September 23, 2014

"With his new offensive against Islamic State terrorists in Syria, Barack Obama has a chance to revive his presidency, but the only way he can do that is to become a brand-new president..."

"... one who will be almost unrecognizable to his supporters. Obama must go from being the president who was elected to end wars — his most treasured self-image — to the president who finally leads one effectively," writes Michael Hirsh in Politico.
And he must now do it in two countries where for most of his presidency he has most resisted getting more deeply involved — Iraq and Syria

“His whole national persona since 2004 has been about the question: Can he get us out of Iraq?” says former Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, harking back to Obama’s signature speech calling the Iraq invasion a “dumb” war. “It is almost Shakespearian that he would be dragged back into another conflict in the same countries where he opposed the use of force.” Nonetheless, Burns believes, Obama now has no choice. The Islamic State’s spread now threatens not only Iraq and Syria but also essential U.S. allies, including Jordan and Turkey. “There is no question that the president has to act,” says Burns.
This made me dig into my archive, looking for statements about why, after voting for Bush in '04, I voted for Obama in '08. Here's one from January 16, 2009, a few days before Obama took office:
Who will restore George Bush's tattered reputation? Barack Obama!

Charles Krauthammer explains:
The beauty of democratic rotations of power is that when the opposition takes office, cheap criticism and calumny will no longer do. The Democrats now own Iraq. They own the war on al-Qaeda. And they own the panoply of anti-terror measures with which the Bush administration kept us safe these past seven years.

Which is why Obama is consciously creating a gulf between what he now dismissively calls "campaign rhetoric" and the policy choices he must make as president. Accordingly, Newsweek — Obama acolyte and scourge of everything Bush/Cheney — has on the eve of the Democratic restoration miraculously discovered the arguments for warrantless wiretaps, enhanced interrogation and detention without trial. Indeed, Newsweek's neck-snapping cover declares, "Why Obama May Soon Find Virtue in Cheney's Vision of Power."
This is something I thought a lot about when I decided to vote for Obama. The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done. And it is an opportunity for all of us to see and understand clearly what these things are.

140 comments:

Original Mike said...

"The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done."

Like the government killing off its citizens at age 75.

Original Mike said...

"The Democrats now own Iraq."

They gave it back prematurely. And here we are.

traditionalguy said...

B. Hussein Obama is going to have to learn new words to his songs, and that will not be easy for him.

It can no longer be "Onward Muslim Brothers" but will have to be "Onward Christian Soldiers."

Or he can just lie and deceive us again. We will have to await the final word from Valerie Jarrett.

Henry said...

It's bemusing that something so serious -- the use of military force in a foreign country -- can be turned into something so petty -- can Obama's self-image be saved?

dreams said...

The problem is Obama wants to vote present but that isn't an option so he will default to a half-ass position accomplishing little and maybe making a bad situation worse while the liberal media will yet again give him a pass.

SGT Ted said...

The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done.

So, when are they going to do that?

SGT Ted said...

The Personality Cult President will not be effective as a war leader, because he isn't one.

AReasonableMan said...

The flaw in this 'logic' is that Obama would not be stuck in Iraq if Bush hadn't screwed up by going into the country in the first place. It was a recklessly stupid decision that has cost this country trillions of dollars, thousands of lives and diverted our attention from actual problems.


dreams said...

The liberal ignorant are still blaming Bush for the current world mess.

DanTheMan said...

Can we PLEASE stop saying "end wars"?
Although it's technically correct, the word is "surrender" if the war ends and your side didn't win.

Original Mike said...

"The flaw in this 'logic' is that Obama would not be stuck in Iraq if Bush blah, blah, blah"

All Presidents have to deal with the facts on the ground when they take office. It's what you do with it that matters. Obama failed.

Henry said...

and diverted our attention from actual problems...

...like Afghanistan, Obama's escalation of choice.

The idea that Obama is a war-ending president requires scrubbing the memory lobes free of fact. And yet, his drones continually use it as a premise.

SGT Ted said...

ARM:

Obama didn't have to do anything regarding Iraq and ISIS.

He and the Democrats own it now. Quit making cheap partisan excuses.

Anonymous said...

All aboard the peace train.

On that note, everyone with something to lose and some part of our freedoms and their asses to protect, career bureaucrats especially, should just start hanging their requests on the White House door.

Slowly let them stack up and let the weight of Barry and his squad's decisions pile-up around them.

The buck ought to stop somewhere under all that branding and paperwork.

EDH said...

The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done.

So, we need to put feckless idiots in charge just to prove to everyone they are feckless idiots?

Call it the feckless idiot veto.

Fen said...

Sure. We left alot of good people in Iraq and Afpak twisting in the wind. Most of them are dead now because Obama abandoned them for a bump in the polls. But I'm sure if he gives another pretty speech, they'll trust us again.

What a putz.

Fen said...

"diverted our attention from actual problems."

Problems like "free" birth control, fundraisers for Dems, and golf.

Freder Frederson said...

The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done.

You may think that bombing ISIS "really needs to be done." Not everyone agrees with you.

And if it "really needs to be done" (as you thought the Iraq war was) why aren't you willing to pay for it?

We spent $75 million just on Tomahawk cruise missiles yesterday (1.5 mil X 50), probably to take out a few pickup trucks and shacks. Are you willing to pay for them?

The Godfather said...

How do you imagine the Democrats will "own" a war in Iraq or Syria or Afghanistan or anywhere else? Do you remember all the Democrats that voted for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq when they were popular? Did that stop them from attacking "Bush's war" when the going got tough? Do you remember Viet Nam? Democrat Presidents started that war, so the Democrats "owned" it, right? But when the American people grew tired of their feckless leadership and elected a Republican President, did that "ownership" stop the Democrats from attacking him and his conduct of their war?

The fact is that politicians as a class are irresponsible. They take whatever position they think will increase their chances of winning their next election. They refuse to "own" a bad situation even though they caused it -- as long as low information voters let them get away with it.

wendybar said...

Funny, how he waits until Congress isn't in session. When does he give his Peace Prize back????

Brando said...

"The flaw in this 'logic' is that Obama would not be stuck in Iraq if Bush hadn't screwed up by going into the country in the first place. It was a recklessly stupid decision that has cost this country trillions of dollars, thousands of lives and diverted our attention from actual problems."

Obama will be judged based on what actions he takes considering the situation he inherited. He can't be faulted for the fact that Iraq is devolving into sectarianism--but he can be faulted for launching stupid illegal wars.

I wonder what those morons on the Nobel Peace Prize committee think of this paragon of virtue. Maybe next time wait until someone does something, you know, peaceful, before giving out that award.

DanTheMan said...

