Patterico's Pontifications

8/10/2014

Hillary: Obama’s Syrian Policy a “Failure”; Also Criticizes Obama’s “Don’t Do Stupid Shit” Formulation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:03 pm

In an interview published today in The Atlantic, Hillary Clinton calls Obama’s failure to back Syrian rebels a “failure,” and also criticizes Obama’s ridiculous “Don’t do stupid shit” foreign policy principle.

Well, his former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, isn’t buying it. In an interview with me earlier this week, she used her sharpest language yet to describe the “failure” that resulted from the decision to keep the U.S. on the sidelines during the first phase of the Syrian uprising.

“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” Clinton said.

I hate to agree with Obama on anything, but I disagree with Clinton here. Some of the Syrian rebels have pledged loyalty to Al Qaeda. Why would we help Al Qaeda and its allies in Syria while trying to destroy them elsewhere?

If the Iraq war has taught us anything, it is that government actions often have intended consequences. Saddam Hussein was a horrible guy — but the forces he held in check, that have now been set loose upon the country, are no picnic themselves. Destabilizing a bad guy in power is not always the best thing to do. As Ted Cruz once observed:

Of nine major rebel groups, seven of them may well have some significant ties to Al Qaeda. And if Assad is toppled and replaced by a radical Islamist regime, what would be truly dangerous for the United States–for our allies like Israel and Jordan–is for a radical Islamist government to seize control of [the] chemical weapons and to deploy them, against us or our allies.

Check out Obama’s illegal war in Libya for another example of the genius of government foreign policy interventionism. Hooray for radical Islamists being in charge and militants having a ready sanctuary! Can we get more of that?

Hillary is on more solid ground when mocking Obama’s idiotic “Don’t do stupid shit” line:

At one point, I mentioned the slogan President Obama recently coined to describe his foreign-policy doctrine: “Don’t do stupid shit” (an expression often rendered as “Don’t do stupid stuff” in less-than-private encounters).

This is what Clinton said about Obama’s slogan: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

She softened the blow by noting that Obama was “trying to communicate to the American people that he’s not going to do something crazy,” but she repeatedly suggested that the U.S. sometimes appears to be withdrawing from the world stage.

No sane person is reassured by an American president telling journalists that his policy is “Don’t do stupid shit.” That right there is some stupid shit. Criticizing Obama for that is a no-brainer, but it’s interesting to note that the distancing has begun.

[Said in a stage whisper:] Dude, I think she might be running!

67 Responses to “Hillary: Obama’s Syrian Policy a “Failure”; Also Criticizes Obama’s “Don’t Do Stupid Shit” Formulation”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (e102e4)

  2. sounds to me like Clinton is operating on the premise that Meghan’s coward daddy has her back on the Syria thing so it’s a super-safe position for them to tag-team

    And I would be giving assistance to the Syrian – the Free Syrian Army, which is on the ropes right now because we failed to help them.

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  3. Sorry, Cankles, distancing yourself from Ogabe foreign policy failure is a lost cause.

    Coumadin isn’t enough. If she’s really serious a clone is her only hope.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  4. I still don’t think she will run. I think she is milking the speaking circuit while can. She can command much more doughs a potential Pres than a failed Sec of State. And loads more than someone retiring from public life.

    Gazzer (e04ef7)

  5. Who benefits from the destabilization of Syria?

    nk (dbc370)

  6. Actually, “Don’t do stupid shit” would have been a great organizing principle for Obama and Hillary both in any sphere. Too bad they didn’t follow it.

    Reset button? Benghazi cover-up? Cash for Clunkers? Obamacare? Fast and Furious? Bowing to potentates? Cuddling up with Muslim Brotherhood and stiff-arming Israel? Kangaroo courts for straight white males on campus? GM bailout? Muzzling and firing IGs? Racializing the DOJ? Weaponizing the IRS? It goes on and on.

    Jeez, Hillary, how I WISH “Don’t do stupid shit” was THE organizing principle of this Administration. Yannow, the one you were a part of.

    Eric (0ebc49)

  7. Hillary wants to run in 2016 as Bill’s third term. She’s afraid she’s going to end up running as Obama’s third term, hence the sudden move to throw it into reverse at hyperdrive. The danger for her here is there’s a large part of the Democratic Party who thinks Obama hasn’t been liberal enough, and doesn’t see why we should be doing anything to back anything George W. Bush supported in the Middle East. Throwing Obama under the bus 80 days before the midterms gives that crowd even more reason to step up their draft Fauxahontas movement, which could take Hillary out even before she has a chance to use her husband’s triangulation strategy in the ’16 general election.

