Patterico's Pontifications

6/12/2014

Choosing to Lose in Iraq [updated with image]

Filed under: General,Obama,War — JVW @ 9:19 am

[guest post by JVW]

Today’s New York Times — that beacon of right-wing propaganda — carries an article telling us that the Obama Administration declined the Iraqi government’s request for support in combatting insurgents with airstrikes prior to Tuesday”s capture of Mosul. Why would we refuse to help a putative ally? According to the Times, it is simply because we do not want to get more heavily involved in a conflict that “President Obama has insisted was over when the United States withdrew the last of its forces. . . in 2011.”

In other words, Obama’s wishful thinking and political calculations are allowed to override the safety and protection of the Iraqi people and the hard fought gains made by U.S. forces during the surge of 2007-08. How spooked is the Obama brain trust about angering its left flank by continuing to be involved in Iraq? President Drone Strike has even ruled out his favorite method of engagement with the enemy:

The Obama administration has carried out drone strikes against militants in Yemen and Pakistan, where it fears terrorists have been hatching plans to attack the United States. But despite the fact that Sunni militants have been making steady advances and may be carving out new havens from which they could carry out attacks against the West, administration spokesmen have insisted that the United States is not actively considering using warplanes or armed drones to strike them.

It’s one thing to decide that military re-engagement in Iraq is not worthwhile, but why on earth would we be announcing that fact to friend and foe alike? I get the administration having a quiet, unspoken policy that we are done in Iraq and I can understand the need to let Prime Minister al-Maliki know this, but the only possible reason I can think of announcing it to the public at large is to let the anti-war left know that you are still under their thumb so that they do not stage demonstrations against you right at the moment when everything else your administration has touched is turning to poo.

Joe Lieberman had it absolutely right almost six years ago.

UPDATE: John Hinderaker at Powerline created this great image and has invited everyone to share it.

MissionAccomplished

- JVW

102 Responses to “Choosing to Lose in Iraq [updated with image]”

  1. Pay no attention to the time-stamp. I finished drafting this at 9:19 am, but didn’t post it until noon. Apparently I failed to save it one last time beforehand which would have updated the time-stamp.

    JVW (feb406)

  2. Maliki has Iranian troops helping him out now. Why does he need the U.S.? I mean, what could go wrong?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  3. They didn’t announce it. This seems to be have been decided last month. There were signs of danger already. (This was the lead story on the CBS Morning News. I first heard that Iraq had asked for air strikes there but it was not clear this was actually last month)

    They had to let people know now, because people were asking questions.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  4. Dear Barack,

    LOSING !

    Signed,

    Charlie Sheen

    Elephant Stone (ec191b)

  5. Sammy, it is possible that the information about the U.S. refusal to support the campaign against the insurgents came from leaks within the al-Maliki government, but I would be you dollars to dimes that the information came from the Obama folks, who wanted the antiwar left to know for certain that they would sacrifice Iraq to al Qaeda rather than go back on a hasty Obama pronouncement made in the run up to the 2012 election. Note that neither of the reporters who wrote this article is based in Iraq, their byline is Washington. A strategic leak is the same as an announcement.

    And the idea that the administration “had to let people know, because people were asking questions” is so silly when you take into account their behavior regarding Obamacare enrollments or the IRS scandal or Benghazi or the whole kit-and-caboodle of instances where the administration works overtime to keep Americans in the dark.

    JVW (feb406)

  6. Sammy,

    When has this corrupt administration ever wanted to let people know what was going on about anything ?

    Elephant Stone (ec191b)

  7. i can’t even formulate a rational comment about this situation. Too upsetting. Too unbelievably sad.

    Obama needs to alert the country to the renewed extremist threat partly to clarify the record. Just 19 months ago, he won re-election arguing that his policies had vanquished the most dangerous core elements of al-Qaeda. But the organization has morphed, and deadly new battles are ahead.

    The campaign theme that the worst terrorist threat had been licked was vividly drawn in the third debate between Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, on Oct. 22, 2012.

    Romney tried to shake Obama’s optimistic narrative about al-Qaeda. “It’s really not on the run. It’s certainly not hiding. This is a group that is now involved in 10 or 20 countries, and it presents an enormous threat to our friends, to the world, to America long term, and we must have a comprehensive strategy to help reject this kind of terrorism.”

    Obama countered Romney’s statement with his basic campaign mantra: “We ended the war in Iraq, refocused our attention on those who actually killed us on 9/11. And as a consequence,al-Qaeda’s core leadership has been decimated.”

    Obama had the better of that exchange, certainly for a war-weary America that a few weeks later gave him a new mandate. But looking back, which picture was closer to the truth? Probably Romney’s.

