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Americans Disapprove Of Obama’s Handling Of Iraq, And Of The Idea of Intervening In Iraq

Iraq 15 December 2011

A new Quinnipiac poll shows that a majority of Americans disapprove of the way the President is handling the situation in Iraq:

A majority of American voters disapprove of President Barack Obama’s handling of the situation in Iraq, a new poll says.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, 55 percent of U.S. voters disapprove of the Obama administration’s policies in Iraq, compared to 37 percent who approve.

U.S. voters still blame former President George W. Bush more than Obama for the deteriorating situation in Iraq, where militants from the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant have swept across much of the northern and central part of the country. Fifty-one percent of voters blame Bush for the current crisis in Iraq, while 27 percent blame Obama.

The fact that voters aren’t thrilled with how President Obama is handling things in Iraq doesn’t mean that they are getting ready to jump on the interventionism bandwagon with the likes of former Vice President Cheney, though:

Most voters also think that the administration’s move to withdraw troops from Iraq in 2011 was the right decision. Fifty-eight percent of voters said withdrawing all troops was a good decision, compared to 37 percent who said it was the wrong decision

The survey shows an American public that remains wary of U.S. intervention in Iraq. Sixty-three percent of respondents — including a majority in both parties — oppose committing combat troops in Iraq. Fifty-six percent of voters also say that getting involved in Iraq is not in the U.S. national interest.

On some level, I suppose, one might think that there’s a contradiction here and that public disapproval of the President’s polices would lead, at least to some extent, to support for those of his critics. However, what I think it going on is that the public recognizes that things are going badly in Iraq. The President has responded to these events by taking actions such as sending more troops to beef up embassy security, instituting surveillance flights, and refusing to rule out the possibility of air strikes in the future. In other words, to some degree, he is undertaking a course of action that seems to designed to guarantee increased American involvement in Iraq three years after we extricated ourselves from there to the overwhelming support of the American public, ending a war that had long before become exceedingly unpopular. Arguably, then, the public’s disapproval of the President’s action in Iraq isn’t related to the fact that they think he’s doing too little, but the fact that they think he’s doing too much.  The evidence in support of that argument can be seen in the fact that support for the removal of American troops from Iraq remains overwhelmingly high, and that the majority of the public seems to strongly disfavor renewed American involvement in the affairs of that nation.

On some level, I suppose, one can argue that a President must act in what he believes to be the national interest even when public opinion is against him. For better or worse, this is most assuredly what President Obama did in Libya in 2011, for example. At the same time, though, a sustained foreign policy initiative, especially one that has a military component, is not going be successful if it lacks domestic support, and right now it seems obvious that the idea of further U.S. involvement in Iraq lacks domestic support. The American people aren’t always right about these things, of course, but this is the price we pay for the bitter experience of the Iraq War itself. Indeed, as many foreign policy observers have noted in recent years, perhaps the most important legacy of the Iraq War will be the extent to which it will make it harder for American Presidents to sell the American public on the idea of American involvement in a foreign crisis even when that involvement might be necessary. While some will lament the fact that this will make it harder for Presidents to engage in the kind of military adventurism that Iraq epitomized, the toll that we paid and continued to pay for that decision argues strongly in favor of the idea that we shouldn’t lament the prospect of public opinion holding back an otherwise interventionist President all that much.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. edmondo says:

    The American people aren’t always right about these things

    The American people have been a hell of a lot “righter” about foreign policy than their presidents have been since around 1960. They say the disasters in Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan far earlier than their “leaders”. But then again, when it’s your sons and daughters who are doing the dirty work, you tend to see things a lot more clearly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    Once you manage to crawl out of a quagmire there is little desire to jump back in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  3. Another Mike says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Once you manage to crawl out of a quagmire there is little desire to jump back in.

    That’s about the size of it, I’m afraid. If we wanted to have any control over the situation in Iraq, we should have stayed there when we could have. Maybe we could have kept a lid on the problems. There is not much we can do now. No one wants to pay that price.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  4. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    “On some level, I suppose, one might think that there’s a contradiction here….”