    John (7f1d58)

  8. Iraq arabic for vietnam and now another cambodian killing fields ron paul was right neo-con israel freaks

    mr.gop (41b353)

  9. unoriginal troll is unoriginal.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  10. Is Shrillery running?
    I don’t know, but a lot can happen between now and Thanksgiving ’15.

    askeptic (efcf22)

  11. Hillary was all for the Arab Spring and the Libyan fiasco. It’s not surprising that Obama balked at helping the Syrian rebels after that. “Wolf!”, she cried, and no one listened. Sadly, though, by the time he woke up to the threat it was Al Qaeda vs Assad.

    Obama has a knack for letting his options wither while he golfs.

    I’d be more interested if she called him out for withdrawing from Iraq, blamed him for the mess today and called Kerry out as a fool. Maybe after the midterms.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  12. It’s pretty clear that Hillary is trying to keep the Jewish vote. Obama doesn’t care, and what Obama doesn’t care about goes under the bus, but Hillary cares a lot.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  13. Russia is benefitting from the destabilization of their client state, but they are not causing it.
    The guys who want Iraq, and Syria… seem focused on Iraq and then the Levant.
    I can’t figure out who is behind a group that wants to take over everything in a crescent around Saudi Arabia.
    Everything from the Sinai up through Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Cyprus, Syria, Iraq and Kuwait…
    maybe the Turks benefit by moving into the vacuum. The Turkish military could make short work of ISIL and maybe get a little oil and gas to ship up to Germany out of the deal.
    Give the kurds a homeland in Iraq and Syria.

    Yeah. I’d guess Turkey is sitting pretty

    SteveG (794291)

  14. I hate to agree with Obama on anything, but I disagree with Clinton here. Some of the Syrian rebels have pledged loyalty to Al Qaeda. Why would we help Al Qaeda and its allies in Syria while trying to destroy them elsewhere?

    I totally agree. Which is why when I see McCain and a few other Republicans siding with countries like effete France and the effete EU in their attempt to oust Bashar Hafez al-Assad, even by allowing Sharia-sympathizing rebels to lead the cause, I want to ask: What in the hell is wrong with these people in the US and Europe?!!

    Iraq’s Saddam Hussein at least was a truly bloodthirsty tyrant who was egregiously thumbing his nose at international condemnation (and feeding his enemies through wood chippers), which al-Assad, so far, and as bad as he is, hasn’t yet equaled. Even then, I can give some slack to those anti-war folks who say — with 50-50 hindsight — that Bush probably should have tolerated the idea of Hussein continuing to run Iraq.

    Closer to home, the very fact the US in 2014 enables godawful politicians like Obama and Hillary to be taken seriously or treated as serious contenders, of and by itself, is a sign of just how decadent and ideologically exhausted (or stupidly liberal) this nation has become.

    Mark (4307d7)

  15. “The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,”

    President Obama is now going around saying that was impossible, something that I don’t think he says for anywhere else. No place else does he say it is imposisble to raisde an army.

    Hey, if that’s so, that’s maybe an argument for direct U.S. intervention.

    It is just flatly untrue, since the opposition did have some army and there was nucleus of Syrian Army defectors.

    And if it is so, that there was nobody good to help, and you shouldn’t do anything yourself you might as well give up, and he should maybe then have helped Assad stay in power, and yu’d staunch the bloodshed and prevent the emergence of an al Qaeda state, like Assad was telling everyone

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  16. Hillary Clinton, of course, says nothing about her own culpability, or about the way the U.S. facilitating the helping of the wrong rebels. Hillary Clinton is lying, as usual, and saying things that to a semi-informed person, sound like they could be true.

    Now let’s look at the helping of the wrong rebels (something President Obama never mentions)
    by letting some other countries vet them, repeating the mistake that President Reagan made in Afghanistan, except he had less choice, and less reason to be wary

    http://www.debates.org/index.php?page=october-11-2012-the-biden-romney-vice-presidential-debate

    BIDEN: Let me — you don’t go through the U.N. We are in the process now — and have been for months — in making sure that help, humanitarian aid, as well as other aid and training is getting to those forces that we believe, the Turks believe, the Jordanians believe, the Saudis believe are the free forces inside of Syria.

    Paul Ryan was actually pretty ignorant or misled them. He thought Qatar was a good ally, but Biden already knew that Qatar did not belong on that list. I suppose his information was classified, although there was enough in the media and Paul Ryan was getting briefings, although who knows what was in them.

    (But I think Paul Ryan was honest, and he wouldn’t persist in a mistake. It was just didappointing to see him say that)

    Paul Ryan:

    So the longer this has gone on, the more people, groups like Al Qaida are going in. We could have more easily identified the free Syrian army, the freedom fighters, working with our allies, the Turks, the Qataris, the Saudis, had we had a better plan in place to begin with working through our allies. But, no, we waited for Kofi Annan to try and come up with an agreement through the U.N. That bought Bashar Assad time.

