Iraq Is Backing Syria’s Dictator. Why The Heck Did We Go To War Again?

Iraq has become so dependent on Iran for its survival that it is endorsing the brutal tactics of Bashar Assad.

Mariah, Beyoncé, Usher and Gaddafi Money

Muammar Gadaffi’s family hired big name entertainers for parties. What with the ongoing mayhem in Libya, that’s coming under scrutiny.

Tariq Aziz Speaks, Says U.S. Troops Should Stay In Iraq

Saddam Hussein’s closest adviser in the 1990s, Tariq Aziz, is talking to reporters, and he wants American troops to stay in Iraq.

Iraqi Freedom Changing to New Dawn

Operation IRAQI FREEDOM is going to be renamed Operation NEW DAWN, Jake Tapper reports. ABC News has learned that the Obama administration has decided to give the war in Iraq — currently known as Operation Iraqi Freedom — a new name. The new name: “Operation New Dawn.” In a February 17, 2010, memo to the […]

Chemical Ali Hanged Until Dead, Dead, Dead

The government of Iraq has finally executed “Chemical Ali” Hassan al-Majid, arguably the most heinous official of the former regime save his cousin, Saddam Hussein. Majid, an enforcer in Saddam Hussein’s regime and his cousin, had earlier been sentenced to death four times for genocide and crimes against humanity.  Earlier this month, he was sentenced […]

Iraq War Casualty Predictions

Tim Lambert linked some prewar Iraq War casualty predictions collected by John Hawkins in early 2003: If we go into Iraq, how many casualties do you expect to see (on the side of the US and our allies) John Hawkins: “Probably 300 or less” Charles Johnson:“Very few” Henry Hanks: “Less than 200” Laurence Simon: “A […]

How the FBI Broke Saddam

James Gordon Meek has a very interesting two-part story on how FBI Special Agent George Piro successfully interrogated Saddam Hussein.  Shockingly, it does not involve waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation, nudity, or German shephards. The FBI prides itself on “rapport-based” interrogations that have a high success rate for yielding confessions from the likes of 1993 […]

Revolution is Not a Spectator Sport

Like James Poulos, “I like the Iranian reformers more than I like the mass politics of solidarity by symbolism.” As such, I’m sympathetic to John Cole in thinking that the rabid coverage of the Iranian election controversy by enthusiastic American bloggers who know next to nothing about Iran is overblown.  (I include myself in the […]

Hit Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 Times with a Baseball Bat!

Stacy McCain offers a rejoinder to those of us queasy about the fact that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in his first month in U.S. custody. Look, we hanged Saddam Hussein and sent the 101st Airborne to kill Saddam’s sons, Uday and Qusay. What is “waterboarding” compared to violent death? Who could possibly […]

South Park Baathists

“South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker tell The Telegraph that they got a signed picture of Saddam Hussein from some Iraq Marines. During his captivity, US marines forced Saddam, who was executed in 2006, to repeatedly watch the move South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut, which shows him as gay, as well as […]

Bush Iraq Trip: Hit by Shoes, Cheered by Troops

President Bush made a surprise farewell visit to Iraq and Afghanistan, suffering the indignity of having an Iraqi journalist hurl his shoes at him but being greeted warmly by American troops. Sudarsan Raghavan and Dan Eggen for WaPo: In Iraq, Bush said the conflict “has not been easy” but was necessary for U.S. security, Iraqi […]

Bush’s Flight Suit

Glenn Greenwald notes that Joe Klein has changed his mind in the last five-and-a-half years about President Bush’s now infamous flight suit gambit. Now:  “The flight-suit image is one of the two defining moments of the Bush failure.” Then: “[T]hat was probably the coolest presidential image since Bill Pullman played the jet fighter pilot in […]

Obama’s Afghanistan Plan

Over at New Atlanticist, I discuss “Obama’s Afghanistan Plan,” noting that actually achieving results will prove far more difficult than criticizing the Bush administration. My main criticism is of his continued harping on catching Osama bin Laden: [I]t would be ironic indeed if a Democratic successor to Bush seriously made tracking down a single terrorist a […]