    Indeed. I think what Americans are waiting for is the President who admits both wars were terrible mistakes, and there really is no justification for even one more American to be involved, nor the selling of so much as one more bullet to anyone. They are waiting for the announcement of vast shifts int DoD dollars to help the vets who were horribly dishonored by the acts of cowardly politicians.

    America routinely engages in arms dealership, selling people like the Saudis weapons of unspeakable death, assuring as we hand them out in Act I, they will be used in Act III. America has addicted itself to murder as a result. The culture reeks of it. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed as a result of American aggression in the GWB and Obama years.

    It will get worse until grand juries are seated to probe matters of war crimes no matter where they lead. The absence of any kind of consequences for these crimes will assure America never emerges from the Bronze Age of its mind, leaving it vulnerable to attack from within by theocratic charismatics. White Horse Romney is mulling 3.0.

    And no current poser for the Presidency in 2016 will make so much as a dent in it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  5. anjin-san says:

    @ Another Mike

    If we wanted to have any control over the situation in Iraq, we should have stayed there when we could have.

    Sure, a 30-50 year occupation of Iraq. Why not? Decades of American casualties and endless national treasure down the drain to support Bush’s Folly.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  6. Mr. Prosser says:

    Send in the Blackwater/Xe/Academi bunch. It’s their kind of place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. C. Clavin says:
  8. Ron Beasley says:

    @Another Mike: Without a new SOFA there was no legal way we could stay. When the US overthrew Saddam and installed Maliki we essentially turned the country over to Iran where he had lived in exile for 20 years. It was Iran that instructed Maliki to reject a new SOFA and he complied.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  9. Todd says:

    Most of these type of polls should be subtitled “Americans express opinion on subjects about which they have very little actual understanding.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  10. The American people want Iraq to turn into Freetopia so they don’t have to feel guilty about supporting the invasion, but oppose doing anything to make this happen. A good president would make this happen magically by force of will, because American Exceptionalism or something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  11. Grewgills says:

    On some level, I suppose, one might think that there’s a contradiction here and that public disapproval of the President’s polices would lead, at least to some extent, to support for those of his critics…
    Arguably, then, the public’s disapproval of the President’s action in Iraq isn’t related to the fact that they think he’s doing too little, but the fact that they think he’s doing too much.

    I think the more likely explanation is that some think he is doing too little. They like Cheney argue that we should have stayed in (magically or illegally) and should be doing more now. Others think we are on a course to be recommitting ground troops and are doing too much. It’s much the same as the majority of people disapproving of the ACA, the opposition comes from two radically different sides.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  12. C. Clavin says:

    Most Americans also thought Iraq was behind 9.11

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  13. george says:

    @Another Mike:

    If we wanted to have any control over the situation in Iraq,

    I think a majority (at least a slim one) of Americans would say they don’t care if we have any control of the situation in Iraq.

    Defending the homeland is one thing. Controlling the globe is another.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  14. george says:

    @Todd:

    Most of these type of polls should be subtitled “Americans express opinion on subjects about which they have very little actual understanding.”

    Probably true. On the other hand, I note that those who seem to have a fairly clear understanding on this issue are very far from any sort of consensus on what we should do (in fact they seem to disagree wildly). Of course, there’s always the option of defining “clearing understanding” to mean “those who agree with me”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. Rafer Janders says:

    @Another Mike:

    If we wanted to have any control over the situation in Iraq

    Why should we? Iraq isn’t in America.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  16. Another Mike says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Without a new SOFA there was no legal way we could stay.

    Maliki was willing to sign a SOFA, but the Iraqi legislature would not go along. Iraq decided to take their chances and go it alone. Now they have a mess. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. Rafer Janders says:

    @Another Mike:

    Maliki was willing to sign a SOFA, but the Iraqi legislature would not go along. Iraq decided to take their chances and go it alone. Now they have a mess.

    “Democracy is messy.” — Donald Rumsfeld.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. Another Mike says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Why should we? Iraq isn’t in America.