    The Turks! But Erdogan wasn’t so good, and was seeking an alliance with evil.

    The Saudis!! This at a time when Prince Bandar was in charge of Saudi Syrian policy, it’s reponse to teh “Arab Spring” and had been appointed director general of Saudi Intelligence Agency (in July 2012)

    The Qataris!!! The Qataris!!! Home of al Jazeera to say the least.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  17. Here Paul Ryan also says a little something about Hillary Clinton (who was a good soldier, and of course knew this would not work)

    How would we do things differently? We wouldn’t refer to Bashar Assad as a reformer when he’s killing his own civilians with his Russian-provided weapons. We wouldn’t be outsourcing our foreign policy to the United Nations giving Vladimir Putin veto power over our efforts to try and deal with this issue. He’s vetoed three of them.

    Hillary Clinton went to Russia to try and convince them not to do so. They thwarted her efforts. She said they were on the wrong side of history. She was right about that. This is just one more example of how the Russia reset’s not working.

    And so where are we? After international pressure mounted, the [sic] President Obama said Bashar Assad should go. It’s been over a year. The man has slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people. And more foreign fighters are spilling into this country.

    (This country being Syria)

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  18. Patterico: Hussein was a horrible guy — but the forces he held in check, that have now been set loose upon the country, are no picnic themselves.

    he didn’t hold them in check. He created them. The forces are some of his own people, and al Qaeda in Iraq, and after 1991, he let al Qaeda have a small piuece of territory in the Kurdish area.

    There was a failure to realize, on the part of Bush and Rumsfeld (and Cvheney) that there were some otgher forces in Iraqw besides the Baath Party “bitter enders.”

    It took Bush and Rumsfeld a reasl long tme to realize this – plus that they weren’t on their own but got help from outside sources like the Gulf States and Syria – people who did not wantt o se e a successful revolution where youu got a better government after a overthrowing a dictatorship.

    No Democrat predicted this. They just claimed it would be hard to defeat Saddam Hussein. They did not say, oh there’s going to be an opportunity, or a vacuum, that malevolent forces are going to try to fill, and that other countries, like Iran, and Syria, and Saudi Arabia, are going to try to prevent the emergence of an Arab democracy.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  19. Why would we help Al Qaeda and its allies in Syria while trying to destroy them elsewhere?

    Of course nobody recognized them as al Qaeda.

    Lindsey Graham had another qwuestion yesterday: Why would wew fight them in Iraq, but leave them alone in Syria, and its exactly the same organization?

    http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/fox-news-sunday-chris-wallace/2014/08/10/president-obama-doing-too-little-or-too-much-iraq

    The homeland is threatened by the presence of ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

    To change that threat, we have to have a sustained air campaign in Syria and Iraq. We need to go on offense. There is no force within the Mideast that can neutralize or contain or destroy ISIS without at least American air power…..

    …WALLACE: Senator Graham, are you saying we should go back to war in Iraq?

    GRAHAM: I’m saying Iraq and Syria combined represent a direct threat to our homeland….

    …WALLACE: But, you know, President Obama likes to say what happens next? What happens the day after?

    If we go into a full-fledged air campaign against ISIS, as you say, both in Iraq and in Syria, then we’re in the middle of two civil wars in Iraq and in Syria. Do we really want to do that? Do we really want to go back full fledged into these two countries and we know how Iraq turned out. That wasn’t so great.

    GRAHAM: Do you really want to let America be attacked? You’re having people on the ground slaughtering Christians. They have four goals: to make every Muslim bend to their will, to destroy the Christian population in the Mideast, to drive us out, and eventually destroy Israel. So, here’s my statement to the president — Mr. President, your own people are telling you we face an attack on this region. Your game plan, the actions you’re taking, cannot protect us. There is no substitute for America being involved in terms of eradicating ISIS. If we don’t hit them in Syria, you’ll never solve the problem in Iraq.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  20. Kevin M (b357ee) — 8/11/2014 @ 12:02 am

    Sadly, though, by the time he woke up to the threat it was Al Qaeda vs Assad.

    When they’ve eliminated everybody else, or think they have, they may sign a 10-year non aggression pact. They’ll divvy up Syria. And Iraq.

    …which could be by the end of August.

    I think Iran and the Caliph Ibrahim are negotiating already.

    By the way, it’s not AL QAEDA – it’s MUTANT Al Qaida.

    I’d be more interested if she called him out for withdrawing from Iraq, blamed him for the mess today and called Kerry out as a fool. Maybe after the midterms.

    Nah. She won’t attack other Democrats. Not that way.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  21. Chris Wallace is wrong about Iraq. It’s not a civil war, it’s an invasion.

