Iraq Disintegrating As US Withdraws

For years, analysts have worried that Iraq's tenuous hold on stability would collapse upon the withdrawal of US forces. We're now watching it happen.

For years, analysts have worried that Iraq’s tenuous hold on stability would collapse upon the withdrawal of US forces. We’re now watching it happen.

AP (“Wave of bombings across Iraqi capital kills 60“):

A wave of at least 14 bombings ripped across Baghdad Thursday morning, killing at least 60 people in the worst violence in Iraq for months. The apparently coordinated attacks struck days after the last American forces left the country and in the midst of a major government crisis between Shiite and Sunni politicians that has sent sectarian tensions soaring.

The bombings may be linked more to the U.S. withdrawal than the political crisis, but all together, the developments heighten fears of a new round of Shiite-Sunni sectarian bloodshed like the one a few years back that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the bombings bore all the hallmarks of al-Qaida’s Sunni insurgents. Most appeared to hit Shiite neighborhoods, although some Sunni areas were also targeted. In all, 11 neighborhoods were hit by either car bombs, roadside blasts or sticky bombs attached to cars. There was at least one suicide bombing and the blasts went off over several hours.

[…]

For many Iraqis and the Americans who fought a nearly nine-year war in hopes of leaving behind a free and democratic country, the events of the past few days are the country’s nightmare scenario. The fragile alliance of Sunnis and Shiites in the government is completely collapsing, large-scale violence with a high casualty toll has returned to the capital, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is displaying an authoritarian streak and may be moving to grab the already limited power of the Sunnis.

Al-Maliki’s Shiite-led government this week accused Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, the country’s top Sunni political leader, of running a hit squad that targeted government officials five years ago, during the height of sectarian warfare. Authorities put out a warrant for his arrest.

Many Sunnis fear this is part of a wider campaign to go after Sunni political figures in general and shore up Shiite control across the country at a critical time when all American troops have left Iraq.

Because such a large-scale, coordinated attack likely took weeks to plan, and the political crisis erupted only few days ago, the violence was not likely a direct response to the tensions within the government. Also, al-Qaida opposed Sunni cooperation in the Shiite-dominated government in the first place and is not aligned with Sunni politicians.

The Sunni extremist group often attacks Shiites, who they believe are not true Muslims.

Additionally, as Tony Karon reports for TIME (“Baghdad Bloodbath Threatens Sectarian Chaos in Iraq: Will Iran Stoke or Douse the Fires?”), the political balance is falling apart just as quickly.

The move against al-Hashimi coincides with the withdrawal from parliament of the predominantly Sunni Iraqiya bloc, prompting Maliki to urge the legislature to pass a vote of no confidence in deputy prime minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, the Sunni faction’s most senior figure in the legislature. And, Maliki warned, the boycott of parliament would result in Iraqiya cabinet ministers losing their positions, ending the inter-party accord that formed the basis of the agreement to seat his government. Iraqiya, whose future participation in what had been envisaged as a consensus government but has in practice been run almost entirely by Maliki’s faction, now appears in doubt, accused Maliki of being “the main cause of the crisis,” and urging his Shi’ite-dominated bloc to put forward an alternative candidate for prime minister.

Many of the Sunni leaders, including al-Hashimi, now support a bid by three Sunni provinces — Anbar, Diyala and Salahuddin — to band together into an autonomous zone on the lines that the Kurds have done. That’s an outcome Maliki is determined to avoid, seeing it as strengthening a beachhead in Iraq of regional forces antagonistic to his rule. Indeed, a union of three provinces that had been the cradle of the Sunni insurgency, and which abut Syria, would strengthen the strategic challenge to Maliki in Baghdad — even more so if President Bashar al-Assad were overthrown by Syria’s Sunni majority. Sunni leaders in those provinces have spoken of Sunni insurgencies on both sides of the Syria-Iraq border amplifying one another. And the al-Qaeda element has always sought to turn Sunnis against participation in the Shi’ite-dominated political system.

The power struggle between Sunni, Shi’ite and Kurdish political factions has been waged in different forms since Saddam’s fall, but it appears to have entered a new phase in recent years, once the clock began ticking down towards the U.S. withdrawal. Maliki has been widely accused of steadily amassing power, particularly through his control over the security forces, and demonstrating his intent to suppress domestic challenges to his increasingly authoritarian rule.

