Patterico's Pontifications

6/19/2014

Maybe Governments Don’t Know More About Wars Than They Know About Fixing the Economy

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:32 pm

Here is a question for you to muse on:

I don’t trust governments to make decisions about the economy, because those decisions so often lead to unintended consequences.

Is it time to start applying that same skepticism to trusting governments to make decisions about war?

230 Responses to “Maybe Governments Don’t Know More About Wars Than They Know About Fixing the Economy”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. The difference, of course, is that there is no private market for making foreign policy decisions.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  3. This is precisely the argument anarcho-capitalists make. Governments can’t be trusted with anything, so how can they be trusted with war? The minarchist answer is as you give it in comment #2: Governments have to be entrusted with conducting war, because nobody else can. We should expect them to screw it up, but the only alternative is to renounce war altogether, which means resigning ourselves to being easy prey for whoever comes along and decides to enslave us.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  4. Well that leaves out a few things, a political party, that sought in short order, in lashing itself to the netroots, to commit itself to defeat, a media that followed suit, and a majority party that didn’t defend the hard fought gains, or worse yet, actually bought some of the opposition’s sophistry.

    narciso (3fec35)

  5. Milhouse:

    I agree, with one tweak: perhaps we should not entirely entrust governments with conducting war, but should apply a large measure of skepticism, as we do when analyzing almost all other government action.

    I would put comment 2 in the post, but I want to be provocative and start a discussion.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  6. Minarchist: I had to look that up.

    I think that’s what I am!

    Patterico (9c670f)

  7. But I think one can be a “minarchist” (I don’t like that, sounds too much like “monarchist” and be very skeptical of the government institutions that one considers necessary.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  8. what i know is that Dick & Liz need to shush their stupid whore mouths for the nonce

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  9. ISIS has 3,000 “soldiers”, according to John Bolton, and they all came in from Syria. This is a mini-Tet — a public relations disaster not a military disaster for a half-way competent government.

    And governments engage in war because they can and there’s nothing you can do about it unless you form your own government and engage back. And also invent Rearden metal.

    nk (dbc370)

  10. I think the main point of the post is “unintended consequences.”

    I see an analogy to the market: we see something that seems suboptimal, and rather than letting it work itself out (the market), we feel the need to interfere. Often our interference causes exactly what we were trying to avoid.

    Doesn’t that seem like the result in Iraq? Sure, you can always say: well, we should have just stayed there — 100 years, or whatever length of time John McCain deemed appropriate. But absent that, we were going to leave sometime. And when we did, would the thing we left be better than Saddam?

    Is the answer to that question clear today? I don’t think it is.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  11. And governments engage in war because they can and there’s nothing you can do about it unless you form your own government and engage back. And also invent Rearden metal.

    I’m saying our government is responsive to the people — but it should be. In theory, at least, we the People are in control.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  12. 2. Patterico (9c670f) — 6/19/2014 @ 7:38 pm

    The difference, of course, is that there is no private market for making foreign policy decisions.

    When Admiral John Poindexter – yes that Poindexter – wanted to set one up, during the Geoerge W. Bush Administration, Congress shut it down.

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

    Sammy Finkelman (95e288)

  13. Well we look at things as they are, Iraq had two regional wars in the course of a decade, Saddam had inpoverished his people, subverted the sanctions regime, (this was how Russia, Germany and France
    altruistically opposed the war) mind you their analysis of WMD was the same as ours,by this time had nothing changed, Qusay or Uday may have succeeded Saddam

    narciso (3fec35)

  14. 9. nk (dbc370) — 6/19/2014 @ 7:53 pm

    ISIS has 3,000 “soldiers”, according to John Bolton, and they all came in from Syria.

    Now they are saying 15,000, plus (or does this include them?) those commanded by ex-officers of Saddam Hussein’s army.

    Sammy Finkelman (95e288)

  15. I think the main point of the post is “unintended consequences.”

    Absolutely. War is chaos. We have a bad habit of doing that. We go in, kick some weak little country around, and cry crocodile tears because it’s not as good as new when we get bored and leave.

    nk (dbc370)

  16. But absent that, we were going to leave sometime. And when we did, would the thing we left be better than Saddam?

    That’s where you loose me Patterico. You either win a war or loose a war but how the hell do you just up and leave a war? I read a lot of history and I never recall anybody ever selling going to war as a win/loose/leave proposition. Until the leftists took over in America, that is.

    But they have declared victory over the Redskins.

    Hoagie (4dfb34)

  17. That’s where you loose me Patterico. You either win a war or loose a war but how the hell do you just up and leave a war? I read a lot of history and I never recall anybody ever selling going to war as a win/loose/leave proposition. Until the leftists took over in America, that is.

    I think the assumption when we left was, hey, we already won. I realize not everybody shared that assumption, but I think it was the assumption of some.

    The tougher question is the one that was posed to McCain, to which he responded 100 years or as long as it takes: how long should we be willing to remain there?

    Patterico (9c670f)

  18. And just to be clear, we should absolutely not trust government to make decisions about war. There’s a story about the first Roman military expedition, when the centuries were still composed of citizen levies. When they reached the border of Latium, the citizens/troops sat down and demanded to be told “Where are we going and why?”

    nk (dbc370)

  19. the UK did about 1925, under a Conservative government, (the original expedition was launched under the Liberal party)a number of things happened, the Ikwan raiders, the Wahhabi predecessors of AQ,
    swarmed into the South, the Sunni minority proceeded to disenfranchise the Shia, and the Kurds, when oil was discovered in Kirkuk in 1927, they helped themselves to it, there was an Assyrian massacre in 1932, the more extreme of the Sunnis founded the Golden Square, which ultimately led to the coup in 1941, by the son of the first Iraqi prime minister,

    narciso (3fec35)

  20. The tougher question is the one that was posed to McCain, to which he responded 100 years or as long as it takes: how long should we be willing to remain there?

    We are not good at that. We are not good in the role of conquerors or occupiers.* Which I think reflects well on us, but also has its consequences.

    *Maybe we could farm that out to the Germans?

    nk (dbc370)

  21. if we weren’t willing to stay there you’d think we’d have at least been willing to build the keystone xl pipeline

    but nope

    cowardice thy name is america

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  22. Doesn’t that seem like the result in Iraq? Sure, you can always say: well, we should have just stayed there — 100 years, or whatever length of time John McCain deemed appropriate. But absent that, we were going to leave sometime. And when we did, would the thing we left be better than Saddam? Is the answer to that question clear today? I don’t think it is.

    I think it’s clear that leaving Saddam Hussein to his own devices was not an option. He was financing international terror, giving safe haven and a base for terrorists, shooting at our planes, and conducting serious research toward producing WMD. The sanctions were doing little to stop him, since he had thoroughly corrupted and suborned the “oil for food” program, but they were killing thousands of Iraqi children, and could not be sustained for much longer. Nor could the military buildup on his borders (which was all that got him to agree to weapons inspectors) be kept up indefinitely. Everyone agreed at the time that something had to be done about him, the only dispute was what and when.

    Now, is an AQ- or Iran-controlled Iraq better than leaving him there? I don’t really see that it’s worse. But after many blunders Bush handed 0bama an Iraq that was basically won. We didn’t get even close to what we wanted, but it was indisputably better than Saddam. And 0bama blew it.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  23. But absent that, we were going to leave sometime. And when we did, would the thing we left be better than Saddam?

    Is the answer to that question clear today? I don’t think it is.

    I’m prepared for the US to observe a policy of principled quasi-isolationism, eyes-wide-open non-interventionism. But that requires principled, sensible, decent people in the White House and State Department, and there ain’t many of those in today’s America.

    The general stereotype is that liberals don’t mind military action (or will hold their noses and tolerate it) if it’s only for purely humanitarian purposes, while conservatives don’t mind military actions if it’s totally to protect the interests of the United States, including that of its security.

    It’s hard enough to walk that tightrope even when a very wise person is occupying the Oval Office, but given the clown (and his big clown car) that’s currently there, I foresee plenty of pratfalls and “d’oh!” moments in the upcoming months and years.

    God (or Allah) help us.

    Mark (cb3ad1)

  24. I’d have said we lost the war. And I’ll say that if it happens now.

    htom (412a17)

  25. And just to be clear, we should absolutely not trust government to make decisions about war. There’s a story about the first Roman military expedition, when the centuries were still composed of citizen levies. When they reached the border of Latium, the citizens/troops sat down and demanded to be told “Where are we going and why?”

    So the soldiers should make the decision?! Are you serious?! The subordination of the military to the civilian authority is the basis of any free society. The government decides and the army obeys. Anything else is begging for military dictatorship.

    And if not the government, then who? Shall we hold a referendum before going to war?

    Remember that we often find ourselves in a state of war with no formal decision on our part. For instance the quasi-war with France was never declared, on either side, but the US courts recognised it as a legal state of war. And the courts ruled that the Civil War began the moment shots were fired at Fort Sumter, not when Congress got around to declaring it. The same applies to WW2; the USA was legally at war from Pearl Harbor, not from Congress’s formal declaration two days later. On 11-Sep-2001 President Bush announced that we were at war. He didn’t take us to war, he officially recognised that we already were at war, with all that implies.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  26. it’s not like our pitiful lil country doesn’t have a theme song

    it does it does it does

    it just doesn’t understand it

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  27. it’s not like our pitiful lil country doesn’t have a theme song

    it does it does it does

    it just doesn’t understand it

    Especially the last verse

    Milhouse (b95258)

  28. so much has been lost

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  29. ..and the land of the free-loaders.

    Gazzer (6a76d0)

  30. I think the assumption when we left was, hey, we already won. I realize not everybody shared that assumption, but I think it was the assumption of some.

    That’s the problem: what defined a win kept changing. If there’s no clear objective or goal, or if it’s in a state of flux, how would you even know if there was a “win”?

    Dana (fe2228)

  31. war is a tricky thing, the success of the French and Indian War, led to the American Revolution, that in turn contributed to the French Revolution, when in turn led to another Continental War, the Mexican War, exacerbated the pressures that led to the Civil War, World War 1, sowed the seeds for the next one,

    narciso (3fec35)

  32. But we must remember it, feets, and pass it on. “And thus be it ever.”

    Milhouse (b95258)

  33. i think it’s enough that it’s all too ridiculously easy to say that what we got is *not* a win

    thanks, food stamp

    i got your hope and change right here

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  34. “And thus be it ever.”

    what I’ve decided Mr. Milhouse

    is that what a pikachu do whilst his once-proud country wallows in the muck of the gutter of fail is

    he will hike the john muir trail

    I think this is apposite and I think the lil pikachu will find catharsis

    I wonder how much this costs.

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  35. well it’s a little like what our fresh troll is trying to do, they diminish the efforts in this theatre ‘lied us into war, played on our fears, et al’ focusing on the ‘good war’ which is Afghanistan, even though that has historically been the ‘grave of empires’ then cut back that committment, find some excuse to fire or reassign the people who know what they are talking about,

    narciso (3fec35)

  36. “Now the wintertime is coming
    The windows are filled with frost
    I went to tell everybody
    But I could not get across
    Well, I wanna be your lover, baby
    I don’t wanna be your boss
    Don’t say I never warned you
    When your train gets lost.”

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  37. I think this is a false choice to make.

    The question should really be:

    Iraq will become a caliphate or a satellite of Iran as a result of poor foreign policy by Barack Obama. If you told If you told Americans in 2008 (or conversely in 2012) this would be the war’s result, what would they have said?

    We know what the answer to that question is already however: they wouldn’t care. They were tired of the war and wanted out.

    Americans chose to be lazy. The voted for a candidate that reflected said laziness. We are now reaping the whirlwind as a result.

    Here’s another ‘what if’ question: What if we hadn’t removed Saddam Hussein from power? WE might have the potential between an atomic standoff (right in the middle east mind you!) between a nuclear Iraq and a Nuclear Iran.