    And the idea that ISIS wouldn’t exist if Saddam still held Iraq is a completely baseless idea. The Iraqi army folded immediately upon both the ISIS and US invasions, and there’s absolutely no reason to believe that a Saddam-led army would react differently to ISIS then the US.

    JWB (c1c08f)

  22. I’d view a Hillary presidency as being about as welcome as getting news that your Wasserman test was “positive”. Her presidential term can only lead to paresis for the nation.

    Skeptical Voter (12e67d)

  23. Reasonable organizing principles are 1)when U.S. national security is involved, which can involve economic realities [but real security; not the make believe variety] 2) to prevent, where possible, genocide and 3) to support groups that want modern Madisonian democracies, whatever they may call them, that necessarily include individual rights such as free speech/conscience/press, rule of law, private property, privacy, due process and equal protection of the law for women, minorities, dissenters and the like.

    DHE (bb953d)

  24. coming from someone who shrieked
    “what difference does it make now?”
    hilarit clingon, ass clown

    jb (56b57b)

  25. Hillary is at least as much a leftist as Obama. She does have a voice in her ear who is more in touch with reality, Bill. He was smart enough to let smart people, including the 1994 Congress, tell him what he could NOT do.

    She is Obama with less charm.

    The reasons why we could not leave Saddam in place after 9/11 have been forgotten by most Americans, many of whom never understood anyway, and especially by most politicians and all Democrats.

    Mike K (b5c01a)

  26. What the hell is Smart Diplomacy?

    AZ Bob (34bb80)

  27. Sammy writes: “There was a failure to realize, on the part of Bush and Rumsfeld (and Cvheney)[sic] that there were some otgher forces in Iraqw besides the Baath Party “bitter enders.”

    This is utter horse manure, Sammy. Everyone knew that there were multiple factions in Iraq. Cheney himself had dealt with the Kurds and Shi’ite issues during his own tenure at SecDef. Why do you write such silly things? One might argue that they underestimated the difficulty of navigating the waters between the various factions but such a blatantly false assertion about what Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney understood about Iraq is typical of the utter nonsense that gets written about the Bush administration.

    SPQR (c4e119)

  28. The military did not appreciate the tribal nature of Iraqi society but the military has gotten these things wrong before. Read Gary Berntsen’s “Jawbreaker” about when the Big Army arrived in Afghanistan and told all those Special Forces guys to “shave and get in uniform.”

    Mike K (b5c01a)

  29. It is amazing that the one who came up with the idiotic reset button can legitimately criticize the administration for ineptitude. When Hillary left the Obama administration to return to the private sector the average foreign policy intelligence of both groups went down. What a sad state of affairs for our country.

    TMW (f48f8c)

  30. If Obama issues another Red Line I think everything will be just fine.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  31. Hillary is at least as much a leftist as Obama. She does have a voice in her ear who is more in touch with reality, Bill. He was smart enough to let smart people, including the 1994 Congress, tell him what he could NOT do.

    The saving grace of Bill Clinton was that he was so venal, so desperate to cling to power, that he was fine and dandy with selling out his political allies for expedience’s sake. Hillary, at age 70, may not be as willing to compromise since she would naturally be striving for a permanent legacy that she would want to see before she dies.

    JVW (638245)

  32. The biggest single failure in the Iraq approach was not smashing the Iraqis flat with the 4th Infantry Division coming down from Turkey. Turkey should have been ejected from NATO over that. Instead their army was able to disburse and harass for years.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  33. Well, I don’t think we have any business spending billions to send troops, weapons, and supplies, to the Middle East when there is a war against godless Communism, false religions, and downright un-Americanism to be fought right here in Hollywood. And you can have a perm and a pedicure, along with a brioche and Perrier during lulls in the fighting, too.

    nk (dbc370)

  34. I think its important, critical even, to stand up to the death-cultists in Iraq.

    Otherwise we’ll be fighting them here at home. Like Chiraq, Detroit and St. Louis.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  35. 28. It is amazing that the one who came up with the idiotic reset button can legitimately criticize the administration for ineptitude. When Hillary left the Obama administration to return to the private sector the average foreign policy intelligence of both groups went down. What a sad state of affairs for our country.

    TMW (f48f8c) — 8/11/2014 @ 8:46 am

    So idiotic they couldn’t even get the Russian word for “reset” correct.

    I was thinking the same thing you were when I was reading the news about Hillary!’s critiques of Obama’s FP. She’s no one to talk. She’s just as deluded as Obama when it comes to viewing the world through an ideological perspective that’s so strong it approaches religious conviction. And for ever-estimating her own ability and accomplishments (has she ever accomplished anything on her own, ever?).

