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Obama Is Not To Blame For The Deterioration Of Iraq, And The U.S. Can’t Fix It

Obama Marine One

With the past week of reports out of Iraq from the fall of Mosul to the forces of ISIL/ISIS, to that same group’s capture of Tikrit and advance on Baghdad in the fact of an Iraqi Army that, at least so far, seems completely unwilling to fight, there has inevitably been a lot of discussion here in the United States about whose responsible for what’s happening in Iraq nearly three years after the last American troops withdrew. Not surprisingly, Republicans have tried to lay the principle blame for the deterioration of Iraq on President Obama, with Senator John McCain being perhaps the loudest voice making that argument so far;

Sen. John McCain said Thursday that President Barack Obama’s entire national security team should resign over the resurgence of Islamic militants in Iraq.

“Everybody in his national security team, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ought to be replaced,” the Arizona Republican told reporters ahead of a classified Senate Armed Services Committee briefing on the deteriorating situation in Iraq. “It’s a colossal failure of American security policy.”

The Sunni militant group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, vowed Thursday to march into Baghdad after overrunning Iraq’s government forces in Tikrit and Mosul.

The offensive is sparking a wave of Republican criticism over Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq at the end of 2011 — and concerns that the U.S. gains in the Iraq war were about to completely evaporate.

Less than three years after the end of the U.S. war in Iraq, the Obama administration and members of Congress are now mulling whether the U.S. has to re-engage militarily in order to save the gains made during the eight-year war that saw more than 4,000 U.S. troops killed.

“There is no scenario where we can stop the bleeding in Iraq without American air power,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “It is my worst fear come true. If the president is willing to adjust his policies, I’m willing to help him.”

(…)

For McCain and other GOP defense hawks, the latest developments were a condemnation of the decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq at the end of 2011.

“We’ve got another Benghazi in the making here,” Graham said after leaving the classified briefing. “What I heard in there scared the hell out of me.”

After attending the briefing, both McCain and Graham took to the Senate floor to blast Obama over the latest developments in Iraq. McCain said those who were right in Iraq — like retired Gen. David Petraeus, the former CIA director who as a general carried out the “surge” — should be directing U.S. policy there.

“Lindsey Graham and John McCain were right,” McCain said. “Our failure to leave forces on Iraq is why Sen. Graham and I predicted this would happen.”

The U.S. should consider providing air power in Iraq, as the Iraqi government has reportedly requested, McCain said, but ruled out putting U.S. troops on the ground there.

“No, I don’t think we should send troops back there,” he said. “We should explore all the options in air power, get a team over there to advise them. It’s so serious I’m not sure exactly how it can be done. Al Qaeda is now the richest terrorist organization in history.”

But McCain said that he believed “airstrikes alone will not be enough.”

Implicit in the Republican criticism of the President on Iraq today is the contention that he and his Administration failed to take the steps necessary to ensure that there would be some kind of remnant of American force left behind in Iraq after the end of 2011. Leaving aside the point that, at most, the remnant for being talked about would have numbered only a few thousand troops whose primary task would have been training the Iraqis, this contention is quite simply an inaccurate representation of what actually happened leading up to the final withdrawal of American troops in December 2011.

Under the Status Of Forces Agreement that President Bush had negotiated with the Iraqi government before leaving office, all American troops were supposed to be out of the country by December 31, 2011, with the United States gradually handing over security responsibilities to the Iraqis in the ensuing years. As that deadline approached, there were discussions between the U.S. and the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliiki about keeping some kind of small force behind after the end of 2011, with some reports putting the size of that force at no more than about 4,000 soldiers. The two nations attempted to negotiate a new Status of Forces Agreement that would have governed the relationship between that force and the Iraqis and, importantly, would have provided that, in most cases, American forces accused of crimes in Iraq would be processed through the military court system rather than Iraqi civilian courts. This is a standard part of Status of Forces Agreements with other nations and, importantly, had been part of the agreement that the Bush Administration had negotiated with Iraq years earlier. Admiral Mike Mullen, who was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the time, stated that such a provision was an absolute necessary. Prime Minister al-Maliki, however, was unable to secure agreement to a new SOFA from his government, apparently in large part due to these provisions of the proposed agreement. Without a Status of Forces Agreement, we had no legal right to keep troops in the country and, in the end, there was no agreement because the Iraqis didn’t want one. Blaming President Obama for this little more than after the fact partisan nonsense that bears no connection to reality.

The other flaw in the conservative critique that has been circulating for the past several days is the idea that the war in Iraq was “won” and that events of the past week, which actually have their roots in violence that has been ongoing for the past year, effectively amount to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. In some sense, I suppose you could say that we “won” the Iraq War in that Saddam Hussein was deposed and, by the time we left, the insurgency that had risen up in his wake had been largely silenced. There also seemed to be some degree of political stability in what amounted to Iraq’s first democratically elected government.  Underneath that stability, though, there clearly lied the same ethnic and religious tensions that came to the forefront after the downfall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. So, in some sense, then the “peace” that prevailed in Iraq when we left may have been nothing but a temporary respite. Additionally, even if one agrees that there was some kind of military “victory” achieved in Iraq by the end of 2011, the future of Iraq depended on factors that were far beyond the control of the United States, and which certainly could not have been controlled by the residual force that some were calling for at the end of the U.S. deployment.

If it wasn’t President Obama, then who is the person who could be said to have “lost” Iraq? Fareed Zakaria makes a powerful argument that the person primarily responsible for what has happened in Iraq over the past four years or more is none other than Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki:

Whenever the United States has asked this question — as it did with China in the 1950s or Vietnam in the 1970s — the most important point to remember is: The local rulers did. The Chinese nationalists and the South Vietnamese government were corrupt, inefficient and weak, unable to be inclusive and unwilling to fight with the dedication of their opponents. The same story is true of Iraq, only much more so. The first answer to the question is: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki lost Iraq.