>>Funny, how he waits until Congress isn't in session. When does he give his Peace Prize back????

Arafat kept his, too. So there's a precedent for O to follow.

dreams said...

"The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done."

The problem with that is our country suffers the consequences while the liberal media refuses to do its job of holding the powerful -- when its the Dems -- accountable and therefore the ignorant continue to blame the Republicans.

Humperdink said...

ARM said: "The flaw in this 'logic' is that Obama would not be stuck in Iraq....."

Stuck in Iraq? Obama vacated Iraq.

"I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You're going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You're going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government," said Biden. (2010 CNN)

Original Mike said...

"Are you willing to pay for them?"

Yes.

AReasonableMan said...

Fen said...

Problems like
:

the debt
our health system costs nearly twice as much as comparable systems
our manufacturing base has been hollowed out by an out of control financial sector
an out of control financial sector
an out of control war machine

Original Mike said...

"The problem with that is our country suffers the consequences while the liberal media refuses to do its job of holding the powerful -- when its the Dems -- accountable and therefore the ignorant continue to blame the Republicans."

Yep. That's what's wrong with Althouse's logic.

AReasonableMan said...

Humperdink said...
Stuck in Iraq? Obama vacated Iraq.


But the disastrous strategy of Bush/Cheney had already done its damage. I think Obama made a mistake in trying to put a bandaid on this mess. He should have said to the American people, "If you want someone to invest US treasure and lives in this mess vote Republican in the next election".

CWJ said...

Democrats need their turn in order to stop their cheap criticism and calumny. As we've discovered, owning the problems does not imply that that will be effectively addressed; only that the MSM will shut up about them.

Sounds more like appeasing a five year old's temper tantrum than real politic to me.

By that logic, unless one has a fondness for cheap criticism and calumny, why would anyone give control back to a Republican?

William said...

I saw the recent PBS documentary on the Roosevelts. During the war years, FDR was so sick that he constantly nodded off at his desk. He could barely hold a pen to sign orders. Nonetheless, he chose to run again and was an effective war president. I think that this was because and not in spite of his enfeeblement. He chose worthy leaders like Marshall, Eisenhower, and MacArthur to lead the war, and he used his prestige and popularity to rally support behind them. He didn't interfere otherwise in their running of the war. Compare him with Hitler and Stalin. Those two dynamos took an active part in the running of their countries respective campaigns. They were responsible for the deaths of millions of their own troops......A hands off president is not such a bad thing. But we don't have FDR. We have Eleanor who wanted to carpet bomb Dresden with marshmallows,

Humperdink said...

ARM said: "The flaw in this 'logic' is that Obama would not be stuck in Iraq....."

"But we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq. (Obama Dec.14, 2011 Fort Bragg)

B said...

Althouse wrote: "The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done."

The only lesson learned is cover your ass and don't cast a vote. Hillary's Iraq vote is still haunting her. They're not taking responsibility for anything.

furious_a said...

if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.

"Uh.". John Kerry, soothsayer.

Original Mike said...

"Problems like:

the debt
our health system costs nearly twice as much as comparable systems
our manufacturing base has been hollowed out by an out of control financial sector
an out of control financial sector
an out of control war machine"


Obama's made these better?

Humperdink said...

ARM said: "But the disastrous strategy of Bush/Cheney had already done its damage."

Damage? What damage?

See above quotes by Team Zero. They were leaving behind utopia in Iraq. Sovereign. Stable. From their mouths, but apparently not to your ears.

furious_a said...

The U.S. military will be required to obtain the personal signoff of President Barack Obama for its strikes in Syria, -- NBC News

Because Barry's a better speechwriter than his speechwriters and a better Forward Air Controller than his Forward Air Controllers.

Lyndon Baines Johnson could not be reached for comment.

TreeJoe said...

I'm seriously concerned about foreign policy precedent here. Our new global strategy for emergent enemies is that if they pose a threat to us we will bomb them from the skys and from nearby warships? Pro-actively and preventatively?

Isn't that then a sound policy to take on Iran - whose leaders routinely have promised to hurt us - and North Korea in a similar vein? Or do we not take the same policy approach to them because they are stable nation-states? We only do this in unstable nation-states with cross-territory rampaging armies?

Also, how many nations we will recognize as sovereign and then simply disregard their boundaries when we want to wage war in their territory? What are we at now, 8-10, across Africa & Asia?

Let's put aside name calling for a second: Is anyone of any party comfortable with the President both enunciating and practicing a foreign policy that America will conduct open war, without direct provocation - against any group? Unilaterally?

I expected Obama to be many things when he came into office. But his is truly a foreign policy that is far more warmongering and establishes a frightening precedent for future war-hungry presidents.

tim in vermont said...

What ISIS is doing is genocide by anyone's definition except Robert Cooks.

Henry said...

AReasonableMan needs to change his nom de plume to AFalseAlternative

Robert Cook said...

"'Problems like:

the debt
our health system costs nearly twice as much as comparable systems
our manufacturing base has been hollowed out by an out of control financial sector
an out of control financial sector
an out of control war machine'


"Obama's made these better?"


No, he hasn't. Given that he works for the same people as his predecessors in the office, why would he do anything different than they?

tim in vermont said...

"But the disastrous strategy of Bush/Cheney had already done its damage."

You would have thought that Obama would have been smart enough to see that withdrawing all forces was no longer a valid option then, wouldn't you "Aristotle"?

BarrySanders20 said...

He has Zero chance of reviving his presidency. He is reluctantly going along with this because people around him who used to be anti-Bush tell him he has no choice.

Obama is not a leader, never has been, and never will be.

He reacts to events. That is all, then grumbles that he has to deal with it.

Worst president in my lifetime.

furious_a said...

Isn't that then a sound policy to take on Iran - whose leaders routinely have promised to hurt us - and North Korea in a similar vein?

So you're saying if the U.S. can't act against all of them all at once it shouldn't act against any of them at all? No discretion for picking-of-battles?

MayBee said...

Bush had inherited the perfect situation in Iraq that really required the US to do nothing but make a speech about opposing dumb wars. If Bush 43 had never been president, Iraq would still be a peaceful, unthreatening country and the ME would still be a peaceful, unthreatening region.

MayBee said...

History began when GWB took office, and he screwed up the way it was curving!

MayBee said...

Forgive me if I find this imminent threat from a group we've never heard of before as justification for going into a new country a tad odd.

FullMoon said...

AReasonableMan said...

The flaw in this 'logic' is that Obama would not be stuck in Iraq if Bush hadn't screwed up by going into the country in the first place. It was a recklessly stupid decision that has cost this country trillions of dollars, thousands of lives and diverted our attention from actual problems.