    Hillary! still thinks her “overcharge” button was a brilliant stroke. She’s proud of it. She has no other achievements she can point to, I guess. Although she’ll try to convince the country that putting a lot of miles on the odometer and caring about women’s and girl’s issues were somehow achievements.

    Which sort of provides me with an excuse to discuss that maniacal giggle of hers. I suppose her one achievement was getting that child rapist off on a lesser charge and with time served back in the ’70s. It makes it tough for her to present herself as a champion of women and girls when she had to smear the 12 y.o. victim’s character in order to get the guy off. She didn’t have to do that. She didn’t have to take the case; she did it as a political favor, essentially. But let’s grant that she was fulfilling some sort of noble responsibility by defending someone no one else would defend. It’s not true. The guy would have had an attorney, but he wanted a female attorney. But let’s pretend it’s true.

    Did she have to try to smear the victim? And did she have to giggle about everything when she was interviewed? That part seemed just a tad sick to me. Here we see it again as she can’t control herself when talking about Gaddafi’s death.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMVgtQ2Ahqc

    Hillary Clinton, “we came, we saw, he died .”

    I prefer my Presidents to be not quite so twisted, thank you very much.

    No sane person is reassured by an American president telling journalists that his policy is “Don’t do stupid $hit.” That right there is some stupid $hit.

    Quite true. But it doesn’t stop the Preezy from doing to stupid $hit anyway. Like Hillary! and her maniacal giggle, Obumble just can’t help himself. I suppose that’s why he needs an office mantra to remind him. It would be like if I needed to put up a sign by my fuse box saying “don’t electrocute yourself.” Or even better, a sign next to the pilot light window on my water heater saying, “Remember what you did you your last house? Yeah, don’t do that.”

    As near as I can tell, King Putt thinks his own FP/National Security instincts are infallible. By “Don’t do stupid $hit” he means follow other people’s advice. He’s impervious to the evidence that the world doesn’t work the way he and all the other liberal arts majors in the freshman dorm imagine it does.

    We see this on display most recently in Iraq. I won’t even get into the preceding stupid $hit; just the stupid $hit he’s planning on doing now. First of all, his intention is to negotiate with ISIS?!?!?! As he told Friedman, his goal in Iraq is that there be no victors and no vanquished.

    Hundreds of thousands of Yezidis and Christians are unavailable for comment.

    These people are beheading some toddlers, cutting others in half, committing genocide, burying the murdered and some still alive in shallow graves, and running open slave markets. I guess the only thing you can do that will prompt Obama not to negotiate with you is get elected as a Republican. More to the point, you can’t negotiate with ISIS. For two reasons.

    The minor one is it’s illegal since they’re a terror organization. The brilliant fuaxcahantas, Elizabeth Warren, said that means we need the Iraqis to negotiate with them. Great. We don’t negotiate with terrorists, but we’ll push our allies to negotiate with terrorists. The bottom line is what this administration is telling terrorists that somehow they’ll get negotiations with the US, just via proxy. But then, if you’ve been paying attention they’ve been saying that for years.

    The major one is that there’s nothing ISIS wants that’s negotiable. Again, Prom Queen is looking at the world through his ideological prism. He thinks deep down ISIS has material demands that his socialist heart of hearts can understand. All that religious crap is just so much cover for their anger over inadequate education, the lack of economic opportunity, and free childcare in their home countries. Just like Boko Haram.

    Negotiating with ISIS is most definitely “stupid $hit. It’s weapons grade “stupid $hit.” Naturally it’s on the menu.

    What’s off the menu is any sort of decisive military action. As a matter of fact, based upon President Mean Girl’s comments I can’t tell if he intends to do anything meaningful at all. He seems to have narrowed down US interests to protecting facilities and personnel in Irbil. When the real US interest is destroying ISIS. That has the nice combined effect of protecting those facilities while destroying a terrorists threat to the West in general and the US in particular.

    But, no, he can’t do that. Mr. Root Cause thinks that would mean Maliki wouldn’t compromise with non-Shiites in that case. So he thinks ISIS should remain as an effective force to act as his stick to get the Iraqis to hold hands and form a unity government.

    This, again, is insanity. It’s like a town’s volunteer fire department refusing to put out a house fire because they warned the owner about smoking in bed. As the surrounding homes, some of them their own, begin to smolder they insist they won’t put out the fire until the guy completes a smoking cessation program. As if they have that much time.

    Obama is a self-deluded idiot. Not just in the areas of Foreign Policy and National Security, mind you. Have you heard the guy talk about how he thinks economies work?

    Hillary! is no better. As far as I’m concerned her performance as a Senator and as SecState disqualify her from any position of responsibility let alone the presidency. She just punched the clock, achieving nothing worthwhile. But she oversaw a lot of preventable disasters and somehow managed to avoid taking any responsibility for them.

    We don’t need four to eight more years of that.