    Control in this case simply means keeping the factions hanging together in a stable government. So the question is, why do we care? Apparently the consensus here is that we shouldn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  19. Rafer Janders says:

    @Another Mike:

    So the question is, why do we care?

    So answer the question: why should we care?

    What’s in Iraq that’s worth getting young Americans killed? What’s worth hundreds of billions of dollars of hard-working Americans taxpayers’ dollars?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. Rafer Janders says:

    @Another Mike:

    So the question is, why do we care?

    Not quite: the question is, even if we cared, what could we do that would actually be effective? And even if effective, would we be willing to pay the cost in blood and money?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. Another Mike says:

    @george:

    Defending the homeland is one thing. Controlling the globe is another.

    So trying to maintain stability in Iraq equates to controlling the globe? That ought to sell in some circles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  22. Rafer Janders says:

    @Another Mike:

    So trying to maintain stability in Iraq equates to controlling the globe?

    Again, Iraq isn’t in America. Why is maintaining stability there our business? Why’s it worth getting young Americans killed? Make a positive case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  23. Rafer Janders says:

    @Another Mike:

    Control in this case simply means keeping the factions hanging together in a stable government.

    Even if we should do that, how could we? Make the case. Be specific.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. anjin-san says:

    That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

    Ummm. We crumbled the cookie. Then we dropped bombs on the crumbs. Can’t imagine why it did not turn out well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  25. Mu says:

    Obama can’t win this poll. He always will have two of three against him. Right now, those that want more intervention, and those that want nothing at all that can draw us back into Iraq are against him. Only those that support a “try to get away with at little as possible without looking like an isolationist” are on his side. And he’s going to lose those if he does more, or less.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  26. Tillman says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    It was Iran that instructed Maliki to reject a new SOFA and he complied.

    My understanding was Iran worked on the MPs rather than Maliki himself, but the same basic story.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. grumpy realist says:

    I’m falling in the “don’t get involved any more, walk away from that mess as soon as possible.” We can’t afford to get dragged back into the quagmire that is Iraq. (And to anyone sending a letter to the White House complaining that we’re not involved I’d say: “I assume that you have signed up to fight in this? And that you are willing to pay whatever tax level is necessary to fund this? Otherwise, shut up.” )

    We can’t fix the mideast. Only they can fix themselves. The best we can do is provide refuge for those who think their children’s lives are more important than fighting sectarian battles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  28. jim m says:

    What’s in Iraq that’s worth getting young Americans killed? What’s worth hundreds of billions of dollars of hard-working Americans taxpayers’ dollars?

    When Saddam was there, it was rescuing millions of people from a murderous dictator. Sure, you can say that there are loads of other dictators. But saying that if we don’t oppose all of them than we should not oppose any is just an excuse to ignore all evil. You have to start somewhere. Now it can be argued that Iraq was not the place to start, but that is a different discussion.

    Once he was gone you could argue that establishing a representative government that would keep out both oppressive dictatorships as well as islamic fascism. Especially the latter, unless you want to argue that a regime that supports things like slavery, female genital mutilation, opposes the rights and even education of women, all of which islamists do support, is a good thing.

    But that is not to say that there is only one way to do these things but simply that there are reasons and this does not just have to be viewed as the US being a bully. I also think that if you take the view that it is all very far away and it isn’t any of our business what happens on the other side of the globe, then you take a rather cavalier attitude toward human rights. And, no, I don’t think tweeting out a frowny face is opposing anything. Posing yes, opposing no.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  29. Lounsbury says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Yes, that would be about right. average middle Americans one runs into, generally with very little exposure to other systems, have some quite magical ideas about how Rest of World works, views them, etc.

    Big country isolation effect one supposes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  30. Lounsbury says:

    @jim m:
    The amount of ignorance here is somewhat staggering.

    When Saddam was there, it was rescuing millions of people from a murderous dictator.

    Wonderful rescue that. So much better to be killed by random sectarian death squads, suicide bombings and general break down in order… Vast improvement in quality of life, being so very evident in Iraq after you lot “rescued” them.

