too late. Because the Pelosi/Reid Dems had won their Majority in Congress; and they came in with a vengeance to destroy all that Bush had embarrassed them by accomplishing in Iraq.

Obama arranged for his secret friends in Iran to take hegemony over Iraq thus permitting Malawi to re-start a proxy Shia vs Sunni tribal war in Iraq that our surge had won against both sides.

So why does Obama try so hard to restart chaos and tribal slaughters in Iraq and Syria , and Libya and Egypt? Refer to the first Paragraph above for the answer.

Michael said...

Cook
"Again, it was a fight over political dominance, (namely, over asserting American dominance in the region), and over the spoils that would come from that, including control over access to Iraq's oil fields."

So it was illegal and immoral to invade for the control of oil and stupid to have won control of the oil and then give it back. War criminal Bush stole the oil and War Criminal Obama gave it back.

I am puzzled.

John Faria said...

So. The rebellion that President Obama has been supporting in Syria, led by a guy Obama released from GITMO in 2009, spills into Iraq, Obama denies Iraqi requests for air support going back to NOV of 2013, and this is the Iraqi government's fault?

I'm pretty sure that 2 year old Barry Sotero's first words were "Not me"...followed by "Bush's fault".

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"BTW- Bush got 'permission' from everyone under the sun--including libs and Arabs--before he invaded."

He didn't get permission from the source that counted: The UN Security Council. Only their approval would have made the war legal.

No it wouldn't. All he needed was the approval of congress which he got.

Michael K said...

"we invaded them for no reason,"

There appears to be more than one commenter too stupid to breathe.

Robert Cook said...

Michael,

Don't be puzzled. Western oil concerns have obtained big oil concessions in Iraq after having been shut out of the country entirely since 1973.

Mission: Accomplished.

What the cretins in Washington didn't anticipate was their plans going awry or Iraq being as hard to pacify and control as it's been. So, if the incursion of terrorists into Iraq wreaks havoc with the oil companies being able to extract their oil and make their money--and we don't know yet if it will or won't--it just goes to show planned outcomes can turn to ashes due to unanticipated circumstances, poor planning or management, or sheer, heedless hubris.

Hagar said...

Hey, Cookie,

You are aware that the United Nations is entirely an American invention and still largely supported by the United States - i.e. the U.S. pulls out, no U.N. - right?

Drago said...

Robert Cook: "Don't be puzzled. Western oil concerns have obtained big oil concessions in Iraq after having been shut out of the country entirely since 1973."

LOL

Well, that's an awfully vague statement, isn't it?

I tell you what Robert, why don't you outline which "Western Oil concerns" are involved and precisely which "concessions" they received.

There is a reason you are being so vague.

And it's transparent.

Scott said...

The President's studied indifference has an obvious motivation: He doesn't want to do ANYTHING that would be seen as defending George W. Bush's foreign policy.

Even if inaction causes a waste of our country's blood and treasure. Even if it costs hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.

What petulance. What immaturity.

What a terrible human being Barack Obama is.

Browndog said...

Robert Cook, like all lock step liberals, find the needle in the haystack to prove the haystack never existed....with all the petulance of a 3 yr. old, while claiming their intellectual superiority.

jr565 said...

Harrowgate wrote:
Getting lectured on Iraq by the same people who got us into that dangerous war in the first place is like getting fire safety tips from an arsonist."

Getting lectured on Iraq by the same people who undermined it at every turn, said the surge would fail, and who called general overseeing the surge General Betray Us and then let an Iraq which had been stabilized through much expense of bold and treasure, turn into a terrorist state because we simply didn't give a shit is like getting tips on the Geneva Convention from zarqawi right before he chopped off Nick Berg's head while he was alive.

Job said...

Robert Cook: "...it was the Bush administration that destroyed Iraq--opening it to this chaos"

Good point. Iraq was an excellent society before Bush unilaterally and illegally invaded with dozens of allies, UN resolutions and a Congressional resolution.

