The bright spot in the Iraq implosion

When David Frum counsels against a military intervention, that’s a pretty strong warning signal. Frum’s article arguing for caution in propping up the Iraqi government is one of the best assessments of the situation you’ll find anywhere.

Frum’s thesis is based on the realization that the government that emerged from our adventure in Iraq is at least as hostile to American interests as the one we fought to replace. We toppled a secular dictator deeply at odds with all of his neighbors in order to create a fundamentalist Shiite Islamic dictatorship closely aligned with Iran and Syria. Mission Accomplished.

That regime is now threatened by blowback from its deep involvement in Syria’s civil war. Before we decide on a response we have a decision to make. We must determine whether it makes any difference which variation of dictatorship emerges next in Iraq and to what extent we are willing to help the Iranians prop up their favorite client state.

Now, the most extreme and brutal of the anti-regime forces inside Syria has turned against Maliki. He is seeking American help, and Maliki’s patrons in Tehran appear content to see the United States rescue their client. According to some reports, the Iranians view U.S. aid to Maliki as a strategic partnership that could smooth the way to a nuclear deal more favorable to them.

Is this situation not utterly upside down? It’s Iran that has a vital interest in the survival of Maliki, not the United States. It’s Iran that should be entreating the U.S. for assistance to Maliki—and Iran that should be expected to pay the strategic price for whatever support Maliki gets.

That’s the gist of it, but Frum throws in the inevitable kink at the end. He mentions that there was one little-recognized bright spot that emerged from the catastrophe of the Iraq War. Among the proponents of an aggressive American global power , the Kurds are their third-favorite people on the planet.

The United States failed in its most ambitious objective: establishing a stable, Western-oriented government for all of Iraq. It did, however, succeed in establishing a stable, Western-oriented government in a part of Iraq: Kurdistan. Let’s focus resources instead on strengthening our relationship with that impressive enclave—and hope that as much as possible of Iraq’s oil wealth ends up under Kurdish control.

And in this case he’s right. When Iraq falls apart as it inevitably will soon, the Kurds will be prepared to emerge as a nation in their own right since they are already a functioning independent nation in fact. Pro-US, tolerant of Israel, and embracing a moderate Islam, if we carefully protect the Kurds’ ability to operate independently, instead of pouring resources into supporting the Maliki regime, we may actually be able to claim one victory from that mess.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Foreign Policy
166 comments on “The bright spot in the Iraq implosion
  1. Very cogent commentary by Mr. Frum.

    IMHO, America should avoid wars that do not involve an existential threat. Americans are simply too nice to wage war as it must be fought absent such a threat.

    Before winning the “hearts and minds” of our German and Japanese allies, we visited a level of destruction upon them that is simply horrific to contemplate. We firebombed Hamburg, Kassel, Darmstadt, Dresden, Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Ube, Tokyo and other large cities in those countries, and we nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We killed literally millions, following the Le May dictum, “If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting.” Total subjugation and utter capitulation were accomplished before any thought was given to rebuilding, let alone long term friendship.

    In Korea and Vietnam we fought to counter the advance of communism, not to win. In Irag, Afghanistan, and Iraq again, we were more concerned about being liked than about winning. In the Iraq War we had an opportunity to make an object example of Fallujah, and failed abjectly to do so. The result of trying to be kinder and gentler is that a large swath of the world *still* doesn’t like us, and has been given absolutely no reason to fear us.

    When nations conflict in the state of nature, fear must precede respect, and respect must precede friendship. We are neither feared, nor respected in the Middle East, the Far East, Asia, or Russia. To expect friendship is sheer lunacy.

    Obama is a man-child with severe Daddy issues. His foreign policy doctrine, if one were to grace his incoherent acts with the term, consists primarily of seeking adulation based on the notion that he is so much nicer than any of his meany predecessors. Obama fails to comprehend that the vast majority of nation states are run by grownups, and many of them not very nice grownups, at that.

    Nation states (and even non-state actors like Al Qaeda) are motivated solely by their vital interests; foreign leaders couldn’t care less about how nice (or not nice) America’s president is. Until Obama and his state department grok this simple fact, we can expect to have our collective derrieres handed to us on a platter on a regular basis.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Tracey, very well said. Your comments about Obama are spot on. He started his presidency with a world apology tour. He told us others will “look up to us again” but they look down further. And this is the problem for Hillary. She was very much a part of the world mess exploding while she and Obama tried to play catch up.

      On Korea, you did mean when North Korea invaded South of the 32nd Parallel?

    • Crogged says:

      This is a rich target of usual rightwing blather but grok this. You practice ‘strength and resolve’ from your computer.

      “The United States Air Force dropped in Indochina, from 1964 to August 15, 1973, a total of
      6,162,000 tons of bombs and other ordnance. U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft expended another 1,500,000 tons in Southeast Asia. This tonnage far exceeded that expended in World War II and in the Korean War. The U.S. Air Force consumed 2,150,000 tons of munitions in World War II – 1,613,000 tons in the European Theater and 537,000 tons in the Pacific Theater – and 454,000 tons in the Korean War.”

  2. CaptSternn says:

    So Obama is going to send military advisers to Iraq. Must say that if that is all he does, then not so bad. Still 99.99% certain he would never send the troops back in, but it would be a serious mistake to launch air strikes and basically be an air force for the interests of Iran.

  3. kabuzz61 says:

    It is now being reported in The Guardian that stockpiles of chemical weapons have been found but some of the containing facilities have been breached.

  4. Owl of Bellaire says:

    Sternn complains, “How can we have an honest, intelligent, mature discussion of issues when so many, mostly on the left, are simply frothing at the mouth and spouting hate towards those others?”

    For this to come from an ideological compatriot of kabuzz and Dan is irony, indeed.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Captain, Silly Bird proves my point. Bravo!

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Using the word “irony” is a demonstration of “frothing at the mouth and spouting hate”?

        Well, since apparently I can’t help being already guilty, kabuzz, you’re an illiterate asshole.

      • vivalagalgo says:

        Oh BAM.