    The real conundrum here is that there were no easy choices to make in the beginning. Bush decided that it was best to remove the threat of an impossible situation by instead inserting himself in a difficult situation. It was not Bush’s decisions that led us to this untenable situation… but Obama’s.

    Chaz (dc8610)

  38. Iraq will be a caliphate or a satellite of Iran. If you told Americans in 2003 this would be the war’s result, what would they have said?
    7:06 PM – 19 Jun 2014

    They’d have said, “robots, baby… the future is robots”… No, wait… that’s what I’m saying today. Program ‘em to waste anybody with a beard, beekeeper suit, Koran, prayer rug, solid gold Maserati or Bentley,

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  39. Since Hillary will be the next President, maybe it’s time to stop blaming the politicians for our situation regardless of party affiliation.

    We keep electing the fools that got us here. And we keep electing them regardless of party affiliation.

    I could say that Nancy Pelosi is a fool and a pol. I could say John Boehner is a fool and a pol. I probably would be right in both cases.

    However, I do know they are rich fools. And we keep electing them.

    Everyone keeps electing the same people because they say the things they want to hear during election season.

    Then, when someone new and fresh comes along and manages to get elected to the House or Senate, he or she has to be destroyed to maintain the status quo.

    History says this has gone on for a long, long time.

    It’s time to stop listening to history.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  40. Since Hillary will be the next President,

    Or, worse, Michelle.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  41. maybe

    but for sure for sure it’s time to stop listening to Jon Stewart

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  42. I would have said “no bleeping way” Bush would never have allowed it… and if Hillary had beaten Obama and Romney, she’d probably have stopped it too… although she is a lot less decisive than a leader needs to be. Also blames everyone and everything else sorta like Obama. Good political survival skill, but not a leader.

    From the perspective of now, I’d build Keystone, expand fracking in the ever larger Bakken field and everywhere else. I’d make Venezuela, Russia and the Mideast eat their oil and natural gas.

    steveg (794291)

  43. I just listened to Chris Matthew arguing with Elizabeth Warren about why the government doesn’t do more to make things better. It was fairly heated in a way that means it wasn’t heated because both agreed government is the solution.

    Personally, I don’t think government is the problem. I think who we elect to represent us in the government are the problem.

    Like Elizabeth Warren.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  44. Is it time to start applying that same skepticism to trusting governments to make decisions about war?

    Welcome to ten years ago- well okay actually more like 225 years ago- but yes absolutely. Many of us saw this outcome ten years ago, because we knew the facts and we saw the signs. The government always lies to get into war- its happened time and time agin here and in other countries. People get whipped up into a furor and anybody who disagrees with them is “unpatriotic”. So we try and point out the facts, and then have to suffer through the terrible times and those around us realize we were right. Its the way of the world.

    A good policy is anything the government wants to do should be taken with extreme skepticism, if not outright denial of what they want to do. When it comes to war, it should be deliberate, thoughtful, and slow (unless actually attacked). The war should be single purposed, with a achievable end goal, and a short time frame. Anything else and we get what we have here- with our citizens dying for no reason.

    Patrick Henry, the 2nd (ea3541)

  45. With fools like this mutt in the Obama administration, we’ll need many, many robots… a plethora of robots…
    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/349948.php

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  46. 18.And just to be clear, we should absolutely not trust government to make decisions about war. There’s a story about the first Roman military expedition, when the centuries were still composed of citizen levies. When they reached the border of Latium, the citizens/troops sat down and demanded to be told “Where are we going and why?”

    We tried something like that back in the War of 1812. (Well, some of the militias did anyway.)
    It didn’t work out very well.

    5.I agree, with one tweak: perhaps we should not entirely entrust governments with conducting war, but should apply a large measure of skepticism, as we do when analyzing almost all other government action.

    Isn’t that why we require Congress to approve war and not just the President?
    If we choose terrible representatives is it really the fault of “government” for making lousy decisions?

    10.I think the main point of the post is “unintended consequences.”

    I see an analogy to the market: we see something that seems suboptimal, and rather than letting it work itself out (the market), we feel the need to interfere. Often our interference causes exactly what we were trying to avoid.

    Doesn’t that seem like the result in Iraq? Sure, you can always say: well, we should have just stayed there — 100 years, or whatever length of time John McCain deemed appropriate. But absent that, we were going to leave sometime. And when we did, would the thing we left be better than Saddam?

    Is the answer to that question clear today? I don’t think it is.

    I don’t disagree, but “there’s the thing”:
    Is it the fault of “declaring war” that the peace was managed in a moronic manner?
    Or is the fault managing the peace in a moronic manner that we have the current situation?

    I have described the choices with Syria this way:

    1. Go in, shoot the bad guys, stay 100 years, pay billions of dollars and thousand of lives, make them Westerners, and not worry about it again.

    2. Go in, shoot the bad guys, declare victory, pay the body count, and go home . . . and then watch ISIS take over.

    3. Lurk around, give money to the not-as-bad-and-hopefully-good-guys, watch the war drag on for 10 years, watch a worse bad guy (i.e. the Taliban after the Soviets were kicked out of Afghanistan) take over.

    4. Whine, moan, complain, issue denunciations, take half steps to support one side, watch the war drag on for 10 years with increasing casualties and refugees until the current bad guy wins, and whine so more. Much as is currently happening.

    5. Ignore it. Shut up and not give half a hoot while a few thousand are killed and a few tens of thousands displaced and the whole thing blows over. Like . . . the last time Islamists staged a revolt in Syria back around 1980.

    Pick which one you favor and deal with the consequences.

    These consequences (ISIS on the verge of a takeover) were clearly inevitable to me when it was announced an Iraqi government was being formed so soon after we finished “mopping” up. None of the experts on either side or any of the alternative positions that I heard seemed to have the faintest idea such was possible until way too late. (Though I am certain some did – I doubt I’m the only one who expected it.)
    Just as it is not the fault of the free market when someone with a lousy business plan goes bankrupt it is not the fault of “war” (or interventionism, or whatever you want to call this) when it blows up in your face because of your lousy plan.

    Should we choose better next time?
    Yes.
    Should we stop trying to do something because we chose poorly with this?
    No.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  47. The government always lies to get into war- its happened time and time agin here and in other countries

    Except that it didn’t happen in the last decade. The Bush government, perhaps unlike some of its predecessors, told the exact truth as it was known at the time; you cannot name a single lie it told.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  48. We tried something like that back in the War of 1812.

    Do you mean General Hopkins’s expedition against the Illinois Indians?

    nk (dbc370)

  49. Do you mean General Hopkins’s expedition against the Illinois Indians?

    No, I mean the New England militias in the invasion of Canada where they effectively voted not to invade, leaving that entire flank of the invasion to be abandoned without really telling anyone else involved.
    Not that the rest of the invasion went well, but that part was a particular exercise in absurdity.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  50. The answer to the original question is, “Duh.”

    We went in with a false concept of the nation state “iraq” and were doomed. We also have no stomach for long slogs – the type required in this region. <ost of all, we simply refuse to stoop to the levels of the radical Islamists who reduce everything to very raw and barbaric terms. In other words, we are defenseless against the infinite paper cuts the ancient tribes are excellent at inflicting.

    Does anyone else find Megyn Kelly's newfound "dove" take revolting? Her attack of Bolton last night (Thursday) was tawdry and mendacious. Same for her sophomoric attempt to shame the Cheneys on Wednesday. Megyn, dear, if you truly want to grant Amb. Bolton the stage to outline the various exigencies faced by Clinton and 41 and 43, i suggest you tread lightly and give him the stage.

    Ed from SFV (3400a5)

  51. I agree, with one tweak: perhaps we should not entirely entrust governments with conducting war

    But the problem wasn’t one of conducting war. It was one of conducting the peace and following through with support for what we had achieved. Instead, they decided to walk away. Then when their policy started showing cracks, they started lying about what was going on, for political reasons, pretending everything was still fine.

    The Administration knew that Iraq was falling apart for some time now, and lied about it until the situation was so dire they couldn’t lie (about that) any more. Whatever the opposite of fait accompli is, this is that. Now they say, like a parachutist who fails to pull the ripcord and finds himself near the ground, there are no good options.

    Pretty much what happened in Benghazi, BTW. It seems like a theme with them.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  52. I really do not get this revisionism that’s coming out. Oh, sure, I get it that Obama’s apologists are saying “it couldn’t be helped”, but the fact is we had succeeded and simply needed to follow through, but Obama came into office and he made bad decision after bad decision, and so did Hillary. And they squandered the peace.

    I think it’s pretty discouraging that formerly thoughtful people are buying into this dreck.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  53. I agree, with one tweak: perhaps we should not entirely entrust governments with conducting war

    No, instead we should insist that there be representatives of the people, elected by population and frequently, who decide whether to go to war as the Executive wants.

    Oh wait, that’s what we have, and often the Executive doesn’t let the representatives decide.

    I suggest putting some teeth into it: Any time the Commander in Chief sends the armies into battle without authorization from Congress, all laws against assassinating said executive are suspended, and all his guards withdrawn, for the duration. This will keep the war short.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  54. “Iraq will be a caliphate or a satellite of Iran. If you told Americans in 2003 this would be the war’s result, what would they have said?”

    I was saying something different and something pretty close to what Joe Biden was saying while he was still in the Senate. Iraq was created out of whole cloth after World War One by the Treaty of Versailles where the Ottoman Empire was broken up. We basically payed no attention to cultural boundaries and ran national borders right though cultures. Southern Iraq has cultural ties to what we now call Iran. Najaf is historically the center of Shiite theology until that center moved to Qom, Iran due to Saddam Hussein’s suppression. Far Northern Iraq is Kurdish. The Kurds petitioned the council drawing up the boundaries but were denied a “Kurdistan”. The Kurdish cultural area was split between 4 countries, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran. The Sunni western area of Iraq is more historically tied to Syria.

    The real problem is that due to the tribal identity of the people, we are probably never going to get a truly united Iraq and that is particularly true if whoever is in charge of Iraq tries to force their particular cultural sectarianism onto the rest of the country. You would need a purely secular government and that might be culturally impossible for all but the Kurds to pull off.

    Southern Iraq will likely eventually go to Iran. Western Iraq to Syria, and there will possibly be a Kurdistan. In fact, Syria and Iran might just give up some small areas of their countries to the Kurds to keep them out of the way while Syria and Iran divide up Iraq.

    As I see it the fundamental problem with Iraq happened with their “slate” system of elections where one votes not for a candidate for each office but for a “slate” of candidates. Basically one casts a vote for what amounts to a political party and that party’s candidates are installed in office. Maliki was the wrong guy for President of Iraq. It should have been Ayad Allawi. He could have pulled off a better government with less sectarianism, in my opinion.

    Iraq is a country with three very distinct cultures. Until they move from tribalism to nationalism and everyone identifies as Iraqi rather than Sunni, Shiite, or Kurd, the problems are never going to end.

    crosspatch (6adcc9)

  55. Pat-
    I agree with your premise that we the people should not put blind trust in “government” for anything,
    but I strongly and vehemently deny the issue is one of unintended consequences.

    The issue is one of intended consequences that are for the purpose of personal power and exploitation.

    Unintended consequences are things that happen that were not foreseen. If that is all they are, things could be learned and things done to change a situation.
    Perhaps a dependent class was an unintended consequence of the war on poverty, expanding the dependent class and its degree of dependency is not an unintended consequence, it is a plan for political power at the expense of the people governed.

    What has happened in Iraq, as happened in Vietnam, was largely not the unintended consequence of bad decisions, but the expected, if not intended, consequence of self-centered political calculations that are immoral and condemnable, if not criminal. (We abandoned treaty obligations with S. Vietnam that lead to the slaughter of tens of thousands, if not many more, I suggest that was criminal, if not readily prosecutable).