We wouldn't be in this situation if Jimmy Carter had not stabbed the Shah in the back.

Humperdink said...

Obama's plan is no mystery, but he will not share it.

Bomb the living snot out of ISIS until Jan 21, 2017. Boots on the ground? Not me. That's the next dude's deal. (Washes hands.)

furious_a said...

Barry inherited w-w-what?

But we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.

Must have been a Teleprompter he inherited from the Bush Administration.

Ralph Hyatt said...

@MayBee

Indeed. I remember how bucolic the ME was before Bush invaded Iraq.

The young people frolicking, elders looking on with bemusement.

The swift advancement of feminism throughout the region and the rapidly developing business and industrial infrastructure that would have employed millions of people in constructive work.

And lets not forget the secularization of society and the abandonment of retrograde customs as well.

Matt said...

"No, he hasn't. Given that he works for the same people as his predecessors in the office, why would he do anything different than they?"

Who are these "people"? Have any incite to their ethnic background?

(Waiting to see if Cook goes full-Cedarford...)

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

And it is an opportunity for all of us to see and understand clearly what these things are.

Most of knew those things BEFORE the Obama was elected (sound of teeth grinding).

dreams said...

When he was campaigning, Obama said he wanted to fundamentally transform America.

"I would go further than Stephens. Something beyond ignorance explains Obama’s affinity for the Muslim Brotherhood, for example, and his hostility to Israel. The ideological component of Obama’s failures is probably the most important.

He advertised it in his promise of “fundamental transformation” of the United States. He clearly meant it. He has done his best to deliver on it. He has another two years to work on it. And on this score, he knows what he is doing and it would be a serious mistake to count him a failed president."

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/09/high-noonan.php

The Drill SGT said...

Obama must go from being the president who was elected to end wars — his most treasured self-image — to the president who finally leads one effectively," writes Michael Hirsh in Politico.

We're so F'd!

BHO has none of the wisdom, experience, willpower, advisers, allies, or track record to actually win this fight.

Our lads are going to die and ISIL will end up stronger...

Last week the model for our ISIL campaign was our "successful" counter-terrorism campaign in Yemen. This week, Yemen's Capital has been occupied by insurgents.

We've always been at war with EastAsia...

Ralph Hyatt said...

The despots and dictators voluntarily turning themselves into the Hague, absolute monarchies adopting parliamentary systems of government.

The destruction of chemical weapons.

The leading religious figures denunciation of extremism and the general reformation of Islamic thought to reflect enlightenment values.

Ralph Hyatt said...

The swift advance of democracy and recognition of human rights.

t

Ralph Hyatt said...

The Palestinian and Israeli rapprochement.

Ralph Hyatt said...

Yes, the ME was well on its way to peace and prosperity before Bush intervened.

tim in vermont said...

Of only somebody had told Obama he had to "play the ball where it lays" in Iraq when he took over, and hadn't indulged him in the delusion that he could take a "mulligan" of 2003.

Golf, like war, is path dependent. But in golf, you can take moves back by cheating, not so much in war. We didn't give Japan a do-over on Pearl Harbor either.

MadisonMan said...

I suppose it's an opportunity yes, but one that I wish hadn't been presented to the Country.

Michael said...

"The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done."

Perhaps. But a huge amount of damage can be done in the meantime. We still have not fully recovered from the fecklessness of Jimmy Carter. This will be much more than twice as bad. I can understand someone voting for Obama in 2008, but by 2012 it had to be willful denial.

grackle said...

The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done. And it is an opportunity for all of us to see and understand clearly what these things are.

Electing a Democrat President in order to clear your political vision? Yikes! I do not think I've ever heard a more frivolous reason to have voted for Obama.

Short version: She drank the Koolaide, folks. The rest is what the Freudians call "rationalization:" a psychological defense mechanism in which perceived controversial behaviors are logically justified.

I for one do not hold it against her. Many others did the same. They meant well.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said... This is something I thought a lot about when I decided to vote for Obama. The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done. And it is an opportunity for all of us to see and understand clearly what these things are.

Prof Althouse: OK, and I understand this sentiment, having felt something similar back when I assumed the HillDozer would easily win. But the vital question now is: do you still believe this? In your opinion have the Dems actually been made to "own" these issues in the popular press/national opinion? Have their rhetoric or viewpoints or tones changed appreciably? To me the answer is obviously no. If you agree do you plan to change your voting behavior in the future based on this reassessment?

MayBee said...

Yes, Ralph! That Bush was such a ruin-y rascal.

MayBee said...

tim in vermont:
Of only somebody had told Obama he had to "play the ball where it lays" in Iraq when he took over, and hadn't indulged him in the delusion that he could take a "mulligan" of 2003.

Great point.

The silliness started when Democrats "rescinding" their Iraq war votes and this was reported as both a legitimate and a desirable thing.

AReasonableMan said...

All this excuse making for Bush is a little sad.

Why not just acknowledge that he fucked up? Everyone knows it's true. Even he does.

The invasion of Iraq was an unforced error for the US. Nothing is going to change that now.

Brando said...

I would have rathered if Obama did actually practice noninterventionism, instead of constantly getting into new, ever pointless adventures that cost us money, risk innocent lives, and accomplish a whole lot of nothing but unintended consequences.

It would have been nice if the anti-war Left actually held their Nobel Prizewinner's feet to the fire over this stuff. But I guess the hapless civilians that get to be "collateral damage" are supposed to feel a lot better that the bombs dropped on them were ordered by an enlightened citizen of the world, rather than that idiot cowboy Bush.

Brando said...

"All this excuse making for Bush is a little sad.

Why not just acknowledge that he fucked up? Everyone knows it's true. Even he does.

The invasion of Iraq was an unforced error for the US. Nothing is going to change that now."

My point is--so what? Bush made a mistake. Obama has been making mistakes as well. The difference is Bush didn't already have Bush as a recent example.

Are we doomed as a country to excuse everything Obama does wrong simply because the guy before him made a mistake? Should Nixon have been excused for everything he did in Indochina because Kennedy and Johnson screwed up in Vietnam?

Should Churchill have, at every setback during WWII, said "well, this is all really Chamberlain's fault."?

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Althouse says: "This is something I thought a lot about when I decided to vote for Obama. The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done."

Ah, yes. The 2008 General Election as a "Teachable Moment" - a classroom exercise. Let us elect these folks so others might learn what a viscous, mendacious, corrupt bunch of assholes they truly are.

Thanks a shitload, professor!

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MayBee said...

I see no excuse making for Bush. The excuse making is blaming Bush for Obama's problems.
All presidents inherit the good and the bad of our country. Bush inherited a problematic ME and an untenible situation in Iraq. You can dislike the 2003 Iraq war all you like, but that doesn't mean there weren't problems there then that would have just gone away had Bush not acted in the way he (and Congress!) did.