The prime minister and his ruling party have behaved like thugs, excluding the Sunnis from power, using the army, police forces and militias to terrorize their opponents. The insurgency the Maliki government faces today was utterly predictable because, in fact, it happened before. From 2003 onward, Iraq faced a Sunni insurgency that was finally tamped down by Gen. David Petraeus, who said explicitly at the time that the core element of his strategy was political, bringing Sunni tribes and militias into the fold. The surge’s success, he often noted, bought time for a real power-sharing deal in Iraq that would bring the Sunnis into the structure of the government.

A senior official closely involved with Iraq in the Bush administration told me, “Not only did Maliki not try to do broad power-sharing, he reneged on all the deals that had been made, stopped paying the Sunni tribes and militias, and started persecuting key Sunni officials.” Among those targeted were the vice president of Iraq and its finance minister.

Zakaria’s assessment is one that pretty much every commentator on the Middle East has had to say about the matter, with the exception of course of those such as Senator McCain who have blindly obvious partisan reasons for trying to place the blame on President Obama.

Understanding why Iraq is in its current situation is important, because it helps us to understand the limitations of what we might actually be able to do in what seems by all accounts to be a rapidly deteriorating situation. Military analysts have suggested that airstrikes by the United States could have an impact on the immediate military situation in Iraq, most notably by potentially slowing the advance of ISIS/ISIL forces and giving the Iraqi military time to regroup and rally forces. However, as The Washington Post’s Mark Lynch notes, American military intervention would have a very limited impact if it weren’t accompanied by real political change by the al-Maliki regime. President Obama himself acknowledged this in his statement on the Iraq situation on Friday when he said that the United States would not involve itself in a military conflict in Iraq without some evidence of political change by the Baghdad Government. So far, that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen and, unless it does, the United States should be incredibly cautious about getting involved in Iraq yet again.

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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. Eric Florack says:

    Yes, he is, and no now we can’t. The Obamadamage ™ is now too great.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 67

  2. anjin-san says:

    the U.S. gains in the Iraq war

    I must have missed the part where we gained anything. I do remember us losing a lot of lives, a vast amount of national treasure, the tremendous international support we had in the wake of 9.11, and much of our credibility, as well as any moral high ground we still had possession of.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 67 Thumb down 4

  3. Tillman says:

    @anjin-san: I was just about to comment on that. What did we actually get out of Iraq?

    This is shitty reporting, Politico! You’re exposing yourself as an echo chamber! Again!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 2

  4. Mike says:

    Iraq didn’t sign the sofa thereby asking us to leave. Should we have violated their sovereignty and stayed? I am all for sending in bush, McCain Condi, Bremer, rummy, wolfoeitz and the other architects who created that mess

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 3

  5. anjin-san says:

    @ Eric Florack

    Countless people predicted this outcome over a decade ago, when Bush launched his catastrophic war. Folks like you were cheering at the top of their lungs. The die was cast before you knew Obama existed. This is what is known as “reaping the whirlwind.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 48 Thumb down 1

  6. anjin-san says:

    @ Tillman

    What did we actually get out of Iraq?

    The war profiteers had a very nice run. No doubt many of them are having a poolside brunch on their estates, very comfortable indeed, as we discuss this.

    Meanwhile, relatives of the fallen visit the graves of their loved ones, and the troops that were wounded and otherwise damaged in Iraq struggle to put their lives back together.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  7. anjin-san says:

    Cal Thomas on foxnews.com:

    “The wars begun in 2001 have been tremendously painful for millions of people”

    They are still trying to tie the Iraq war to 9.11, and people like Florack are still buying it.

    Amazing.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1

  8. Ron Beasley says:

    RE this subject my post at The Moderate Voice this morning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  9. Another Mike says:

    Doug, I am a conservative and have no use for President Obama, but your analysis here sounds right to me. It was the stubbornness of the Iraqis which caused us not to allow a residual force to stay in Iraq. It is pure conjecture that a different president could have caused the Iraqis to bend.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  10. Mike says:

    @anjin-san: don’t forgot all those kids not able to celebrate Father’s Day w their father

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  11. CB says:

    Stop carrying Obama’s water, Doug, you leftist hack.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 10

  12. george says:

    If the people of a country aren’t willing to fight to defend your vision for them against even a small group of attackers (as in a large, well equipped army falling into retreat against a force a thirtieth their size), then you know that they don’t share your vision – and in fact might be looking for any excuse to abandon it.

    More than anything else, the fall of Mosul and what follows shows that few in Iraq are interested in what the US wanted for them. Which confirms what Obama and many others (including many conservatives) said from the start – the US didn’t belong in Iraq. The losses are a confirmation of the wisdom of leaving, not a repudiation of it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 1

  13. Tsar Superdestroyer says:

    @Eric Florack: Good, my apprentice, good. Never back your arguments when dealing with a lib. The stupid is strong with this one.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  14. steve says:

    This was inevitable whenever we left. Conservatives believed that the same government that has problems resolving domestic issues in the US was capable of turning Iraq into a pro-Western democracy. They were wrong. As Col Lang pointed out the rebels are largely former Iraq soldiers and Bedouins, ie Sunnis. They want back in power. We dont have the know how to resolve the centuries long animosity between these factions.

    Steve

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  15. Lounsbury says:

    @Another Mike: And if another American President had pressurised Iraqis into allowing you to keep troops in country, that would change what? Other than pointlessly putting your troops in line of a civil war without changing any of the socio-political dynamic domestically, and you acting as the useful idiot-tool of a not particularly excellent sectarian Shia leadership?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  16. Stonetools says:

    Doug, I generally disagree with you but you hit this one on the nose.
    Mt hope is that Obama doesn’t fall in the trap of intervening in order to “show strength ” , “project toughness”, “take charge” or whatever is the catch phrase of the day is in Neo-conservative circles. This one we should sit out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  17. Jack says:

    Aren’t these the same guys Obama armed in Syria while calling for the disarmament of US citizens? Yeah…no blame to go around there.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 30

  18. An Interested Party says:

    It was the stubbornness of the Iraqis…

    Oh yes, we invade their country and cause a debacle of an occupation but it is their fault that their country is falling apart now…that’s some brilliant logic there…

    Aren’t these the same guys Obama armed in Syria while calling for the disarmament of US citizens?