    I am pretty irate with the selective memory about Iraq. Decide what one will about whether it was a good idea to go in or not and how things were done,
    but one must remember the following if a position is to have any basis in reality:
    1) Hussein was a recalcitrant offender of international law, invading neighboring countries and brutalizing their populace, as he brutalized his own
    2) He had repeatedly and consistently violated the terms of peace that had ended his last international act of aggression
    3) He had continued to build a weapons arsenal with many violations of the peace treaty he had agreed to. All of the nonsense about whether or not he had WMD aside, David Kay said in testimony to Congress that he was actually more dangerous than thought with his violations including long range missile programs and other items
    4) The international sanctions that were supposed to limit his pursuit of military power were being ignored and undermined even by some considered our allies

    At the time of the Iraq war there was a decision to be made, allow a tyrant to ignore treaty obligations imposed as a result of his last act of aggression and resume his military buildup and the consequences of it
    or
    stop the BS and do something about it.
    In the setting of acts of war on our homeland, people were interested in doing something rather than allowing the BS to continue.
    Then a sizeable amount of the government decided to make personal political gain more important than the interest of the country as a whole and the interests of the region and the world.

    If one does not realize that, it doesn’t make much of a !!&^*&^!@!@^$&%*% difference whatever one thinks, says, or does, we are doomed to live as toys of political manipulation.

    Maybe that is the best we can do, allow international and national chaos because we really have little ability to project power outside of our itty bit of personal autonomy and let the barbarians, technologically advanced or not, have their way. But that ends up being the power to scream in pain when harmed in trying to maintain our little bit of personal autonomy in the face of tyranny.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  56. You could make the argument that going to war with Germany in 1917, eventually led to the emergence of a much worse government than anything that had been there before, one that, on top of that, also had much greater military success, but that would not make it the key mistake.

    It’s abandonment of interest tthat does that.

    And would not make an argument against sending U.S. soldiers to France a second time.

    All you can say is that upsetting the applecart leads to the possibility of bad results.

    And Iraq is not yet lost.

    Incidentally, we could get both a caliphate AND a satellite of Iran, and a 10-year peace agreement between them.

    Sammy Finkelman (966b43)

  57. The problem is not government. It is the people that the majority of voters chose to elect. If the people chose to elect incompetents (giving the benefit of the doubt to all politicians)to run the governments, then the problem is the voters. Churchill once remarked that a five minute discussion with an average voter would shake one’s faith in democratic government. The eternal problem, as J. Campbell pointed out, is how can we insure that the rulers we chose are “wise, benelovent & just?” Any other choice leads to less than optimal decision making.

    Michael M. Keohane (27a5a1)

  58. Wise and virtuous people with righteous motives are required to make good decisions. There is a great lack of them, and a great lack of them in elected and appointed office, as commented on above.
    Apart from God’s mercy and grace, they don’t exist at all.
    God’s wisdom is not found among the arrogant, proud, and self-ambitious.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  59. If there’s no clear objective or goal, or if it’s in a state of flux, how would you even know if there was a “win”?
    Dana (fe2228) — 6/19/2014 @ 8:59 pm

    Sorry Dana, but any warrior even an old one like me knows when he’s won or lost. Look at Berlin or Hiroshima in 1945, we won. Look at the Huey evacuating people from Saigon, we lost. In war there simply must be one and only one “clear objective or goal” and that is the complete destruction of the enemy’s will to continue to fight. In WWII we had that philosophy and even if it meant bombing hundreds of cities and killing thousands of civilians we did what we had to do to win. Today if a drone kills a couple civilians all hell breaks loose. We cannot win any war with that mindset. Either we are right and will beat the will to fight out of our enemies or sooner or later they will do it to us. There can be only one.

    Hoagie (4dfb34)

  60. According to Mark Moyar, of Victory Forsaken, based on his research in Russian and Vietnamese archives, we had the whole backstory wrong, Halberstam, like Sanger did with Iraq, demonized Diem,
    who had really gotten a handle on the Viet Minh, the Buddhist protests, in turn led to the Diem coup, which triggered the merrygo round of colonels, even before the troops landed in Danang in ’65,

    similarly we know now, that AQ elements like Zarqawi and Shehata of Gamaa Islamiya, were already in place in 2002, they were coordinating with the Baathists, much like the alliance that makes up ISIL.

    Allawi was the first appointed prime minister, he couldn’t hold his post, they tried running Sunni dinosaurs like Pachachi, they had no constituency, there was all the fooferall over Abu Ghraib, there was a similar bugout with the newly trained forces in 2004,

    narciso (3fec35)

  61. No, the nature of an insurgent campaign, like the one waged in the Phillipines are a little different,
    with the juramentandos, this is the frustrating thing of having someone like Barack Obama as President. everything that has been won at an excruciating cost, from Haditha to Helmand has been thrown away,

    narciso (3fec35)

  62. It is in the nature of the Eloification of a nation, that one feels confused,

    http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2014/06/19/private-worlds/

    narciso (3fec35)

  63. No we shouldn’t “trust” the government to do anything. Even WW2, which is almost universally considered the “good war”, saw terrible decision making and thousands of needless GI deaths. However war is one of the few areas where we are rather stuck when it comes to options.

    Mark Johnson (df77f2)

  64. I honestly would have said, that’s the destiny of a Shi’ite dominated Iraq, but it’s still worth it to get rid of Saddam. If Saddam had any smarts he’d have recognized his usefulness to the west as a bulwark against Iran and used it to maintain his position. That was what led to the error in 1991 of not marching to Baghdad and deposing him while the Iraqi army was running away: the Brent Scowcroft types in the Bush administration were afraid of the “instability” of Iraq run by its factions. They didn’t want Saddam to stay in power, but hoped his position was weakened enough to lead to a coup by a military junta that would be friendly to us and hostile to Iran. “Hoped” is the key word there — we didn’t do anything to help make that happen and in fact stood idly by while Saddam, now seen as successfully defying the west, suppressed a Shi’ite rebellion in the south of Iraq.

    Bud Norton (29550d)

  65. ==The problem is not government. It is the people that the majority of voters chose to elect.==(Michael @4:01 am,)

    There is plenty of blame to go around and the vacuousness and mindlessness of much of the voting public ushered along by the equally vacuous media can not be excused from that list. But the public can only be faulted so much when vile politicians fronting as “public servants” outright lie to them to get elected while flaunting the nation’s laws and raiding the nation’s coffers once they are elected and in power.

    I do believe that this country’s actual federal government machinery has changed, such that it is now possible the United States cannot recover from it. Honorable men and women get crushed and neutered by the system before they can become statesmen. We are no longer that nation of laws with a government filled with checks and balances. Those features, which our brilliant founders put in place were there to protect against the odd tyrant, the occasional stupid or morally bankrupt office holder, a corrupted bureaucratic agency, or the movement du jour that might come around and threaten the liberty or physical safety of citizens. As long as the laws were there and enforced evenly, and the three equal branches were intact and functioning as checks and balances, we could always seem to muddle through for a few years and overcome a few bad politicians, a global catastrophe, or some poor decisions.

    elissa (f40916)

  66. When a shallow wastrel like Bill Clinton was reelected, that raised concerns, the first could have been a Carteresque fluke, but the system reset to a degree, then again the challenger was someone confident in his values and the flaws of the opponent, the difference between the speeches in Detroit,
    and the one in Tampa, are like on another planet, Fernandez who grew up in a foreign land, probably
    has a little more understanding, as Adjami did at the time of the 2008 election,

    narciso (3fec35)

  67. In 2002 when the Bush administration started beating their Iraq war drum I was aghast. That area of the world does not understand or want democracy. I knew it was a fool’s errand then. Afghanistan was the righteous war, Iraq was Dick Cheney’s war.

    stmilam (770d4d)

  68. stmilam (770d4d) —

    You’ve stated your opinion, care to answer my concerns in #56?

    Are you one who would have agreed to give up the pretense of keeping Saddam in check and just let them all do whatever they wanted?

    Like Mark Steyn and many others have said, our enemies don’t fear us and our allies don’t trust us. Even if Obama made a serious foreign policy decision, at this point, what difference does it make. One would be a fool to do anything except think of how to play him for one’s own ends.

    For a brief period Bush and a bipartisan Congress had the world thinking we meant what we said. (Had they believed it before, there never would have been a war in Iraq, but they would have abided by the restrictions placed on them and other countries would not have helped undermine the effort to keep Saddam in check). But then domestic politics had to trump the good of the country and the world, and Bush could not keep that up himself.

    There are a whole lot of things I do not know; but I know that when you do not honor your commitments, no one expects you to until you give them a reason to believe you again, and that will be at a heavy price, if it ever happens again.
    And if it doesn’t happen again (other countries being able to trust us to keep our commitments), then it will be an even heavier price.
    Starting with the abandonment of S. Vietnam, it is clear to the world that internal politics in the US is what trumps everything, so you really cannot trust American foreign policy for more than 2 years. You can sort of trust the intent for the term of a president, but unless the Congress and American people are at least divided and not anti the president, one might be better off making a deal with the devil than with the US, and that is a bad situation to be in, as making a deal with the devil never turns out for the good.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  69. Who says the consequences were unintended? The guys overrunning Iraq right now are the ones on the receiving end of Obama’s Libyan weapons pipeline from Benghazi. Our military can win wars, they just need a Commander-in-Chief calling the shots who isn’t in cahoots with the enemy.

    ropelight (eb4b5e)

  70. stmilam : There is an old rule of life and war that requires taking care of unfinished business before starting new business. We were at war with Iraq (an armistice is not the end of a war but merely the cessation of fighting) and that unfinished business must be dealth with before starting new operations in that area. Saddam had been violating the armistice terms since the signing and no one who studied the situation doubted that, unless removed, he would be actively engaged against us. Just about everyone in office (Democrat or Republican) knew this and knew that the first order of business was to get rid of saddam. Calling it Dick Cheney’s War is a sign that you are uninformed, misinformed or disenformed about the situation that existed after 9/11.

    Michael M. Keohane (27a5a1)

  71. Modern warfare as practiced by the U.S. is where the politicians never allow our military to conduct the war employing full capability short of nuclear weapons. VDH has written extensively about this phenomena.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  72. “What would they have said, etc.”

    Same thing I said then, and continue to say now. Should have sent the Air Force.

    Glenn (647d76)

  73. If the people chose to elect incompetents (giving the benefit of the doubt to all politicians)to run the governments, then the problem is the voters. Churchill once remarked that a five minute discussion with an average voter would shake one’s faith in democratic government.

    I fully agree.

    When I see an Obama or a Hillary, or her husband, I think of all the Americans who support such politicians, who’ve embraced them in the past and — this is very crucial — who will support them in the future, no matter what. The very fact so many people of all political stripes not only take very seriously the election of “Sniper Fire” Hillary as the successor to “Goddamn America” Obama, but even assume that’s a given or guaranteed, shows just how eroded this nation has become.

    To understand exactly what that means, if only symbolically, there was a movie in the 1990s, “The American President,” directed by the very liberal Rob Reiner. Part of the script contains the main female character telling the character portraying the US president that the American people would never accept a leader who is widowed and who also has a girlfriend. Such a line almost 20 years later — in today’s era — will now trigger guffaws and smirks in many people. And we’re not talking about a sea change from the old-fashioned, quaint 1950s to the 21st century. We’re talking about a sea change from just a bit before Bill Clinton left his indelible legacy in US history to what we’re dealing with in 2014.

    America has jumped the shark and there’s no turning back.

    Mark (cb3ad1)

  74. In 2002 when the Bush administration started beating their Iraq war drum I was aghast. That area of the world does not understand or want democracy. I knew it was a fool’s errand then. Afghanistan was the righteous war, Iraq was Dick Cheney’s war.