Iraqi Yellowcake Uranium Moved to Montreal

Saddam’s supply of yellowcake has been secretly sold to a Canadian energy firm and flown safely to Montreal. The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program – a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium – reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and […]

Building Democracy, One Warlord at a Time

The Washington Post has a heartbreaking article which might as well be titled “The More Things Change…” regarding our current “progress” in Fallujah: [Col. Faisal Ismail al-]Zobaie, 51, knows the nature of the men in black masks. He is a former insurgent. Now, as the police chief, he has turned against the insurgency, especially al-Qaeda […]

Getting it Right on Iraq

Taking a page from Christopher Hitchens’ book, Jim Henley admits that he was right on the Iraq War. Predicting ahead of time that a given war is a bad idea isn’t particularly hard, frankly. It’s a bimodal choice (War/No War) and wars are almost always “bad” in some sense that would be defensible down the […]

Hitchens on 5th Anniversary of Iraq War

As part of a retrospective commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, Christopher Hitchens admits to having been right all along. He does, however, reject the premise of the question. Anyone with even a glancing acquaintance with Iraq would have to know that a heavy U.S. involvement in the affairs of that country began […]

Iraq, Five Years On

In recognition of the fifth anniversary of the U. S.-led and mostly U. S.-conducted invasion of Iraq and removal of the regime of Saddam Hussein, there have been a number of articles in the New York Times and elsewhere that have an odd sort of synergy to them. For example, there’s this interview from the […]

Iran and Iraq

The picture at right, of Iraqi President Talabani Prime Minister Maliki and Iranian President Ahmadinejad, was taken on President Ahmadinejad’s recent visit to Iraq, the first ever by an Irenian leader: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hailed a new era in relations with neighbouring Iraq as he began the first visit by an Iranian leader to Baghdad yesterday. […]

Acireman Foreign Policy

I’d like to bring an article in the Hoover Institutions’s publication, Policy Review, A Moral Core for U.S. Foreign Policy by Derek Chollet and Tod Lindberg, to your attention. In the article the authors note that …after two successive presidents of opposite political parties (Bill Clinton and George W. Bush) have argued that spreading American […]

Iraq’s New Flag

Steven Taylor isn’t very impressed with the announcement that Iraq’s parliament has finally come to an interim agreement on some minor changes in the national flag. The three stars that represented Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party will be removed, to address the concerns of Iraqi Kurds. They have refused to fly the flag since the fall […]

Bush’s Iraq War Lies Were Untrue

Much hubbub overnight by a joint Center for Public Integrity – Fund for Independence in Journalism study of statements made by Bush administration officials in their attempt to sell the Iraq War. AP/YahooNews: Study: False statements preceded war A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds […]

McCain Wins Iowa and New Hampshire Endorsements

John McCain has received all the key newspaper endorsements for the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, despite being a non-factor in the polls in the former and trailing in the latter. The Des Moines Register backed McCain despite his being in 5th place in their own polls; apparently, they’re not so much trying to […]

Fallout From NIE Iran Nuke Assessment

Yesterday’s release of a National Intelligence Estimate reporting that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003 has, as Steven Lee Meyers points out, dramatically shifted the landscape. Rarely, if ever, has a single intelligence report so completely, so suddenly, and so surprisingly altered a foreign policy debate here. An administration that had cited Iran’s […]

Bill Clinton Says He Opposed Iraq War from Start (UPDATED)

Bill Clinton, who as president committed the country to a policy of regime change in Iraq, now claims he was opposed to the Iraq war “from the beginning,” Patrick Healy reports for the NYT. During a campaign swing for his wife, former President Bill Clinton said flatly yesterday that he opposed the war in Iraq […]

Washington Post: the Surge is Working

In an editorial this morning the Washington Post asserts that by any objective standard “the Surge” is working: A month later, there isn’t much room for such debate, at least about the latest figures. In September, Iraqi civilian deaths were down 52 percent from August and 77 percent from September 2006, according to the Web […]

Moving the Goalposts in Iraq?