John Lynch said...

I'd rather not have the cost of teaching Democrats foreign policy be the invasion of Ukraine and Arab civil wars that kill hundreds of thousands.

I think a better lesson is "Don't vote for Democrats." Or maybe, "Don't vote for Senators."

Jack Wayne said...

There's nothing that says neck-snapping like a moderate law prof projecting power.

Annie said...

The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done.

Democrats voted for going into Iraq.

Democrats kept voting to fund it while bashing Bush and our boots on the ground for political purposes.

Democrats had both houses the last two years of Bush and the first two years of Obama.

Democrats still own the senate.

The economy sucks. Record numbers on food stamps, disability, and can't find work. Those who do, can only get part time hours. Everything Obama and the democrats have touched, has gone to hell or been corrupted (IRS, hello?).

They, like Obama, still have not taken responsibility or have been held accountable for anything. They, like the lefties here, still blame Bush. They do it because they know how zombie-like their supporters are. The mainstream media and the WH are incestuous.

What makes you think that this 'offensive' is going to make them own it? How would this erase the fact that Obama abandoned those people to horrible deaths in the first place?

AReasonableMan said...

Brando said...
Are we doomed as a country to excuse everything Obama does wrong simply because the guy before him made a mistake?


Of course not. But, to pretend there are or were good options in Iraq for Obama at this point is also ridiculous.

I think he made a bad mistake going back. Others think otherwise. Either way there is not going to be a satisfactory outcome. I think he should have gone to the American people and said, "we can continue down this insane path of permawar or we can step back and act more rationally. Your choice." And, then made the coming election about the choice to go back to war.

I am sure his fellow Democrats would have been horrified but it would have been the smart choice for him personally. Now he is fucked.

AReasonableMan said...

MayBee said...
Bush inherited … an untenible situation in Iraq.


Complete BS.

Sebastian said...

"The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done. And it is an opportunity for all of us to see and understand clearly what these things are."

Ah, so the Democrats took "responsibility" for restraining Russia, stabilizing Iraq, preventing the spread of Muslim radicalism, and limiting Chinese aggression.

The "opportunity" turned a little costly, didn't it?

But let's hope Barry's failures will help more people "see and understand clearly." Maybe not exactly what you had in mind when you rationalized your vote for pragmatic Barry, after thinking "a lot" about it, but thanks anyway.

Perhaps things falling apart under Barry will teach some voters not to trust their own "thinking a lot" quite as much next time.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Actually, what Althouse said (above) is we should bring Progressives to power so they can learn the harsh realities of the job.

Sorry, Ann, but my thinking is it is best to elect qualified people to begin with.

(Full disclosure: as a card carrying Libertarian, the GOP offerings have been only marginally better than the Democratic. I vote my conscience.)

Mike said...

The Russo-Afghan War (1979-1989)
The Beirut Barracks (1982)
Iraq-Iran war (1980-1989)
Iraq invades Kuwait (1990)
Gulf War I (1991-1992)
The No-Fly Zone Years (1992-2003)
Bombing of the USS Cole (2000)

Without even touching on the Arab-Israeli conflicts the short list above puts the lie to any claim of a peaceful Pre-W43 Middle East.

MadisonMan said...

Or maybe, "Don't vote for Senators."

Alas, sometimes you are given crappy choices.

MayBee said...

Of course not. But, to pretend there are or were good options in Iraq for Obama at this point is also ridiculous.

Bush inherited … an untenible situation in Iraq.

Complete BS.


I find this very funny, ARM.

Robert Cook said...

"Who are these people?' Have any incite (sic)to their ethnic background?

That's "insight."

The "people" our Presidents work for, as do our Congresspeople, are the members of the financial elites: Wall Street, the big corporations, wealthy families and individuals. All of these entities provide pretty much all the money our system runs on, the money our elected corporate-serfs need to run their campaigns.

We are not the real constituents of those we elect to represent us. We are dupes, players complicit in a stale show, necessary to keep alive the illusion of self-governance.

tim in vermont said...

Our options in Iraq were the same as our options in Syria. Look the other way as a strong man used poison gas, torture, and genocide as tools to stay in power, or not.

ISIS is committing genocide right now. We can look the other way. Maybe we should, but to pretend that looking the other way makes the horrors not happen is self delusion.

Brando said...

"I think he made a bad mistake going back. Others think otherwise. Either way there is not going to be a satisfactory outcome. I think he should have gone to the American people and said, "we can continue down this insane path of permawar or we can step back and act more rationally. Your choice." And, then made the coming election about the choice to go back to war."

Obama could have done that, but he has never been a profile in courage. He wanted the benefit of being the "peace" candidate without getting blame from interventionists when horrible things happen in the region after we're gone. So instead of levelling with the people--saying something like "Iraq is getting ever more unstable, but unless we commit to completely occupying that country indefinitely, which I have no intention of doing, we have to let that country work its own problems out"--he decides to drop some bombs, arm some "moderates" who absolutely definitely promise never to let those weapons get in the hands of our "enemies", all in hoping to appear to slow down the "terrorists" (defined as whichever group of thugs we decide to bomb at the moment) until the next White House occupant can deal with it.

The Iraq that Obama "inherited" was one in constant flux, relatively stable from 2007 until 2011 when Bush's timetable called for us to have our combat troops out. Obama adhered to that timetable, which I think was the right move--we got out while things were somewhat stable, and it is up to Iraqis to deal with Iraq now. Bush may have left Iraq more prone to instability than it was under Saddam, but he also left it in such a state that Obama could have easily disengaged from there (unlike the situation Nixon inherited in Vietnam in '69). The only reason we should ever go back is if there is a clear threat to our national security there.

Now, he says we have exactly such a threat in the form of ISIS--an awful bunch of barbarians, to be sure, but apparently only a threat to parts of Iraq and Syria, rather than the United States. Hell, even Turkey doesn't consider them enough of a threat to participate in this latest war.

So either Obama is full of it when he says ISIS is a threat, and he's starting a war just for his own political posturing, or they are somehow a real threat, and his plans of limited strikes will be useless or will have to be escalated. This is executive incompetence of the highest order, and a completely unforced error.

Ralph Hyatt said...

to pretend there are or were good options in Iraq for Obama at this point is also ridiculous.

I'm calling shenanigans.

I seem to recall Obama (or at least his supporters) claiming that, through the use of "Smart Power", his superior judgment, and his biography, he would be able to fix all the mistakes in foreign policy that that stupid cowboy, chimpy McHitler, made and the world would love us.