    • flypusher says:

      You cannot have any honest debate when one of your initial statements is to make the blanket assumption that those who disagree with you are doing so out of emotion, rather than their own assessment of the evidence.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Actually the point is you on the left on this site form a clique. You are never in disagreement in fear of being thrown out of the ‘cool kids’. I have yet to see any significant disagreement from one of the echo chamber related to Chris’ post.

      • Crogged says:

        Accusation is as revealing of the accuser as the accused.

      • flypusher says:

        Bullshit Buzzy. You only see what you want to see, and your memory sure is short. Need I remind you that even the leftiest lefties have expressed reservations about the notion of a basic income? Or that when Chris blogged about intervening in Syria he got an almost unanimous “hell no!”?

        I come here to express and read opinins and debate. I don’t trouble myself over who is agreeing or disagreeing with who I say,

      • CaptSternn says:

        A person can’t make an assessment on the evidence without actually looking at the evidence.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Fly, I said significant disagreement.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Well, Fly, about the only person from your side of the aisle that has even attempted to prove that statement wrong is HT.

      • flypusher says:

        “Fly, I said significant disagreement.”

        And I gave you not one, but TWO solid example, of significant, practically universal disagreement with something Chris posted. You yet again posted before thinking, and now you’re doubling down on the stupid.

        “Well, Fly, about the only person from your side of the aisle that has even attempted to prove that statement wrong is HT.”

        If this is in reference to Iraq, then your memory is as bad and selective as Buzzy’s. There’s been quite a few posts parsing the 2003 SOTU, where you continually turned a blind eye to the numerous WMD references. Then we have the “evidence” you once cited for Iraq being a threat to Saudi Arabia, which consisted solely of the fact that the Iraqi army fought back for a short time when the US invaded. I’m totally underwhelmed by your “evidence” and your “logic”. But I’m sure you’ll just play the “all emotional” card again, as that’s always easier than making an actual case.

      • CaptSternn says:

        There is the evidence that Saddam, Hussein manufactured and used chemical weapons.
        There is the evidence that Iraq was an aggressor nation the entire time Saddam Hussein was the leader.
        There is the eviodence that Iraq was working with al Qaeda on chemical weapons.
        There is the evidence that Iraq was committing mass murder of Kurds and Shia, even after 1991.
        There is the evidence that Iraq launched SCUD missiles into Saudi Arabia and Israel.
        There is the evidence that Iraq was illegally working on longer range missiles in 2002.
        There is the evidence that the Hussein regime continued to support terrorist organizations, ANO, PFLP, DFLP, MEK and ALF.
        Therer is evidence that in 2001 the Hussein regime was offering $25,000 to families of suicide bombers in Palestine.
        There is evidence that Iraq was continuing to target and fire on U.S. troops in the region.
        There is evidence that Iraq still had stockpiles of WMD in 1998.
        There is evidence that Iraq refused to admit weapons inspectors after 1998 until late in 2002.
        There is evidence that Iraq still would not coopoerate with weapons inspectors and accout for the weapons.
        There is evidence that Iraq was very close to having nuclear weapons.

        And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Do you want to discuss evidence, or remain with you emotional knee-jerk reactions?

    • Bart-1 says:

      when did he say this?

  5. Anse says:

    If oil is so important to the US economy–and I agree that it is–then the US should treat it as such and make the oil industry a more explicit part of US domestic policy, a part of which would be demanding a greater share of oil industry profits.

    Companies like Exxon and others are, in fact, US representatives in the nations in which they work. People in unstable countries like Nigeria do not make a distinction between ConocoPhillips and the US government; an American company working in its own interests will always be perceived as having the full blessing of the US government and the American people. So when these companies engage in the kind of corruption that exacerbates foreign instabilities, that reflects ultimately on us and has a serious impact on not only our foreign policy but also our domestic security. It is hardly a secret that these companies maintain off-the-books budgets for things like paying bribes to local tribes and government officials in order to conduct business and to pay ransoms in the event that their employees are kidnapped and their safety jeopardized. I know this personally via acquaintances in the industry who have worked in sub-Saharan Africa and other areas of the world where such risks are common. One could argue that these companies don’t have much of a choice. With the political situation so messed up, if you want to do business you end up playing by the locals’ rules. But it is inevitable that this will inflame sectarian and ethnic conflicts. One would think, for example, that a nation like Nigeria would become one of the most prosperous in the world thanks to their oil wealth, but so much of that money flows into the coffers of corrupt government officials whose allegiances are tribal and ethnic rather than national, and so those groups who are left destitute and without opportunities will only cultivate an increasing hatred for both the powers in their own country and those Americans who play along with the corruption. This is the world we live in. Oil can be a blessing or a curse.

    People who dismiss alternative technologies remind me of the late 19th century New York Times columnist who opined that the city could not possibly get any bigger because the amount of waste produced by horses was becoming intolerable. A few short decades later, the horse was obsolete. It’s this kind of blind devotion to the status quo that will prevent us from moving out of the oil economy. The problem, I believe, is less technological than political. Why else would the Koch brothers be lobbying Kansas to stop requiring that 20% of their power come from wind energy? Kansas has a limitless supply of wind and that technology is now competitive with coal and gas for the purposes of energy production, but this won’t stop those libertarian idealists from standing in the way of that innovation.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      They do share their profits with a very high tax rate. What do you want to do? Confiscate the companies ala Venezuela?

      • Anse says:

        Let’s see if the state of Texas uses its windfall of oil industry tax revenues and license fees the same way Norway does. If the more optimistic prognostications come to pass and we do have billions upon billions of barrels of oil under the Permian Basin, we ought to generate the kind of public revenues to shore up just about every problem plaguing this state, up to and including education and health care. I’m guessing that’s not going to happen.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Depends on who owns the mineral rights and the land. If Texas owns the land, the state gets paid for the lease and the royalties. If it is federal land, the federal government gets it. If it is privately owned, the owner gets the pay.

      • John Galt says:

        Anse – Texas does invest the mineral royalty money somewhat usefully. By law it goes into the Permanent University Fund (PUF), basically an endowment that supports the UT and A&M systems (cue the howling protests of UH and Tech alums). PUF money can only be used for capital projects, not operating expenses. I haven’t heard any calls to change this system.