    Read more at http://www.arcamax.com/politics/davidignatius/s-1537571#ivUeGKIiQ1o1kC6G.99

    No Kidding.

    elissa (b69310)

  8. Hey chicken hawks nothing is stoping you from going over their to fight with something other then your typing fingers! The neo-con artist at fox not news ;but republican propaganda want to send everybody but themselves or their kids to fight for the multi-national oil companies. This mess is bush legacy or go fight for maliki yourself chicken hawk cowards!

    Iraq arabic for vietnam (ba79da)

  9. Reading post #8, I feel fully justified in condemning our public education system and every short-sighted leftwing snake in the grass that has ever slithered under foot. Definitely a turd on the run.

    Colonel Haiku (146aeb)

  10. Perry, we actually didn’t miss you during your absence. But that’s twice this week that you have swung by here to spew your bile.

    JVW (feb406)

  11. In other words, Obama’s wishful thinking and political calculations…

    …President Drone Strike has even ruled out his favorite method of engagement with the enemy:

    …why on earth would we be announcing that fact to friend and foe alike?

    …the only possible reason I can think of announcing it to the public at large is to let the anti-war left know that you are still under their thumb so that they do not stage demonstrations against you right at the moment when everything else your administration has touched is turning to poo.

    What if we’ve switched sides? It would all make sense then, wouldn’t it.

    Steve57 (5f0260)

  12. I have moved past the point where I can attribute this to wishful thinking.

    Steve57 (5f0260)

  13. Almost 5,000 dead and more than 30,000 wounded in Iraq alone. Take families and friends into account and there are probably a couple of million people going through a lot of emotion seeing what is unfolding. Anger will follow and Obama cannot put this back in the bottle. Humiliating and discouraging.
    I have a friend who lost his son in Iraq – He has to live through the pain and anguish yet again.
    Bastards!

    vor2 (88b92d)

  14. Chicken hawks attack with their typing fingers!

    iraq arabic for vietnam (ba79da)

  15. 14-get off your sister

    mg (31009b)

  16. When Perry limits himself to a simple declarative sentence, as he did at 1:38 pm, he can be understood. When he tries to string together thoughts into a cogent idea, like at 12:52 pm above, he lapses into a vaguely-literate incoherence which is a clear sign of his tragic insanity. Boooooshhhh!

    JVW (feb406)

  17. Hey, the President himself said it. Just because you have the best hammer, doesn’t mean you have to use it all the time.

    Sometimes you use a nerf mallet to drive in a nail.

    DejectedHead (a094a6)

  18. I understand they are having high-level meetings to decide who to blame. Besides Bush, of course.

    Kevin M (56aae1)

  19. They could say this proves Bush made a mistake in 2003.

    Sammy Finkelman (2d4607)

  20. Did anyone hear what paper president sfb read to find out Iraq was falling apart?

    not that he gives a crap

    mg (31009b)

  21. Elephant Stone (ec191b) — 6/12/2014 @ 12:37 pm

    When has this corrupt administration ever wanted to let people know what was going on about anything ?

    The reason they would let people know is to head off pressure to intervene. say you’re opposed strngly enough, and letters and e-mails won’t keep coming in – and Democrats in Congress will hold off on their demands. They have got to let the Democrats know.

    The leak could also be coming from people opposed to what looks like Obama’s decision.

    Sammy Finkelman (2d4607)

  22. They could say this proves Bush made a mistake in 2003.

    I’m sure they will, but a president inherits the world as it is, not as he wishes it was. It’s been his for 5 1/2 years and he has made every call. He pulled the troops out, he didn’t respond at any point in the last 6 months when al-Qaeda started rolling through town after town.

    Just a month ago, his ambassador, Stephen Beecroft, who is nominated to be Ambassador to Egypt, said this:

    The United States will continue to be a true friend to Iraq. We will help as friends do, be honest as friends are, and work together toward common goals as friends must. This is my government’s commitment and my personal promise.

    Good to know the United States makes promises like this AT THE SAME TIME it is failing to honor them.

    Kevin M (56aae1)

  23. Some day soon, after the consolidation of the Ummah under a nuclear-armed Caliphate, there will be war. The only question is whether it will be between Muslim states, or between the Ummah and the US.

    Kevin M (56aae1)

  24. y’all need to stop asking Sam the Sham hard, fact based question: he’ll spill all that water he’s carrying for his hero the First Failure.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  25. So news is breathlessly saying that the US is going to provide some assistance to Iraq. What… did AQ start beheading LGBT Iraqis?