Also, weren't the seas supposed to be receding and the earth healed by now?

Ralph Hyatt said...

One might get the idea that being President of the US is hard, often requiring making decisions with incomplete information, some of which is just a best guess that may be completely wrong.

But of course that can't be true. Any time a president (in the opposing party) makes a decision I disagree with it is because he is an evil genius idiot.

jr565 said...

"This is something I thought a lot about when I decided to vote for Obama. The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done. And it is an opportunity for all of us to see and understand clearly what these things are."
But have they? Who's holding Obama accountable. The anti war crowd is probably marching for climate justice at the moment so can't be bothered.

tim in vermont said...

Is it just me that finds it grimly ironic that the same tools that decry "wars for oil" on foreign lands fight energy production at home tooth and nail?

Ralph Hyatt said...

And its almost like when you implement a plan you run into difficulties because some things happen that you did not anticipate. Or people act in ways that you did not expect. And so you adjust as necessary to achieve the over all goal.

But that's impossible too. It's like that old saying, "All plans survive contact with the enemy."

jr565 said...

MayBee said...
Bush inherited … an untenible situation in Iraq."
To which ARM replied "Complete BS."
Bush inherited an Iraq which had already had 15 resolutions passed aginst in for non compliance. Al Qaeda already declared a fatwah against us and would shortly attack us on 9/11 because of our containment of Iraq. The containment process was in free fall. Clinton had already passed the Iraq Liberation Act calling for regime change, removed all inspectors and bombed Iraq.
But history of course started with Bush. Clinton left Iraq in tip top shape, nothing to see here.

Fen said...

AReasonableMan: "to pretend there are or were good options in Iraq for Obama at this point is also ridiculous."

What you really mean is that Obama couldn't find a way because he's an inferior black person.

Just admit to your racism. The more you deny it, the greater problem you have.

Anthony said...

Some of you warned me this would happen if I voted for McCain. I should have listened. I promise NEVER to vote for McCain again.

jr565 said...

Before Bush set foot in office it was American policy to try to get a regime change in Iraq because of Sadaam's constant refusal to disarm. That's what the Iraq Liberation Act was all about. So long as Sadaam was in power Iraq would always be in non compliance. Clinton had already thrown up his hands and given up on assuming containment would actually contain Iraq.
So then the question was, was containment working and could you get regime change the way Clinton hoped. Well, if containment had been working Clitnon wouldn't have had to pass the ILA would he? And as to waiting for Iraqi opposition forces to bring down Sadaam, lets remind ourselves how that is working in Syria. Was there any credible opposition force that could actually deal with Sadaam Hussein? Then we'd need to continue to contain Iraq even though containment was not in fact working
Bush made the determination that if you want regime change it required us to do it ourselves. And I'll note, unlike Clinton he got regime change. If Bush had instead gone along and continued down the same road as Clinton we'd be locked in a containment we all knew wasnt' working and calling for a regime change.
And then the UN would pass like 15 more resolutions, and all the countries that got rich off of the Oil for Food program would get richer and richer.

damikesc said...

The flaw in this 'logic' is that Obama would not be stuck in Iraq if Bush hadn't screwed up by going into the country in the first place.

Bush wouldn't have been stuck with a poor economy if Clinton decided to actually have laws against fraud enforced.

Everybody has to clean up messes.

Except Iraq was stable when Obama came into office. And the next President has to fix up the cluster fuck that Barry turned it into.

the debt
our health system costs nearly twice as much as comparable systems
our manufacturing base has been hollowed out by an out of control financial sector
an out of control financial sector
an out of control war machine


He made ALL of them worse.

Perhaps Obama is trying to distract folks.

Why not just acknowledge that he fucked up?

Iraq was STABLE, per Obama.

What the fuck happened and how the hell could it remotely be Bush's fault?

Of course not. But, to pretend there are or were good options in Iraq for Obama at this point is also ridiculous.

Obama didn't SETTLE for no troops there. That was his reported goal.

You can't remotely spin this as anti-Bush since Barry was extremely satisfied with Iraq in 2011-12.

Or was he lying?

jr565 said...

And I'll note that containment requires us to have a presence in Iraq. If you don't want us to be there forever, but you didn't want us to invade and remove Sadaam we'd still be there containing Iraq.
Or does ARM actually think we would end containment? And if so, how quickly until Sadaam was fully re-armed?
I always laugh at the argument that we should have allowed the inspectors to finish the job. And what? If we didn't find weapons we shouldn't go to war, obviously. But what about Sadaam's intent to arm himself? Does anyone think that absent our containment he wouldn't be fully armed within months? And his rearming would be bankrolled by his oil for food profits.
So, what was the best option? Endless containment? No containment? Or no Sadaam Hussein and a transition to democracy, just like our stated foreign policy was since 1998 (before Bush took office).

jr565 said...

"The flaw in this 'logic' is that Obama would not be stuck in Iraq if Bush hadn't screwed up by going into the country in the first place."
Of course he would, because we'd still be containing Iraq. Again, I don't think you guys really have any understanding of history at all. The history of Iraq containment didn't start with Bush. Bush was given an Iraq that was contained by Clinton. And that containment entailed vicious sanctions, air strikes, no fly zones and was in free fall. And Clinton prior to Bush taking office had already said it was US policy to try to get regime change in Iraq.
Since we needed to maintain containment we were ALREADY there.

jr565 said...

"Of course not. But, to pretend there are or were good options in Iraq for Obama at this point is also ridiculous."
To pretend that there are or were good options for Bush at the point he took office would also be ridiculous. But he took the best option that achieved our stated policy goals. And transitioned to democracy in Iraq. Note the word "transition". It requires movement from one direction to another. Bush made the tough call to oust the former regime and then help Iraq set up its new govt. And then maintain security while it went through the process.
All Obama had to do was preserve those gains. Even leon Panetta is now saying we left Iraq to soon. He knows it. I know it, and you know it.

Lydia said...

jr565 said ... "I don't think you guys really have any understanding of history at all."

I think that's way too generous. They know it and understand it, but what they're interested in is rewriting it to fit their own ends. Like the way the NY Times said on Sept. 11: “Unlike Mr. Bush in the Iraq war, Mr. Obama has sought to surround the United States with partners.”

The Times only today corrected that. I'm sure it was simply an innocent mistake, and that no one noticed it or delayed its correction.

Kirk Parker said...

Althouse,

"This is something I thought a lot about when I decided to vote for Obama. The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done. "

At the time you said it, I considered it wishful-thinking BS of the highest order.

Pretty much everything that has transpired since then has confirmed this view. The institutional D's and their supporters in the MSM have zero shame, an astonishing ability to withstand cognitive dissonance, and are completely impervious to hypocrisy. Look at Al "Carbon Credits" Gore, or Hillary "Dodging Sniper Bullets" Clinton, if you think this is just restricted to Obama.