    Did Dick Cheney have anything to do with:

    1. Saddam not abiding by the UN Resolution 1441 which allowed for use of force for noncompliance.

    2. Circumventing the Food for Oil program that was supposed to alleviate the humanitarian issue of 500,00 Iraqi children dying due to the sanctions, which Madeleine Albright admittedly approved of.

    3. It was the stated policy of the US Government via the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, calling for regime change in Iraq, signed into law by none other than BJ Cliinton.

    4. Casting a vote for the war.

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  75. Excellent points, Hadoop. Cheney, Halliburton, Bush lied/people died, yada yada…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  76. Excellent points, Hadoop. Cheney, Halliburton, Bush lied/people died, yada yada…

    Considering it was just reported that ISIS/ISIL are in control of Saddam’s chemical weapons plant, which has…chemical weapons(although Jen Psaki claims that the administration doesn’t think it contains “CW materials of military value”). Having purchase chemicals and precursers for a decade, that doesn’t exactly give me the warm fuzzies.
    on failed intelligence. I think the CIA, FBI, etc. are filled with too many careerists wanting to be the next Grissom or Fleming upon retirement.

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  77. That should be Clancy not Grissom.

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  78. Iraq was Dick Cheney’s war.
    stmilam (770d4d) — 6/20/2014 @ 5:52 am

    May I point out Comrade stmilam, Dick Cheney was vice president and therefore incapable of starting a war. You do realize Clinton, Reid, Pelosi, Kerry etc voted for the Iraq war or do all your talking points come from the DNC?

    Hoagie (4dfb34)

  79. You can’t trust governments to make war, especially lefty governments. They take the status quo for granted, while conservatives consider the status quo quite fragile.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  80. You do realize Clinton, Reid, Pelosi, Kerry etc voted for the Iraq war or do all your talking points come from the DNC?

    He was so aghast, he failed to mention that fact!

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  81. stmilam is more nearly correct than you guys. Sadam Hussein was no threat to America. Who was he a threat to? Who benefits from the collapse of modern, technologically and economically advanced, Arab countries? Israel and the royals of the Arab Peninsula. The Ba’athists posed the greatest threat to both. To Israel militarily, and to the sultans and emirs politically. That’s why Egypt and Iraq had to be thrown into chaos and the process is now going on in Syria. The Arabs bought the Republicans with K Street and Israel bought the Democrats with AIPAC.

    nk (dbc370)

  82. The Arabs sultans and emirs bought the Republicans

    nk (dbc370)

  83. stmilam is more nearly correct than you guys.

    stmilam, claimed that the Bush administration beat the drums of war, and that it was Dick Cheney’s war. See my remarks @75, and let me know which one(s) is/are incorrect. If you’d like, I can probably find the list of democrats who were beating the drums of war, but I’m sure you’ve seen it.

    Wars are messy things. We try to rationalize irrational events, and blame those with which we politically disagree. Wars need to be fought with brutality where there is a clear winner. The UN started this half-@$$3d semantic drivel about disproportionate force. Without unconditional surrender, wars drag on for decades, and the civilian populations suffer.

    Saddam should not have been in power after the first Gulf War, but we’ll never know what the outcome would have been so speculation what we should have done is meaningless.

    As far as your what lobby bought with party, my guess is that each party received monetary support from all the lobbies you mentioned, rendering your remarks moot.

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  84. with s/b which party

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  85. I wrote some things that are awaiting clearance for some reason.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  86. stmilam can be forgiven if he overstates (I think he does) Cheney’s role. Cheney was not a moronic time server like Biden or an a**kissing yesman like Gore. He was probably the most influential member of the Shrub’s administration.

    nk (dbc370)

  87. stmilam is more nearly correct than you guys. Sadam Hussein was no threat to America. Who was he a threat to? Who benefits from the collapse of modern, technologically and economically advanced, Arab countries? Israel and the royals of the Arab Peninsula. The Ba’athists posed the greatest threat to both. To Israel militarily, and to the sultans and emirs politically. That’s why Egypt and Iraq had to be thrown into chaos and the process is now going on in Syria. The Arabs bought the Republicans with K Street and Israel bought the Democrats with AIPAC.

    Go crawl back into your bottle, you f—ing antisemite. Now you’re not even bothering to pretend. Parroting Walt & Mearsheimer == open antisemitism.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  88. Cheney was not a moronic time server like Biden or an a**kissing yesman like Gore. He was probably the most influential member of the Shrub’s administration.

    And a good thing too. We’d have been a lot better off if he’d been president.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  89. In 2002 when the Bush administration started beating their Iraq war drum I was aghast.

    You wanted him to remain in power, funding international terror, shooting at our planes, developing WMD, and letting his sons run rape rooms and feed people into plastic shredders?!

    That area of the world does not understand or want democracy.

    1. That’s racist; 2. Even if true, what’s it got to do with anything? The war wasn’t fought to bring democracy to Iraq.

    I knew it was a fool’s errand then. Afghanistan was the righteous war, Iraq was Dick Cheney’s war.

    Afghanistan was no more suited for democracy than Iraq; so what’s the difference between them? In any case, they were not two wars, they were two fronts in the same war. (The unstated goal of which was to surround Iran; unfortunately we failed in that.)

    Milhouse (b95258)

  90. Two things, Milhouse: Use “anti-semite”, “racist”, “homophobe”, etc. on people who give a s*** what you call them. I’m not one of them. Second thing, don’t you expect to be taken seriously after you say that Star Wars is a documentary. http://patterico.com/2014/06/17/using-his-authority-and-leading-the-fight-to-protect/#comment-1650595

    nk (dbc370)

  91. 1. I call you an antisemite because you are one. You have shown that repeatedly, and the comment I cited here is blatant proof even if more were needed. Repeating Walt & Mearsheimer’s libel is proof enough.

    2. You are also a repeated liar. I did not say that Star Wars is a documentary, or anything even remotely similar. You’re such a stupid liar that you link to a comment that easily disproves your lie.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  92. You pop like a balloon when you’re pricked, Milhouse. And you release the same substance — impotent wind.

    nk (dbc370)

  93. “Governments have to be entrusted with conducting war, because nobody else can. We should expect them to screw it up, but the only alternative is to renounce war altogether, which means resigning ourselves to being easy prey for whoever comes along and decides to enslave us.”

    - Milhouse

    I hope somebody has already responded to this, but I will add my two cents just in case:

    Government doesn’t have to be entrusted with conducting war if we have an armed and trained citizenry and simultaneously acknowledge that the only just war is a truly defensive war, i.e. a war to prevent our enslavement by invaders.

    We don’t need a military, in that situation – just the weapons to turn ourselves into one if the need arises.

    We don’t need to trust a government to conduct a war, in that situation – we acknowledge that if the need arises, we will conduct it ourselves.

    And we don’t need to renounce war altogether, in that situation – just particular types of war, i.e. “defensive” wars that are really offensive wars.

    There’s an obvious tradeoff between Centralization and Decentralization, and each is obviously a viable option. Its a cost-benefit analysis, at that point.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  94. Ask him about the “planets of Kolob”, nk.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  95. the only just war is a truly defensive war, i.e. a war to prevent our enslavement by invaders.

    But that’s not true. What about a war to save other people from enslavement or worse? Unless, like Ron Paul, you subscribe to the Kitty Genovese theory of foreign policy. And what about protecting our merchants, and foreign merchants who would trade with us? Should we give up the enormous benefits of trade, by abandoning our merchants to the mercies of pirates? Again, what of protecting our citizens when they travel abroad? If we are responsible for protecting them when at home, why do they suddenly become not our problem when they travel?

    Milhouse (b95258)

  96. Ask him about the “planets of Kolob”, nk.

    Why would I know anything about it? If you want to know about it, ask your man Romney? You were so gung-ho for him, weren’t you? Or am I misremembering? (Hint: the Book of Mormon is not science fiction)

    Milhouse (b95258)

  97. You pop like a balloon when you’re pricked, Milhouse.

    You’re the prick. Go back to your bottle.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  98. I want to be a Dragonrider of Pern, Haiku.

    nk (dbc370)

  99. Better a dragon rider than a sheep-effer, nk!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  100. But lookout if you see Milhouse on a horse holding a lance near a windmill:

    Of a Manchegan gentleman
    Thy purpose is to tell the story,
    Relating how he lost his wits
    O’er idle tales of love and glory,
    Of “ladies, arms, and cavaliers:”
    A new Orlando Furioso-
    Innamorato, rather—who
    Won Dulcinea del Toboso.

    nk (dbc370)

  101. And we all know what those green riders get up to.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  102. I think he left his cake out in teh rain just a tad too long, nk.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  103. Oh dear. Don Quixote isn’t SF either.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  104. meh… go narfle the Garthok, milhouse.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  105. stmilam can be forgiven if he overstates (I think he does) Cheney’s role. Cheney was not a moronic time server like Biden or an a**kissing yesman like Gore. He was probably the most influential member of the Shrub’s administration.

    nk, you were the one who asserted:

    stmilam is more nearly correct than you guys.

    How is stmilam more nearly correct with regard to the four items I listed? Basically, all he did was his version of Bush’s fault, and ZOMG—Darth Cheney used “Da Force” to involve us in a war, but failed to illustrate exactly how he did it!

    I don’t know how you arrived at your conclusion, the last response didn’t address my question.

    Hadoop (7fc17e)

  106. Leviticus,

    What I struggle with is, even if you accept the Bastiat principle that government may not do that which citizens may not do on their own, we all have a natural right to act in lawful defense of others.

    If you make that a principle for justifying war, though, there is little it does not allow.

    Perhaps the key is to observe more closely the principle that we may not harm innocents deliberately even when defending ourselves or others.

    I see that our instincts for how to view these problems are becoming more aligned — largely due to movement on my part, I think.

    Patterico (2c96b3)

  107. meh… go narfle the Garthok, milhouse.

    Definitely not SF.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  108. Leviticus (1aca67) — 6/20/2014 @ 11:02 am

    Without a professionally trained and equipped military, we end up losing a lot of soldiers unnecessarily. WW I was a great example of not being prepared.

    I think we all agree that war is teh sux, but was there any time in the history of mankind where there was world peace. Better to be prepared and remain as free as possible.

    Hadoop (7fc17e)

  109. Hadoop (7fc17e) — 6/20/2014 @ 12:34 pm

    but was there any time in the history of mankind where there was world peace.

    1955 came close.

    Sammy Finkelman (966b43)

  110. 1955 came close.

    Bu!!$h!t

    Hadoop (7fc17e)

  111. Well, I don’t know how else to say it, Hadoop. I’ll try: I don’t blame the paranoiacs for thinking Cheney ran Washington during the Bush 43 years; he is a very talented and capable person.

    nk (dbc370)

  112. And he shot a lawyer, too. ;)

    nk (dbc370)

  113. “What I struggle with is, even if you accept the Bastiat principle that government may not do that which citizens may not do on their own, we all have a natural right to act in lawful defense of others.

    If you make that a principle for justifying war, though, there is little it does not allow.”

    - Patterico

    I agree, but I guess that just goes to show that my original comment was too long-winded, and could be reduced to its last line. Who do we want to be, as a people, and what are the pros and cons of our decision? Centralized or decentralized? Interventionists or isolationists? Also, I don’t think it’s so easy to be an isolationist in one facet of foreign affairs and an interventionist in the others – which obviously complicates the decision.
    At a pragmatic level, we can only hope to reclaim the warmaking power by prying it from the State’s cold dead hands – the best we can hope for is to veto it on occasion, by sheer force of popular will to the contrary.

    But at a visceral level, it is another terrifying power in the hands of a terrifying State.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  114. Also, Patterico – in the spirit of this very interesting discussion you’ve started – I don’t necessarily agree that there’s no private market for making foreign policy decisions. Think about Somalia – to my mind, Somalia is a clear example of a private market driving foreign policy decisions, i.e. decentralized foreign policy. Which doesn’t reflect particularly well on the idea, of course, but at least demonstrates it.