The Prime Minister’s attack on the Sunni political class signals a new round of political brinkmanship, with the danger of a relapse into civil war exacerbated by regional tensions, particularly between Iran — the main outside patron of Maliki’s government — and Saudi Arabia, which has always backed the Sunnis. Those two are at loggerheads in political standoffs throughout the region, from Syria and Lebanon to Bahrain, but Turkey’s growing regional influence has also antagonized Tehran. Ankara has taken a leading role in putting pressure on Iran’s ally in Damascus, President Assad, over his brutal crackdown on a popular rebellion. And last year, Turkey also played a major role in creating and backing the Iraqiya bloc.

Now, this is not an argument for re-entering the conflict in Iraq or even that President Obama’s decision to follow the withdrawal timetable negotiated under President Bush and that the Iraqi government demanded we adhere to was unwise. There were no good options available and Obama chose the least bad of them. Indeed, given how adamant the Maliki government was that we depart on schedule, it was simply a no-brainer.

Patrick Porter, a strategic studies scholar at Reading University, argues that these events should cause us to reassess the Iraqi Surge of 2006-7.

On one hand, the relatively quiet withdrawal of American troops on Tuesday vindicated one objective of the surge: to create more stable conditions to that America could pull out quietly without it being humiliated and without the kind of chaotic flight to the exits that would polarize its society.

On the other hand, the major declared objective of the surge launched by President Bush II in 2006-7 was to depress levels of violence, secure the population and thereby create critical space in which there could be political progress and reconciliation.

Advocates of enlightened counterinsurgency and muscular state-building argued that Iraq vindicated their position. They argued that the combination of more troops and more restraint played a major role in depressing the levels of violence and giving Iraq a breathing space to recover from the communal bloodletting it suffered in the post-invasion years.

But if Iraq descends again into the traumatic violence of 2005-6, we must acknowledge that this approach had its limits. It bought time and got the issue off the front pages – no small thing for a superpower that has seen presidencies destroyed in the past by protracted small wars – but a new civil war of sorts would suggest that the surge did not achieve its most profound objective.

The bottom line is that, as in Afghanistan, the ability of an alien occupying force* to radically transform a society in a relatively short time is limited, indeed. As RealClearWorld’s Greg Scoblete put it in the aftermath of Maliki’s move against his VP,

This incident underscores just how fragile Iraq’s government really is. The timing of Maliki’s moves was clearly intentional and it’s hard to believe he would have pulled a stunt like this had the U.S. remained in Iraq in force. So supporters of an indefinite U.S. military presence in Iraq have a point – the U.S. might well have stayed Maliki’s hand and lent a degree of stability to Iraq that will otherwise be missing.

But this also demonstrates quite clearly that actually creating an Iraq that does not descend into violence the moment the paternalistic hand of the U.S. military is withdrawn was going to be the work of decades – or more. And that’s if everything went well – and there’s no reason to believe that it would have.

Iraq, in particular, is a hard case because of the strong ethno-religious cleavages which have been reinforced by geographical separation, the horrendous treatment of the Shiite majority and Kurdish minority under the Baathist rule that preceded our invasion, and exacerbated further by almost eight years of terrorism and insurgent violence that followed.

Regardless, however, the situation in Iraq appears to be unraveling in rapid fashion and it’s highly unlikely that the international community will be able to do more than contain it; indeed, it’s not a certainly that we’ll be able to do even that.

Caron again:

The key variable, however, remains Iran. Tehran has been the biggest strategic beneficiary of the U.S. invasion, and it has been the most influential foreign power in Baghdad since the moment the U.S. allowed the Iraqis to choose their own government. (They’ve returned Iran-friendly Shi’ite governments at each election.) While he may be a Shi’ite partisan with an authoritarian streak, but — contra the Saudi view — Maliki is no puppet of Tehran. Still, he’s unable to rule without Tehran’s support; it was Iran’s intervention that persuaded Sadr to throw his considerable parliamentary vote behind Maliki to give him the numbers necessary to keep Iraqiya out of power, after the Sunni-dominated bloc finished with more votes than any other list in the last election.

The question that may determine whether or not Iraq descends into sectarian confrontation, then, may be this: What does Iran want right now?