    Colonel Haiku (017a27)

  26. Some day soon, after the consolidation of the Ummah under a nuclear-armed Caliphate, there will be war. The only question is whether it will be between Muslim states, or between the Ummah and the US.

    There’s no guarantee that we will still be the prime defenders of the West when that day comes. Maybe it will be up to a Canadian-Australian alliance to fight for democracy and what we used to call liberal values. Maybe by then countries like India and Brazil will be the vanguards of freedom. Stranger things have happened.

    JVW (feb406)

  27. when the Caliphate reaches our shores, can i be the one to saw off Perry’s head with a dull knife?

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  28. I hope Obama sets a new Red Line to back away from.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  29. The world is aflame and falling apart and Obama and his regime are there to pour gasoline on it.

    Colonel Haiku (a6bc62)

  30. There’s no guarantee that we will still be the prime defenders of the West when that day comes.
    JVW (feb406) — 6/12/2014 @ 3:04 pm

    Unless something unexpected happens very quickly and we help turn the tide in Iraq, I think we are already no longer the prime defenders of the West.
    Would you look to get military help from the US?
    http://patterico.com/2014/06/12/c-17-pilot-we-could-have-gotten-americans-out-of-benghazi/#comment-1647073

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  31. Not to worry Colonel Haiku. The Insurgents are only in Iraq to steal the water.

    DejectedHead (a094a6)

  32. If the regime’s primary objective is to facilitate more Arabs killing more Arabs, they’re doing a bang-up job. If they want to push Iraq into Iran’s orbit, they are successful at that, as well.

    Colonel Haiku (4e5a95)

  33. I’m thinking that perhaps Joe Biden will turn out to be correct after all.
    The Kurds are not about to let Al-Qaida dominate their territories, are they?
    And I think the areas currently being overrun are where the Sunnis and Saddam dominated before,
    and I’m thinking the primarily Shiite army is thinking who needs to die for this, and will retrench when it becomes an issue of letting Baghdad and their own homelands fall.
    But that is very much a guess, and I would not be surprised if I am wrong.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  34. “The Insurgents are only in Iraq to steal the water.”

    DejectedHead – And bootleg videos I think.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  35. Let’s hope they get a bootleg copy of Team America

    DejectedHead (a094a6)

  36. They could say this proves Bush made a mistake in 2003.

    Could? That’s their one and only answer to everything

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  37. When AQ headquarters is rejecting these ISIS terrorists as too extreme, they must be the bottom-feeders of the sewer. It’s said they’re crucifying Iraqis as they move through the cities.

    Obama said he “wouldn’t rule anything out” and then promptly ruled out the use of any ground forces.

    Colonel Haiku (404b97)

  38. There is certainly truth in that, MD, the peshmerga do fight, the Anfal and previous campaigns, going
    back to 1958, have taught them the reasons, on the one hand, we can’t blame the tribesmen of Anbar, they went to bat for us, and we betrayed them, on the other hand, they should have realized that AQ is the greater foe,

    narciso (3fec35)

  39. Has bagdad been renamed osama bin ladin city yet ?

    iraq arabic for vietnam (ba79da)

  40. Could we possibly start seeing Big Zero transition from “I Me Mine” to “we our”? He’s gonna really want to distance himself from the plethora of disasters he’s helped to create.

    Colonel Haiku (5348bf)

  41. Flood the Iraq border with president lackluster’s diseased mexicans.

    mg (31009b)

  42. Meanwhile, ABC News reports that Russia is sending tanks across the border into Ukraine. Once you now that Obama is all talk, why bother with the pretense of honoring ceasefire agreements?

    JVW (feb406)

  43. Aaargh that should be “. . . once you know. . .”

    JVW (feb406)

  44. Colonel Haiku: @32

    If the regime’s primary objective is to facilitate more Arabs killing more Arabs, they’re doing a bang-up job.

    Absolutely right. They could have prevented this whole thing by bombing the staging areas a month ago. The Iraqi Air Force is trying to do alittle bombing. but it probably isn’t that good, even with U.S. help in the targeting.

    If they want to push Iraq into Iran’s orbit, they are successful at that, as well.

    At trying that anyway.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  45. 23. Kevin M (56aae1) — 6/12/2014 @ 2:31 pm

    Some day soon, after the consolidation of the Ummah under a nuclear-armed Caliphate, there will be war. The only question is whether it will be between Muslim states, or between the Ummah and the US.

    It’s still 16 days till the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the Archduke, and more than seven weeks till the the outbreak of the First World War. (called at first the “European War” and by the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature, called that until 1976. The Encyclopedia Americana changed the name sometime before that but after 1952.)