    The questions are whether or not we believe that Americans would try to function as “altruistic pirates” if we gave them the chance, whether or not they could succeed in the eyes of the world, whether or not they would if they could, and what they world would do about it if they couldn’t.

    And (if the answer to the first three questions is “yes”) do we prefer that scenario to the centralized warmaking of the State?

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  115. Well, I don’t know how else to say it, Hadoop. I’ll try: I don’t blame the paranoiacs for thinking Cheney ran Washington during the Bush 43 years; he is a very talented and capable person.

    Okay, but the drums of war against Iraq started before Bush became president. Cheney didn’t force Saddam to violate a UN resolution he agreed to, nor did he play a role in the Food for Oil scandal.

    All Saddam had to do was allow the UN Monitoring and Verification Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify Iraq’s disarmament and there would not have been a war. You’re not claiming Darth Cheney caused Saddam’s noncompliance, are you?

    Paranoia notwithstanding, Cheney’s talent and capability don’t seem to be an issue.

    Hadoop (7fc17e)

  116. Somalia was a operation where we operated under UN auspices,

    narciso (3fec35)

  117. Patterico (2c96b3) — 6/20/2014 @ 12:27 pm

    ….we all have a natural right to act in lawful defense of others.

    If you make that a principle for justifying war, though, there is little it does not allow.

    There’s plenty it does not allow.

    It has to be a “just war.”

    By the way, the Obama Adminsitration has used the principle of self-defense as a justification to the United Nations Security Council for the raid in Libya that seized Khattalah.

    He is now aboard a slow boat to Florida, the USS New York, and co-operating with his interrogators. (if he doesn’t, he might be put into a small cell, and he’s got to hope this will help him. Mostly he’s talking about the history of Ansar al Sharia – they may not be asking him to incriminate himself. He’s probably being asked and talking about other people.)

    For U.S. legal purposes, though, this is not a military act, but a law enforcement operation. They even have an excuse for not transporting him by airplane – they would have to go through another country – and an excuse for ignoring that before – one of the other persons needed medical treatment.

    Sammy Finkelman (966b43)

  118. Perhaps the key is to observe more closely the principle that we may not harm innocents deliberately even when defending ourselves or others.

    And yet that implies a willingness to stand aside as Really Bad Guys harm innocents with impunity, since you know you will harm some of the innocents in opposing them.

    The worst war — the one with the most damage and death — is the low-level or measured one that has no way to conclude. The fast, nasty and brutal approach, with certain death to some non-combatants but which is likely to end the war in short order.

    See for example Nagasaki as opposed to, say, the proportionate response air war in VietNam.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  119. Somalia was a operation where we operated under UN auspices,

    That didn’t work out to well.

    Hadoop (7fc17e)

  120. Hadoop (7fc17e) — 6/20/2014 @ 1:24 pm

    All Saddam had to do was allow the UN Monitoring and Verification Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify Iraq’s disarmament and there would not have been a war.

    Saddam probably believede the opposite. Taht fear of chemical weapons was putting a real crimp in Bush and Rumsfeld’s war planning, and Bush had other for wanting to invade Iraq – like he wanted to kill his father for instance.

    Saddam proably reasoned that use of chemical weapons gear ruled out war after the beginning of April. And he knew the plans involved Turkey.

    So when Turkey suddenly pulled out the rug from under him – probably thanks to Saddam bribing some mebers of the Turkish Parliament…Bush invaded anyway.

    It turned out he really didn’t need to invade from the direction of Turkey, never had needed it.

    Sammy Finkelman (966b43)

  121. The worst war — the one with the most damage and death — is the low-level or measured one that has no way to conclude. The fast, nasty and brutal approach, with certain death to some non-combatants but which is likely to end the war in short order.

    Absolutely! Had we leveled Fallujah the first time when we had the insurgents trapped, I don’t think we would be at this point. Instead of a bunch of civilians dying in one large battle, they ended up dying in a bunch of skirmishes and car bombs.

    Hadoop (7fc17e)

  122. * (Saddam Hussein) thought that Bush had other for wanting to invade Iraq.

    And if he had to wait for fall, Saddam would think of something, or the coalition would break up, or Bush couldn’t keep the whole U.s. military mobilized.

    All that was stopping Bush from invading, in Saddam’s eyes, was his non-existent chemical weapons. At least it meant it had to start during the fall or winter, and Saddam timed the double cross by Turkey just right.

    Sammy Finkelman (966b43)

  123. All of this, though, is just political cover. Let us say that the decision to invade Iraq was wrong, that things would have been better had we just focused on Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda. Fine. But the question is, having invaded, was the current state of affairs inevitable as a result?

    And that seems demonstrably false, since at the time we removed all our forces from Iraq there was nothing of the sort going on. One can make at least an argument that the presence of one mechanized division of maybe 20K troops could have prevented the outbreak of ISIS in Iraq. Further, early intervention, on EITHER side in Syria could have prevented ISIS from becoming a player there.

    It was ONLY Obama’s default position of “wait and hope it gets better” that allowed this cancer to spread, and ONLY his administration’s lies and the media’s willful inattention that let it get to this place.

    Now they say there is nothing to be done. Again, this is EXACTLY how those people died in Benghazi. And it is exactly how Iran will get the bomb. And God only knows what else.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  124. “Absolutely! Had we leveled Fallujah the first time when we had the insurgents trapped, I don’t think we would be at this point. Instead of a bunch of civilians dying in one large battle, they ended up dying in a bunch of skirmishes and car bombs.”

    - Hadoop

    At the hands of others, over whom we had no control. You’re saying its preferable that we kill the civilians, instead of giving someone else the opportunity?

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  125. The most f*cked up thing about the current situation is that we’re going to allow our mistaken invasion in 2003 produce a mistaken non-invasion in 2014.

    It’s crazy. We have no idea who we are anymore.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  126. failamerica can’t afford to invade a chuck e. cheese much less iraq

    the old gray mare she ain’t what she used to be

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  127. It was ONLY Obama’s default position of “wait and hope it gets better” that allowed this cancer to spread, and ONLY his administration’s lies and the media’s willful inattention that let it get to this place.

    This is the result of an embedded passivity in his makeup and a desperate need to appear the intellectual who is above the fray. His resistance to pro-actively nip things in the bud in order to prevent chaos from erupting has come back to bite him. And us. Whether Iraq, the border crisis, or the VA scandal, he has had so much information and in-depth knowledge of these situations, that surely he full well knew the scope of them and the potential for disaster. Yet, in his desperate attempt to change America’s image in the eyes of the world, as well as resist getting in the mud, that which was so predictable has now come to pass.

    Dana (fe2228)

  128. Well the Russians leveled Grozny, which was the outpost Yermilov established in 1819, then there was their ‘search and destroys’ zachistas, that were the mainstay of the second Chechen war, a war that has expanded to Domedovo airport, and the Dostoevevsky train station,

    narciso (3fec35)

  129. Leviticus #127,

    We know who we are—it’s just that the left wing doesn’t know who the enemy is.

    Elephant Stone (5c2aa0)

  130. one thing we know about who we are is that absolutely under no circumstances can we risk putting soldiers in a position where they might could get captured

    the cost is just too high

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  131. mister happy,

    perhaps next time the bureau of land mismanagement rolls its tanks onto cliven bundy’s ranch, some of bundy’s friends will take some BLM soldiers hostage, and hold them for a trade. they could trade them for lois lerner’s “lost” hidden emails. or for a year’s worth of tacos at hugo’s on ventura boulevard.
    or something.

    Elephant Stone (5c2aa0)

  132. Actually he doesn’t care about the VA, or Iraq, the IRS is part of the method, to suppress the political opposition, to further the fundamental transformation, that’s why he picked someone from the epic fail freddie mac, as commissioner,

    narciso (3fec35)

  133. nothing is off the table Mr. Stone

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  134. Dana (fe2228) — 6/20/2014 @ 1:59 pm

    His resistance to pro-actively nip things in the bud in order to prevent chaos from erupting has come back to bite him. And us.

    He talks as if that is sound policy: Don’t do anything unless you can say it is absolutely necessary.

    This is formula for bloodshed.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  135. There’s a reason the government isn’t good at planning the economy, and yes, it also means that governments won’t be good at wars.
    The reason, however, is not a problem with democracy, or the US, or because “the government” isn’t listening to “the people”, or a problem of government in general: it’s simply that governments are made up of people.

    It doesn’t matter if you hand everything over to the citizenry: there will still be people involved, and people are fallen.

    And no, turning everything over to computers isn’t going to work: you would only make an obsessive follower of the ideals of another human your ruler, with the caveat that we would probably call the tendencies of the computer insanity in humans. It may not grasp inference quite as well as we would, it probably won’t completely understand the difference between reductio ad absurdum and consistency, its morality is going to be a blind adherence to principles that probably will be missing key parts in the end…and it may well be single-minded about following a flawed philosophy to its utmost precipice. It’s probably not going to be following the latest mores, which might be good or bad, since it’s instead stuck with that subset of the morality of the day that the designers agree with. Finally, it will make any rational decisions the way people do, because we can either duplicate human logic or create an irrational decision process.
    It certainly won’t be perfect, because people aren’t.

    In summary: any time any person has a hand in decisions, we’re SOL.

    Ibidem (34e45a)

  136. 137… Yeah… Right, nobody can deal with issues. Don’t base opinions on the last 5.5 years.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  137. 137. I think the problem is, that with planning the course of wars, or even decisions as to where to go, there’s not enough there promoting quality or excellence in the people making the decisions.

    Sammy Finkelman (966b43)

  138. ” or create an irrational decision process.”… pretty much sums up that last two presidential elections.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  139. At the hands of others, over whom we had no control. You’re saying its preferable that we kill the civilians, instead of giving someone else the opportunity?

    No, we let them get away to fight another day, only prolonging the suffering of the civilian population, and giving them a chance to re-arm. How you came to the conclusion that I advocated we kill civilians indiscriminately, depriving the insurgents the pleasure, is beyond me?

    We’ve handcuffed our soldiers with these ridiculous RoEs. There are atrocities in every war(and I’m not advocating that we commit atrocities either). You go all out to win. There’s going to be casualties, but that can’t be the foremost concern. I know how that sounds, but I believe it’s better to finish a war as soon as possible. That’s best for all concerned.

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  140. “We’ve handcuffed our soldiers with these ridiculous RoEs. There are atrocities in every war(and I’m not advocating that we commit atrocities either). You go all out to win. There’s going to be casualties, but that can’t be the foremost concern. I know how that sounds, but I believe it’s better to finish a war as soon as possible. That’s best for all concerned.”

    - Hadoop

    You make that comment, and you’re still surprised that I think you lack sufficient concern for the wellbeing of civilian bystanders?

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  141. You go all out to win.

    this is not the american way of war

    The American way is to spend an ungodly amount of money then bail like cowards after the tide turns in their favor.

    It’s very quixotic and not a little silly, the American way of war.

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  142. Barack Milhous Obama makes Richard M. Nixon look like an Eagle Scout.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  143. the other example of countering insurgency is the decade long Algerian dirty war, against the Armed Islamic Group, there’s somewhat of an irony that the Algerians were the ones who were chosen as mediators in the Syrian civil war, made for very awkward dinner conversation,

    narciso (3fec35)

  144. Just in case it got lost in all nk’s bluster, here is his blatantly antisemitic comment. He accused the Jooos of bribing politicians in order to manipulate America into the war for Israel’s benefit. In other words, the Jooos sacrificed thousands of American lives to protect Israel. This is Walt & Mearsheimer’s updated modern version of the blood libel, the 21st-century version of the old story that matzos are made with babies’ blood.