      • John Galt says:

        Thanks for the clarification, Danny-boy. I’m pleased to see your fertile mind has invented another insult. Gotta keep up with the 10 year olds!

        As usual, of course, you’re wrong. The only institutions that can receive money from the PUF are those of the UT and A&M systems, which is what I wrote before. Note that this is not limited to College Station and Austin, but any universities in those systems (UTSA, TAMUCC, UTHSC, etc.).

        Now, to your comment about Anse. Do you really believe, in that addled, distorted brain of yours that “liberals” want 20% unemployment? Seriously, what fucking planet do you live on? Liberals, who to you mean anyone from the center-right to far left, want a prosperous, productive society in which at least most people can share in both these things. In fact, they probably want it more than most conservatives do, since modern fear-mongering conservatives seem to thrive on the us-against-them. Those of us who are not fighting to be the next Mussolini simply have different ideas about how to get there and different priorities along the way.

      • CaptSternn says:

        If liberals wanted those things, John, they wouldn’t be voting for democrats.

      • John Galt says:

        You’re clearly 10 years old in both your witty insults and in your naivety. Do you know the meaning of the word non-sequitur? Those of us with some knowledge of history understand that lying is as innate to a politicians as breathing is to the rest of us. This has been true since the dawn of time. Those of us who do not pretend to be pure as the driven snow take everything that comes out of a politician’s mouth as a potential lie. I’m sure you will rediscover this truism as soon as a Republican is elected president.

      • Anse says:

        Dan apparently believes in all seriousness that we’re involved in Iraq to liberate Iraqis. You can’t reason with idiocy like that.

        The Democratic Party platform is the best hope for 80-90% of the US population. What Republicans want is a population desperate enough to take the crap wages their libertarian overlords would rather be paying than decent wages that cultivate a strong middle class. You cannot make a country out of an economic model that emphasizes self-interest above all others. It won’t work. It hasn’t worked. It’s how we got the Progressive Era and the New Deal. Even the Goldman Sachs CEO recently admitted that the widening wage gap has worrisome political implications. The problem with Republicans is they don’t see the wage gap and the concentration of wealth as a problem.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The democrats want to crush the middle-class and destroy wealth. They want everybody dependent on the federal government, that way they control the people, micr-manage more and more aspects of our lives. They believe welfare handouts are good for the nation and dictate what health insurance we must buy. What will they force us to buy next?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Anse it amazes me that you liberals think money fixes all problems. That is the first thing you said we should do with Texas oil money. Throw it at problems. Not review, evaluate, change, modify, etc. Right to the money as if it is yours.

      • John Galt says:

        Texas oil money is mine, kabuzz, at least the part of it that comes from state-owned land. I’m a citizen of this state, therefore I, and the other citizens, collectively own this land and the oil beneath it. When a private company drills on private land, they pay royalties to the owner. When they drill on public land, they do and should pay royalties to the owner, the state. Why in the hell should a private company get to expropriate wealth belonging to the taxpayers? The laws that govern this are based on a 150 year old constitutional amendment and the proceeds benefit the state’s investment in higher education.

      • John Galt says:

        Again, Sternn, that comment that Dems want to “destroy wealth” is just stupid. Really stupid. Completely blindly partisan moronic. Nobody here but your ass-kissers Dan and Kabuzz buy that in any way whatsoever, so you can stop peddling that nonsense.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Guess you don’t follow Krugman’s rantings, John. But democrats do.

    • Bart-1 says:

      is anse a maxine waters “wannabe”?

  6. John Galt says:

    I have a cousin in the Navy, in Intel. He spent some time in Baghdad and about three months into his tour sent an email with this observation:
    “Baghdad isn’t actually a place…it’s where events converge, totally removed from their proper time. Clerics bemoan the loss of al-Andalus (aka Andalusia in Spain) in 1491 as though it just happened. Baghdad’s neighborhoods bear the names of places that don’t exist anymore, like Ur. The martyrdom of Hussein, Muhammad’s grandson, at the Battle of Badr in the 800s might as well have happened over the weekend based on the amount of passion and mourning it generates. Promises need not be kept, because the time never comes to honor them…debts too. Saddam’s reign wasn’t 25 years of tyrrany and brutality, it is just a set of circumstances that happened here once, and as such will be here forever.”

    He’s a smart guy and figured this out in a couple of months. If only someone had figured out that Sunnis and Shias have been fighting with each other for a thousand years and were not likely to stop because a few thousand guys with Stars and Stripes on one shoulder and an M16 on the other were walking around. Perhaps this would have turned out better.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      We weren’t trying to remove the Iraq people JG. We wanted to get rid of Saddam before he became an imminent threat or a playa in the large terrorist stage. We accomplished that albeit clumsily and turned the country over to their people. If they want to split it up, that’s on them. If they want to welcome insurgents? That’s on them. As long as they leave us alone.

      By the way, the Jewish and Islamic people constantly remind themselves of their past. It is much richer and dynamic then most others going back to Abraham, who moved to UR.

      I was raised in the Philadelphia area. When you study history, you look out the school window and you see it. You can’t help knowing our history when you live up there.

      You have a Navy man in Baghdad? Where does he park his ship?

    • John Galt says:

      He parked his ship in Norfolk. He worked intel (still does, actually) and that meant being where the boots were.

      Our failure to recognize that sectarian strife was almost certain to flare up after removing the dictator who repressed it cost thousands of American lives and tens of thousands of Iraqi ones, mostly innocents caught in the cross-fire. Let’s see, how could we have know this would happen? Maybe because the exact same thing happened when Yugoslavia collapsed. I believe we sent troops there too. This failure goes unremarked by conservatives who bleat incessantly about the failure to prevent four deaths in Libya.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Who’s failure, John? Bush43 warned of what is happening now back in 2007.

      • John Galt says:

        Would have been more useful if he had recognized it in 2003, before we invaded again.

        It is worth noting that the Status of Forces agreement his administration negotiated and signed with the Iraqi government in 2007 contained a provision to withdraw US troops by the end of 2011. The Iraqis chose not to extend this and I, for one, am not upset by this in the least.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Oh I believe Gen. Powell saying “We broke it we buy it” proved we knew the peace was going to take some time. How could it not?