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  46. JVW @ 26 — 6/12/2014 @ 3:04 pm

    Maybe it will be up to a Canadian-Australian alliance to fight for democracy and what we used to call liberal values.

    There is no substitute for United States Marines.

    Or other parts of the U.S. military. Nobody else has armed drones.

    Obama is maybe going to be forced to realize this.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  47. 33. MD in Philly (f9371b) — 6/12/2014 @ 3:44 pm

    and I’m thinking the primarily Shiite army is thinking who needs to die for this,

    Primarily, this is because their officers abandoned them. Iraqi soldiers got out of uniform because they were being shot at by snipers. Half a million people are lined up the border of Iraqi Kurdistan. At the moment, ISIS is not headed in that direction.

    and will retrench when it becomes an issue of letting Baghdad and their own homelands fall.

    Once too much territory had fallen, it was impossible to get the South Vietnamese army to stand up. Of course a difference then was that the Congress cut off aid. War stopped because it turned out the Chinse Communists had stolen the Khmer Rouge from Hanoi, and it was now hostile, and there was no place to go. They left Thailand mostly alone and that was that.

    In France, in 1940, there was kind of like a coup, and the new government negotiated a ceasefire. Otehr than that, the Nazi advance was stopped – at least fro the time – by the Atlantic Ocean, a half alliance with Spain, a full alliance with Italy, and the desire to leave Switzerland alone for the time being. Maybe because some people needed a place to keep their money, and to stay in contact with the rest of the world..

    In China, in 1949, there were bloody borders – the Nationalists fled across the Taiwan Strait, and Truman put the 7th fleet beweetn them – and besides which the were only a land army – and they decided to leave Hong Kong and Macao alone. Maybe because some people needed a place to keep their money, and to stay in contact with the rest of the world…

    But that is very much a guess, and I would not be surprised if I am wrong.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  48. I think what Obama was holding meetings on was whether or not to evacuate Americans from Baghdad. So far they are only doing an evacuation from an airbase 50 miles away – people who were training the Iraqi Air Force.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  49. The Empty Chair is living in a different world than we are. He’s going to be very surprised when our world comes to visit his.

    htom (412a17)

  50. they don’t follow our calendar, they follow theirs, Ramadan begins June 28th,

    the cutoff of military aid, to the ARVN, surely told the NVA, the treaty provisions were null and void,

    narciso (3fec35)

  51. Well there are parallels to the 3rd Republic’s end, the French army, somewhat like Sunni elements in Iraq, had no loyalty to the Socialist regime, as with Maliki,

    narciso (3fec35)

  52. for those of you who understand such things, you may be wondering where all those carriers Obumbles says we don’t really need are…

    there’s only one CVBG near the Arabian Gulf…
    the rest are days away.

    heckuva j*b, you fascist POS.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  53. america lol

    At first glance, Iran appears to have exported more oil than allowed under a nuclear agreement with major powers, but rather than complaining, U.S. officials argue Tehran is skating just inside the deal’s ambiguous limits.

    these losers aren’t choosers, they’re just losers

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  54. If Obama were an ethical person in general, and if he articulated a sincere, well-thought-out “America First” form of isolationism, I could tolerate at least some (if not all of) the “law of unintended consequences” hovering around him. But that would also require he be a savvy, sensible observer of the good and bad forces — including politicians, renegades, military groups and societies — throughout the world, and he’s anything but that.

    It would also require he be a truly decent, humane person, and I don’t think he’s that either—eg, his giving a ludicrously inappropriate “shout out” at the news conference following the bloody Fort Hood massacre in 2009.

    I no longer think it’s hyperbole — or disdain expressed only by ultra-conservative fringe groups — to claim we have a malevolent entity in the White House.

    Mark (c58c23)

  55. We heard you were leaving, said that’s OK
    We thought our little wild time had just begun
    We guessed you believed your own press, you thought you’d won
    And then they blew this place apart

    CHORUS:
    Maliki don’t lose that number
    You don’t wanna call nobody else
    Send it off in a letter to yourself
    Maliki don’t lose that number
    You don’t wanna call Iran
    You might use it then you’ll feel better
    When you get bombed

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  56. One Squadron of A-10′s could chase this rabble all the way back to Lebanon, but they would need FAC’s, and what GI in his right mind would volunteer to do that with the history and reputation of this Command Authority…anyway, they’re retiring the very aircraft they need.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  57. Remember Obama and the democrats enemy our conservatives not muslims. Obama knows drone strikes on republican conservatives are the best way to protect them not on muslims.

    iraq arabic for vietnam (d066f9)

  58. Um, you do understand that you can’t just string together words off the top of your head, type them out with an absolute minimal attempt at cogent punctuation, then expect us to follow your wisdom. Perhaps the nurses can help you make another attempt after you are given your evening electroshock treatment.