    Umm, how’s that? You obviously get your information from sources in Wonderland…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  19. Gustopher says:

    “We’ve got another Benghazi in the making here,” Graham said after leaving the classified briefing. “What I heard in there scared the hell out of me.”

    Brilliant.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  20. rudderpedals says:

    @Jack:

    Aren’t these the same guys Obama armed in Syria while calling for the disarmament of US citizens?

    Probably not. These guys do the gulf countries’ bidding.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  21. Rafer Janders says:

    @Gustopher:

    “We’ve got another Benghazi in the making here,” Graham said after leaving the classified briefing.

    What does that even mean?!?!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  22. steve says:

    “Aren’t these the same guys Obama armed in Syria while calling for the disarmament of US citizens? ”

    1) No, They are mostly Iraqi military vets and Bedouins, ie Sunnis who want back in power.

    2) Disarm US citizens? When?

    Steve

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  23. anjin-san says:

    @ Rafer Janders

    What does that even mean?!?!

    It means Graham thinks his target audience consists of idiots.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  24. Another Mike says:

    @Lounsbury: It’s possible that if we had a presence there it would not have developed into a civil war or gotten so out of hand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14

  25. Grewgills says:

    @Gustopher:
    Beat me to it. That is one of the stupider things he has said in a long line of stupid. Accurate in some sense though, in that both are phony scandals pushed by partisan hacks that would only make the situation worse if they were in charge.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  26. Tyrell says:

    As long as Iran stays out and behaves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  27. KansasMom says:

    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld. Wolfowitz and countless others are responsible for this. My brother still suffers from PTSD as a result of a road side bombing that killed his friend. He has made tremendous progress and for that I am thankful. But I’m still pissed.

    Close friends of mine got married in Florida the same weekend this debacle started and I will forever be grateful that I missed “Shock and Awe” because I was too busy with a wedding on a beach. A giant F you to McCain and Graham and anyone else who cheerleaded this catastrophe.

    I highly recommend this. http://www.stonekettle.com/2014/06/absolutely-nothing.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  28. dazedandconfused says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    What does that even mean?!?!

    “Roger Ailes! Glenn Beck! Tucker Carlson! Darrel Issa! Avengers unite!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  29. edmondo says:

    Just out of curiosity – Will it be Obama’s fault when the exact same fate befalls Afghanistan?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  30. anjin-san says:

    @ edmondo

    You might want to read up on the history of Afghanistan. No one has had much luck changing them. We should have gotten out after 18 months.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  31. CB says:

    @Jack:

    No, emphatically, on both counts. But don’t let reality get in the way of a good fever dream.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. edmondo says:

    @anjin-san:

    We should have gotten out after 18 months.

    I totally agree. I just wonder how the Obama-apologists will justify the 8 years and 8 trillion dollars this administration threw down that rathole?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  33. Eric Florack says:

    @anjin-san: But it took Obama to do it.
    Obamas the one who pulled out at a time when he needed a political boost at home, not when it was correct for the Iraqi situation. Thereby, once again, Obama snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

    And you defend him.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 30

  34. Stonetools says:

    @edmondo:

    Obama’s been President since 2006?

    Lord have mercy, you’re even more deluded than most wingnuts. At least your ODS is confirmed. Are you going to blame the invasion of Iraq on Obama as well?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  35. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    There was never any victory for us in Iraq. No way, no how. We were f**ked the moment we want in. A post invasion string of disastrous decisions made by the administration and their agents made the train wreck that much worse. How many more Americans would have you seen die to prolong Bush’s folly?

    This is up there with your delusion that South Vietnam had the war won until Frank Church handed victory to the north.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  36. bill says:

    so is it better to just let the muslims kill each other en masse now? and maybe the victor will be our friends then?!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  37. medusa says:

    Obama Is Not To Blame For The Deterioration Of Iraq

    Bullshit. He is completely culpable. How much human misery and how many lives will be lost for political expediency so that Obama can satisfy progressive cowards and fools? Or satisfy his own juvenile approach to foreign policy and matters of force and war? The count continues throughout the middle east in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 39

  38. Grewgills says:

    @Eric Florack: @medusa:
    Obama pulled out the troops on the time table agreed upon by Bush and Maliki. There was no legal framework for us to stay. Are you saying that Obama should have ignored the agreement signed by Bush, international law and the will of the Iraqi government to leave our troops in place?* Where can I buy the XXXL partisan blinders that you apparently wear 24/7?

    * Of course had he done so you would be screeching about his lawlessness and how he left troops in place to look tough or some such nonsense.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 0

  39. Tyrell says:

    @Eric Florack: “If Obama keeps on drawing lines in the sand, he’s going to need a John Deere !” (Local am radio host)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. Grewgills says:

    @Tyrell:
    What are all of these lines in the sand? I know of the one in Syria, which btw Syria backed down on. Where are these others that will somehow require farm machinery?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  41. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:
    The only victor in Iraq is Iran.
    Your cult screwed the pooch.
    The blood of 4000 troops is on the hands of mindless cheerleaders like you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  42. An Interested Party says:

    How much human misery and how many lives will be lost for political expediency so that Obama can satisfy progressive cowards and fools?

    That’s mighty big talk for someone “fighting” from the comfort of being behind a keyboard…if you are so devastated that our troops have been pulled out, feel free to volunteer to go over there yourself and fight…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  43. george says:

    @medusa:

    How much human misery and how many lives will be lost for political expediency so that Obama can satisfy progressive cowards and fools?

    No, he was actually against the war from the start. You can spread some of the blame to the many Democrats who supported the war, but Obama isn’t part of that number.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  44. wr says:

    @bill: Tell you what. You gather up your ten closest friends and relatives, and you all sign up to fight in Iraq, and then I’ll take your cheerleading for war seriously. Until then it’s the worst kind of cowardice, demanding that other people’s lives be ruined for a fight you crave but are unwilling to sacrifice for.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  45. Lounsbury says:

    @bill:

    “the Muslims” are not doing any such thing.