    Especially the latter, unless you want to argue that a regime that supports things like slavery, female genital mutilation, opposes the rights and even education of women, all of which islamists do support, is a good thing.

    No….. No in fact you know pretty much nothing about Islamism that is quite clear, other than what you’ve read in some 2nd rate ideological blithering, one presumes on some blogs or Mr Murdoch’s venues.

    (1) Slavery: no modern Islamist movement supports slavery. However unpleasant they are, Islamist movements are not so oriented.
    (2) FGM: No. That is an Egyptian and sub-Sahran African thing. It is not Islamic, completely unknown in the rest of North Africa, for example, and most certainly not generally supported by Islamist movements. Some Egyptian Islamists support it, but it’s Egyptian culture (the practice dates back to the Pharaonic period, and is as present among the Egyptian Christians as the Muslims. Practice in SSAfr looks to be quite tied to Egyptian [ancient] influence]). Non Egyptian / non-SSAfr Muslims as a general matter – Islamist or not – find the practice as weird as you do.
    (3) Women’s Education: The Salafists, and particularly the Takfiri wing oppose women’s education. Not Islamists in general. Not a trivial distinction. While the Islamist movements with a political participation agenda, à la the Brotherhood / Ikhwan, such as in Tunisia and the coalition member in the Moroccan government are not terribly brilliant on women’s rights, their views and attitudes are rather more resembling, well let us say 1950s America and the Social Conservative views. In many ways their attitudes are rather more progressive than old “traditional” attitudes and those of ‘acceptable’ allies such as the Gulf states. And this is not new nor particularly Western driven. Women’s factions in the University Cells in North African universities were and are quite strong. In my student days personally observed (attended if you will) some rather fiery mass political meetings led by Ikhwaat. Hijab wearing tough women. But not Niqab wearing.

    That’s quite distinguishable from the (Sunni) Salafists à la DAISH with their no-women-working and insistance on the full-out Wahhabi women-ninja as sole legit clothes.

    Given your typical impoverished understanding of what’s happening outre-mer, I think it’s just as well if USAers don’t support endless interventions to save the Not-Saved-By-Jebus heathen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  31. anjin-san says:

    @ jim m

    When Saddam was there, it was rescuing millions of people from a murderous dictator.

    Actually, no, it was a lie about WMD.

    But then you have proven to be quite the liar yourself in your short time here, so I don’t suppose that bothers you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  32. jim m says:

    @Lounsbury: Really? It has been well documented that islamists have sold people off into slavery both in Sudan and Nigeria. No, mainstream islam does not support it, but islamists do. Let’s try not to conflate the two shall we?

    Female Genital mutilation is not just a sub Saharan African thing . In fact it takes place in Sweden. and has been documented throughout the ME as well as Asia and has been documented primarily in muslim communities and is closely associated with islam.

    I really think that you are conflating islamists with main stream islam. If you look at the Taliban they specifically prohibited the education of women. Both Salafists and Wahabi muslims treat women as having significantly fewer rights. If you look at sharia law women’s testimony is not regarded as having the same validity as male testimony.

    My points are not to say that muslims are evil. My point is that islamists are. I think that you are pretty damned ignorant if you think these are one and the same and I think you need to educate yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  33. jim m says:

    @anjin-san: The question was if there was a reason to go there and I was answering that. As to why we went I suggest that you read the full Iraq War Resolution and the dozen reasons provided there. For those with memories that go back beyond last Tuesday those reasons were why we went in.

    Look I’m not trying to re argue the Iraq war. I was saying that there exists a decent reason to try to help these people apart from all that. And a reason for helping someone is not negated by the outcome. If you want to save someone from a burning building the fact that they broke their legs when they fell off the fire escape doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have bothered.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  34. anjin-san says:

    @ jim m

    Sorry Charlie, you are simply a waste of pixels.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  35. Rafer Janders says:

    @jim m:

    Jim m! I haven’t seen you since you ran away from that thread where you were lying and claiming that you’d seen parents who wouldn’t drive across town to save their child dying of leukemia! You disappeared from there so fast, I was afraid something had happened to you! Good to see you alive!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  36. anjin-san says:

    @ Another Mike

    So trying to maintain stability in Iraq equates to controlling the globe? That ought to sell in some circles.