    If he gets any drunker you’ll hear about how we poison the wells too. (Suha Arafat told that one to Hillary, who didn’t bat an eyelid. Later she claimed not to have been listening to the translation.)

    Milhouse (b95258)

  145. He accused the Jooos of bribing politicians

    no he accused AIPAC

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  146. those matzos sound disgusting though btw

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  147. well AIPAC’s influence is tiny compared to the Arab lobby, there was a survey that ranked their influence as 8th, the UAE, was first, Saudi Arabia was 4th, Qatar is an up and comer, not in the top 10 list, consider Joe Wilson, Tom Kean, Chuck Hagel and Hillary are among recipients of the Kingdom’s largesse,

    narciso (3fec35)

  148. the saudi royal whores gross me out with their unspeakable perversions

    there’s just not enough purell in the world to sanitize those filthy people

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  149. And Ringworld Engineers is a construction manual. /snicker

    nk (dbc370)

  150. 125.All of this, though, is just political cover. Let us say that the decision to invade Iraq was wrong, that things would have been better had we just focused on Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda. Fine. But the question is, having invaded, was the current state of affairs inevitable as a result?

    As I said previously, it was not inevitable having invaded.
    It was only inevitable having “constructed” an Iraqi “government” at the time we did, compounded by leaving as and when we did.

    In that region, it is the winner of a war (or coup; or whatever other particular term you like to use for the transfer of power via the military).
    The U.S. won the war against Saddam Hussein, not the Iraqi government of whatever his names was. (The first guy who was put in charge but got run for being TOO corrupt.)
    The U.S. also won the war against Al Qaeda, albeit with the help of the Sunnis, not Nouri al-Maliki.
    When the U.S. left, there was just as much a power vacuum as if Saddam Hussein had been killed along with him sons during a random air strike and we had never put boots on the ground. (Or if he had been killed any other way for that matter.)
    This was magnified by the fact that al-Maliki pretty much openly said “And stay out!” when we left, making it clear that he wasn’t even the puppet of the winner.
    That meant another round of conflict to determine who the next leader would be.
    Now it did not automatically mean that ISIS would show up, or that ISIS would win, or at least make such a strong showing as they are. It just meant that such a conflict would, absolutely, and inevitably occur, and within a rather short time period.
    This time period was clearly aggravated by all the other factors, including the situation in Afghanistan, the situation in Syria, and the “Arab Spring” and its effects on the Gulf States. Combined, they made it inevitable that the conflict was going to almost certainly occur less than 5 years after the U.S. finally withdrew.

    For alternatives to that, extrapolate from the options regarding Syria I laid out in 47.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  151. it’s yet another spectacular failure on food stamp’s watch Mr. Sam

    America just flounders along from one hilarious humiliating failure to another anymore

    normal countries would be embarrassed

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  152. This was pretty much a bipartisan failure from the get go, though the “current occupant” has clearly contributed above and beyond to making an impending disaster worse.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  153. the part where Iraq’s become a terrorist playground in the last few weeks though

    that’s all cause of how America’s ball-licking soroswhore president screwed up and now he’s whining whining whining that it’s not my fault

    yup

    that’s your ball-licking legacy right there, food stamp

    good job

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  154. It was cute how Food Stamp tried to blame the lack of US forces in Iraq on the Iraqis. Especially since he promised to do that, and claims it as one of his greatest successes.

    JD (9fd0e3)

  155. Obama’s tendency towards inaction, and the chaos that has resulted seems to indicate that the laws of thermodynamics apply to civilizations as much as to anything else.

    1. Left alone, things turn to sh1t.

    2. Without considerable energy expended, nothing good happens.

    3. It will be a cold day in hell before this changes.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  156. “Maybe Governments Run By the Likes of Obama and Biden Don’t Know More About Wars Than They Know About Fixing the Economy”

    What’s happening now was perfectly foreseeable given that the U.S. kissed off the Iraqis without even a Status of Forces Agreement.

    Andrew (04d0f9)

  157. You make that comment, and you’re still surprised that I think you lack sufficient concern for the wellbeing of civilian bystanders?

    Sufficient concern my @$$! Can I assume by your remarks that you’re fine with a civilian population endlessly under siege living years among terrorist who use them as shields, and when they’ve lost their usefulness, will be dispatched without a care? Is that your level of concern?

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  158. I think it’s clear that leaving Saddam Hussein to his own devices was not an option. He was financing international terror, giving safe haven and a base for terrorists, shooting at our planes, and conducting serious research toward producing WMD. The sanctions were doing little to stop him, since he had thoroughly corrupted and suborned the “oil for food” program, but they were killing thousands of Iraqi children, and could not be sustained for much longer. Nor could the military buildup on his borders (which was all that got him to agree to weapons inspectors) be kept up indefinitely. Everyone agreed at the time that something had to be done about him, the only dispute was what and when.

    I think the lesson of the Iraq war is that, actually, leaving him to his own devices was an option. It might not have been the best option, but it certainly was an option to be considered . . . and it might have been the best option. It’s, at a minimum, a debatable point. I think that’s even clearer now, when billions of dollars and thousands of American lives later (not to mention the Iraqi civilian lives lost — estimated by leaked Pentagon documents to be 66,000; I don’t care about the fighters), we are looking at (as I have said) the choice between a caliphate and Iranian satellite state. Just because Saddam was horrible doesn’t mean that what we are going to get is better, and it especially doesn’t mean that it is worth the cost.

    I have to recognize that this means I was wrong to support the war. Then again, I acknowledged that a long time ago. I said in October 2006 that, in my opinion, “the war was a mistake given what we know now” — but I also felt that “it was the right call based on what we knew at the time.” I knew the first part of that would not be popular, but it’s how I felt, and I call them like I see them. I have seen no reason to reconsider my opinion now.

    Because I agree with Milhouse that the Bush administration did not “lie” about anything regarding WMD. Nobody has demonstrated that, because nobody can. In the context of post-9/11, it’s really tough to say that you don’t take on a dictator whose actions show him developing WMD and supporting terrorists.

    I have always been anti-war by nature. I even opposed GHWB’s Iraq war. I was initially against GWB’s Iraq war. I had largely come around by February 2003, when I started this blog, but you can see my misgivings in my posts from the first month I was writing about it, like this one:

    To the anti-war folks, I ask: what would you actually do if it were up to you? Putting aside sloganeering about oil, criticisms of Bush, etc. — what would you actually do? I am looking for something that looks a little further ahead, and gives a little more detail, than a recitation of the oft-repeated “Give the inspectors more time” line. How much more time would you give them, exactly? What about if (I would say when) Saddam starts to block their efforts again (he’s done it before)? What is your solution? Is there any confluence of events that would cause you to say that military action would be appropriate?

    To the pro-war folks, I ask: what if this turns ugly? Everybody seems to assume this war will last a week, and we will prevail easily. I hope these people are right. But it seems to me that Saddam has to know that the war we will have the toughest time winning is one fought in the streets of Baghdad. Don’t you think he is preparing for just such a battle? Have you read Black Hawk Down, or seen the movie? What would prevent the battle of Baghdad from becoming another Mogadishu?

    I am very interested to hear people’s opinions on these issues.

    Kevin M and others may well be right that the real issue is that Obama gave up. But, just like the ruination of our economy by excessive borrowing and spending, the decision largely followed public opinion, and you can’t maintain a war forever without the public’s support. That doesn’t let Obama off the hook for lack of leadership, but I’m just being realistic.

    To me, these are all very difficult issues. They always have been.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  159. That’s a great comment.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  160. And yet we have Abu Bagdadi’s promise ‘I’ll see you in New York’ re Somalia, one of the people who cut his teeth in what was an unacknowledged AQ operation, was Mohammed Makkawi, aka Seif Al Adel,
    he had the original idea of a ‘planes operation’

    narciso (3fec35)

  161. We are not fighting an army of Rhodes Scholars here.

    Steve57 (d38ceb)

  162. c

    157. Obama’s tendency towards inaction, and the chaos that has resulted seems to indicate that the laws of thermodynamics apply to civilizations as much as to anything else.

    1. Left alone, things turn to sh1t.

    2. Without considerable energy expended, nothing good happens.

    3. It will be a cold day in hell before this changes.
    Kevin M (b357ee) — 6/20/2014 @ 7:51 pm

    Random thought. Like I was ebber going to squeeze out one like this.

    Steve57 (d38ceb)

  163. For you, feets.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_EtUo5mXHw

    Horsepower. It’s what’s for breakfast.

    Steve57 (d38ceb)

  164. that looks fun but also scary

    you better have all your obamacares paid up before you get on one of those I think

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  165. terrorist morale is very very high these days – the success in freeing five of their favorite terrorist pin-up boys plus all the momentum in Iraq must be terribly exciting

    plus they know Obama’s gonna be president for a really long time yet

    And why anyone would want to inherit Obama’s legacy is a little puzzling.

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  166. Well

    Steve57 (c9c4e5)

  167. There have never been good choices in Iraq. If we didn’t clean out Saddam, we left a mad man in power in a wealthy state, bent on making trouble for the US and serving as a state sponsor of terrorism.

    If we took him out, we risked fundamentally weakening Iraq which would require a long-term commitment of troops in the nation for decades as they rebuilt.

    In the end, the most inept President in American history, made the worst of a bad situation and withdrew all troops from Iraq before the state had become viable.

    This virtually insures the de facto, if not de jure, disintegration of Iraq into 3 weak states and their subjugation by one or more neighboring states.

    Oddly enough, Joe Biden, that foreign policy “genius” (the Wile E. Coyote of foreign policy), used to propose this as the most desirable solution for Iraq.

    Government does nothing well. Democrats in government do virtually everything badly.

    WarEagle82 (b18ccf)

  168. Well Wareagle, we know that the President relied on the Solon, over Petraeus, on a number of occasion,
    he in turn relied on Peter Galbraith, who seems to wrangled a nice oil concession, representing the Kurds for his troubl, he’s one you haven’t heard lately,

    Few things Christopher Hitchens was spot on about, is partition is a terrible thing, from Ireland, to Palestine, Libya (you know the contested area of Benghazi is it’s own province of Cyreniaca) India, Cyprus, it’s all bad news,

    narciso (3fec35)

  169. But it worked so well in Germany, and Korea.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  170. The Gailbraith family has a history of mucking up whatever they touch. This is another case of the “reverse Midas touch” that we see from progressives all over the world.

    Their theories don’t work and any empirical evidence that contradicts them simply proves the progressive morons who last tried weren’t as smart as the current bunch of progressive morons.

    Government does nothing well. Democrats in government do virtually everything badly.

    WarEagle82 (b18ccf)

  171. Sure, how did I forget those examples, Galbraith pere was JFK’s ambassador to India, when they pulled the plug on the Tibetan Khambas when they fought the Chinese, the son was Bhutto’s roomate at Harvard, then as a Senate staffer, did uncover the Anfal against the Kurds, a possible reason behind
    DeBaathification,

    narciso (3fec35)

  172. He accused the Jooos of bribing politicians

    no he accused AIPAC

    It makes no difference. AIPAC means “the Joooos”, just as “neocons” means “the Joooos”. Hostility to AIPAC and flinging baseless accusations at it, as nk did, is almost

    always

    motivated by antisemitism. Almost nobody hates AIPAC for any reason but that it’s a Jewish organisation, and represents Jewish interests. There’s no other reason to hate i or to libel it.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  173. well AIPAC’s influence is tiny compared to the Arab lobby,

    Also, AIPAC does not work for the Israeli government, and does not receive any money from it, so it’s invalid to compare it to the Arab lobby, which works for and is funded by the various Arab governments.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  174. Well it’s an imperfect comparison, the former is a clique of citizens not even always in line with the Israeli govt, the latter, which I really became aware with Emerson’s American House of Saud, is really an extension of their respective governments

    narciso (3fec35)

  175. This virtually insures the de facto, if not de jure, disintegration of Iraq into 3 weak states and their subjugation by one or more neighboring states.