    Iraqi and Syrian civil war participants are, but hundreds of millions of Muslims haven’t the slightest connexion with this conflict.

    If there is any lesson from history that comes out rather clearly, it is that it is vanishingly rare that getting involved in a civil war brings much to the intervenor. Except wasted resources and death.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  46. Lounsbury says:

    @medusa:

    It is hard to see how Obama is culpable for the gross errors of judgment of his predecessor.

    But as a point of actual fact, Afghanistan is not in the Middle East – it is either Central Asia or South Asia depending on your geographical reference point. Hard to take seriously bleating of people with such dim comprehension of the regions they are blithering on about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  47. Lounsbury says:

    @Another Mike:

    No, it is not possible mate. At best you would have continued a generally incompetent and ill-conceived neo-colonial occupation merely bottling up the conflict (particularly as you lot seem to be incapable of pragmatic imperial engagement and no matter the geography and culture in question – Asian, ME – can’t resist you Messianic desire to make little Americans out of everyone) and becoming the object of their hatred.

    Family squabbles in the end are solvable by the family.

    But it does show what dupes you lot have been. Wasting another ten years on that would make you possibly even stupider than the Sovs who intervened in Afghanistan and regretted it deeply in the end (intervening over the wisdom of their own specialists who warned against).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  48. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Joe Biden in 2010: “I am very optimistic about Iraq. I think it’s gonna be one of the great achievements of this administration. You’re gonna see 90,000 American troops come marchin’ home by the end of the summer. You’re gonna see a stable government in Iraq that is actually movin’ toward a representative government. I’ve been there 17 times now. I go about every two months, three months. I know every one of the major players in all the segments of that society. It’s impressed me. I’ve been impressed, how they have been deciding to use the political process, rather than guns, to settle their differences.”

    The situation, as I’ve heard it described, features essentially three sides:

    1) Al Al Qaeda offshoot that was/is trying to overthrow Bashar Assad in Syria, whom Obama wanted to help, led by (among others) a former Guantanamo detainee, bent on imposing an extremist version of Islam by force and slaughtering people wholesale, on the march to take Baghdad.

    2) The Maliki government, which we helped install, now seeking help in resisting #1 from Iran, including the same forces that Iran sent into Iraq during the US occupation and who killed a LOT of Americans, among others.

    3) Kurds in the north, seeing everything turn to crap south of them, securing their own areas and wondering just how independent they can get before Turkey and Iran get too nervous about their own Kurds and try to smack them down.

    At this point, I’m thinking the only ones worth a damn are the Kurds. As is all too typical when dealing with the Arab/Muslim world, there really isn’t a good choice of who would be better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13

  49. Blue Galangal says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “At this point, I’m thinking the only ones worth a damn are the Kurds. As is all too typical when dealing with the Arab/Muslim world, there really isn’t a good choice of who would be better.”

    How about “it’s not our business, it was never our business”? Think of all the alternative energy research the war in Iraq could have funded.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  50. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Blue Galangal: There’s a certain merit and appeal in that argument. Sadly, it’s contrasted with “you may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”

    And while alternative energy research is one thing, one surer return on investment is investment in matured energies: nuclear plants, the Keystone II pipeline, shale oil, and whatnot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  51. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And while alternative energy research is one thing, one surer return on investment is investment in matured energies: nuclear plants, the Keystone II pipeline, shale oil, and whatnot.

    Nonsense. Nuclear works in Europe where it is, for all intents and purposes, socialized. I doubt you are arguing for that when you think private sector insurance is socialism.
    Fossil fuels require massive…ginormous…direct and indirect subsidies…trillions of dollars.
    If you don’t know anything about what you are talking about…why do you feel the need to opine?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  52. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    ““We’ve got another Benghazi in the making here,” Graham said after leaving the classified briefing. “What I heard in there scared the hell out of me.”

    Sen Graham is an utter coward.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  53. C. Clavin says:

    @James in Silverdale, WA:
    Butters is a piece of work.
    Here he is on Iran helping out in Iraq…

    “The Iranians can provide some assets to make sure Baghdad doesn’t fall. We need to coordinate with the Iranians. And the Turks need to get in the game and get the Sunni Arabs back into the game, form a new government without Maliki,”

    Keep in mind that he’s part of the idiot squad that wanted to invade and occupy Iraq in the first place…and put Maliki in place.
    Anyway…here he is 6 or 7 months ago on the Iranian nuclear negotiations…in which Iran has been behaving exactly as we want them to….

    We’re dealing with people who are not only untrustworthy: this is a murderous regime that murders their own people, create chaos and mayhem throughout the whole world, the largest sponsor of terrorism. This deal doesn’t represent the fact we’re dealing with the most thuggish people in the whole world”

    People like Butters and McCain are way past their shelf-life. Why they continue to get bandwidth I’ll never figure out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  54. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: If you don’t know anything about what you are talking about…why do you feel the need to opine?

    Because, my dear Cliffy, if you didn’t have me to stalk from thread to thread to lob your spitballs at, you’d have no purpose whatsoever in your existence. I do it as a mercy to you.

    There are some fascinating developments coming out of nuclear power research, far more promising than harnessing cow farts or whatever things being researched by hefty Democratic donors (i know you wish that Solyndra et al had been memory-holed, but a lot of us still remember), and things like natural gas are already quite clean.

    But back on topic… just four years after Obama and Biden told us all was well now in Iraq, it’s turning to crap with absolutely no way to decide which is the least of all evils. The same people Obama wanted to back in Syria are conducting mass executions, and Iran’s sending in troops that spent years killing Americans to fight them. Every single option we have — including doing nothing — sucks.

    Fortunately, we have The Smartest President Evar, the Light Bringer, The World Changer, The Great Healer, in charge. I breathlessly await his Miraculous Solution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  55. anjin-san says:

    And while alternative energy research is one thing, one surer return on investment is investment in matured energies: nuclear plants, the Keystone II pipeline, shale oil, and whatnot.