    JVW (feb406)

  59. Buh-bye, Perry. Seek help.

    JD (99b048)

  60. askeptic (8ecc78) — 6/12/2014 @ 6:16 pm

    … but they would need FAC’s, and what GI in his right mind would volunteer to do that…

    Who says SOF is in their right mind? And USAF CCTs are SOF. I mentioned Mike Spann at Mazar E-Sharif on another thread when I was discussing CIA SAD/SOG. He was former USMC ANGLICO. I don’t think you’d classify the Marine’s Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison Companies as SOF. Still, they’re fairly elite. Which again means probably a little outside of the norm.

    Mr. feets and I kind of got into it, but it’s why I understood why former SEALs Doherty and Woods would have wanted to work for the CIA. The chance to run the kind of risks that, if you fall short, the USG will deny they ever knew you existed, is to some an adrenaline rush. A challenge.

    Well, OK, I don’t really understand it. But I have to acknowledge it exists. I’d look at a study of the defenses at a certain stretch of NORK beach and think to myself, “You’d have to be crazy.” And SEALs are like, “Sign me up. When do I start.”

    Steve57 (5f0260)

  61. Sorry ’bout your brain lesions, perry!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  62. The truth can be painful, but not nearly as painful as it is for the Iraqis.
    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/06/obamas-mission-accomplished-moment.php

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  63. UPDATE: I added the image from this Powerline post by John Hinderaker. He has invited people to disseminate it via their blogs and on social media, so feel free to use it for your own purposes.

    JVW (feb406)

  64. The same post that MD in Philly links to in his comment above mine. Thanks MD!

    JVW (feb406)

  65. Hey chicken hawks nothing is stoping you from going over their to fight with something other then your typing fingers!

    Um, there is, actually. Besides our lack of the means to outfit our own air force and send it to turn back the AQ invaders, there’s the little matter of the Anti-Filibuster Act, which makes it illegal for us to try.

    Milhouse (2c3555)

  66. They could say this proves Bush made a mistake in 2003.

    Um, how? Would we rather have Saddam Hussein still running the place, funding international terrorism, shooting at our planes, and conducting WMD research? And with no sanctions, since they were on the verge of collapsing? AQ taking the place over is not good, but Hussein was no better.

    Milhouse (2c3555)

  67. How does the fact that Obama screwed the pooch in 2014 prove Bush made a mistake in 2003?

    Riddle me that, Mr. Wizard.

    Steve57 (5f0260)

  68. Impeach him in the morning.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  69. Obama to Iraq (with hands over ears):

    “La-la-la-la-la…I can’t hear you!”

    See. Wishing can make it so!

    navyvet (eeba1d)

  70. How does the fact that Obama screwed the pooch in 2014 prove Bush made a mistake in 2003?

    Further, what does it matter? Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that we should never have invaded Iraq. But we did. And on January 20th, 2009, there was a strong US presence, al Qaeda was still mopping up various body parts, and there was no reason to believe that this would change.

    Then OBAMA CHANGED THE POLICY. And it did NOT work. To turn and blame his predecessor for something that Obama broke is worth eleventeen Pinocchios. It’s like a pitcher who blows a 5 run lead, then turns and blames the hitters for not scoring more.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  71. it’s so hard to square the results we see with the oft-heard assertion that food stamp is obsessed with his legacy

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  72. feets-
    You have to think like President Obama. His legacy is fundamentally changing America, and he is doing a good job of it.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  73. Remember the 6th season of ’24, when they had previously accidentally released the leader of the multiple attacks, maybe he didn’t watch the show,

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/06/isis-terror-leader-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-was-released-by-obama-from-camp-bucca-in-2009/

    his legacy is fundamental transformation, crippling the military, perhaps destroying our industrial base, through $10 gallon oil, is right in that wheelhouse

    narciso (3fec35)

  74. You have to think like President Obama. His legacy is fundamentally changing America, and he is doing a good job of it.

    We’re about to be the second coming of France, circa 1957. But I don’t know that we have a de Gaulle waiting in the wings to help us out of our funk.

    JVW (feb406)

  75. France in 57 had the US to prevent the Soviets from marching to the sea.
    The US has no one to watch our back in 2014.