    Oddly enough, Joe Biden, that foreign policy “genius” (the Wile E. Coyote of foreign policy), used to propose this as the most desirable solution for Iraq.

    And I never understood why everyone made fun of him for it. It seemed to me like a good idea at the time, and in hindsight it seems even better. Had Bush adopted it we might have ended up with two solid allies there, and a bunch of pissed-off Sunnis who hated us no more than they do now, but with no oil.

    Yeah, it’s Slow Joe, but I assume he didn’t come up with it on his own.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  176. It’s not for the reasons I outlined, the Sunnis have never held out for just their fair share, the Assyrian massacre, the Golden Square, the Baath, these all happened when they were in power, since the 1920s, this is why the Iraqi Communist Party as Hanna Batuta noted, swelled with the ranks of Shia, as the reason for the founding of the Da’wa

    narciso (3fec35)

  177. As with this fellow who formed the other competing Shia militant group;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Taqi_al-Modarresi

    narciso (3fec35)

  178. Few things Christopher Hitchens was spot on about, is partition is a terrible thing, from Ireland, to Palestine, Libya (you know the contested area of Benghazi is it’s own province of Cyreniaca) India, Cyprus, it’s all bad news,

    What’s so terrible about it? It worked fine in Ireland. The Palestine Mandate was not partitioned; there was a proposal to do so, which the Jews reluctantly agreed to but the Arabs didn’t, so it never happened. Had the Arabs accepted it, perhaps it would have worked out. Cyprus was not partitioned, and the result was violence; since the Turks partitioned it, there has been peace. India didn’t work out so well. But Czechoslovakia has worked out fine . So’d the breakup of the USSR, more or less.

    And the Yugoslav breakup might have worked a lot better had Croatia and Bosnia-Herzogovina been partitioned, giving the Serbian areas to Serbia, so the Serbs didn’t have to live under Croat or Moslem rule. Serbia might even have been persuaded to give Kosovo to Albania in return.

    In any case, it just makes no sense to say that just because someone 90 years ago drew an arbitrary border and called everything within it one country, that it has to remain so forever.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  179. I wrote a longish comment in reply to Patterico, on whether leaving Sadam in power was a feasible option, but it seems to be in moderation. I don’t know which word triggered it.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  180. here’s some for reals anti-semitisms Mr. M

    The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on Friday became the most prominent religious group in the United States to endorse divestment as a protest against Israeli policies toward Palestinians, voting to sell church stock in three companies whose products Israel uses in the occupied territories.

    this makes me even more intrigued about the idea of taking a serious look at making free-riding failmerican churches pay their fair share of property taxes

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  181. That is indeed antisemitism, feets. But one case of antisemitism doesn’t disprove another case; it’s not like there’s some sort of conservation law operating! There’s enough to go around. The PCUSA and nk can both partake, and so can both Pat Buchanan and Cynthia McKinney and Jim Moran and Jimmy Carter and Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski and Jim Baker and Chuck Hagel too. And there’s still plenty left over.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  182. Kevin M and others may well be right that the real issue is that Obama gave up.

    The core of what makes him unfit for public office is his lousy way of judging people and situations.

    Although the controversy awhile back of, for example, Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman — and Obama’s dumb reaction of “if he had a son” — may strike some people as irrelevant to the issue of Iraq and the Middle East, or other matters, it actually isn’t. It all comes down to the grotesque incompetency of Obama in discerning the good and bad in both people and situations.

    The ass-backwards sentiments of liberals like Obama and his ilk can easily turn a neutral situation into a mess or make a bad situation much worse. And so — voila! — Iraq in 2014.

    It makes no difference. AIPAC means “the Joooos”, just as “neocons” means “the Joooos”. Hostility to AIPAC and flinging baseless accusations at it, as nk did, is almost always motivated by antisemitism.

    Odd bedfellows when it comes to such sentiment in the 21st century—or given liberal Franklin D. Roosevelt’s blatant anti-Semitic bigotry before and during Hitler’s ravaging of Europe, the 20th century too.

    The lunacy involves a mixture of certain rightwingers but, actually, mainly leftwingers, all marching in lock-step with one another against what they perceive as either the “Christ-killer” Jews (or perhaps evil socialist Jews) or the greedy, power-hungry people of Euro-oriented background casting a long shadow upon the poor, suffering, wretched, darker-complected underdog people of Palestine. Yea, the “underdogs” who teach their own children in schools to be vicious terrorists against Israel and its meanie, nasty Jews.

    theblaze.com, February 2014: The author of a German study that examined thousands of anti-Semitic hate messages told an Israeli newspaper that she was “very surprised” to discover that only 3 percent came from those described as members of the political “far-right.”

    Monika Schwarz-Friesel, a linguistics professor at the Technical University of Berlin, and her team read 14,000 letters and emails addressed to the Israeli embassy in Berlin and to Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Haaretz reported.

    The study concluded that a majority of the messages – 60 percent – were sent by educated Germans, including university professors and priests. That finding shattered the research team’s initial assumptions.

    “At first, we thought that most of the letters would be sent by right-wing extremists,” Schwarz-Friesel said. “But I was very surprised to discover that they were actually sent by people from the social mainstream – professors, Ph.D.s, lawyers, priests, university and high-school students.”

    Mark (246552)

  183. The Presbyterians know what it’s like to be oppressed by a theocracy, happyfeet. That’s how we got Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock.

    The ones who stayed behind, though, got to chop off The Head of failed, fascist, theocratic Church of England. Literally chopped off; it was the head on Charles I’s shoulers. ;)

    Milhouse is a nudnik. But nudniks are only bothersome if you take their name-calling seriously. Like the hobo at the Seven Eleven.

    nk (dbc370)

  184. well the actual circumstances of Iraq at the time of the invasion:

    http://fas.org/irp/eprint/iraqi/index.html

    narciso (3fec35)

  185. narciso! Do you expect me to click all those links when Lon Williams’ “Judge Steele” stories are waiting for me on my Nook? ;)

    I do remember this: http://www.foxnews.com/story/2002/03/26/saddam-pays-25k-for-palestinian-bombers/

    But the source is, how you say in your country? … just scroll all the way down for the writer and decide for yourself.

    nk (dbc370)

  186. The Presbyterians know what it’s like to be oppressed by a theocracy, happyfeet. That’s how we got Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock.

    Are you drunk again? You’re rambling Presbyterians have no connection to the Pilgrims. Nor do Presbyterians have a history of living under theocracy; at no time could Scotland ever have been described as one. In any case, no such history, real or supposed, would have any connection to the PCUSA, or to its recent decision to join the Nazi boycott.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  187. Anyway, PCUSA has little connection with any of its history, and is less Christian than Marxist

    Milhouse (b95258)

  188. Milhouse, you’ve got to stop learning your history from Harry Turtledove.

    nk (dbc370)

  189. I don’t think Turtledove has written anything about British history; it’s not his field. But I’ll bet he knows a lot more about it than you do, and if he were to write anything set in the 17th-century UK it would be well worth reading.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  190. The book “The New World Order” by Ben Jeares (David Fickling books 2004) is a science fiction alternate histiry story set in England about 1645 (with aliens who arrive by a “gate” who have late-19th centiry technology – balloons but not airplanes/

    And in Eric Flint’s 1632 or Ring-of-Fire series, Cromwell is arrested by a “forewarned” King Charles I (some of it is set in England) This series involves a town in West Virginia (called Grantville, based on Mannington, with one or two changes, to make it a little bit moore self-sufficient) being sent back in time from May, 2000 to the middle of 1631 and placed not too far from Magdeburg, Germany.

    Sammy Finkelman (107dde)

  191. Sammy, what has any of that got to do with Turtledove?

    Milhouse (b95258)

  192. Or with Presbyterians?

    Milhouse (b95258)

  193. Turtledove had that short alt story of what would have happened if Ghandi had faced off against Model,
    instead of the likes of Dyer, it doesn’t end well,

    narciso (3fec35)

  194. This virtually insures the de facto, if not de jure, disintegration of Iraq into 3 weak states and their subjugation by one or more neighboring states.

    Oddly enough, Joe Biden, that foreign policy “genius” (the Wile E. Coyote of foreign policy), used to propose this as the most desirable solution for Iraq.

    And I never understood why everyone made fun of him for it. It seemed to me like a good idea at the time, and in hindsight it seems even better. Had Bush adopted it we might have ended up with two solid allies there, and a bunch of pissed-off Sunnis who hated us no more than they do now, but with no oil.

    Yeah, it’s Slow Joe, but I assume he didn’t come up with it on his own.

    Milhouse (b95258) — 6/21/2014 @ 9:14 pm

    And this is why you are also a “universally respected foreign policy expert” on par with Joe Biden and Wile E. Coyote.

    A partitioned Iraq is an Iraq totally dominated by Iran. The first, Shiite Iraq will be a willing client state. The Kurdish area and the Sunni area will be vassal states governed by Iran via proxies.

    The best we can expect out of that is that these regions will be a thorn in Iran’s side for decades. But since the Sunni and Kurdish populations are relatively small and divided, they are likely to suffer greatly at the hands of the Shi’a and Iranians.

    A divided Iraq is basically three new Iranian satellites. And that is a bad, bad idea even if you only consider the the ramifications of world oil production.

    And think of how the Kuwaitis and Saudis will feel about this? Do you really want the Saudis to build a nuclear bomb of their own? Do you think an Iranian-dominated Iraq makes that more or less likely? Does that make the world a safer, more stable place?

    Do you even think before you hit that submit button?

    WarEagle82 (b18ccf)

  195. 183. The Palestine Mandate was not partitioned; there was a proposal to do so, which the Jews reluctantly agreed to but the Arabs didn’t, so it never happened.

    Yes it was, and yes they did. The result was “Transjordan”, later just “Jordan”.

    The Palestine Mandate was the de jure partitioned a second time, which was rejected by the Arabs, followed by a de facto partition which was not recognized then “revoked”.

    It has since been de facto partitioned a third time by the “international community”, with a de jure partition-with-borders-to-be-named-later which has functionally been rejected.

    194.I don’t think Turtledove has written anything about British history; it’s not his field. But I’ll bet he knows a lot more about it than you do, and if he were to write anything set in the 17th-century UK it would be well worth reading.

    I suppose that depends on how exactly you define “British history”.
    Worldwar/Colonization series is an alternate WWII/sci-fi history.
    Southern Victory series is an alternate Civil War/WWI/WWII history that heavily involves Canada, and thus by extension the U.K.
    Atlantis series is an alternate “world”, with the east coast of the Americas being an extra “continent” between Europe and the Americas. The War That Came Early is an alternate WWII history.
    The Two Georges, co-written with Richard Dreyfuss, is an alternate history where the American Revolution never occurred.
    Ruled Britannia is an alternate history where the Spanish Armada won.

    In addition, Darkness series is a fantasy version of WWII history.

    (Yes, I’m a Turtledove nut.)

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  196. And I never understood why everyone made fun of him for it. It seemed to me like a good idea at the time, and in hindsight it seems even better. Had Bush adopted it we might have ended up with two solid allies there, and a bunch of pissed-off Sunnis who hated us no more than they do now, but with no oil.

    Yeah, it’s Slow Joe, but I assume he didn’t come up with it on his own.
    Milhouse (b95258) — 6/21/2014 @ 9:14 pm

    How will that stabilize the region? Do you think that the Sunnis are going to accept the no oil part. Most likely they’ll all be warring against each other. We may be able to trust the Kurds, but they’re going to have problems with Turkey regardless of what Huseyin Celik said.