        You made my point, so much blood was spilled for Iraq, I say let’s not walk away with our tails between our legs as some liberals are want to do.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Also, I was in the Navy during Vietnam but was on land also. People are amazed at that.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Buzz….You made my point, so much blood was spilled for Iraq, I say let’s not walk away with our tails between our legs….

        Pouring good money (blood) after bad (blood) isn’t necessarily a wise choice.

        We could go back in whole hog as we did 10 years ago (or even whole hoggier and do it better), and when 2024 rolls around, there is still no exit strategy for turning Iraq into a western-style democracy.

  7. CaptSternn says:

    So many people posting comments off topic, including me. We are getting off into parts and pieces of the topic, only to throw blame and talk about fantasy ideas like getting away from oil, without looking at the topic and reality. Even your current entry, Lifer, is unrealistic. The link to a comment about Iraqi Kurds being self governing isn’t about a Kurdish state, because that would include Turkish Kurds.

    I have said it before and will say it again, I was against the 2003 invasion of Iraq to remove the Hussein regime, even up to the time when Saddam Hussein was captured. I was called a liberal even though I told people i am no liberal. I wanted to know why it was important, and nobody could give a solid or reasonable answer. But as is my nature, I kept digging, searching and doing research. Nobody would or could give a simple summary. I can do so now, but nobody listens, nobody wants to know.

    I could leave a comment just a couple of pages long, or leave a comment that would be longer than all of your entries combined. But nobody wants to learn, to know, it is so much based on emotion and party lines. Even now my comment is too long for many to read further. People can’t even be bothered to read the Congressional Authorization for the Use of Force against Iraq passed in 2002. They don’t want to learn or know history. They only know three letters, “WMD”. I wonder if they even know what those letters stand for? Many I have encountered do not.

    But they vote, vote based on emotion. They claim there were two wars with Iraq, when there was really only one from 1990 to 2003, then an occupation, then Reconstruction, then abandoning Iraq, and now we are dealing with the results of abandoning Iraq, just as we abandoned Afghanistan.

    How can we have an honest, intelligent, mature discussion of issues when so many, mostly on the left, are simply frothing at the mouth and spouting hate towards those others?

    What is happening in Iraq, in Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Iran … do y’all think this doesn’t affect us here? It is all over there? Supporters of Ron Paul, isolationists? I lean libertarian, but know better than to be an isolationist.

    Damn this deliberate ignorance. People, open your eyes already.

    • Crogged says:

      There is truth in your comments, but what was within reach in the previous twenty years and what can be done now? We inserted ourselves into a situation we couldn’t control and now blame each other. You have claimed the climate is beyond our influence, aren’t other people also responsible for their choices beyond our supposed national desires?

      • CaptSternn says:

        20 years? Try the past 100 years or more. Fly pointing to the Treaty of Versailles is a good point. This is not a recent development.

      • Crogged says:

        What does that mean? Somehow there’s 400 years of coherent history with actors of certain philosophy you can blame for the situation we find ourselves in now? We helped no one in Iraq, but we did certainly bring more death and misery to them and us and it doesn’t matter why. We f***d up and now need to let them determine their own destiny.

      • CaptSternn says:

        What next, Crogged? Going to blame the U.S. for bringing death and misery to Germany and japan? That was a local issue, should we have stayed out of it? FDR was elected to a third term by promising to keep us out of it. Was Pearl Harbor an inside job? Maybe he knew about it and chose to let it happen? Do you know that there are people today that say those very things?

        What happens in other parts of the world is our business when it affects us, our interests, our allies, our friends and sometimes even our enemies. But suddenly we have a lot of Ron Paul supporters coming out of the woordwork. Did you vote for him in the primaries, donate to his campaign?

      • Crogged says:

        Not all conflicts are the same, Germany and Japan weren’t just cruel to their own citizens and had clear intentions and capabilities of inflicting cruelty on any neighboring nations. The Middle East (and by extension-the true believers of Islam) have to find their own way to peace and prosperity by suffering through their own history. Until the different sects learn to get along we can’t engage. We fret about Iran getting one nuke and gloss over that Israel has 100, and seem to believe that nihilistic, self annihilation is some character trait of anyone living in the Middle East. To this we add our own Christianists and their literal reading of Revelations as some sort of guide to foreign policy and ridiculous statements regarding “God’s people”. Vietnam and Cambodia each went through hell, and without us seem to have figured out ways of peaceful living and coexistence.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Vietnam found peaceful living? After slaughtering millions once we left? Great plan there, but then they weren’t invading our allies and friends or threatening the world’s resources.

        Israel has not signed the non-poliferation treaty, so it doesn’t apply to them. Nor have they gone on and on about causing armegeddon in order to reveal the hidden imam.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Captain, you have patiently explained this many times over the years. The left refuses to acknowledge the facts. That leaves us to conclude they are political animals first and foremost and they purposely misrepresent the facts to fit an agenda. My question to you is? Why bother. You have always maintained a sane and respectful posture while a few on the left outright butcher you for having the audacity to speak out. Though I do admire your steadfastness, I find it a waste here. Other blogs give more weight to issues then party. Chris is a party first guy. I hang around just to poke holes in the lefts lies.

      Occasionally, not very many times, you can actually learn something here. But this blog is only as good as the moderator.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “My question to you is? Why bother?”

        What else am I to do? Why are you here? It is a small part, but I remain an activist, here and there. Not big, no blog, not running for office, but I do something.

      • Crogged says:

        And the Catinahood is the last person who should act like some people are stuck in a self defeating box of determined philosophy.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Actually I came here for mostly pure entertainment. These liberals here are fascinating and funny. I mean it is like they are in a clique in high school and everyone else is an outsider so they CAN’T listen to them or they will lose their membership.

        I actually giver you kudo’s for pressing on but I do notice for every link you provide they come back with the changing of the goal posts or your link is a right wing nut job, etc. Futile is the exact word.

        Look at Homer’s comment. All he got from your explanation is you are ego centric. Then he follows with broad brush rebuttals with no links. GW Bush addressing the congress for authority to go into Iraq said “We cannot wait for Saddam to become an imminent threat.” Seems pretty clear to me that Saddam was not an imminent threat but the left forgets the first part of the sentence. So we are back to; how do you dialogue with people that begin with a false assumption?