    Steve57 (34b0af)

  36. 30.If Obama issues another Red Line I think everything will be just fine.
    daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 8/11/2014 @ 8:55 am

    Let Obama take care of it. He takes care of everything.

    AZ Bob (c949f7)

  37. Meanwhile, on the southern border, James O’Keefe strikes again. Whatever the border is, “secure” is not one of the options.

    Milhouse (9d71c3)

  38. meh… what difference
    at this point does this shlt make?
    he has lost it all

    Colonel Haiku (819c71)

  39. The biggest single failure in the Iraq approach was not smashing the Iraqis flat with the 4th Infantry Division coming down from Turkey. Turkey should have been ejected from NATO over that. Instead their army was able to disburse and harass for years.

    I thought at the time (and still do) that Bush should have punished Turkey by establishing an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq, without requiring it to renounce its territorial claims on Syria, Iran, or Turkey. Let the Turks worry about them. (I think this is one thing Biden (or rather one of his advisers) did get right.)

    Milhouse (9d71c3)

  40. @BarackObama #ThisAggressionMustNotStand #NotOneMoreBeheading

    Colonel Haiku (0ccd7a)

  41. I find it endlessly amusing that Hillary thinks she can distance herself from Obama by distancing herself from her own role as Sec of State. And the MFM will gladly help her.

    JD (fe9d30)

  42. It is 3 a.m. somewhere in the world and nobody from the U.S. government is answering the phone.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  43. Send cheney bush and neo-con vietnam war draft dodging chicken hawks over their. They started it let them finish it. Ron Paul was right!

    Mr.gop (1b2e1e)

  44. At 3am Hillary would still be out looking for Bill

    EPWJ (29d77c)

  45. “There was a failure to realize, on the part of Bush and Rumsfeld (and Cvheney)[sic] that there were some other forces in Iraqw besides the Baath Party “bitter enders.” ”

    SPQR (c4e119) — 8/11/2014 @ 8:00 am

    This is utter horse manure, Sammy. Everyone knew that there were multiple factions in Iraq. Cheney himself had dealt with the Kurds and Shi’ite issues during his own tenure at SecDef.

    I meant armed anti-American forces who would fight the United States military. The word “forces” means armed. I didn’t mean of course, the Kurds, or political divisions

    Why do you write such silly things? One might argue that they underestimated the difficulty of navigating the waters between the various factions but such a blatantly false assertion about what Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney understood about Iraq is typical of the utter nonsense that gets written about the Bush administration.

    The attacks came from al Qaeda – whic they did not realize had existed in a corner of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and from newly recruited jihadists and the Mahdi army, which did not exis in Saddam Husssein’s Iraq. Rumsfeld assumed attacks could only come from bitter-enders and therefore they could only get weaker and weaker.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  46. Sorry for leaving too much boldface unintentionally.

    Of course Chris Wallace was wrong in callng this a “civil War”

    It wasn’t a civil war even when Zarqaewi was in charge.

    But right now, ISI had most retreated into Syria, and they attacked from Syria. As Lindsey Graham implies, it’s obviously ridiculous to treat the war in Syria and the war in Iraq as two separate wars.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  47. No sane person is reassured by an American president telling journalists that his policy is “Don’t do stupid $hit.” That right there is some stupid $hit.

    The problem with that is that a lot of what President Obama would call stupid, isn’t stupid.

    And what’s really stupid sometimes is avoiding acknowledgement of the consequences of doing nothing.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  48. Steve57 (34b0af) — 8/11/2014 @ 10:49 am

    By “Don’t do stupid $hit” he means follow other people’s advice.

    He means, basically, don’t do anything, unless you can be sure everything will work out right. And there are lots of ways people will tell him things can go wrong. That’s what I mean when I say what he would call stupid, isn’t stupid.

    It would not have been stupid, at all to begin bombing ISIL/ISIS/Daesh right after June 10. Bombing cannot recover territory, but it is an excellent way to defend territory if there is any kind of adefending army at all. We saw this many times. It would not at all have ben stupid to begin arming the Kurds directly and not stand on ceremony or wait for a good government to be established in Baghdad – like as if anyway he understands what would make it good or bad.

    And it was stupi also to not do anything about the CIA which failed to warn about this. Intelligence agencies are saying hey predicted it – they didn’t predict the collapse of the Oraqi army. Well, they sahould have known taht too. And the Pesh Merga were saying they didn’t have enough weapons. ISIS is better armed than they are with captured America weapons. They even have bulletproof cars.

    First of all, his intention is to negotiate with ISIS?!?!?! As he told Friedman, his goal in Iraq is that there be no victors and no vanquished.