    And France had a border with mountains limiting Spanish speaking immigrants from the south.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  76. there are some parallel, the 4th republic had 12 years of fighting, eight in Indochina, four in Algeria, no there are no De Gaulles, or even Salans or Massus in the wings,

    narciso (3fec35)

  77. We have Empty Chair to watch our back!

    It appears that’s indeed what he’s doing, as well as watching the backs of those sneaking up on us from behind.

    htom (412a17)

  78. Barack Obama
    he’s the Squanderer-in-Chief
    give it away now

    Colonel Haiku (0dcd9c)

  79. I’m thinking that perhaps Joe Biden will turn out to be correct after all.

    I’ve thought this all along. I never understood why people made fun of him for it. I know, it’s Slow Joe, but even he’s capable of having a good idea once in a while, and this one made sense to me. As soon as Turkey screwed Bush on the invasion, I thought he should have retaliated by letting the Kurds declare independence in their sector. And there was an opportunity to create a pro-American Shi’ite state to rival Iran; rather than falling under Iran’s influence, it could claim leadership of the word Shi’ite community. And if it spread to the Gulf states and the Shi’ite parts of Saudia, so much the better; they were never our real allies anyway. But Bush was stuck with this odd fixation on keeping the international borders where they were arbitrarily drawn in the 1920s, so he tried to make Iraq work as a unit.

    Milhouse (2c3555)

  80. I believed the dystopic hype about Ronald Reagan, who ended up being the best President of my lifetime. For all his flaws, I was wrong about Reagan, I admit. But I was, for the most part, right about Obama.

    From Patterico.com on March 20, 2008 in reply to the indefatigable pro-Obama troll Levi Juhl (bold added):

    If you’re so convinced that Al Gore and John Kerry were both worse choices than George Bush, we’re just not going to get anywhere. It really has to do with my inability to even imagine a worse state that our country could be in. I simply can’t. Pointless, absurdly expensive war, government-approved torture and warrantless wire-tapping, and a rapidly flagging economy… I mean what’s worse than that? SOCIALIZED MEDICINE?!?!

    Putting aside for a moment the way that socialized medicine would devastate the economy, which, remember, is built largely on the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, you are obviously too young to remember Jimmy Carter — that, or you’re in denial of his real legacy. Double-digit inflation. Double-digit interest rates. Double-digit unemployment. Americans held hostage for 444 days in Iran. And a foreign policy that ushered in the era of state-sponsored terrorism. Ronald Reagan, the supposed warmonger, mopped up Carter’s mess and won the Cold War without firing a shot, fighting liberals every inch of the way.

    What’s worse than Bush? IMHO, what could happen if another closet pacifist is elected.

    L.N. Smithee (d1de1b) — 3/20/2008 @ 4:36 pm

    For America’s sake, I wish I had been wrong.

    L.N. Smithee (7d4e89)

  81. This Obamanation will not end well.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  82. Everything will be resolved under Rule-7.62!

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  83. 19. 67. 68.

    SF: They could say this proves Bush made a mistake in 2003.

    Milhouse (2c3555) — 6/12/2014 @ 8:07 pm

    Um, how? Would we rather have Saddam Hussein still running the place, funding international terrorism, shooting at our planes, and conducting WMD research? And with no sanctions, since they were on the verge of collapsing?

    Steve57 (5f0260) — 6/12/2014 @ 8:12 pm

    How does the fact that Obama screwed the pooch in 2014 prove Bush made a mistake in 2003?

    There’s not too much thinking going on here, or they don’t want people to think. Basically, there would be a declaration that whatever happened was inevitable becaused of…uh…sopmething to do woth the fact that Iraq is an Arab state…there are Shittes ad Sunnis and Kurds, whjo will always fight…the United States never understands anything…you need to eb a real scholar and a ral scholar would know you can never affect anything…only negotiations solves anything..

    And considering what Saddam Hussein would do would be getting in rather deep. The yellowcake, of course, is gone (except maybe what Iran stole) – just in time maybe. That the sanctions were on the verge of collapsing would be a kind of lost fact.

    Thre’s no kind of thinking going on with this kind of claim. Just a bit of ignorance, rose colored glasses looking at the ast, and post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    68.Riddle me that, Mr. Wizard.

    69.Impeach him in the morning.

    Kevin M (b357ee) — 6/12/2014 @ 8:22 pm

    70.Obama to Iraq (with hands over ears):

    “La-la-la-la-la…I can’t hear you!”

    See. Wishing can make it so!

    navyvet (eeba1d) — 6/12/2014 @ 8:28 pm

    71.How does the fact that Obama screwed the pooch in 2014 prove Bush made a mistake in 2003?