        Again, El Capitano, my hat is off to you.

      • John Galt says:

        That’s funny, Kabuzz. Calling the “liberals” here a clique with your lips firmly attached to the good Capt’s posterior.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Stern…folks who know me generally would say that I like myself a lot. As cocky as I can be, I would be hard pressed to be able to make statements about myself anywhere nearly as bold as your, “I figured it out and you people are just too stupid to understand” comment.

      Every once in a while, it might be good to pause and consider the possibility that other folks have looked at the data and reached a different conclusion.

      Regarding the WMD fascination, there might be a reason why folks remember WMDs as a reason we went to war.

      Cheney to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars: “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,” “There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.”

      Maybe there should have been some doubt.

      I believe there are over 200 instances of Bush himself making incorrect statements about Iraq, Saddam, and WMDs.

      There were lots and lots of folks on the right beating the WMD drum, so it is kinda hard to complain now about the left focusing on WMDs.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Have you looked at the reasons given, HT? Or will you just stick with bumper stickers, headlines and soundbytes?

        http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-107publ243/html/PLAW-107publ243.htm

        Do you really think Clinton dropped bombs on Sudan, fired missiles into Afghanistan and launched Desert Fox against Iraq to distract us from Monica and the blue dress?

        It is as if some people don’t realize Iraq existed before 2002, or that we didn’t have forces stationed in Saudi Arabia through the 1990s to continue the war at a lower level than 1991 and 2003

        Having our forces in Saudi Arabia is what set al Qaeda and bin Laden against the House of Saud, and against us, leading to the events of September 2001. Abandoning Afghanistan allowed the government of Pakistan to install the Taliban as a proxy government and al Qaeda to have a safe haven.

        Obama abandoned Iraq, and is about to abandon Afghanistan. That isn’t even covering Egypt or Libya, much less Syria.

        Many on the left like to claim that Bush43 was warned about the attacks and did nothing, while it was just a repeat memo Clinton had got many years in advance. Guess what, the leader of ISIS is determined to attack the U.S., recruiting U.S. and British people. There is Obama’s warning, what is he going to do about it? What do you think should be done?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…your connection of dots suggests a whole lot of causality that may or may not actually be causal, and then there are a few dozen other factors in play as well.

        Putting all that aside, and assuming all of the causality, we seem to be continuing to double down on being stupid.

        Initially, dealing with Kuwait…probably not handled perfectly, but not horrific, and we did what we did. We didn’t topple the Iraqi gov’t (certainly voices on both sides of that argument). If we had, I think it is not difficult to imagine that the country would have imploded just as it is today.

        Then we let things simmer for a good long while. I don’t think the Saudi’s were in any danger of a ground invasion, and had they been, I have a hunch they would have found a way to handle it. Yet, we decided to keep some troops in some pretty sensitive areas. We bungled how we handled that.

        So, we double down on a problem, and keep making it worse.

        Period bombings and complaints about the cease fire ensued, but we weren’t getting lots of our folks killed. Again, if violations of the cease fire is the real reason were went in hot and heavy, we really over-reacted. You had weapons inspectors saying they weren’t about to start bombing anybody. If they were hiding stuff, they hid it so well that they couldn’t remember where they put it.

        So, hey, we are pissed about 9/11, we don’t like Iraq, so here we go. Then we bungled that process mightily. Doubling down yet again.

        Lots of folks indicating that we had no exit strategy from the outset, and oddly enough, they were right. So, we bungled the fighting while bungling the strategy, getting us where we are today.

        At many many points along the way, we could have taken a different path, but we seem focused on doing it poorly. The world is not a safer place since our removal of the regime in Iraq.

        And folks want to continue doubling down.

        There is a very flawed gambling approach for Blackjack.
        If you lose $10 on your first hand, bet $10 on your next hand, and if you win, you’ll make up for the $10 you lost initially.
        If you lose that hand, bet $20 on the next hand, and if you win, you’ll make up for the $20 you lost in your first two bets.
        If you lose that, bet $40 on the next hand, and you will make up for the $40 you lost in the previous bets.
        If you lose that, bet $80, and you’ll make up for what you already lost.

        Just keep doubling the amount you have already lost because eventually you are going to win a hand, so no worries….right?

        Your complaints about WMD soundbites is as hollow as the WMD assertions themselves. The proponents of the war beat that point to death, so it is kind of hard to now say that the American people shouldn’t have listened to them.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Homer, if a government leader is asked a question they answer it. So the ‘200’ number you pulled from your expansive ass was asked 200 times. The answer is and always was, we believe so, or intelligence sources here and abroad tell us so. Bill Clinton told us so. Kerry told us so. MI6 told us so. France told us so. The CIA told us so. But you, with your very snooty ‘I am so much smarter then you’ attitude display an almost unbelievable break from reality. My question: Are you on medication?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Saudi Arabia was not in danger of an invasion because we were still there, still fighting the war and many people were still dying. The WMD claim was just one of many examples of the violations.

        Yes, we have made many mistakes in the ME region and on oil in general, like the windfall profit tax on oil companies put in place by democrats in the late 1970s because U.S. oil companies were stepping up after the embargos. But this is where we are now. What do we do about it now?

        But we did do some good against Iraq and al Qaeda under Bush43. That has all been thrown away. Obama drew a red line against Syria, then didn’t back it up. That gave ISIS a green light. Now what? Do we do nothing, as we did with Afghanistan?

      • CaptSternn says:

        To add one thing, the weapons inspectors said Iraq was not cooperating and refused to account for weapons stockpiles they had in 1998, material breach of UN resolutions. That was February 2003.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Buzz…I have an expanding belly, but my ass is quite small and lovely. It really is spectacular.

        I guess you missed your slamming of a dunk shot there.

        Buzz…you note one line from Bush…I think we could find a few dozen (even 200+) comments with a different spin.

        Let’s go with his prepared speeches, which oddly, did not include folks asking him questions:

        Bush: “We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas.”

        Bush: “We’ve also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We’re concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States.”

        And there are others around Bush.