    I think the old school energy companies are sitting on large enough mountains of money without the taxpayers having to further subsidize them. Keystone? Canadian profits, American risk, oil for China. What a winner.

    Alternative energy research is an investment in the future, a badly needed one. Or have you not noticed that the historic energy boom we are in has not brought prices down for consumers?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  56. Another Mike says:

    @Lounsbury: Instead of saying “you lot”, why not say you Americans? Nothing like a little clarity in writing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. labman57 says:

    The Iraqi government has been the functional equivalent of a spinning plate atop a broomstick. Unless someone was there 24/7 to keep it stable, its toppling was inevitable.

    The Bush/Cheney administration foolishly believed that the American public would favor an indefinite military presence by the U.S. to maintain the government’s stability.
    And now war-mongers such as McCain and Graham are demonstrating that those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  58. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Blah blah blah…nothing you type ever makes makes any sense.
    Nuclear…again…it only works if the Government pays for it.
    Fossil fuels…it only works with ginormous subsidies. Level the playing field and fossil fuels are a losing proposition.
    Iraq? Bush started a war and negotiated the exit policy with Maliki. How is any of that Obama’s fault?
    And how does the tragedy of the commons apply to any of this?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  59. Motopilot says:

    @anjin-san:

    Alternative energy research is an investment in the future, a badly needed one.

    Anjin-san… you may find this interesting:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/china-laughed-when-it-saw-how-cheap-solar-could-be-2014-6

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  60. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “The same people Obama wanted to back in Syria are conducting mass executions, ”

    Hey stupid — It was just WEEKS ago that you were repeating the screeches of the howler monkeys of the right that Obama was not giving the brave freedom fighters in Syria the military assistance they so desperately wanted and needed, and when it was pointed out to you the impossiblity of determining who these freedom fighters were, so shoveling weapons of them might entail some blowback, you screeched further that Obama hated freedom and all the rest.

    Now you are running away from your support of these militants as fast as you can — which is understanable, since it once again proves you the idiot we all know you to be — and you’re claiming that the thing you demanded Obama do and which he refused to do is actually what he was doing all along.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  61. Robin Cohen says:

    @Mike: Don’t forget Darth Cheney. We should not get further involved in Iraq’s internal wars. We cannot make up for the sheer stupidity and cowardice of Maliki and their so-called Army and not one more American life or US dollar should be lost trying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  62. C. Clavin says:

    @anjin-san:

    Or have you not noticed that the historic energy boom we are in has not brought prices down for consumers?

    It can’t bring the cost down…it will never, ever bring the cost down…because the price of extraction is so damn high.
    Meantime a hybrid won the 24hrs of Le Mans covering 3200 miles with an average speed of 150mph on it’s fastest lap.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  63. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Nuclear…again…it only works if the Government pays for it.

    To be clear…I’m glad to subsidize nuclear that is done smart…I just don’t see how that happens when the priority in this country is to sacrifice absolutely everything for tax cuts on the rich

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  64. anjin-san says:

    Please release my comment from moderation

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  65. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    i know you wish that Solyndra et al had been memory-holed

    Why would anyone wish that? If nothing else, Solydra offers an opportunity for failure analysis and gaining lessons learned.

    Entrepreneurship, innovation, and failure are all interwoven and necessary ingredients for capitalism to function. Read Richard Branson’s book, or do a quick search for “failed Apple products.” This is pretty basic stuff.

    I know you think you have a clever gotcha here, but all you are doing is exposing your cluelessness about how business functions in the real world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  66. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: It was just WEEKS ago that you were repeating the screeches of the howler monkeys of the right that Obama was not giving the brave freedom fighters in Syria the military assistance they so desperately wanted and needed, and when it was pointed out to you the impossiblity of determining who these freedom fighters were, so shoveling weapons of them might entail some blowback, you screeched further that Obama hated freedom and all the rest.

    Oh, bullshit, you lying sack. At NO POINT did I suggest offering ANY support to the Syrian rebels. You just make up shit that you don’t like and assign it to those you don’t like.

    Your usual inane bullshit at least bears a passing resemblance to reality, but this one you completely pulled out of your ass. I’m not sure how you got it past your head, but you did nonetheless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  67. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: hy would anyone wish that? If nothing else, Solydra offers an opportunity for failure analysis and gaining lessons learned.

    The most important lesson? “Don’t throw money at companies whose main qualification is that they gave lots of money to Democrats.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  68. C. Clavin says:

    @wr:
    I do hope that you put the lie to Jenos’s claim and provide a link that proves otherwise.
    I know it seems hardly worth the effort.
    But imagine the collective glee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  69. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Cliffy, you and I KNOW wr won’t do that. Feel free to help him. But go ahead and look.

    When he doesn’t, will you admit he was lying?

    …I thought not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  70. @C. Clavin:
    In Jenos’s defense (oh, dear God, how I hate having to use that phrase), I don’t see any comments from Jenos supporting arming the Syrian rebels, at least not unequivocal support.

    For example:

    This seems to be one of the cases where the more each side kills of the other, the better off everyone is. Sucks for the innocents, because both sides seem quite willing to kill them as well as each other, but there really isn’t much we can do to prevent or even mitigate that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  71. C. Clavin says:

    @anjin-san:
    Sure…mindless freaks like Jenos only focus on the losses…like $528 million lost on Solyndra or $139 million outstanding on Fisker.
    Having spent his entire adult life in his mothers basement he doesn’t know that only about 30% of new venture capitalist start-ups produce favorable returns.
    What Jenos doesn’t know (because Red State didn’t tell him/her) is that the DOE loan program Solyndra was part of had only about a 2% failure rate. This compares to most banks at 3% (many banks were at 11% a few years ago). 87% of the loans are in good standing.
    $30 Billion in loans…and fools like Jenos focus on less than 2%.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  72. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    I challenge him to back up his claim.
    What he does or doesn’t do is up to him.
    As for lying…you’re one of the biggest liars on this site…so if he is lying…pot…meet kettle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  73. lounsbury says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Arab and Muslim are not synonyms. The bulk of Muslims in the entire world are non-Arabs, and the hundreds of millions of SE Asian Muslims cause you no bother at all.