I also incorporate here by reference The Godfather's remarks at 9:19 AM.


TheMostUnreasonableMan,

"our health system costs nearly twice as much as comparable systems"

There aren't any comparable systems.


Ralph Hyatt,

Dude, you left out 'flying kites'.

Robert Cook said...

"Before Bush set foot in office it was American policy to try to get a regime change in Iraq because of Sadaam's constant refusal to disarm."

He had disarmed.

"That's what the Iraq Liberation Act was all about."

That's what they said it was about, to scare us into accepting their war plans. It wasn't about that at all. For a clue what it was about, recall the original name of "Operation Iraq Freedom," which was Operation Iraq Liberation." Get it?

"So then the question was, was containment working and could you get regime change the way Clinton hoped." (sic) (There should be a question mark there.)

Yes, containment was working in that Iraq was no threat to us and Saddam had trashed his WMD stocks and programs. Of course, Iraq was never a threat to American to begin with, so we didn't need to contain Iraq.

As for "regime change," since when is it our right to bring about regime change in other countries?

Robert Cook said...

"Bush was given an Iraq that was contained by Clinton. And that containment entailed vicious sanctions, air strikes, no fly zones and was in free fall. And Clinton prior to Bush taking office had already said it was US policy to try to get regime change in Iraq."

Yep, Clinton was an evil shitbag, too, (as will his wife be if she attains the office).

AReasonableMan said...

Kirk Parker said...
There aren't any comparable systems.


You are correct. They cover everyone.

The actual health care is comparable or better in some cases.

tim in vermont said...

"He had disarmed" - And we knew that how?

AReasonableMan said...

MayBee said...
I find this very funny, ARM.


Only because you are an idiot.

As you wingers constantly harp on about, Clinton didn't do much in Iraq and, yet, the world didn't fall apart.

There were no Al Qaeda in Iraq. They were Bush's friends, Saudis.



AReasonableMan said...

tim in vermont said...
Is it just me that finds it grimly ironic that the same tools that decry "wars for oil" on foreign lands fight energy production at home tooth and nail?


This 'argument' might gain some traction if energy prices weren't currently so low that they are inhibiting further investment. I give it a C-.

AReasonableMan said...

r565 said...
Bush inherited an Iraq which had already had 15 resolutions passed aginst in for non compliance.


Cry me a river. There was no pressing need to attack Iraq. No one believes that there was. No one.

damikesc said...

As you wingers constantly harp on about, Clinton didn't do much in Iraq and, yet, the world didn't fall apart.

...provided one ignores an attack on a Tuesday morning in September from a group Clinton had ignored and refused to eliminate the leader of years earlier...

damikesc said...

This 'argument' might gain some traction if energy prices weren't currently so low that they are inhibiting further investment.

...umm, what?

Gas prices haven't been this high for so long in history.

I haven't seen gas below 3 dollars a gallon IN YEARS.

Robert Cook said...

"'He had disarmed' - And we knew that how?"

In the late 90s Saddam's son-in-law defected to the west and was debriefed by the CIA. He told them he had been in charge of overseeing the dismantling and destruction of Iraq's weapons programs and weapons stocks, respectively. (Saddam later lured him back to Iraq, promising "all is forgiven," then promptly had him executed.)

(This is aside from the first UN Inspections regime, which was able to account for 90% of the weapons known to have existed. So, even if you want to assert Hussein's son-in-law lied, we still knew that, at most, only 10% of Hussein's weapons were still possibly extant.)

Moreover, in the few months immediately preceding 9/11, both Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, independently of each other, made public comments--recorded for posterity on film--that Hussein had been effectively disarmed and he posed no threat to his neighbors. Well, shitfire! If he could pose no threat his neighbors, could he possibly have posed a threat to America, an ocean away? The answer is not yes.

In the four months prior to our illegal invasion of Iraq, the UN Weapons Inspectors reported consistently that they found NO WEAPONS or any signs of any ongoing programs, in all the places they looked. They were not allowed to continue their inspections, but were told to evacuate the country for their own safety, as O.I.L. ("Operation Iraqi Liberation") was about to commence...on schedule.

Thus, the war that was advertised as a "last option" was, in fact, always the first option, and it remained only for the administration's propaganda's efforts to create sufficient Congressional and public support for war act on their already-conceived plans.

AReasonableMan said...

damikesc said...
...provided one ignores an attack on a Tuesday morning in September from a group Clinton had ignored and refused to eliminate the leader of years earlier…


Which had nothing to do with Iraq, for the remedial learners.

Robert Cook said...

...provided one ignores an attack on a Tuesday morning in September from a group Clinton had ignored and refused to eliminate the leader of years earlier...

And what did this group have to do with Iraq?

If you don't know, I'll tell you: Nothing.

AReasonableMan said...

damikesc said...
I haven't seen gas below 3 dollars a gallon IN YEARS.


Maybe starting wars in major oil producing countries is not such a great idea after all.




Robert Cook said...

"'damikesc said...
I haven't seen gas below 3 dollars a gallon IN YEARS.'


"Maybe starting wars in major oil producing countries is not such a great idea after all."


Or, all the more money going into the oil companies' coffers. Mission accomplished! (NOW we know what that banner on the aircraft carrier meant!)

grackle said...

In the late 90s Saddam's son-in-law … told them he had been in charge of overseeing the dismantling and destruction of Iraq's weapons programs and weapons stocks.

Puzzling, because it doesn't explain nuclear centrifuges buried in the back yards of Iraqi nuclear scientists or 500 metric tons of hidden yellowcake found and shipped out of Iraq.

http://tinyurl.com/ieff

http://tinyurl.com/ct7fqy

Beldar said...

Some of us figured the Democrats out thoroughly enough by 1968 that we could have done without any subsequent reminders of how badly they screw things up. We certainly ought not need two-term reminders.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Ann: This is something I thought a lot about when I decided to vote for Obama. The Democrats need their turn in the position of power so they will own and take responsibility for the things that really do need to be done. And it is an opportunity for all of us to see and understand clearly what these things are.

Wow, what a BS rationalization. This is our country we're talking about here. To trivialize it into some sort of 'teachable moment' for Obama and Libs, is abhorrent.

I wonder if future historians will correlate the beginning of the end, with the passage of the 19th Amendment? And will they argue it was also causative?

Emotion is a piss-poor thing to base a vote on.

grackle said...

This is also puzzling – from the Iraq Survey Group Final Report:

Baghdad reluctantly submitted to inspections, declaring only part of its ballistic missile and chemical warfare programs to the UN, but not its nuclear weapon and biological warfare programs, which it attempted to hide from inspectors.