In an Analysis piece fronting today’s WaPo, Karen DeYoung and Thomas Ricks argue that yesterday’s testimony by General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker may well have succeeded in buying more time for the mission in Iraq. Petraeus and Crocker have long complained that the Washington clock — with congressional demands that the time has […]

Disbanding Saddam’s Army Revisited

In a strange coincidence of timing, on the day the news is led by a report urging the dismantling of the Iraqi National Police, the NYT runs an op-ed by former Coalition Provisional Authority head L. Paul Bremmer arguing that he didn’t decide to disband Saddam’s army but that it was nonetheless the right thing […]

Iraqi Police Should Be Scrapped, Army Far From Ready

A blue ribbon commission chaired by former Supreme Allied Commander James Jones* has concluded that the Iraqi national police are so corrupt that they should be disbanded and recreated from scratch and that the Iraqi army is still more than a year away from being able to operate independently. Karen DeYoung‘s report on A1 of […]

Iraq Withdrawal Logistics (Updated)

Phil Carter draws my attention to a report by Lawrence Korb and colleagues on the logistics of troop withdrawal from Iraq. The study’s working assumption, that the Surge will inevitably fail and that withdrawal must commence immediately, is a political question that’s hotly contested. The military-logistical questions, though, are interesting in their own right. Those […]

Three Iraq Wars

Christopher Hitchens begins his latest Slate column with an easy set-up: “When people say that they want to end the war in Iraq, I always want to ask them which war they mean.” “All of them!” is, of course, the rather obvious reply. In reality, though, it’s a bit more complicated than that. There are […]

Overhyping Petraeus

Andrew Bacevich has a piece in The New Republic under the headline, “Army of One: The Overhyping of David Petraeus.” It makes some good points, including some made here (see, especially, “Petraeus Fetishism“). He’ll get no argument from me, certainly, that politicians and the press have placed too much emphasis on Petraeus’ skills and too […]

Surge Working, Still Losing

AP’s Robert Burns left his “base” in Washington for a two week tour of Iraq and pronounces the Surge a great success. The all-important political reconciliation, on the other hand …. The new U.S. military strategy in Iraq, unveiled six months ago to little acclaim, is working. In two weeks of observing the U.S. military […]

Islamic State of Iraq Leader Abu Shahid Captured

Khaled Abdul-Fattah Dawoud Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, aka Abu Shahid, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq has been captured. The U.S. command said Wednesday the highest-ranking Iraqi in the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq has been arrested, adding that information from him indicates the group’s foreign-based leadership wields considerable influence over the Iraqi chapter. Khaled […]

Bush and the Generals

Dan Froomkin makes a rather serious charge: “President Bush . . . has a tendency to celebrate his generals when they’re providing him political cover — then stick a knife in their backs when they’re no longer of any use to him.” His evidence for this assertion, however, is rather slim. Last week, Bush rejected […]

Al Qaeda’s Role in Iraq

Michael Gordon and Jim Rutenberg argue in today’s NYT that the Bush administration has consistently exaggerated the role of al Qaeda in Iraq for propaganda purposes. That’s undeniably true. “Al Qaeda” is a powerful buzz word and both the terrorists and politicians play it up for effect. In the case of the administration, they made […]

British Blamed for Beast of Basra

Rumors that British troops have unleashed a dangerous monster in Basra are further complicating efforts to win the hearts and minds of locals. British forces operating around the southern Iraqi city of Basra are being blamed for the arrival of a plague of vicious badgers that stalk the streets at night, attacking livestock and even […]

Petraeus Says War Will Take Years

General David Petraeus says that the Surge is going as planned but it may take years, even decades, to win the war. “Northern Ireland, I think, taught you that very well. My counterparts in your [British] forces really understand this kind of operation… It took a long time, decades,” he said. “I don’t know whether […]