        Cheney, “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction”…to which the CIA said, “huh?” and flatly stated that this assertion was well beyond the agency’s assessment at that time.

        Powell to the UN: “There is no doubt Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and has the capability to produce more”

        Buzz…you know, if they were just wrong, making decisions based on incorrect information, that is one thing. Folks are wrong all the time. That is excusable. What is less excusable is being wrong and over-reacting. If we were worried about WMDs, we could have forcibly gone in to do those inspections, spilled plenty of blood to do it, but not put hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground spilling a ton more blood.

        We did not have to handle it the way we handled it.

        Stern…my statement was that Saudi Arabia was unlikely to be invaded, even without our presence. If they were to be invaded, my hunch is they would have found a way to handle it. We did not need to set up shop in Saudi Arabia.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime’s own actions — its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq’s eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith. – Bush43, October 7, 2002

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…and the logical conclusion to that statement by Bush should not have been, “So we are going to drop several hundred thousands US boots in the sand and start blowing things up”.

        This is what I don’t understand. I’m not, and no one on my side is, saying Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld did not say the things as you have presented them. We are saying that they made lots and lots of statements that went well beyond the statements you and Buzz like to trot out.

        One side freely admits that there were many times Bush made very carefully worded and accurate statements, but your side seems to really struggle with saying that maybe, just maybe they went a bit over the top in some other statements.

        No one disagrees that Iraq was not fully complying with the terms of the cease fire, but it certainly seems like we had an itch to scratch more than we wanted compliance with the terms.

        Besides, Bush clearly was completely wrong in that statement since he references “ending the Persian Gulf War”, and you have reminded us over and over again, that war has never ended.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Yes, HT, there was more to Iraq than not being in compliance, to being linked to al Qaeda, to supporting and protecting terrorist groups, to constanly firing on our troops.

        Al Qaeda wanted the center of the war to be Afghanistan, but Iraq was much more suited to our way of fighting so we made that the center. And it worked, until Obama came along.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I’d love to walk through your thought process on Iraq being linked to al Qaeda.

        This is a chance for me to learn some stuff because I’ve not seen much of a link that wasn’t pretty flimsy nor a link that could not be said for just about every country in the ME.

        Brother, there are some pretty sincere differences of opinion on “it worked” in Iraq until Obama came along.

        If “works” means having a few hundred thousand folks there and lots of folks getting blown up, then sure, it was working, but we had no long term solution for Iraq that would have made it work without keeping many many of our troops in harms way for a long period of time in a country that did not want us there.

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, the Cliton administration discovered the ties between Iraq and al Qaeda as early as 1994, they were working together on chemical weapons at a factory in Sudan. By 1998 tests around the site confirmed those suspicions, Clinton bombed that factory, then fired missiles into Afghanistan and launched Desert Fox against Iraq. He wasn’t doing that to distract people from Monica and the blue dress.

        Other countries in the ME and the region were not under strict terms of a cease-fire for invading Kuwait and starting a war with us and our allies, so they don’t have a cease-fire they must obey, completely and unquestionably.

        Where I said it was working until Obama came along, I was talking about al Qaeda …

        “Less than a year after his agency warned of new threats from a resurgent al-Qaeda, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden now portrays the terrorist movement as essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the rest of the world, including in its presumed haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.”
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/29/AR2008052904116.html

        Obama changed that. Maybe that was the “Hope and Change” he was selling at the time?

      • CaptSternn says:

        One other thing, I don’t give a hoot if Iraq wanted us there or not. Iraq could have chosen not to invade Kuwait, Iraq could have chosen to abide by the cease-fire. Maybe they did want us there and that is why they invaded Kuwait and did not comply with the cease-fire. If a nation is at war with us, we need to invade and put a stop to it, not ask their permission to invade and put a stop to it.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…while you may not care whether the Iraqis wanted us there, the US folks getting killed by Iraqis in Iraq probably cared a whole lot that the people in Iraq did not want us there.

        Yes…folks in Iraq knew folks in al-Qaeda, and since we were policing a cease fire to which the Iraqis were not fully in compliance, we launch a mis-planned 10-year adventure with no exit strategy.

        Nope, that doesn’t seem like an over-reaction at all.

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, our troops go where they are ordered. Again, Germany and Japan didn’t want us there either, and they killed or troops.

        I appreciate you willingness to have a discussion, others here won’t even attempt to engage or understand. But you are being too simplistic on Iraq. It is a very complicated issue, one that took me a lot of digging to understand and, as TThor puts it, to grok.

        Thing is, in 2002 and 2003, I was making the same statements and arguments you are still making. But I was also digging and doing research, nobody could or would give me a summary of why we should invade Iraq to remove the Hussein regime. I wanted to know why it was so darned important, or even if it was important, necessary, right and just.

        Nobody ever said anything to change my mind. I changed my mind as I came to understand what was really going on, what has been going on for decades, for a century. I dug farther back, but Islamic history only sets the groundwork for what has happened in the past decades, the past century.

        There is a lot of things done in the past that I very strongly disagree with, bad choices and policies and actions that got us to this point. But they have been made, and here we are. That is what I learned by the end of 2003 and early 2004. That is what I understand now. And what are we doing to correct things? Well, Bush43 was on the right track, though he made mistakes, like disbanding the Iraqi military and police forces. That can be seen in hindsight. But he was finally a person on the right track on foriegn policy.

        Obama decided to hit the reset switch, run around and apologize, abandon the wars, he has set a surrender date even for Afghanistan and released top Taliban leaders.

        Bush43 was only slightly less damaging to domestic issues, but he had the right foriegn policy. Obama has thrown it all away. The democrats have thrown it all away. Not only that, but things are now getting much. much worse. The shock of 2001 is lost, people are now back to the attitude that it is all over there, doesn’t affect us.

        Are you so set in your ways that you can’t accept anything that would shed a different light on things? So closed minded that you refuse to actually look at issues? I don’t think so as you are about the only one to engage in discussion, to attempt. Is it because we have disagreed on so much in the past that you cannot accept that I once had the same view on Iraq as you do now, but found information that changed my mind? That you have a duty to disagree with me? What?