There may be an argument that stoking instability in Iraq suits Iran at a moment when Tehran is facing growing economic pressure and implied military threats over its nuclear program — a tactic of starting fires in order to demonstrate its ability to cause problems for its adversaries. Yet, there may also be reason to believe that Iran could, in fact, decide to restrain Maliki should his actions appear to be raising the danger of renewed civil warfare. The reason is simple: The status quo put in place in Iraq by the U.S. invasion is a huge strategic gain for Tehran, which saw its most dangerous enemy — Saddam Hussein — replaced by an elected government dominated by its allies. The collapse of that political order in a new round of sectarian bloodshed puts Iran’s post-Saddam gains at risk, also inviting its key regional opponent, Saudi Arabia, to intervene more aggressively to turn Iraq into a proxy battlefield.

Either way, Iran is unlikely to accept matters of such great strategic consequence to the Islamic Republic as a confrontation that could potentially draw in Iraq’s major neighbors can be decided simply by the whims and narrow agenda of Prime Minister Maliki. At a moment when the fate of Iraq’s key Arab partner, Syria’s Assad, hangs in the balance, it would take a stupendous recklessness to roll the dice on its influence in Iraq, also, by encouraging Maliki to overplay his hand.

We may be in the ironic position of Iran being our most useful ally in containing this mess.

___________
*Zell Miller’s distaste for that word notwithstanding, it’s how we’re seen by far too many Iraqis and Afghans.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. mantis says:

    I blame Nader.

    We may be in the ironic position of Iraq being our most useful ally in containing this mess.

    I think you mean Iran. The two most mistyped nations ever?

  2. We should close the embassy (or at least reduce it to a skeleton staff) and get our remaining people out while the getting’s still good.

  3. James Joyner says:

    @mantis: Corrected. And, indeed.

  4. Well, there who those of us who derided “a beacon of democracy” from the beginning. Sucks to be right.

  5. Fiona says:

    This turn of events shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone. Even before the war started, critics warned about the possibility, given that Iraq was something of an artificial creation of colonialism and housed three primary groups, and several other smaller ones, that were quite hostile to each other. Saddam held them together under dictatorial rule; we never found a way to encourage them to live peacefully. Instead, they were just biding their time until the U.S. finally left.

    Our legacy in Iraq–thousands of lives lost and billions upon billions down the drain to produce chaos. Thanks a lot Bush and Co.

  6. James Joyner says:

    @john personna: Even those of us who supported regime change were skeptical of the “beacon of democracy” business. Unfortunately, extraction gets increasingly difficult once committed.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Does this qualify for the “No-sh*t, Sherlock” headline of the day? Also, totally agree James.

  8. Hey Norm says:

    This was one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in our history. It was ill-concieved and poorly executed from the get-go. The surge failed. To claim otherwise is to ignore the facts in evidence.
    Iraq was always going to fall apart when we left. So should we to stay forever? If you advocate for a war that requires indefinite occupation then you are a fool. The people who got us into this thing…and those who supported them…are fools. Incompetent fools.

  9. mantis says:

    given that Iraq was something of an artificial creation of colonialism and housed three primary groups, and several other smaller ones, that were quite hostile to each other.

    This was my primary argument against the war before it started. We would be attempting to topple a dictatorial regime that held together a country that was created by the British and by all rights should not exist as created. It’s also why I found the idea of partitioning the nation to be well worth considering when that was seriously discussed in 2006 (IIRC).

    I have been rather surprised that it hasn’t been worse there over the past couple of years, but it seems many were simply biding their time.

    I’m glad we got out, and I agree with Stormy that we should consider starting to move out of our billion dollar embassy. There is a lot of history between the sectarian groups in Iraq, and there’s not a whole lot we can do to stop the reckoning. Hopefully we can work to lessen the carnage and speed a resolution, but that’s about it.

    And I still blame Nader.

  10. Ron Beasley says:

    This just goes to show how totally clueless the neocons and the Bush/Cheney cabal was. They had no knowledge of the racial, religious or ethnic makeup of the country. The Sunni and Shi’ite have been fighting each other for 1,500 years; the Arabs and Persian Caucasians had been fighting even longer. And of course the Kurds have been fighting them all. In the end it really didn’t matter if we pulled out five years ago, now or ten years from now, the result would have been the same. And yes it also indicates that the “surge” accomplished” nothing but kicking the can down the road.
    Iran was always going to be the big winner – what do you expect when you take out their arch enemy and replace him with a friend.