Another mystifying conclusion from the ISG Final Report:

In the years following Iraq’s war with Iran and invasion of Kuwait, Saddam’s Regime sought to preserve the ability to reconstitute his WMD, while seeking sanctions relief through the appearance of cooperation with the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the UN Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC).

And still another baffling finding:

Many former Iraqi officials close to Saddam either heard him say or inferred that he intended to resume WMD programs when sanctions were lifted. Those around him at the time do not believe that he made a decision to permanently abandon WMD programs.

http://tinyurl.com/5dbmn

Lydia said...

Yet another puzzler re WMDs in Iraq -- from June 19 this year:

The jihadist group bringing terror to Iraq overran a Saddam Hussein chemical weapons complex on Thursday, gaining access to disused stores of hundreds of tonnes of potentially deadly poisons including mustard gas and sarin.

Isis invaded the al-Muthanna mega-facility 60 miles north of Baghdad in a rapid takeover that the US government said was a matter of concern.

damikesc said...

Maybe starting wars in major oil producing countries is not such a great idea after all.

So, who posted:

"This 'argument' might gain some traction if energy prices weren't currently so low that they are inhibiting further investment."

Are they too low to make investment not worth it or are they too high because of Bush?

It can't be both.

So, you support domestic production due to high prices or thank Bush for keeping energy prices so low?

Which had nothing to do with Iraq, for the remedial learners.

You said "The world didn't fall apart". I pointed out a small discrepancy in your worldview.

damikesc said...

Or, all the more money going into the oil companies' coffers.

The government still makes way more per gallon of gas than oil companies do.

tim in vermont said...

"This 'argument' might gain some traction if energy prices weren't currently so low that they are inhibiting further investment. I give it a C-." - ARM

I guess it doesn't make sense to have backup supplies of oil in case something should happen somewhere, like a commie getting control of all of the oil in Venezuela and screwing up so bad with his leftist policies they no longer produce, or something like that.

Robert Cook said...

Grackle,

Who created the Iraq Survey Group Final Report?

AReasonableMan said...

I had forgotten some of this. From wikipedia, comedy gold.

On 23 January 2004, the head of the ISG, David Kay, resigned his position, stating that he believed WMD stockpiles would not be found in Iraq. "I don't think they existed," commented Kay. "What everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the last Gulf War and I don't think there was a large-scale production program in the nineties." In a briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Kay criticized the pre-war WMD intelligence and the agencies that produced it, saying "It turns out that we were all wrong, probably in my judgment, and that is most disturbing." Sometime earlier, CIA director George Tenet had asked David Kay to delay his departure: "If you resign now, it will appear that we don't know what we're doing. That the wheels are coming off."

DavidD said...

Meanwhile, along with Democrats learning that Republicans were right all along, we get spending like drunken sailors with Mommy's credit card.

No, thanks.

grackle said...

On 23 January 2004, the head of the ISG, David Kay, resigned his position … he believed WMD stockpiles would not be found in Iraq. "I don't think they existed," … "What everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the last Gulf War and I don't think there was a large-scale production program in the nineties." … Kay criticized the pre-war WMD intelligence … It turns out that we were all wrong, probably in my judgment, and that is most disturbing."

Yet another commentor has previously pointed out that as recently as this year ISIS overran a mustard gas and sarin cache described as a "Saddam Hussein chemical weapons complex." "All wrong?" Hardly. It turns out Kay resigned over his own misconceptions.

One wonders what Kay thought about the centrifuge and other parts needed to develop a bomb program and nuclear manufacturing documents that were dug up in the Iraqi nuclear scientist's backyard. It happened a few months before he resigned. Must of not watched CNN very much.

Of course he couldn't have known about the yellowcake found after Saddam was deposed. It's existence was kept secret until 2008. They suspected Saddam had some yellowcake but didn't know how much(over 550 metric tons) or where Saddam had it cached. It turns out Kay resigned over his own misconceptions.

Sometime earlier, CIA director George Tenet had asked David Kay to delay his departure: "If you resign now, it will appear that we don't know what we're doing. That the wheels are coming off.

The above is footnoted in Wiki as having come from PBS. However, the PBS link leads to nothing. Gossip, nothing more, and no way to check the source. The usual prog bullshit.

Who created the Iraq Survey Group Final Report?

From Wiki: "It consisted of a 1,400-member international team organized by the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency … "

Rusty said...

500 tons of yellow cake. What do you suppose Saddam was going to do with all that Uranium oxide?

The Drill SGT said...

Rusty said...
500 tons of yellow cake. What do you suppose Saddam was going to do with all that Uranium oxide?


watch dials?

Unknown said...

Democrats will never own their hypocritical warmongering, and the media will never force them to own it.

Achilles said...

AReasonableMan said...
"All this excuse making for Bush is a little sad.

Why not just acknowledge that he fucked up? Everyone knows it's true. Even he does.

The invasion of Iraq was an unforced error for the US. Nothing is going to change that now."

Obama and Biden have already been quoted in this thread bragging about how awesome Iraq was when they abandoned it. Despite your best efforts and the rest of the "anti-war" douche's Iraq was going just fine. Then Obama ditched out. Surrender is what we would call it.

You people needed Iraq to be a failure. You needed the armed forces to fail. And you were willing to throw away everything we did to achieve that goal so you could score political points and win an election or two.

You people are scum. You believe in nothing but your own political power. Now ISIS is committing genocide because of Obama's policies and fecklessness. Accept responsibility for what you have created. Those people are dying because of you.

Achilles said...

I see the no WMD lie is back with the usual suspects spreading it.

http://news.yahoo.com/uk-experts-help-iraq-destroy-chemical-residues-144204378.html

You people really do stand for nothing.

Achilles said...

Robert Cook said...
"...provided one ignores an attack on a Tuesday morning in September from a group Clinton had ignored and refused to eliminate the leader of years earlier...

And what did this group have to do with Iraq?

If you don't know, I'll tell you: Nothing"

I have a possibility. Maybe after 9/11 a lot of people got together and said hmm... The middle east is.a.mess. What are the issues here? A lack of freedom and justice was coupled with poor economic opportunities creating a hotbed of radicalism. So they came up with a plan to try to move the ME in a new direction. Iraq just happens to be strategically placed in the center of the region and was located next to Kuwait.

I know this is hard for you anti-war types to follow but stick with it. The goal was to move the middle east toward a freer society that wouldn't pump out so many crazies.

But the people who came up with the plan underestimated one thing. The armed forces ability to defeat the crazies? We had that under control. What they underestimated was the depravity of the progressive left. You people were willing and motivated to undermine our mission just to enhance your political power.