    • desperado says:

      It’s kind of difficult–and pointless–to try and have an honest, intelligent, mature discussion with people who keep repeating things which have been debunked over and over but nevertheless are repeated ad nauseam as if they were true. (Stern). Or with someone who accuses others of repeating Democratic talking points but does nothing but spout Republican talking points. (Kabuzz) Or with someone who gets their info from places like Hot Air and Townhall and Red State, and is nothing more than a parrot of every pejorative reference to President Obama that he can glean from these sites. (Dan).

      • CaptSternn says:

        Why don’t you go and read the resolution for the use of force against Iraq? Or would facts and reality get in your way, as usual?

      • desperado says:

        As I said, pointless.

      • vivalagalgo says:

        Des is correct. That’s the main reason I’ve not been posting comments for a while. I enjoy reading Chris’ blog, but some of the comments from the regulars are just not worth the effort to reply to. And for the life of me I just don’t understand why these guys are here, day in and day out, posting their Faux News talking points and spewing their hypocritical hyperbole. If they despise “liberals” as much as they claim to, they why did they follow Chris from chron.com to his blog, read it, comment on it, belittle anyone who has a non Tea Party opinion, and insult people? Do they really think they are going to convince someone from the left to switch sides? What’s the point? Or maybe it’s more fun to argue with the liberals than to agree with the echo chamber that is Sparklets blog on the chron.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        First off in my case I come here for entertainment. I love watching the echo chamber come out in full force when one of their own is corrected. You remind me of high school kids. I go to other blogs where the debate is more real and substantive whether they agree with me or not. Chris’ has become a caricature of a political blogger. Picking and choosing topics and limited support, buy you Viva and the rest fall right into line and say, “Great post Chris. Couldn’t have said it better myself.” But then some of us come on and refute the assertion and all of your panties bunch at the same time. You just did it yourself with your tired Faux News. You guys got nothing. You don’t know what is happening but you are sure we are wrong about it. Laughable.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        You’re correct.

      • vivalagalgo says:

        Thanks for the vivid example, danny.

  8. kabuzz61 says:

    If you want Chris to change the topic, make a list of all the recent blunders Obama and team plus Hillary has made. It is epic. Obama is now the lowest approved president. I knew he was that day one, took the nation awhile to catch up.

    Hillary is starting to back of Obama’s positions but it won’t work. She made a deal with the devil. Plus she bought two houses when they were broke. Those 1% people. How they suffer.

    • vivalagalgo says:

      Wrong Buzzard, here’s what a little fact checking on the world wide interwebs found about your claim that Obama has the lowest approval rating in history:

      Bush (G.W.) 25 (October 31, 2008)
      Carter 28 (June 29, 1979)
      Nixon 24 (August 2, 1974)
      Truman 22 (February 9, 1952)

      Not that facts ever get in your way, but I understand, facts is hard.

  9. Bobo Amerigo says:

    We don’t have to live this way.

    • Bob Amerigo says:

      If you believe that all our misadventures in the middle East are energy related, you should watch this video.

      I challenge you to consider how our country might respond to middle East issues if we pursued developments like those noted in this video.

      • CaptSternn says:

        It is an interesting idea. Maybe we can start implementing it in the next couple of hundred years. As of right now it seems we can’t even keep what we have, especially if you listen to those on the left.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Yes. It is so much more productive to fling carp balls at a blogsite.

  10. flypusher says:

    The treaty of Versailles,-still causing trouble and screwing people over for almost a century!

    Iraq doing a Yugoslavia is no shock to me. And yeah, the Kurds are the people I’d most prefer to deal with.

    • Anse says:

      The thing we must never, ever allow the neocon chicken hawks to do is try to convince us that they give a good damn about Iraqi liberty or security. This is all about reinforcing American power in the M-E for them. They want an imperial foreign policy without going so far as to actually calling it an empire.

      • CaptSternn says:

        It is about Saudi Arabia, Anse.

      • flypusher says:

        That’s a deal with the devil if there ever was one.

      • Anse says:

        It’s really about Israel when it isn’t about oil. At least for a good number of rightwingers, anyway.

      • Turtles Run says:

        It is about oil plain and simple like the first two Iraq wars. Iraq has the second largest proven oil reserves in the world.

      • DanMan says:

        It was about ousting a tyrannical dictator that was fomenting terrorism and allowing the Iraqi people a chance for something new.

        It was hoped they would repay some of the cost of that war with their oil profits. We allowed them to offer their oil to the world market and they chose to do what they did.

        For whatever reason the muslim factions will not allow their economic interests to supersede their religious ones.

        It has proven one thing. There is no point in trying to help those that won’t help themselves. See my post on surrendering the war on poverty. Liberals called it right on Iraq, we have no business there. Let them join us on getting the welfare state to collapse the same way.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Two Iraq wars? When was the first one? FYI, no longer on the proven oil reserve. The U.S. has more recoverable oil than all of OPEC.

      • geoff1968 says:

        Yes, of course, the Liberals were right. So now, of course, the Liberals will be wrong if the President decides to increase military forces in Iraq. That’s the set up. Don’t forget to make Glenn Beck wet himself.

        What will you do if the President decides to evacuate the embassy and F-it?

      • DanMan says:

        Obama’s actions have made that the best option now. He basically gave away what was won. It is exactly analogous to what he did with the New Black case in Philly during the 2008 election. The New Black Panthers lost their case. Obama wiped it out.

        Had we known a US president would unwind a war that was already won plays into my assessment today. We have no business messing with the ME with a Sunni president in charge of our military. You want him there. We got him there. That’s todays situation.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Knowing Obama he will first play golf while the grown ups figure out what to do. Remember, Obama is always “I am shocked to hear about this too.” Then after golf, he will go to a fund raising event in Calif. or Las Vegas. Then he will hold a party at the WH with all his A-Lister celeb’s.

        So, Obama will probably hear about Iraq maybe this weekend.

        Oh yea! I love reading how you liberals get the RECENT history of Iraq completely wrong. This is what happens when you just use talking points or MSNBC info shows.