  11. James says:

    So that means conservatives won’t insist the the necessity to now invade Iran, right?

  12. Old Sarge says:

    Once again, the troops DID WIN THE WAR, it’s the d@#n politically correct politicians that LOST it once more. Folks holding power (elected or appointed) that have absolutely NO CLUE of how to fight and win a war, or the patience (less than 10 second attention span) .

    We are dealing with a FAMILY or “tribal” BASED culture, and history shows how badly we (western Anglo civilization) has failed, time and time again.

    We never should have gone in, it was not the time (right after the Kuwait liberation was the proper time) and we should have gone in as “conquerors,” not “friends that are diametrically different in culture, but hey let’s all sing “kubaya!” ” The culture in that region of the world respects POWER, and being “merciful” works AFTER crushing the loosing power, not at the start of an occupation where we were viewed as weak, without the stomach or will to fight..

    Our political class LOST the war, not the Americans serving in uniform whose life blood was spilled. And our population is already looking for the next mindless filler after the fall of the House of Kardashian-Jenner.

  13. Jeremy says:

    @mantis: Just to confirm what I think you mean, you’re talking about the 2000 election of Bush, right? (Just want to make sure there wasn’t something else Nader has done.)

  14. @James Joyner:

    In investing we call this The Sunk Cost Fallacy. You probably did note it in conjunction with the current wars. By this time it is not a stunning connection. The wars are a well-known demonstration.

    FWIW, on “regime change” there was always the simple argument that “GHWB was smart and informed, and GHBW did not go to Baghdad, and so going to Baghdad is not smart or informed.”

    In retrospect that still works.

  15. mantis says:

    Just to confirm what I think you mean, you’re talking about the 2000 election of Bush, right? (Just want to make sure there wasn’t something else Nader has done.)

    Yeah. Half joking, of course, but without Nader we would have had Al Gore as president, and I strongly doubt he would have taken us on an Iraqi adventure after 9/11. Yes, that means I love Saddam Hussein and hate America. Wait, nobody makes that argument anymore…

  16. @Old Sarge:

    Once again, the troops DID WIN THE WAR, it’s the d@#n politically correct politicians that LOST it once more.

    By a funny definition of “politically correct.”

    The people brought in to reform Iraq were not State Department lefties, they were a bunch of clueless newbies from CATO and etc, that thought everybody was a market-ready libertarian under the skin.

  17. Ron Beasley says:

    @john personna: Actually many if not most of the CATO folks opposed the war.

  18. @Ron Beasley:

    Hmm. Am I thinking AEI?

  19. Rob in CT says:

    Sadly unsurprising (though we’ll see if it really ramps up into a civil war or if it sort of simmers for a while and settles back down). What the heck did people expect? Oh, right: flowers in the streets, beacon of democracy, etc.

    The Right has long since been highjacked by pie-in-the-sky utopians, and Iraq is simply one manifestation of that.

    In 2000, back when I didn’t really pay much attention to politics and didn’t really care who won (I voted for Nader to throw a third party a vote, just like I’d thrown the Libertarians a vote in ’96), I was comforted by Bush-The-Younger-The-Candidate’s position against “nation-building” and such. He campaigned, as I recall, as a FP realist conservative. I’m down with that. The interventionists scare me. Back then, I was thinking of avoiding another Kosovo. Sigh.

    The troops were indeed let down by the political class, repeatedly. They were given the wrong mission; they were sent in insufficient numbers to properly control the country; and they were expected to then do the impossible. Anyone who pointed these things out was stigmatized. Political correctness? Yeah, you betcha. Right-wing style.

  20. Ron Beasley says:
  21. steve says:

    No one has a good track record on nation building. At best, we have been able to return nations that were functional, places like Germany and Japan, to a functional status again. Taking a Middle Eastern dictatorship and turning it into a functional democracy just has not been done. We have no idea if it is really possible or how long it would take, to say nothing of the cost.

    Having made a bad decision to enter the country, I think we have have done the best that we can realistically do to leave the country in good shape. They dont really want us there any longer and need to resolve the issues they have been putting off for many years (oil and Kurds at the top of the list) their own way without our interference.

    Steve

  22. Franklin says:

    Regardless of who was wrong or right at any phase (others have and will fill the gap of assigning blame), I still feel it’s a bit sad to leave the place to descend into chaos. I don’t mean to suggest that we should have stayed or should go back, the part I feel is sad is that there are still so many medieval barbarians with modern weapons in that part of the world.