    Doubtless were it not for the geographical mistake of oil, neither would most Arab Muslims, but geography is what it is.

    Your bad choices available as to parties, however, are conditioned on your own grotesque incompetence c. 2001-2008.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  74. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Timothy Watson: I’d thank you, Tim, but I suspect you’d take that a “salt in the wound.” So, instead, I’ll simply acknowledge your putting accuracy first.

    I myself went digging, and found another comment of mine that seemed germane. But I like your quote, too.

    And let’s not forget what wr (probably inadvertently) is really achieving here: he’s whitewashing that it was Obama who was all for supporting the Syrian rebels, supplying them with weapons and fighting alongside them against Assad (probably only with drones, but US military drones flown at his direct orders). And he was so invested in that that he even threatened to do so without the support of Congress, NATO allies, or anyone else.

    The people wr is lying about are those who among the most strident opponents to Syrian intervention. And he’s denouncing as bad policy the efforts Obama himself backed to the hilt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  75. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: So you’re cool with lying, as long as it’s lies about people you don’t like.

    Every time I think you’ve gotten as contemptible as can be, you dig just a little bit deeper.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  76. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @lounsbury: Arab and Muslim are not synonyms. The bulk of Muslims in the entire world are non-Arabs, and the hundreds of millions of SE Asian Muslims cause you no bother at all.

    My use of “Arab/Muslim” was to specify the region from across North Africa to Pakistan. Not to sound too pedantic, but not all Muslims are Arabs, and not all Arabs are Muslims, but with some of the dishonest idiots around these parts (wr and Cliffy are good examples, but hardly unique) I sometimes forget that any ambiguities I say will be taken in the worst possible light.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  77. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Every time I think

    I’d be concerned…if I thought that had ever happened.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  78. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    “Don’t throw money at companies whose main qualification is that they gave lots of money to Democrats.”

    Hmm. Solydra’s investors included The George Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Venture Partners, CMEA Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Virgin Green Fund, Madrone Capital Partners, RockPort Capital Partners, Argonaut Private Equity, Masdar and Artis Capital Management.

    In other words, a lot of VC folks thought there was something worth investing in on the table, including Richard Branson.

    Do you have anything to offer beyond lame talking points? Wait, I already know the answer to that one :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  79. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Oh, and moderators? In this thread, wr has blatantly libeled/slandered me, and on the “Establishment victories in Iowa” thread, Cliffy called me a “mo-fo.”

    Now, I personally don’t care in the least about such things, but after the “bitch” dustup over the weekend and your concern about the tone and language used here and your Terms of Service, you might want to give those incidents a little attention.

    It might not always seem like it, but I do appreciate this forum and at least try to abide by the rules.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  80. Pinky says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: No need for the victory dance. Give wr 24 hours to provide a link or apologize for his error.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  81. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Pinky: 24 hours? I could give him 24 YEARS and he wouldn’t back it up. And see Cliffy’s comment — he doesn’t care about honesty or accuracy from his side, as long as the lying as about someone he doesn’t like.

    But yeah, I’ll check back in here tomorrow. Even though we both know what the response (or, rather, non-response) will be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  82. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Again a$$wipe…I asked wr to back his claim.
    Only someone suffering from delusions would decide that is an endorsement of lying.
    You need professional help. I’m sure Obamacare will cover it.
    I’m not sure what they can do about your own pathological lying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  83. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Hugs and kisses back at you, Cliffy.

    But looking back, you almost kinda sorta did call out wr, in your own pathetic way.

    I looked at it through the same eyes I see the 99.9% of your other comments towards me, like the “mother-f’er” comment, and didn’t notice that you showed the tiniest smidgen of integrity, and I didn’t recognize it. So for that, I owe you an apology.

    So we’ll see what happens when wr can’t back up his fabrications.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  84. Pinky says:

    I’m a firm believer in the 24-hour rule. Some people do other things with their lives. (Not me, personally, but some people.) There’ve been times when I’ve gotten on a site after a few hours and found people gloating over my running away from an argument. It wasn’t running away; it was grocery shopping.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  85. Matt Bernius says:

    Kids, kids, kids,

    Can we please drop the personal invectives before any more serious action needs to be taken?

    @As Doug noted this weekend, personal attacks against other commenters is a violation of our comment policies.

    Frustration is not a good enough excuse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  86. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You just make up shit that you don’t like and assign it to those you don’t like.

    You mean just like you do, constantly? You just did it with me re:Zimmerman last week. When I asked you for evidence, you stopped responding (but only to me). So spare us your bullshit righteous indignation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  87. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Oh, and moderators? In this thread, wr has blatantly libeled/slandered me, and on the “Establishment victories in Iowa” thread, Cliffy called me a “mo-fo.”

    I’m sure everyone is very sympathetic to a stand up guy such as yourself. How unfair it all is to you.

    Oh, would you like me to dig up a few more examples of you doing the exact same things? They are countless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  88. Pinky says:

    @mantis: I don’t remember if you were a participant on our recent thread about political polarization, but I commented there about the need to call out your own side. This is a great opportunity. I just told Jenos to behave himself, and Clavin just told wr to provide a link. Now let’s watch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  89. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    Lets be clear…I asked wr for a link…and Jenos claimed that was endorsing lying.
    You can’t reason with someone who doesn’t ever come to their opinions thru reason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  90. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Man it must working so hard every day to make people loathe you, only then to discover that they do.

    If only there was some way to get people to take you seriously. To get them to like, or at least to respect you. But no matter how hard you work to make yourself despised, no one ever starts liking you.

    If only you could figure out what the problem is. If only you could summon up a crumb of self-awareness. If only you could afford a mirror…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  91. Matt Bernius says:

    @Pinky:

    I commented there about the need to call out your own side. This is a great opportunity. I just told Jenos to behave himself, and Clavin just told wr to provide a link. Now let’s watch.