You people stand for nothing.

Robert Cook said...

"I have a possibility. Maybe after 9/11 a lot of people got together and said hmm... The middle east is.a.mess. What are the issues here? A lack of freedom and justice was coupled with poor economic opportunities creating a hotbed of radicalism. So they came up with a plan to try to move the ME in a new direction. Iraq just happens to be strategically placed in the center of the region and was located next to Kuwait...The goal was to move the middle east toward a freer society...."

Achilles, perhaps you have a future as a fiction writer. The above passage is so fantastic, so removed from credibility, it can only be a product of great imaginative powers. Perhaps you can specialize in fantasy. That's very popular with the young these days.

Robert Cook said...

"'Who created the Iraq Survey Group Final Report?'

"From Wiki: "It consisted of a 1,400-member international team organized by the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency … "


Also from Wiki:

"The Iraq Survey Group (ISG) was a fact-finding mission sent by the multinational force in Iraq after the 2003 invasion of Iraq to find the weapons of mass destruction alleged to be possessed by Iraq that had been the main ostensible reason for the invasion. Its final report is commonly referred to as the Duelfer Report. It consisted of a 1,400-member international team organized by the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency to hunt for the alleged stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological agents, and any supporting research programs and infrastructure that could be used to develop WMD.

"No such weapons were found."

grackle said...

No such weapons were found.

Correction: No such weapons were found then by the ISG. Others, not the ISG, were led to a nuclear centrifuge, other nuclear bomb parts, diagrams, instructions and blueprints for nuclear devices which were buried in his backyard by an Iraqi nuclear scientist.

Also, over 550 metric tons of yellowcake were discovered where Saddam had it cached. And of course chemical WMD agents were found all around even during the ISG era and since then, the latest being June 19th of this year described as a "Saddam Hussein chemical weapons complex."

I'll readily admit the ISG found no nuclear warheads installed in long range missiles replete with launching and delivery systems. But it is clear from the ISG report itself that Saddam was going to reconstitute the Iraq nuclear development as soon as the sanctions were lifted and the heat was off. Saddam was well on his way to nuking up years before Saddam invaded Kuwait, many years before the ISG was created. The Israelis bombed his first nuclear reactor way back in 1981 to keep him from nuking up. I'm thinking that's when Saddam first recognized the wisdom of decentralization of his nuclear project. Scatter it all over the place until the coast was clear, then take it up again – just as he had been doing for many years.

Robert Cook said...

So, assuming these ex post facto tales are true--and I remain skeptical--possession of unprocessed yellow cake, and dismantled nuke parts and plans buried in a lone scientist's backyard represent a serious enough danger to America's safety that it warrants our invading and destroying the country?

No.

If you want to think so, I can't change your mind. The Bush Administration sold the war with innuendo that Saddam was connected with Al Qaeda and,by extension, 9/11, and with tales of "smoking guns in the shape of mushroom clouds," (a nonsensical metaphor when you think about it, though lurid and memorable), leading the credible and the fearful to believe we were about to be nuked. These were carefully calibrated lies fabricated to support a war they had wanted and had been planning since before 9/11.

Our unwarranted invasion of Iraq--which has metastasized throughout the region into apparent endless, boundless war for war's sake--was a crime.

tim in vermont said...

"Achilles, perhaps you have a future as a fiction writer. The above passage is so fantastic, so removed from credibility"

I guess if you got your news at the time from exclusively lefty sources, it would be news to you that that was a major motivation for the war, a big part of what made "neocons" attractive was the idea that increasing freedom in the ME would lead to letting some of the steam generated by regimes such as Assad's and Hussein's.

But you destroy your own credibility, such as it was, to assert that the war was solely about WMD.

It wasn't even a major point.

Robert Cook said...

Tim,

"Increasing freedom in the ME" was the neocons' way of saying "we want to conquer the ME."

grackle said...

… possession of unprocessed yellow cake, and dismantled nuke parts and plans buried in a lone scientist's backyard represent a serious enough danger to America's safety that it warrants our invading and destroying the country?

What we were "destroying" was a dictator and regime that was among the cruelest the world has ever seen. A dictator who successfully colluded with a corrupt UN to get around sanctions. A dictator who after invading and being driven out of Kuwait by Bush senior was allowed to stay on as head of Iraq's government only under certain constraints and agreements – agreements of which he violated every last one without exception. For 13 years after his Kuwait defeat Saddam thumbed his nose at the UN, the US and the world and gained prestige in the ME for doing so. Finally enough was enough. Congress at that time, including all the prominent Democrats, voted to give Bush the go-ahead.

As for the nuclear question: It was known for many years that Saddam was nuking up. The Israelis put an end to one of his nuclear projects by bombing it way back in 1981. Yet Saddam persisted over a long period after, buying nuclear parts, plans and yellowcake by the hundreds of tons, decentralizing his program for instant reconstitution when he would have the chance. If he had not been deposed he would now no doubt be right there with present-day Iran – on the verge of nuking up with an American President who seems to be wanting it to happen.

Must we wait for more 9/11's to happen before we act to curtail the obvious? What will happen once the Middle East nuclear race gears up for real after the Iranian Mullahs have the bomb? More will follow, if only in self-defense. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others will be compelled to follow suit. Is this desirable? Get enough nukes floating around in this unstable region and you will have a nightmare on your hands. And the US will be targeted. It hasn't happened already because the actors would be obvious and the retaliation swift. But once enough ME nations are nuked up they'll be able to hide in the crowd and that constraint disappears.

So spare me the tears for Saddam, please.

Robert Cook said...

"So spare me the tears for Saddam, please."

Your lack of intellectual honesty is summed up neatly in that remark.

I have never expressed tears for Saddam. No one who condemns the illegal American invasion of Iraq sheds tears for Saddam. What we lament is our own blatant lawlessness, our wanton slaughter and violation of international law for geopolitical gains, our open abandonment of the rule of law at home and of any pretense to be any longer a constitutional, representative republic.

You know all that, of course, but you pretend not to.

Your dishonesty is also revealed in your comment, "Must we wait for more 9/11s to happen before we act to curtail the obvious?"

Of course, everyone knows that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 or with the people who did. But you echo unindicted war criminal and mass murderer Dick Cheney in your continued rhetorical pairing of 9/11 and Saddam, trying but still failing to provide a patina of legitimate justification for our fabricated "pre-emptive war of self-defense" (sic) against Iraq.

Grackle, you're too invested in your delusions to admit our crimes, but that is what they are.

Kirk Parker said...

Cookie, you relentless buffoon: we don't agree that the invasion of Iraq was illegal.