  23. James says:

    @Franklin:

    there are still so many medieval barbarians with modern weapons in that part of the world.

    I’d like to second this wonderful point. However, who these barbarians are is not always obvious; and oftentimes we choose to ignore the our own barbarism.

  24. @Old Sarge: The problem with this line of critique is that is assumes that “winning the war” simply means the military portion of a given action. However, war is not just about the application of force. The entire political package has to be taken into account (i.e., what the ultimate outcomes look like) before winning or losing can be assessed.

  25. @James:

    I read a travel book by a guy and a girl who traveled overland from London to Xanadu (171 miles north of Beijing). IIRC, in the section where they crossed the Afghan border they quoted a previous traveler saying that tribes and warlords made it the most uncivilized nation in the world. That writer was penning his thoughts 200 years earlier.

    Cultures are stable in a way that makes this kind of “nation building” difficult.

  26. @Old Sarge:

    As Clauswitz said, war is politics by other means. If the political objective was not achieved, then no, the soldiers didn’t win the war, no matter how tactically superior they were on the battlefield.

    This is not intended as a ding on the soldiers, since there was no way this war could have been won, but the first step to preventing this from happening again in the future is realizing that it was not a case of an initally successful effort that was later ruined; it was doomed from the momment it began.

  27. James says:

    @john personna: I don’t doubt that cultures and geography can create a kind of “path dependency” that makes exporting ideas like rule of law, sovereign rights of man, etc, etc difficult. I once had the pleasure of discussing the differences of Afghanistan and Iraq with a State Department official one time; he explained a similar concept. People in Afghanistan (in contrast to Iraq) are less educated, lack social institutions, and have few experiences in being governed in a regional, much less national way.

    But it is folly to assume that only the uneducated and uncivilized are capable of barbarism. As I said, we ignore our own lack of humanity at our own expense.

  28. jukeboxgrad says:

    Our legacy in Iraq–thousands of lives lost and billions upon billions down the drain to produce chaos.

    Let’s not understate the real price tag: over $3 trillion.

  29. Wayne says:

    The surge did work. Claiming otherwise because now that our troops are gone that violence has erupted is wrong. That is like saying the Northern African operation wasn’t successful when the battle of the bulge was occurring.

    This is happening on Obama’s watch. His administration didn’t put any serious or even half ass effort into having some troops stay there. It is his fault for doing so not Bush’s or Cheney’s.

    War is politics by other means but that doesn’t mean war and politics are interchangeable. You can win a war without achieving “all” political objectives. History is full of examples of that.

    As for this particular situation, yes it was to be expected. IMO having stabilizing U.S. force designated to be there for another decade would have help. Not in the same capacity as we have had but as a stabilizing force with Iraqi forces doing more and more of the work. Regardless we don’t know the outcome yet. The violence would have happen whenever the decision was made. It is a matter of how developed the Iraqi government is. Hopefully Iraq will do the right things and make it through it OK. There will be some mistakes but hopefully none that can’t be overcome. The U.S. influence has been greatly diminished. Has it been diminished too far and too fast. Hopefully not but only time will tell.

  30. @Wayne:

    Your whole comment seems like just a bunch of slogans from Cheney/Rumsfeld speeches pasted together at random with no sense of how they were supposed to fit into an actual arugment.

  31. @steve:

    We have no idea if it is really possible or how long it would take, to say nothing of the cost.

    If you count from the signing of the Magna Carta (1215) to the ratification of the US Constitution (1787), it took the anglosphere more than 500 years to go from absolute monarchy to a democratic republic.

    I suspect it would take a similar timeframe to forment a similar transformation in the Middle East.

  32. anjin-san says:

    This is happening on Obama’s watch.

    Yep. The fallout form multiple disasters during the Bush years rains down upon us to this day. The economy. Iraq. And so on…

  33. Neil Hudelson says:

    I think many intelligent people half expected something along these lines to occur, but man! did it occur quickly. They don’t waste much time over there.

  34. mantis says:

    This is happening on Obama’s watch. His administration didn’t put any serious or even half ass effort into having some troops stay there.