    Any while we disagree on many issues, *this* is exactly why I dig you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  92. wr says:

    @C. Clavin: Various howlers monkeys were screeching thus. If he hadn’t gotten around to mimicking them yet, it’s only because he was busy lying about something else. Although I guess I’d feel bad if I misremembered one of Florack’s moron posts for one of his, because at least Florack really seems to believe all the vile swill he posts here. Jenos believes in nothing except annoying human beings in hopes of being mistaken for one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  93. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Dear Jenos: if I have mischaracterized one of the positions you pretend to hold, then I apologize sincerely for all the real pain I have no doubt I have caused you, and if this agony forces you to commit suicide, I will send a fruit basket to your funeral.

    Feel better now?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  94. Pinky says:

    @Matt Bernius: Aawwww!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  95. wr says:

    @Matt Bernius: You are absolutely right. I actually do apologize to the non-trolls of this site for letting its resident troll irritate me to a point where I lashed out out at it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  96. C. Clavin says:

    @Matt Bernius:
    Get a room.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  97. Grewgills says:

    @wr:
    If you were wrong man up and cop to it. If you do the same things as him, you are no better than him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  98. C. Clavin says:

    @wr:
    I’ll overnight razor blades and detailed instructions complete with illustrations (we know he has a reading comprehension problem).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  99. anjin-san says:

    Some additional info about Solydra’s federal loans.

    Bush Admin. Advanced 16 Projects, Including Solyndra, Out Of 143 Submissions. The Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and expanded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. At a congressional hearing, Jonathan Silver, the Executive Director of Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office, testified that the Bush administration’s DOE [Department of Energy] selected Solyndra from 143 submissions to move forward in the process:

    http://mediamatters.org/research/2011/09/19/what-the-press-is-getting-wrong-about-solyndra/175483

    So Jenos, did the Bush administration pick Solydra to advance out of 143 projects that submitted because they “gave lots of money to Democrats”? If you are done complaining about the other kids being mean to you perhaps you could, you know, support your own argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  100. Tillman says:

    I get a warm, fraternal glow from this thread. We’ve all come together in mutual loathing, which is at least a bond.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  101. bill says:

    @wr: who’s cheerleading for war? read, comprehend. i know you get your panties in a bunch whenever obama is deemed “weak” but that’s who he is and will always be.
    so if he allows some airstrikes will he be sending US troops into harms way for naught? slippery slope there, huh?!

    @Lounsbury: semantics…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  102. An Interested Party says:

    …obama is deemed “weak” but that’s who he is and will always be.

    If a president is considered “weak” because he doesn’t plunge our country into another country’s civil war or some other hopeless foreign entanglement, I’m sure most people will get behind the “weak” president every time…

    semantics…..

    More than just semantics…to write about “the muslims” killing each other is just as foolish as writing something like “the Christians” killing each other in Northern Ireland in times past…both are vague generalities that add nothing to the conversation…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  103. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I’d like to apologize for my intemperate comments earlier. I think what set me off was wr’s slammng of Obama’s critics by falsely assigning them Obama’s position on Syria. The complete unreality of what he was saying (and the insult that I would actually agree with Obama’s idiotic idea of backing the Syrian rebels) utterly threw me.

    For the record: I opposed both Obama’s planned attacks in Syria and his actual attacks in Libya. With Syria, I was unconvinced that, as bad as Assad was, that the people out to supplant him would be any better (and I seem to be being proven right). In Libya, that was part of it, but I also thought that Obama’s moves were illegal AND Kadaffy had been neutralized as a threat and pretty much rehabilitated on the world stage by Bush; helping overthrow him would undermine future attempts to bring bad guys to heel without using force.

    But just to sum up: wr took Obama’s position on the Syrian rebels, denounced it, and assigned it to Obama’s critics. That’s gotta be the Triple Lindy of mendacity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  104. wr says:

    @bill: I have absolutely no idea what you think you’re responding to. But I’m still standing by ready with airfare when you and your friends and relatives want to go fight in Iraq. Or you could hide behind your computer and call other people weak. Whatever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  105. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    wr did attribute a position to you that you didn’t hold, but that position was not Obama’s. Obama saber rattled and Assad backed down, Now Assad has gotten rid of much of his stockpiles and the Russians are the ones that have to deal with him. What do you think Obama could have done that would have ended in a better scenario than what happened?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  106. anjin-san says:

    What do you think Obama could have done that would have ended in a better scenario than what happened?

    Well, if we stick with wingnut reasoning, maybe he could have attacked Sweden.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  107. anjin-san says:

    I wonder how Bush feels tonight. Does he even understand that he set the chain of events in motion that led to the existence of ISIS?

    While these events unfold, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld live lives of extraordinary comfort and privilege.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  108. Lounsbury says:

    @bill:
    It is not semantic, it is bloody well understanding actual facts, and not engaging in fuzzy-minded idiocy, as that tends to result in one fighting losing wars etc. As IP has already noted, this sort of sloppy, know-nothingist formulation would lead one to write blithely about Xians slaughtering each other – based on N Ireland, on Uganda, etc.

    The fact you view it as “semantic” merely illustrates how ignorant and unlearned you are, and the utter poverty of your rhetoric.

    But ignoramuses often are quite Useful Idiots for exploitation by partisan party-politic purposes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  109. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: wr did attribute a position to you that you didn’t hold, but that position was not Obama’s. Obama saber rattled and Assad backed down.

    Your recasting of Obama’s statements at the time remind me of Hillary’s defense of her vote for invading Iraq — she was voting to support Bush bluffing to invade, and had no idea he’d actually do it.