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  197. No they have seized the oil, even when it’s not in their zone;

    http://www.wiki.openoil.net/index.php?title=Kirkuk_oil_field

    narciso (3fec35)

  198. Hadoop,

    There is special dispensation for Milhouse. He is never even expected to make sense with his posts.

    He is the Wile E. Coyote of every topic here.

    WarEagle82 (b18ccf)

  199. 203.How will that stabilize the region? Do you think that the Sunnis are going to accept the no oil part. Most likely they’ll all be warring against each other. We may be able to trust the Kurds, but they’re going to have problems with Turkey regardless of what Huseyin Celik said.
    Hadoop

    As for general stability in the region:
    A Shiite state in southern Iraq becomes an immediate threat-in-being to Iran to behave or face partition itself, losing its Arab Shiites to the new states, as well as having its Kurds, Balochis, and possibly others carved off if it causes enough trouble to provoke a war. It further provides an alternate source of authority for Shiites.
    A Kurdish state in northern Iraq provides the same threat to behave or else to Iran, Turkey, and Syria, as well as creating a balancing force to keep Armenia and Azerbaijan calm.
    The Sunni state in the remainder will have (would have had) a significant Christian minority. Absorbed into Syria, it requires an even greater tolerance for the Christian population while requiring Syria to worry more directly about Saudi Arabia as well as keeping in mind its qualifications for getting carved up according to minority groups. Separate Alawite, Druze, and Christian states carved from Syria, combined with the Kurds, would provide significantly more trustworthy allies in the region than the Turks and the Saudis trying to play both ends.

    And if they want to fight each other anyway?
    Better than them having the energy and money to spare fighting us.
    Let them have a 50-year Spanish Civil War to see who the strongest is while we arm and equip the side or sides most receptive to being suitable allies.

    Sam (e8f1ad)

  200. A partitioned Iraq is an Iraq totally dominated by Iran. The first, Shiite Iraq will be a willing client state. The Kurdish area and the Sunni area will be vassal states governed by Iran via proxies.

    On the contrary, had the USA partitioned Iraq, the Shi’ite state could have been a pro-US rival to Iran. Arabs, including Shi’ite ones, don’t like Persians, and resent Iran’s current position as the leader of the Shi’ite world. An Arab Shi’ite state, owing the USA a debt of gratitude, and in control of the Shi’ite holy sites, could challenge Iran’s leadership. Meanwhile a pro-US Kurdistan, with oil, would be a willing host to US bases close to Iran. It would also be a challenge to the Turks, which they badly needed after they screwed us on the invasion. The Sunni part would be hostile to us, but they’d have nothing.

    The Shi’ite state could also compete for the loyalties of the Shi’ite parts of Eastern Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, thus destabilising the Wahabi regime, which is not really our friend. If we could get a true ally in their place, hurting the Ibn-Sauds would be a bonus.

    How will that stabilize the region? Do you think that the Sunnis are going to accept the no oil part.

    They would have had no choice. And I’m less interested in “stabilizing” the region than in destablizing it to our advantage. So long as our allies are on the front foot and our enemies (including the Sauds and Erdogan) are on the back foot, stability be damned.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  201. 183. The Palestine Mandate was not partitioned; there was a proposal to do so, which the Jews reluctantly agreed to but the Arabs didn’t, so it never happened.

    Yes it was, and yes they did. The result was “Transjordan”, later just “Jordan”.

    The 1923 partition was approved by the League of Nations; officially it was only an administrative division of the mandate into two sections to be administered separately, but after that the term “Palestine mandate” is always used only to refer to the western part. I was referring to that section, which was never partitioned.

    The Palestine Mandate was the de jure partitioned a second time, which was rejected by the Arabs, followed by a de facto partition which was not recognized then “revoked”

    No, it wasn’t. The 1947 General Assembly resolution was a proposal for a partition. Like all GA resolutions, it had no legal effect at all. The proposal was not agreed to by both sides, so it never took effect. De Jure, the territory of the post-1923 mandate is still one unit. The armistice of 1949 explicitly said the line was not to be an international border.

    I suppose that depends on how exactly you define “British history”.

    In the context of nk’s ridiculous claim, the definition should have been obvious: the religous conflicts in and around the Civil War and the Glorious Revolution, in the course of which the Pilgrims left, first for the Netherlands and then for Massachussetts. As far as I know Turtledove hasn’t written about that, but if he had it would be well-researched and worth more than nk’s drunken blatherings.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  202. There is special dispensation for Milhouse. He is never even expected to make sense with his posts.

    On the contrary, when has anything you’ve ever said made sense?

    Milhouse (b95258)

  203. And if they want to fight each other anyway? Better than them having the energy and money to spare fighting us. Let them have a 50-year Spanish Civil War to see who the strongest is while we arm and equip the side or sides most receptive to being suitable allies.

    Exactly.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  204. Mesopotamia in Ottoman times, were three continguous vilayets, some areas like Deir er Zeur, fell under the jurisdiction of sometimes Aleppo vilayet or Homs, so there hasn’t been an erasing of the border, but a consolidation of them, the Sunni tribes in the Baghdad one, dispossessed the Shia and the Kurds, much like the Russians did to the Tartars of the Crimea,

    narciso (3fec35)

  205. Milhouse is back with the full-on Wile E. Coyote foreign policy analysis.

    We shall know in a year or so how a dismembered Iraq fits into an Iranian dominated Middle East. The turmoil and turbulence Obama has wrought is likely to be the bane of our our grandchildren.

    On the contrary, when has anything you’ve ever said made sense?

    Milhouse (b95258) — 6/23/2014 @ 5:11 pm

    And I made more than ample sense by pointing out you never make any sense.

    And your latest posts pretty well demonstrate that point.

    There are some people who have the right to remain silent but simply lack the ability to do so…

    WarEagle82 (b18ccf)

  206. We shall know in a year or so how a dismembered Iraq fits into an Iranian dominated Middle East.

    No, we won’t, because it won’t be dismembered by us, for our own benefit. The Shi’ite state, in particular, will be ruled from Teheran, either formally or informally, rather than being a pro-US rival to Iran for the leadership of the world Shi’ite community.

    And I made more than ample sense by pointing out you never make any sense.

    Which is a blatant lie.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  207. The turmoil and turbulence Obama has wrought is likely to be the bane of our our grandchildren.

    This, at least, is certainly true. He’s got the fool’s version of the Midas touch; everything he touches turns to iron pyrites.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  208. About that Presbyterian antisemitism

    Milhouse (b95258)

  209. FWIW,
    There are Presbyterians, and there are Presbyterians. The link concerns the Presbyterian Church-USA (PCUSA). There are several other versions, though the other large one is the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). The PCUSA folk are likely to be anti-Israel, pro-Obama, pro gay marriage, etc. The PCA folk are more likely to be pro-(at least not anti) Israel, pro traditional marriage, pro what Obama said, not so pleased with how he has turned out.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  210. Back to the original topic (part 1 of several).

    The thing I request, no, demand, actually, is that people seriously consider the likely consequences of various actions and forget the trite phrases.
    How many people are there who are “pro-war”? Very few, if any, that I know.
    How many are really anti-war, and what do you mean by that? Pat says he was not for Gulf War I, that he would have let Saddam take Kuwait. I think many would suggest that had the US not lead a coalition to stop Saddam, he may have gone ahead and taken Saudi Arabia as well.
    Maybe you want to let an aggressor take over neighboring countries and stand by and absorb the world-wide shock waves. If that is what you want, go for it.

    Would you have been against Korea, against WW II?
    Hitler’s Germany was a regional power, controlling less of the world’s resources than Saddam (especially if Saddam controlled Kuwait, +/- SA, and who else).
    Even our declaring war on Japan was not really defensive, but retribution. They didn’t invade Hawaii, they didn’t invade the West Coast, they just didn’t want the US to get in the way of their domination of Asia and the Pacific.

    But, if one is serious and sensible, you need to understand the ramifications of the technology of today. Saying we will only fight a war of self defense face to face is like saying a person can defend themselves only with their fists, ignoring that your attacker can kill you from hundreds of yards away with a rifle.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  211. (part 2 of several)
    One needs to realize that domestic law and international law are totally dependent on 1 of 2 things:
    1) the virtue of individuals and nations motivating and enabling them to “do good”
    2) the risk and reality of negative consequences being imposed for “doing bad”

    If #1 is inadequate, and #2 not existent, then you are just waiting for harm to be done to you, as an individual or as a nation.

    What is human history, anyway, but the rise and fall of empires? Some are relatively small “empires”, such as Switzerland, others have been vast, in ancient times or more recent.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  212. (part 3 of several)

    Of course we have reason to be skeptical of the people in our government making wise decisions about war, but I think that really isn’t the issue.
    Because the issue in our country really is whether the people of the country are willing to support an armed conflict or not, and if not, why not. Our country can be committed to fighting a war only as long as we have before the next election. The self-interest of politicians from within and the infiltration of ideologies from without have neutered us since Vietnam.

    Ideally, the reason to have a military is for self-protection by preventing attack, by intimidating potential foes before there is a conflict. The US no longer intimidates anyone, hence invites attack.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  213. Well I’ve been jaundiced about the Gulf War, because among those we protected, were AQ’s cadres, if not Bin Laden himself, he wanted a chance to prove himself, likely he would have been hung or shot by the Baathists, now there might have been some damage to the oil fields, but those are the breaks,

    narciso (3fec35)

  214. (part 4 of several)

    The United States is by no means a perfect country, but I would submit we have done more good than most others. At the end of WW II, what did we do? Helped to rebuild the countries we were at war with for the good of their own people. Did the US leaving Vietnam end the problems there?, Not at all. The US may not always be the solution, but we have not been the main problem.

    Make the US isolationist if you want. You will not get a world that is better, you will get a world that is worse. And you will likely come to a point where we will need to surrender to tyranny or fight a more horrific war than we would have had to otherwise.

    BTW, “turning the other cheek” is responding to an insult with humility, not responding to a threat of bodily harm with passivity.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  215. War is insanity. Might as well try to make rules for cannibalism. You can defend yourself from cannibals. Hit first, hit hard, keep hitting until they can’t eat you anymore. Don’t let them come to you; take the fight to their soft places, their farms and factories, their women and children. It does not need to make you a cannibal too, but usually it does. It’s an insanity which is contagious.

    nk (dbc370)

  216. I’m just sayin’ that if people think retreating from the world is the way to go, it will not be as pretty as you think.
    And,
    the result in Iraq is not the result of things which should have been self evident in 2003,
    but the result of purposeful undermining of the US effort by a significant percentage in our own government, in our media, and in our country.
    Just like Vietnam.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  217. I agree. We need to be engaged. Identify the threat and preempt it by the appropriate means. The appropriate means may even be diplomacy, who knows, it could happen. ;)

    nk (dbc370)

  218. A large part of our Afghanistan quagmire is because we were not engaged there after the Soviets were kicked out, and when it came back on our radar screen (literally, with the 9/11 planes) we were walking into a place where we had no bases and no allies and had to cobble things together from scratch. The enemy, on the other had, had bases, allies, and supply routes.

    nk (dbc370)

  219. on the other *hand*

    nk (dbc370)

  220. Kind of the same thing with Gulf I. We let Saddam Hussein get complacent thinking we wimps. There’s an infamous video of him telling our lady ambassador that he was going to invade Kuwait and that he was confident that we would not do anything about it.

    nk (dbc370)

  221. Well it’s actually worse than that, the lion’s share of the money and materiel, went to groups like Raisul Sayyaf’s, Hekmatyar, Khalis’s group, which include Haqquani, the first two provided the bulk of the fighters that became AQ, the last the Taliban, the good guys, Massoud and co, they were outmatched and overwhelmed, even though they did most of the fighting,

    narciso (3fec35)

  222. 229. Its called arming, feeding, aiding and abetting the enemy.

    Lynching is way too good for him. Draw and quarter.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)


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