    Iraq is one piece of the puzzle. Here is a list of US military bases. Looking at this, you can make a fairly strong argument that well, maybe we are trying to control the globe. We certainly have killed an awful lot of people in my lifetime, and in many cases, for no good reason that I can see.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  37. Rafer Janders says:

    @jim m:

    And a reason for helping someone is not negated by the outcome. If you want to save someone from a burning building the fact that they broke their legs when they fell off the fire escape doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have bothered.

    It kind of is if (a) the building wasn’t actually burning, you only lied and claimed it was, and (b) the way you tried to “save” them from the non-burning building was to throw them off the tenth floor fire escape yourself.

    But then again, the last thread you were on proved to everyone’s satisfaction that you were a horrible liar, prone to making things up, rather ignorant to boot, and would turn tail and run when sufficiently embarrassed to have your lies called out. So I assume you’ll eventually do the same thing here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  38. anjin-san says:

    @ Rafer Janders

    Did I ever tell you about how I got a hangnail in Canada back in ’91? I was damn lucky to make it back to the states alive with that heavily rationed socialistic health care they have.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  39. Rafer Janders says:

    @jim m:

    Female Genital mutilation is not just a sub Saharan African thing . In fact it takes place in Sweden.

    My god you are a moron.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  40. Rafer Janders says:

    @anjin-san:

    Did I ever tell you about how I got a hangnail in Canada back in ’91?

    I hear that if the Canadian hospitals’ hangnail budgets run out of money in June, your only choice is to chew your own finger off, or wait for six months and hope you’re still alive for them to deal with it then. And I know, because I’m a hangnail specialist!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  41. Todd says:

    @george:
    I understand exactly what you’re saying. That’s not me though. My view is that there’s no teal good or easy answer in Iraq. Anybody who argues that there is an easy answer almost certainly doesn’t understand what they’re talking about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  42. Another Mike says:

    @anjin-san:

    Here is a list of US military bases. Looking at this, you can make a fairly strong argument that well, maybe we are trying to control the globe.

    Or perhaps it is a matter of trying to keep others from controlling the globe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  43. Lounsbury says:

    @jim m:

    Yes, really my dear provincial imbecile.

    It has been well documented that islamists have sold people off into slavery both in Sudan and Nigeria. No, mainstream islam does not support it, but islamists do. Let’s try not to conflate the two shall we?

    No, it is not “well documented” at all. The Nigeria instance is kidnapped, banditry and forced labour. There are not slave markets in Nigeria (nor Chad, nor CAR, nor Niger).

    There is precious little difference between that and the practices of ostensibly Christian groups like Lord’s Resistance Army (which also has a charming habit of kidnapping children and girls for forced labour, marriage, etc).

    That is not Islamism, it’s rural African banditry.

    Female Genital mutilation is not just a sub Saharan African thing .

    No, it’s in fact a Sahel and NE African thing, in fact.

    In fact it takes place in Sweden.

    Among Somali and Ethiopian immigrants, yes. What a brilliant point you make.

    and has been documented throughout the ME as well as Asia and has been documented primarily in muslim communities and is closely associated with islam.

    Wrong. 100% Wrong. Indeed, that’s why World Health Organisation focuses on Africa re FGM – as one can see.

    It has not been “documented throughout the ME” because it quite simply is absent and not practice in the Levant, nor most of the Gulf (excepting some communities associated… Surprise surprise with descendants of slaves taken from NE Africa and among NE Africa immigrants / migrants). And the prevalence outside of Africa among Muslims is quite scanty – e.g. in Iraq it’s among certain Kurds, a tribal practice, not among Arabs. And presence in Asia, South America eg is tied to tribal communities, not religion.

    It is not primarily among Muslims in the area of its core origin – the prevalence in NE Africa is fairly equal between all major religious groups. Xian, even Jews out of Ethiopia.