Well, it did have some rough edges if one looked closely, such as the rape rooms, torture chambers, psychotic sons, multiple aggressive wars for territorial gain taking hundreds of thousands of lives, support for terrorism, failure to live up to armistice agreements...

But -- other than those easily resolvable issues -- Iraq was great until Bush ruined it.

And we can't blame Obama, who has only been president for almost 6 years. He just reads about these Bush failures in the paper like the rest of us.

That darned Bush! When will he stop screwing up?

David said...

Robert Cook, your Pavlovian ignorance is showing.

Check out Wikipedia's page on Iraq oil fields. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_industry_in_Iraq

There are 14 active oil fields in Iraq. American companies have interests in two of them. Exxon holds a 60% interest in the West Qurna Field, Iraq's second largest. Oxidential holds a 23.44% interest in the Zubair Field. That's it.

All the rest of the companies are European, Chinese and other Far Eastern, Russian and Turkish.

American companies have little or no participation in pipelines, port activities or downstream processing in Iraq.

If American fought this war for American oil interests, we did a piss poor job.

Of course that's not why we fought it. But damn the facts, Robert Cook. You just make up your own, don't you?

wildswan said...

Our president has served with honor and distinction.

David said...

By the way, Cook, Exxon has been trying to sell their interest in West Qurna 1 since 2012. They say they found the Iraq government difficult to deal with and had better investment chances elsewhere.

My guess is that they saw their government partner as having a doubtful future once it was clear that American forces were not going to remain in Iraq.. (Exxon does not own the fields or any interest in them. It essentially receives a per barrel fee related to production.)

Exxon has found it difficult to sell the interest. In November of 2013 they announced that they had signed a deal with Petro China and Persero of Indonesia to buy half he field. Terms were not announced but likely they will take a loss.

Apparently that deal has not closed yet. Will it ever?

West Qurna is probably the largest known undeveloped oil field in the world right now. Exxon has far better resources and expertise to develop it than any other entity in the world. One of the many tragedies of our desertion of Iraq is that these resources now may not be developed for decades. That may hurt the world economy to a degree, but mostly it will hurt Iraq and the Iraq people, who could benefit greatly from a responsible development of this resource.

David R. Graham said...

"WE were the aggressors against Iraq, we invaded them for no reason, and so the consequences THEY are suffering now are directly OUR fault."

BS, see Laurie Mylroie.

Terry said...

"Only their approval would have made the war legal."
Who is this Robert Cook fellow? A high school student? A community college instructor?
Sovereign nations (like the US, and say, Zimbabwe) make their own laws. Only they can decide what is legal and illegal within the territory they control. Sovereign nations can decide what is legal or illegal. It's kind of why they are called governments. Weird, isn't it? But it's the truth. Otherwise, you might have the U.N. deciding that every nation had to declare war on some other country, or that everyone who has sex without a condom should be killed, or something crazy like that.

I am pretty sure that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was illegal under Iraqi law. Maybe that's what Cook is talking about?

n.n said...

Premature evacuation.

Kirk Parker said...

Cookie,

"He didn't get permission from the source that counted: The UN Security Council. Only their approval would have made the war legal."

I repeat what others have said: Shhhhh, the grownups are talking. For penance, go read every single word of The Prince followed by every single word of The Shield of Achilles.

Kirk Parker said...

Tim in Vermont:

  cd /var/spool/mail

  rm -r -f llerner

"Oops!"

Hagar said...

The liberals (old-style and newfangled) and the U.N. is like the ancient Israelis and the Golden Calf, but it is foolishness to ascribe mystical powers to something you have yourself made and then go to worshiping it.

The U.N. is a big building full of politicians and bureaucrats from the various countries around the world. You want something from it, you go in there Lyndon Johnson style and cajole and twist arms as necessary.
"You want us to support you in the South China Sea, you will have to support us in the Arabian Gulf; and yes, I will see to it that your cousin's daughter gets a visa to study at Vassar."