Novak on Plame Leak

Bob Novak recounts the details of his meeting with Richard Armitage wherein he learned of Valerie Plame’s CIA identity in his new autobiography, The Prince of Darkness. His newspaper, The Chicago Sun-Times, has an excerpt: It is important to note that Armitage reached out to me before Joe Wilson went public on the New York […]

Look Through Your March 2003 Archives Game

Jim Henley promises to play the “Look Through Your March 2003 Archives” game over the weekend. I decided to go ahead and do it now. OTB was in its infancy then, having started January 31st. It was then a solo-author blog, featuring yours truly at his most prolific. (It was also on BlogSpot, but the […]


Buried in a much longer story that lead with action in Anbar Province in which Iraqi security forces killed and captured a number of Al-Qaeda was a story that I found even more interesting: In Stockholm, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said there would be an announcement in a few days to reintroduce 1,000 mid-ranking […]

Whither Britain’s Conservatives?

Christopher Hitchens wonders, “Whatever happened to Britain’s Conservatives?” Specifically, the party long dominated by upper crust men steeped in noblesse oblige, a sense of military duty, and a desire to further the Empire has been replaced by a party of Al Gores (mid-2000 edition). David Cameron has become the green challenger. His party’s events feature […]

Iraqi Kurdistan = Booming

From Michael Totten, we have this Sunday’s 60 Minutes amazing 12 minute program on Kurdistan (heavily recommended if you have 12-minutes free) (Note, if that does not work it is the video labeled Kurdistan Strives for Autonomy here) CBS, in its infinite wisdom, does not allow you to pause the video, nor easily link a […]

Hillary Clinton Between Iraq and a Hard Place

Christopher Hitchens explains in great detail why Hillary Clinton will have a tough time backing away from her longstanding position in favor of war with Iraq. The crux of the case: After speaking to the U.N. General Assembly meeting of 2006, President Jalal Talabani of Iraq found himself in a room with President Bush and […]

Terrorist in Iraqi Parliament

Jamal Jafaar Mohammed, a terrorist who has been convicted for bombing the U.S. embassy in 1983, now sits in the Iraqi parliament. A man sentenced to death in Kuwait for the 1983 bombings of the U.S. and French embassies now sits in Iraq’s parliament as a member of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s ruling coalition, according […]

Insurgencies Rarely Win But Their Opponents Often Lose

Naval War College professor Donald Stoker has a provocative online piece for Foreign Policy with the self-explanatory title, “Insurgencies Rarely Win — And Iraq Won’t Be Any Different (Maybe).” The intro: The cold, hard truth about the Bush administration’s strategy of “surging” additional U.S. forces into Iraq is that it could work. Insurgencies are rarely […]

Oil-for-Food Chief Sevan Indicted Over Saddam Bribes

Benon Sevan, who headed up the UN’s Oil-for-Food program, has been indicted on charges of taking bribes from Saddam Hussein. The charges, detailed in a joint press release by the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Manhattan district attorney, came over a year after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker completed an investigation for […]

Saddam Half Brother and Chief Judge Hanged

Saddam Hussein’s intelligence chief and top judge were hanged early this morning. Saddam Hussein’s half brother and the former head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court were both hanged before dawn Monday, officials said, two weeks and two days after the former Iraqi dictator was executed in a chaotic scene that has drawn worldwide criticism. Barzan Ibrahim, […]

New Saddam Execution Video

Rusty Shackleford reports, A video showing Saddam Hussein shortly after he was executed has emerged on the internet. The video and images from it are shown below. The first uncut, uncensored, unedited video showing Saddam Hussein executed caused quite a stir. Another video of Saddam’s funeral has also been making the rounds. This video does […]

Saddam Hussein Executed in Baghdad (Video, Photos)

Saddam Hussein is dead. Some Arab media, including state-run Iraqiya television, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya and the U.S.-financed Al-Hurra, reported about an hour before daylight Saturday (about 10 p.m. EST Friday) that Saddam had been executed. There was no confirmation from the Iraqi government. A U.S. judge on Friday refused to stop Saddam’s execution, rejecting a last-minute […]

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