    That’s a lie:

    Throughout the discussions, Iraqi leaders have adamantly refused to give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, and the Americans have refused to stay without it. Iraq’s leadership has been split on whether it wanted American forces to stay. Some argued the further training and U.S. help was vital, particularly to protect Iraq’s airspace and gather security intelligence. But others have deeply opposed any American troop presence, including Shiite militiamen who have threatened attacks on any American forces who remain.

    Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has told U.S. military officials that he does not have the votes in parliament to provide immunity to the American trainers, the U.S. military official said.

    IMO having stabilizing U.S. force designated to be there for another decade would have help.

    They didn’t want us there, and they wouldn’t agree to forces staying. Do you think we should have just stayed anyway? How would you justify that?

  35. Loviatar says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    This is not intended as a ding on the soldiers, since there was no way this war could have been won, but the first step to preventing this from happening again in the future is realizing that it was not a case of an initally successful effort that was later ruined; it was doomed from the moment it began.

    .

    This, This, THIS
    .

  36. James says:

    @Wayne:

    This is happening on Obama’s watch. His administration didn’t put any serious or even half ass effort into having some troops stay there. It is his fault for doing so not Bush’s or Cheney’s.

    Well a) Iraq is a sovereign nation. They have a right to treat with other sovereign nations in the way they see fit and b) the withdrawal was negotiated during the Bush Administration:

    On October 16, 2008, after several more months of negotiations [with the Iraqi Government], U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice briefed senior U.S. lawmakers on the draft SOFA [Status of Forces Agreement]

  37. Tillman says:

    Our media penetration in the Middle East is a more effective weapon than a soldier’s gun, if you’re looking to transform a region. My pet theory is the Arab Spring is this coming to some sort of fruition after fifty years of exported culture.

  38. James says:

    @anjin-san: Don’t for get the tax-cuts

  39. Hey Norm says:

    @ Wayne…
    The facts don’t match the world your mind is occupying.
    You should probably be concerned about that.

  40. HelloWorld! says:

    We could stay there 20 years, even 30 and the result would be the same. Unfortunately, Iraq will be this way until they get a leader with an iron fist who makes sectarian groups trumble with fear. Anyone know of anyone who can do that?

  41. Wayne says “another decade.” Not me, not worth one kid’s life.

    At some point self-determination is a responsibility. We are way beyond that point. In fact I believe it was pre-invasion.

  42. Rob in CT says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Well said re: Magna Carta -> US Constitution.

  43. @john personna: AEI, Heritage, Weekly Standard, Young Americans for Freedom, College Republicans etc.

  44. anjin-san says:

    @ john personna

    Well said.

  45. Liberty60 says:

    @mantis:

    Do you think we should have just stayed anyway? How would you justify that?

    AMERICA FUCK YEAH, that’s how!

  46. ponce says:

    I thought it was clear we were setting up Maliki to be Saddam lite.

    A few bombs isn’t going to derail that plan.

  47. Wayne says:

    Reports show that VP Biden made one call on the issue. None were made from Obama on the issue. Very little attempts were made to keep our troops there. I can understand someone thinking we should get out and no or very little effort should have been made. However many of the above excuses people are giving doesn’t excuse Obama’s Administration lack of effort.

    If you don’t believe an effort should have been made and we shouldn’t have a stabilizing force, say so. But don’t shirk responsibilities for what happens because of it and claim there was nothing else we could have done.

  48. Wayne says:

    By the way I’m not sure it won’t work out. I hope it does. I think we could have left it with in a better situation to increase the odds that it would work out. Even then we would be rolling the dice. Only time will tell.

  49. Eric Florack says:

    What were you doing in 1975?

  50. Eric Florack says:

    At some point self-determination is a responsibility.

    Does that dictum apply to extended unemployment benefits, too?

  51. Eric Florack says:

    Yep. The fallout form multiple disasters during the Bush years rains down upon us to this day. The economy. Iraq. And so on…

    Here we have one of the ten percent… the people who will never vote anything but left, regardless of any fact.

  52. anjin-san says:

    Here we have one of the ten percent… the people who will never vote anything but left, regardless of any fact.

    Voted for Reagan. Twice. Voted for GW in 2000 (hindsight is 20-20) I was a registered Republican for longer than I have been a Democrat. Would probably support Chuck Hagle in 2016. I’ve stated often here that I admire Reagan & Eisenhower.

    One day bit, you will get something right. It will be big news when it happens.