    Usually it’s Obama’s critics that say that you can’t take what Obama says at face value, that he doesn’t really mean what he’s saying. It’s rare that his supporters make that argument. I think the last time was when he kept repeating his opposition to gay marriage. And, similarly, his constant professions of having strong Christian faith…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  110. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    I am judging him by what he did and the effect of what he did. What actually happened? Obama talked, he didn’t order a military strike, he talked, and Assad backed down and Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles are being destroyed. Again I ask, what would you have done in his place and how would that have led to a better outcome than what he achieved?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  111. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    she was voting to support Bush bluffing to invade

    We would be in so much better a place if that was what he did. Just think how much better off we would be if Iraq had turned out like Syria, if we had only spent as much blood and treasure in Iraq as we did in Syria. Of course that D after Obama’s name makes his actions in respect to Syria so much worse than Bush’s handling of Iraq.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  112. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: You’re not even making sensible arguments here, and you’re smarter than that. Presidents can’t afford to be caught bluffing. If they do, then they have lost credibility for future engagements, and the only way to recover that credibility is to make more and more threats and carry them out. And to say “I support him bluffing, but I never dreamed he’d actually do it” is grossly naive at best.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  113. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Once again, what would you have done in his place and how would that have led to a better outcome?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  114. Robin Cohen says:

    @anjin-san: All of the Bush administration who lied us into war should have been tried at the Hague and should still be rotting in jail. The coward Obama should be held accountable for the secret deal with Spain not to prosecute Bush for torture.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  115. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: You’re not specifying what example, but take Libya: stay the eff out. Bush had brought Kaddafy into the fold of “civilized nations” by having him surrender his entire WMD program, admit responsibility and pay restitution for certain terrorist acts, and give up information on the terrorists he’d been supporting. The implicit tradeoff was ”
    …and we won’t go all Saddam on your ass.”

    The example it set could be used on other dictators: do like Kaddafy does, and we won’t bump you off either. Instead, Obama made it “give up your WMD programs, make nice with us, and we’ll bump you off at the first opportunity.” Plus, Obama went at it in a totally illegal way.

    Or Syria: yeah, Assad’s bad. But what reassurances did we have that the guys trying to knock him off would be better? None. In fact, it’s looking like they’re as bad if not worse. So once again, stay the eff out.

    Let’s turn it back on you: just what were the potential rewards of Obama’s policies with Libya and Syria? And how well have they turned out?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  116. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    The question was quite obviously about Syria.

    Or Syria: yeah, Assad’s bad. But what reassurances did we have that the guys trying to knock him off would be better? None. In fact, it’s looking like they’re as bad if not worse. So once again, stay the eff out…
    Let’s turn it back on you: just what were the potential rewards of Obama’s policies with Libya and Syria? And how well have they turned out?

    Obama never proposed fully entering the fight and toppling Assad. Claiming that this was the only or even his preferred action ignores reality. The only likely action he would have taken if he were to follow up on his saber rattling would be limited cruise missile and/or drone strikes. We don’t/didn’t have to take out Assad. We just had to make his use of chemical weapons counter productive. If you look at what actually happened, when Obama saber rattled Assad began hiding his military assets. That meant that those assets were not fighting and clearly indicated that Assad took his threats seriously. That Assad backed down and agreed to dismantle his chemical weapons stockpiles also indicates he took Obama’s threats seriously. So, we ended up expending nothing but rhetoric and in return we received the benefit of Assad dismantling his chemical weapons stockpiles and the added bonus of it being the Russians that had to deal with it on the ground. That is about as big a win as we could have hoped for out of the situation.*
    Your preferred course of action, nothing if I’m reading you right, leaves Assad still flouting international law and using chemical weapons on his own citizens and perhaps eventually abroad (chasing ISIS into Iraq for instance). Which do you think is the better outcome?
    Re: Libya, it was a low cost, low benefit situation and IMO is more or less a wash. One potential minor benefit of it was that it gave some added credibility to our saber rattling with Syria.

    Bush had brought Kaddafy into the fold of “civilized nations”

    That you could say this and accuse anyone else of naivete is priceless.

    * This is btw exactly what I predicted from the beginning of the Syria stand off. You can check the OTB threads on it if you like.

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  117. Lounsbury says:

    The USA did not take out Qadhdhafi. The Libyan uprising (with its own multiple and sincere domestic roots) did. Had the US not intervened , Libya likely would look rather more like Syria than not, but it would not be stable. This not forgetting that the French had gone ahead with strikes and would have pursued w/o USA, having old scores of their own.

    Not everything is about you lot, nor is every airstrike you execute the end-all of resolution.

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  118. anjin-san says:

    Bush had brought Kaddafy into the fold of “civilized nations” by having him surrender his entire WMD program, admit responsibility and pay restitution for certain terrorist acts,

    Interesting that in your world the four dead Americans in Benghazi constitute one of the worst crimes in history, but in your book, Gaddafi gets a pass for 189 Americans dead in the Lockerbie bombing.

    I guess no price is too high to pay if you think you can get in a shot at Obama.

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  119. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Dear Jenos: if I have mischaracterized one of the positions you pretend to hold, then I apologize sincerely for all the real pain I have no doubt I have caused you, and if this agony forces you to commit suicide, I will send a fruit basket to your funeral.

    Let’s see… a conditional apology, including an accusation of lying. How pathetic when proven to be totally wrong.

    But that’s all I ever expect from wr, so I’m only marginally disappointed.

    Instead, I think I’ll just bookmark this thread and keep it handy the next time wr simply starts making up shit again.

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  120. Eric Florack says:

    I commend to all of you, the reading of this link.

    Twicehttp://www.steynonline.com/6424/leaving-from-behind

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  121. Robert says:

    I cannot imagine that we as a nation would entertain a return to Iraq for any reason. We should not send troops, we should not provide supporting air strikes, we should not consider drone strikes either. How can someone like John McCain who was front and center for our decades long, futile display of homicidal power in Vietnam, ever consider a return to military action in Iraq. Perhaps maneuvering for future AIPAC contributions have set his rhetorical agenda, because it cannot be his life experience or recollection of history dictating the garbage coming out of his mouth.

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  122. Robin Cohen says:

    Between Obama’s ignorance of the reality of war and the ignorance of the Iraqi people, any US involvement in the latest violence is pointless. John McCain loves to see the US in a war with some country somewhere. He should know better but does not. If a war is to be fought, let the wealthy Middle East help Iraq. No US troops or dollars should be employed to help the Iraqis continue their inherently violent lifestyle. They will not change and we must stop trying to make them change.

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