    No, I don’t think he means that. What’s stupid here is imaging ISIS represents Sunnis. I think he’s talking about people who sided with ISIS initially. There actually was ameeting held in Jordan which the Iraqi government protested.

    and running open slave markets.

    I’m not sure about that. Who’s going to buy the slaves??

    I guess the only thing you can do that will prompt Obama not to negotiate with you is get elected as a Republican.

    Well, do more than pretend to.

    We don’t negotiate with terrorists, but we’ll push our allies to negotiate with terrorists.

    They did that with Hamas.

    The major one is that there’s nothing ISIS wants that’s negotiable. Again, Prom Queen is looking at the world through his ideological prism. He thinks deep down ISIS has material demands that his socialist heart of hearts can understand.

    Probably not. What he maybe thinks is that ISIS has supporters who can be accomodated and that ISIS needs support, and will have a problem without it. He also seems to think that there’s something ineffective about American troops. To win, you need a united army of Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis.

    What’s off the menu is any sort of decisive military action. As a matter of fact, based upon President Mean Girl’s comments I can’t tell if he intends to do anything meaningful at all. He seems to have narrowed down US interests to protecting facilities and personnel in Irbil.

    And Baghdad. Also rescuing the Yazidis on the mountain. Which has actally been done, not just by the escape route through Syria, but by bombing here and there and telling the people on the mountain who still have working cell phones that now it’s safe to go in this direction or by this route for the time being.

    What he doesn’t want to do is enough, or even more, even if it wouldn’t cost anything. It’s a big point with him that the Iraqi army has to win. If the Iraqi Air Force bombs, that’s good with him. Not so good the U.S. Air Force. Although, actually, you know, it’s better, and better at avoiding friendly fire.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  49. When the real US interest is destroying ISIS. That has the nice combined effect of protecting those facilities while destroying a terrorists threat to the West in general and the US in particular.

    Destroying ISIS doesn’t seem to be on the menu. Although keeping them from conquering the two capitals of Baghdad and Erbil is. Trying to get the Lurds or anybody else to go on the offensive also is.

    But, no, he can’t do that. Mr. Root Cause thinks that would mean Maliki wouldn’t compromise with non-Shiites in that case.

    Some people think (possibly wrongly) that he’ll change when Maliki is gone. (He doesn’t want Maliki to compromise. He wants him out. He wants a new government in Baghdad. Maliki is insisting on his legal prerogatives, and threatening now to sue the new Iraqi (Kurdish) president, if he doesdn’t nominate him to try to form a new government, although there is some dispute is his is really the largest faction. Maybe that should be the bigger coalition his party is a part of.

    There was some kind of a deadline at 3 pm Iraqi time. I ddn’t check what happened yet.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  50. Steve57: So he thinks ISIS should remain as an effective force to act as his stick to get the Iraqis to hold hands and form a unity government.

    That’s what his policy amounts to.

    This, again, is insanity. It’s like a town’s volunteer fire department refusing to put out a house fire because they warned the owner about smoking in bed. As the surrounding homes, some of them their own, begin to smolder they insist they won’t put out the fire until the guy completes a smoking cessation program. As if they have that much time.

    Amen.

    As the Wall Street Journal editorialized over the weekend:

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-jihadist-march-in-iraq-1407454501

    Updated Aug. 8, 2014 3:49 p.m. ET

    Perhaps history will mark this as the week that President Obama recognized that evil unimpeded will devour everything before it. We say perhaps because with this President you never know….

    … Despite ISIS’s obvious threat to the viability of Iraq—it now also threatens Kurdistan in the north—the Obama Administration to this point has done nothing significant for more than two months to help the Iraqis fight back. Instead, it has insisted that the Iraqis in Baghdad first depose Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and form a more “inclusionary” government.

    Under current circumstances, this policy defines “beside the point.” It has become a pretext for not acting, as if ISIS will pause while Baghdad organizes itself in a way that meets Mr. Obama’s standards. It is past time for the U.S. to intervene.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  51. It is not so much complete an smoking cessation program, as demanding he do something else first, that would contribute to putting out the fire or preventing its spread, that indeed maybe should be done, before they will douse the fire with water.

    Obama is a self-deluded idiot. Not just in the areas of Foreign Policy and National Security, mind you. Have you heard the guy talk about how he thinks economies work?

    I think mostly it’s that need for consistency that’s a problem for him.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  52. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/12/world/middleeast/iraq.html?_r=0

    Iraq’s president formally nominated a candidate on Monday to replace Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The step broke a monthslong political deadlock, but it also seemed to take Iraq into uncharted territory, as Mr. Maliki gave no signal that he was willing to relinquish power.