    Further, what does it matter? Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that we should never have invaded Iraq. But we did. And on January 20th, 2009, there was a strong US presence, al Qaeda was still mopping up various body parts, and there was no reason to believe that this would change.

    Then OBAMA CHANGED THE POLICY. And it did NOT work. To turn and blame his predecessor for something that Obama broke is worth eleventeen Pinocchios. It’s like a pitcher who blows a 5 run lead, then turns and blames the hitters for not scoring more.

    Kevin M (b357ee) — 6/12/2014 @ 8:28 pm

    72.it’s so hard to square the results we see with the oft-heard assertion that food stamp is obsessed with his legacy

    happyfeet (8ce051) — 6/12/2014 @ 8:30 pm

    73.feets-
    You have to think like President Obama. His legacy is fundamentally changing America, and he is doing a good job of it.

    Sammy Finkelman (2d4607)

  84. the Solon’s tutor in this, was Peter Galbraith, son of the economist who propagated the standard defense of the New Deal, on the other thread, he was Benazir Bhutto’s roommate in college, as a Senate staffer in the 80s, he helped uncover the Anfal campaign against the Kurds, that served as the indictment of Saddam, and the reason for deBaathification, that notion didn’t come out of nowhere,

    narciso (3fec35)

  85. Milhouse (2c3555) — 6/12/2014 @ 10:18 pm

    I think Bush did many things he was criticized for (like not having enough troops originally) out of the desire to truly impact Iraq as little as possible, to simply remove a tyrant that the majority wanted rid of anyway but couldn’t do, and let the Iraq people in freedom decide the rest for themselves.
    Perhaps he overplayed this concept, in part to try to quell all of the negative press and talk about going into Iraq, that we were going in to take their oil from them, etc.

    At the time, I think most of us thought that dividing the country would leave some regions more resource rich than others and the animosity over this would cause more harm than good.

    What is stronger, the break between Sunni and Shia, or the affection of jihadist terrorists one for another? Does Iran come in like gangbusters to help Maliki? Does Saudi Arabia help Maliki or Al-Qaeda?
    or is the strongest connection between what each power-broker involved thinks they can get out of siding with who?

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  86. MD in Philly (f9371b) — 6/13/2014 @ 6:35 am

    What is stronger, the break between Sunni and Shia, or the affection of jihadist terrorists one for another?

    Jihadi terrorist break apart from each other, but not because they come from different denomminations of Islam. Sometimes the splits are there only to avoid sharing the same fate. You don’t know what course of action is better? Split into two groups. so they multiply. They are probably all one, except that there may be some real splits because somebody doesn’t want to take orders from somebody else.

    Iran is sometimes pretty close to the other Islamists.

    I wouldn’t rule out a pact between ISIS and Iran/Syria

    Does Iran come in like gangbusters to help Maliki?

    Their army probably isn’t all that good.

    Does Saudi Arabia help Maliki or Al-Qaeda?

    Not al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is against the monarchy.

    They broke with Qatar and forced Qatar to back down from aiding the official al Qaeda group in Syria and, now that Prnce Bandar is out of the picture, they seem to be no longer trying to act so independent of the United States.

    There’s some new group they got the United States to agree to get behind in Syria, and the U.S. agreeed to send in some new weapons as a test which they promose not to steal.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  87. Nobody is allied with ISIS. And people don’t understand what the second S in ISIS is. It’s not the Syria that we see on the map. It is al-sham. Maybe translated Levant. Everything that is now Israel, Syria Lebanon and Jordan – if you think Palestine is a separate place (and certainly Gaza is) throw that in, too.

    ISIS intends to go all the way down the Euphrates River till the Persian Gulf…and then into Kuwait and Saudi Arabia? Or Iran? Or will they negotiate a 10 year non-aggression pact with Iran and the Assad regime in Syria and agree to split up Arabia, and split up Syria at current lines?

    At some point President Obama will send in the bombers to stop them, but he only wants to do when there is no choice, and his decision therefore cannot be criticized as premature and hasty and unnecessary. He may give Russia and China a veto at first.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  88. 76. MD in Philly (f9371b) — 6/12/2014 @ 9:14 pm

    And France had a border with mountains limiting Spanish speaking immigrants from the south.

    Spain was actually pretty poor then. But Franco did an economic reform.

    http://www.voxeu.org/article/stabilisation-and-growth-under-dictatorships-new-lessons-franco-s-spain

    Is democracy essential for economic growth? This column presents new evidence from General Franco’s 1959 Spanish Stabilisation Plan showing that a dictatorship can successfully implement major policy reforms. This also sheds light on the effectiveness of structural adjustment policies. Without the reforms, Spanish GDP per head in 1975 would have been lower by as much as one third.