    FGM in this part of the world is very much from an ancient Egypt influence, that is very clear. If it were Islamic you would find it in the rest of North Africa, in the Levant broadly, etc.

    You do not.

    I really think that you are conflating islamists with main stream islam.

    I’m not conflating anything you ignorant provincial sod, I bloody hold a graduate degree on Islamic affaires and I live and work in the MENA and Africa areas.

    Merely writing that shows you are merely regurgitating half understood blithering from whatever your preferred party-political ideologues have pimped to you.

    Islamists are well and truly part of “main stream Islam.” But not all Islamism is Salafism. Islamism, like say Liberalism or Social Democracy, covers a lot of territory – from Ennahda in Tunisia to Nour in Egypt (the latter is Salafist btw).

    It is not merely a synonym for “Muslims who scare me” or “Muslim Extremism”

    That was what I was educating you about, although you rather clearly did not follow.

    If

    you look at the Taliban they specifically prohibited the education of women.

    The Taleban, my dear ill-read git, were not Islamists, they were and are traditionalists with a strong Deobandi influence. If anything one could call them Salafists, although they’re really Pashtun Tribal Practicists.

    Both Salafists and Wahabi muslims treat women as having significantly fewer rights.


    Oh, really?
    Why that differs from what I wrote… not at all.

    If you look at sharia law women’s testimony is not regarded as having the same validity as male testimony.

    Yes, and? And traditional Xian law did not permit women’s testimony at all.

    Has fairly nothing to do with the actual legal systems in MENA or in the Islamic world generally, excepting Saudi Arabia.

    My points are not to say that muslims are evil. My point is that islamists are

    .

    No kidding. And you don’t even bloody well know who or what the bloody hell they are. Brilliant.

    I think that you are pretty damned ignorant if you think these are one and the same and I think you need to educate yourself.

    The irony of this statement is enormous. All the more so as it fairly clearly shows you understood not one bit of what was written.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  44. Another Mike says:

    @Rafer Janders: My god you are a moron.

    Explain this, especially in reference to the text you quoted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  45. anjin-san says:

    @ Rafer Janders

    They wanted me to drive three miles to pick up my prescription. Frigging lunatics. I tell you, I narrowly avoided a socialistic death at the hands of those maple lovers.

    Since that dreadful journey, I have not wandered from my happy home in the hamlet of Chicken Neck. I am safe in ‘Merica, and I have several TV sets. Life is good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  46. anjin-san says:

    @ Another Mike

    Or perhaps it is a matter of trying to keep others from controlling the globe.

    Good point. The forces of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick are always waiting to pounce…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  47. steve says:

    For those interested, chart at link documents incidence (per UNICEF) of female genital mutilation per country and per religion. It is quite common among the Christians in the area.

    http://copticliterature.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/prevalence-of-and-support-for-female-genital-mutilation-within-the-copts-of-egypt-unicef-report-2013/

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  48. Tillman says:

    @jim m:

    When Saddam was there, it was rescuing millions of people from a murderous dictator.

    The rationale I remember hearing was that he had WMDs and links to 9/11. I don’t recall Bush trying to convince the public into a war over a humanitarian cause.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  49. bill says:

    @Tillman: and figure he had hillary, reid, biden, kerry,et al on his side. guess they were all stupid back then, but now they’re just brilliant?!

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  50. What we don’t understand where is this BS coming from CHENEY AND MCCAIN AND THE REST OF THE WAR HAWKS, THIS IS JUST STUPID, HOW CAN THEY DISAPPROVE OF WHAT PRESIDENT OBAMA DOING IN IRAQ, WHEN HE JUST SENT MILITARY TO IRAQ AND CONGRESS HAVE APPROVE OF HIM SENDING PEOPLE TO IRAQ, THIS ARTICLE JUST DON’T MAKE SENSE, YOU CAN’T DISAPPROVE OF SOMETHING WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DISAPPROVING, THESE FOLKS NEED TO STOP WITH THE BS., WHY DO THESE FOLKS WANT THE UNITED STATES INVOLVED IN A WAR.? WHY DON’T THEY GO. WE ARE JUST SO SICK OF THE BI@#%^&* ABOUT EVERYTHING PRESIDENT OBAMA DO, WE ARE SHOCK THEY ARE NOT PEEPING THROUGH HIS BEDROOM WINDOW SO THEY CAN WHINE ABOUT HOW HE GOES TO BED, THIS IS JUST SICK WE NEVER SEEN BS LIKE THIS.