    The nomination of Haider al-Abadi, who is a member of Mr. Maliki’s Shiite Islamist Dawa Party, came hours after a dramatic late-night television appearance in which a defiant Mr. Maliki challenged the Iraqi president, Fuad Masum, and threatened legal action for not choosing him as the nominee…

    …Mr. Maliki’s late-night television appearance, in which he appeared to be trying to intimidate Mr. Masum by mentioning the army in the context of protecting the Constitution, alarmed American officials and left Baghdad wondering if a coup was imminent.

    Under Iraq’s Constitution, Mr. Abadi now has 30 days in which to form a government that offers meaningful positions to Iraq’s main minority factions, Sunnis and Kurds. During that time, Mr. Maliki will remain as a caretaker leader, and as commander in chief of Iraq’s security forces.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  53. Secretary of State John Kerry, in Australia, warned that Mr. Maliki must back the constitutional process and not attempt to circumvent it by using his powers as commander in chief to stay in office. He said that any extralegal effort to cling to power would bring a cutoff of international aid.

    “There should be no use of force,” Mr. Kerry said in remarks to reporters in Sydney, where he was meeting with government leaders, “no introduction of troops or militias into this moment of democracy for Iraq.”

    “Iraq needs to finish its government formation process,” Mr. Kerry added. “And our hope is that Mr. Maliki will not stir those waters.” He said the Iraqi people wanted a peaceful transition of power.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  54. Y’all have been Finkelbombed.

    JD (110bf3)

  55. The New York times also had two good artivcles in the Fridayn and Saturday paper, about Obama;s decision making on Iraq.

    He spent the whole day Thursday arguing with his advisers. He didn’t go out anywhere except to sign a Veterans bill.

    There was also some good articles on the Ebola outbreak – as best it can be traced, it started with a 2-year old in Guinea near the borders of both Sierre Leone and Liberia – and on Israel’s intelligence failure about the tunnels.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  56. What the hell is Smart Diplomacy?
    AZ Bob (34bb80) — 8/11/2014 @ 7:56 am

    Whatever it is, it does not involve this Administration or State Department, let alone the President or Sec of State (either one).

    askeptic (efcf22)

  57. If Obama issues another Red Line I think everything will be just fine.
    daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 8/11/2014 @ 8:55 am

    Yes, as long as he doesn’t cross it, for Michelle has spoken.

    askeptic (efcf22)

  58. Milhouse (9d71c3) — 8/11/2014 @ 11:36 am

    But that would have instigated a full on open revolt against the administration over at Foggy Bottom, and Bush needed them for the success they would bring to the Iraq rebuilding./s

    askeptic (efcf22)

  59. WTF, Sammy!?!? Crystal Blue Persuasion?

    Colonel Haiku (8cb0f3)

  60. Obama just endorsed regime change today.

    JD (110bf3)

  61. 34-gary
    Those ingrates would never try that in rural America.
    Even democrats have rifle racks.

    mg (31009b)

  62. Off topic: We had a thread a while ago in which some commenters claimed that there was evidence that pot significantly impairs driving. Wrong.

    Milhouse (9d71c3)

  63. pot significantly impairs the motivation to get off the couch and find the keys

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  64. R.I.P. Robin Williams

    Icy (e6ea2c)

  65. 59. Colonel Haiku (8cb0f3) — 8/11/2014 @ 2:47 pm

    WTF, Sammy!?!? Crystal Blue Persuasion?

    What does “Crystal Blue Persuasion” mean?

    wikipedia tells me it is a 1969 song.

    These lyrics don’t help me too much:

    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tommyjamesandtheshondells/crystalbluepersuasion.html

    Sammy Finkelman (4a5b32)

  66. If Obama wants to talk about taking action being stupid, he may have done that himself earlier, in 2010.

    Two leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq were assassinated in 2010 at the same time, after which Baghdadi emerged as the leader. Now normally this should not lead to an improvement (more often than not) but it occurs to me that Baghdadi might have fed information to the United States and had the U.S. assassinate the people higher up.

    Here is a New York Times article yesterday on the rise of the new caliph:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/11/world/middleeast/us-actions-in-iraq-fueled-rise-of-a-rebel.html?_r=0

    While the New York Times does not say so, maybe Obama cleared the way for him…

    As the Americans were winding down their war in Iraq, they focused on trying to wipe out Al Qaeda in Iraq’s remaining leadership. In April 2010, a joint operation by Iraqi and American forces made the biggest strike against the group in years, killing its top two figures near Tikrit.

    A month later, the group issued a statement announcing new leadership, and Mr. Baghdadi was at the top of the list. The Western intelligence community scrambled for information.

    They had no idea who he was. his biography is still confused. The pentagon said he was imprisoned only for a number of months in 2004, and released that December, but Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi scholar who researched Mr. Baghdadi’s life, sometimes on behalf of Iraqi intelligence, said he was imprisoned for five years, till 2009. Also that he was originally a Sufi.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)


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