    France did allow political opponents of the regime to come to francve but most had come already by that time.

    Later on, the European Union just abolished these immigration restrictions between Span and france altogether.

    They hadn’t existed really before World War I either. They hadn’t existed just about anywhere before the 1880s, and there was little really 100 years ago. the UK passed the Aliens Act in 1905.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  89. Dear America,

    I am deeply committed to fighting terrorism and protecting the very soil of our homeland.
    That’s why I’ve just ordered four brigades from my military to go to Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada.

    Signed,

    Barack H. Obama
    Commander-in-Chief

    Elephant Stone (5c2aa0)

  90. ==At some point President Obama will send in the bombers to stop them, but he only wants to do when there is no choice, and his decision therefore cannot be criticized as premature and hasty and unnecessary. He may give Russia and China a veto at first.==

    We are so lucky to have a conduit directly into President Obama’s brain. Of course, maybe Sammy’s a conduit into ValJar’s brain or Susan Rice’s brain. I’ll say this: if Obama had named Mr. Finkelman to be his new press secretary there’d be lots more information to digest.

    elissa (b69310)

  91. One of the best friends I ever had died in Iraq, among thousands of amazing men and women. He left behind kids, a wife, a mother, a lot of friends… It sucks that what so many great people died for has been squandered just because if Iraq was a success it would be a politically inconvenient. We knew that it would take time, decades, to cement the gains. Just as it did with Japan and Germany and South Korea. We also had much to gain in having bases in the region. And there are tens of millions of people in this country who could have a democracy and a much brighter future. But no, Obama had to have the last word on OIF. It must be a mistake; nothing good can ever come of it. So let it be written. Had Bill Clinton initiated the war instead of Bush, Obama would be reacting in a completely different way. This literally sickens my stomach right now.

    My real disappointment is with Iraq. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers tossing down their arms and refusing to fight? Really? Again? They make France look like Sparta. Such great sacrifice went into giving this country a chance. At some point it’s time to choose between the daily little death of a coward or putting your life on the line for something greater.

    Dustin (7f67e8)

  92. Agree Dustin, clearly Iraq had to be allowed to fail so it could all be blamed on Boosh.

    elissa (b69310)

  93. Barack was right, Al Qaeda is on the run…they’re running right toward Baghdad.

    Elephant Stone (5c2aa0)

  94. 91.==At some point President Obama will send in the bombers to stop them, but he only wants to do when there is no choice, and his decision therefore cannot be criticized as premature and hasty and unnecessary. He may give Russia and China a veto at first.==

    That’s just a prediction. Obama would never say that, nobody would.

    I think there are mainly three factors that can explain what Obama does:

    1) He is very cynical. And he’ll say anything – use any argument – that he thinks people will believe.

    2) He wants to be consistent because he is dishonest. He thinks consistency gives the appearance of integrity. So he wants to be consistent with what he said before, even though the reason for his previous position was really only political calculation. If he had arrived at his previous position honestly, he’d be more ready to change his mind.

    3) He is a perfectionist, and wants to be sure that he always makes the best possible decision (whether being done for ordinary policy reasons or political reasons) This means he is very slow.

    elissa (b69310) — 6/13/2014 @ 2:06 pm

    We are so lucky to have a conduit directly into President Obama’s brain. Of course, maybe Sammy’s a conduit into ValJar’s brain or Susan Rice’s brain.

    No, it’s more Obama’s brain, because I have more to go on. It becomes obvious after a while.

    This is no more strange than a 4-year old discerning the meaning of English or other language words.

    I don’t think he’s precisely a closet pacifist, though he acts like that a bit.

    I’m sayong that ifthings get bad enough Obama will eventually send in the bombers. Right now he’s asking the U.S. military tocome up with some idea that don’t involve the use of U.S. military forces. While he’s working this out, the facts on the ground may be changing. And he always does as little as possible.

    Sammy Finkelman (324ec1)

  95. Jordan is worried about ISIS. ISIS claims Jordan. And Israel. And Lebanon. And Gaza. And the Sinai desert too maybe. Of course Iraq and what is now Syria.

    Sammy Finkelman (324ec1)

  96. Watching this and other current disasters unfold can sure make one suspect that much of it may be by design. Surely the people had more sense than to elect and then re-elect such an incompetent, inept, narcissistic, mendacious, malevolent buffoon?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  97. ==He is a perfectionist,==

    You know, upon careful reflection I really don’t think he’s a perfectionist.

    elissa (b69310)

  98. If perfecting excrement is your bag, Sammy, then yes, he’s a “perfectionist”.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

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