And that is how "international law" is made; same as any other "law."

Unknown said...

--WE were the aggressors against Iraq, we invaded them for no reason

I love mindless lefty verbal eruptions!

Original Mike said...

"He didn't get permission from the source that counted: The UN Security Council. Only their approval would have made the war legal."

How does that work? Serious question. From where does the Security Council get this authority?

Hagar said...

By majority vote cast by the governments of the 15 states represented on the council, and especially the 5 permanent members.

As for how that is obtained, see my post above.

Hagar said...

And the U.N. itself was not foisted on the U.S. by a bunch of foreigners, but is largely a revised and repackaged version of Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations and, like version one, designed, organized, and largely paid for by the freely elected government of these United States.

Robert Cook said...

"How does that work? Serious question. From where does the Security Council get this authority?"



Original Mike: from the UN Charter, the provisions of which--given that we are signatories to it--are,per the Constitution, the law of the land.

Robert Cook said...

"Sovereign nations (like the US, and say, Zimbabwe) make their own laws. Only they can decide what is legal and illegal within the territory they control."

Umm...Iraq, of course, was not part of the territory within the United States' control, being, like the US and Zimbabwe, a sovereign nation itself.

What you suggest and some others here assert is the right for any country in the world to attack any other country in the world for any reason, as long as they voted for it within their respective houses of governance, making such unilateral aggression legal.

Insane. And incorrect.

Kirk Parker said...

One of Cook's problems is that he seems completely unaware of the work the prominent modern philosopher, Robert Plant: sometimes words have two meanings.

In this case 'international law' is to 'law' as 'intellectual property' is to 'property': I.e. it's not LAW at all.

SGT Ted said...

He didn't get permission from the source that counted: The UN Security Council. Only their approval would have made the war legal.

Legally meaningless.

Nichevo said...

Kirk Parker said...
Tim in Vermont:

cd /var/spool/mail

rm -r -f llerner

"Oops!"
6/14/14, 2:30 AM


Kirk. Two words:

Iron fucking Mountain

tim in vermont said...

Yeah, I was wondering myself exactly when it was that the US surrendered its sovereignty to the UN.

The only "International Law" that exists regarding the US is the letter of treaties approved by the US Senate.

So, yes, the US is bound by the Geneva Convention, and no, the US did not violate the Geneva Convention in their treatment of terrorists under Bush.

Even Cookie's magical proofs cannot prove that one, just as an example.

After that little exercise, you can show me where the US signed over its power to declare war to the UN.

tim in vermont said...

"Baghdad - Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria boasted on Twitter that they had executed 1,700 Iraqi government soldiers, posting gruesome photos to support their claim."

When Obama became president, it was his responsibility to deal with things as they were, not as he wished they were, but no, his supporters engaged in magical thinking, and we have these mass executions of people who trusted us.

I say his supporters engaged in magical thinking because Obama made it pretty clear that pulling the troops would lead to genocide, and he said it wasn't our problem. These mass executions, mass beheadings, are being done in our name. We laid the groundwork for it.

John Clifford said...

Obama is throwing up the need for a political solution as a red herring. He knows full well that it would take months to get all sides together to draw up a valid agreement... and by then the jihadis will own Baghdad and most of the valuable parts of Iraq and the question of military force becomes moot. He is simply stalling for time.

One thing Obama didn't say: "I will not allow al Qaeda-affiliated groups to take over Iraq!" The dog that did not bark.

Robert Cook said...

"...you can show me where the US signed over its power to declare war to the UN."

I've already shown that. That you refuse to accept it is immaterial to reality.

And as you bring up and acknowledge our obligations under the Geneva Conventions, but assert without basis that the US did not violate the conventions in our treatment of "terrorists,"--(rather, prisoners alleged to be terrorists, as we have not proved that many or even most of our captives were ever terrorists)--I will assert that, in fact, we did and continue to violate the Geneva conventions in our treatment of these uncharged, unprosecuted prisoners.