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  51. DrDaveT says:

    @anjin-san:

    The forces of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick are always waiting to pounce

    Yea. And also Nay.

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  52. Lounsbury says:

    @steve: Yes, that’s what I was getting at.

    Everything about the distribution of female circumcision, particularly the nasty versions that really are FGM, shows it’s something peculiarly associated with a cultural complex in NE Africa / Nile Valley. Certainly not Islam since it’s utterly unknown in most Islamic territories that do not have a connexion with either. And in the geography the practise among non-Muslims is such it is clear it must have pre-existed.

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  53. Tillman says:

    @bill: You forgot Boehner, McConnell, Frist, Hastert, Blunt, McCarthy, and so on.

    Congress in general was lied to, not one party in Congress.

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  54. Robin Cohen says:

    @Another Mike The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were never winnable in the traditional sense. The cheapness of human life in the Middle East encourage endless war for questionable reasons. Unless human life for it’s own sake has value,
    these wars against the infidels will go on and we are foolish to engage in them.

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  55. Lounsbury says:

    @Robin Cohen: Besides empty, ill-informed racism, I fail to see the value in such idiotic assertions.

    Human life is no cheaper out here than chez vous. Americans simply have the means to protect and indulge themselves more.

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  56. Grewgills says:

    @Lounsbury:

    Human life is no cheaper out here than chez vous.

    I’ve agreed with most of what you’ve said, but poverty wherever it exists makes human life cheaper and the more abject the poverty the cheaper life becomes. The ME and N Africa have considerably more abject poverty than the US or Western Europe. I am guessing it is considerably cheaper to have someone killed there and cheaper to get someone to offer up their own life, so life it would seem is cheaper.

    Americans simply have the means to protect and indulge themselves more.

    and as sad as it may be the means means something

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  57. grumpy realist says:

    @Robin Cohen: Is it cheapness of human life, or the fact that people have been fighting religious wars in that area for 2000 years?

    Anyone who has thought their children’s lives was more important than religious wars has more or less fled.

    (As a boyfriend of mine said: “everyone in the Mideast is nuts…..”)

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  58. Lounsbury says:

    @Grewgills:

    I am quite aware of the realities of the region. I live here, I work here. And I speak the bloody languages. I know first hand the value of life here, not filtered through bloody Fox news.

    @grumpy realist:
    This is idiotic bigoted unlearned nonsense written by fools who get their information from TV.

    Primo, there have not been “religious wars in that area for 2000 years”thats ignorant half-informed nonsense. The Middle East had far less inter-religious violence than Europe right to the 19th century. There is nothing eternal about present conflict.

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  59. Grewgills says:

    @Lounsbury:
    I don’t have a TV and if I did it wouldn’t be tuned in to Fox. Given that you know the realities of the region that includes higher rates of poverty and more abject poverty than Western Europe and the US and that you understand that abject poverty reduces the (monetary) value of life, what exactly is your criticism of my comment?

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  60. Robin Cohen says:

    If what you say is true, why are they constantly fighting ? I am one taxpayer who is tired of using American troops and dollars to aid and assist in the carnage. This is not racism. This country has had enough of war.

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  61. Robin Cohen says:

    Any culture that encourages it’s people to become human bombs does not value that life.
    Add to that constant religious wars and you have a toxic mix with which we should never again become involved.

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  62. Lounsbury says:

    @Robin Cohen: Who is “they”? What culture are you referring to?

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  63. Robin Cohen says:

    @Lounsbury: Any culture which is willing to turn themselves into a deadly weapon to kill the perceived enemy. Iraqi? Afghani? Kamikaze pilots in WWll.

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