      • DanMan says:

        AoS and IowaHawk are romping today!

        http://ace.mu.nu/

      • Turtles Run says:

        Cappy – Then you may want to inform the EIA of this news. They list the US as only having 1/10th the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia much less all of OPEC. Of course I am sure that you are did not make the same mistake as other right wingers and confuse oil resources with oil reserves.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Captain blocked the shot and slammed a dunk shot to win the game.

      • DanMan says:

        it’s tough to know what’s happening when the NYT, RawStory and Vox are your go to sources but that’s where the rucas posse lives

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…you and Turtles are talking past each other.

        I’ve been to a couple Green River facilities…those are not reserves. Defining “recoverable” oil is an interesting issue, and many folks will reach different conclusions, however, everyone recognizes reserves and recoverable oil as different things.

        Interestingly, it seems that folks on Stern’s side of the aisle “conveniently” mixes and matches the terminology.

        You can google, the US has “more recoverable oil as all the rest the world’s proven reserves combined” and find plenty of hits.

        Notice the phrasing however. The phrasing is not that the US has more proved reserves than the rest of the world or that it has more recoverable oil than all of the rest of the oil combined. The phrasing from that side slides in a comparison between recoverable oil for the US but proved reserved for everyone else.

        Just state the data without trying to hide the truth with mixing the terminology. If you are having to scheme to get your point across, the point might not be worth making.

        Hey, we have plenty of oil here. Much of it is simply not worth getting out of the group with current or foreseeable technology, but there is plenty that is accessible, and oil and gas companies are having a fine time under the Obama administration making a boat load of money getting at that oil.

        Speaking of tortured phrasing, Buzz’s “and slammed a dunk shot” is a phrasing that has never been said by anyone, anywhere, at any time, who has ever dunked a ball. So, poor understanding of oil and gas and an even worse understanding of basketball.

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, talk about twisting and squirming. Yes, the U.S. has more reserves, recoverable oil, than all of OPEC. I didn;t say all of the rest of the world, that was your own invention, tortured phrasing.

        Oil and gas companies are doing quite well in spite of Obama. Oil and gas production on federal lands are down under the Obama administration, he is cancelling leases on federal lands, reducing federal revenue in the process. Money that large corporations actually want to pay to the federal government, and then he wants to raise taxes and cause energy prices to skyrocket on the rest of us.

        And all of this is a distraction to stay away from the topic of Iraq. Obama owns the situation in Iraq now. His foriegn policy has been very bad for our nation and many parts of the world. But hey, it is great for the Muslim Brotherhood, for al Qaeda, for ISIS and even for Russia.

      • Crogged says:

        Whomever claims we won anything in Iraq can’t be trusted to know the difference between night and day.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Whomever claims we didn’t win anything in Iraq can’t be trusted to know the difference between night and day. Whomever claims that we have lost nothing in Iraq now can’t be trusted to know the difference between night and day.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I would never accuse someone of not reading a link he himself provided, but the first sentence of the link you sent says, “if half of the oil bound up in the rock of the Green River Formation could be recovered it would be equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves.”

        I will not pretend to be an expert on oil reserves, and I will fully acknowledge that OPEC generally uses some pretty fishy methods for calculating reserves, but I don’t know anyone who could argue that the US has more proven reserves than OPEC. OPEC could conceivably be inflating their reserves by 50% while we underestimate ours by the same amount, and we still would not have more in reserves than OPEC.

        Our conservative Canadian friends to the north don’t tend to inflate their reserves, and they generally have more reserves as well.

        I’ll happily read new sources that are telling me that the US has more recoverables and reserves than OPEC.

        When oil reaches $500 a barrel, then everyone will have a lot more reserves than they do now, but even then, the US won’t be leading the pack.

        Regarding Obama, the oil and gas companies seem to be flourishing under his calm and rational guidance. Oil and gas projects that have been on hold for years suddenly have found ways to be funded in the past few years, research is sky rocketing, profits are high. Obama is one of the greatest oil and gas Presidents we have had.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…there is no attempt to avoid the issue of Iraq. Obama is president, he “owns” a lot of stuff now.

        Oddly, for you folks, he does seem to “own” a lot more of the bad stuff while the good stuff happens “despite” him.

        Bush shouldn’t have escalated the evidently long-simmering 15 year war with Iraq over a lack of compliance to the cease fire. There seems to have been a few dozen other options to deal with compliance issues rather than dropping a few hundred thousand boots on the ground and blowing lots of stuff up. I appreciate your interpretation of why we went back into Iraq, but if your interpretation is accurate, man did we have a huge over-reaction to that situation.

        Iraq was a mistake then. It is a mistake now. There were a dozen better ways to handle it, and once we were doing what we were doing, this outcome was pretty much inevitable unless we were planning to occupy the place for a few decades (centuries), putting our folks in harms way for a long time for no good outcome.

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, fracing has opened up much of our oil and gas reserves. Guess who is against those things.

        The “containment” of Iraq led to 9/11/2001.

        Gad, how long of a comment do you want from me explaining the connections? But even if I connected the dots for you, as I have done in the past, would you even accept them? Or would you continue to reject all of it as you have done and are doing now?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I’m pretty aware of fracking. Let’s see where we are with that.

        Why, just in 2013 we had a massive media blitz about the Monterey Shale, and the 13+ billion recoverable barrels. Monterey Shale was though to hold more oil than Eagle Ford and Bakken combined. Last month in 2014, that estimate was something like 600 million (a 90+% reduction). As oil prices continue to go up, we’ll probably get more than 600 million barrels, but we won’t come close to 13 billion barrels.

        We can frack a whole lot but fracking is not magic. It starts hot and heavy and it slows down quickly. Dude, I love oil and gas, but there is no need to be delusional about it.

        I’m sure there are dots to connect that would somehow link our containment of Iraq in the 80s (done, I believe according to you in an attempt to protect Saudi Arabia who evidently can’t protect itself) directly resulted in a bunch of Saudis flying planes into buildings 15 years later. The dots are so crystal clear that you are among what is evidently a very small minority of folks who can see them.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Cappy – HSAT is correct. The Green River oil shale is not tight oil that just needs to be released by fracking methods. It is oil rocks.

        The technology to recover it does not exist and the cost is way too high for the methods known now.

        You gotta a lot of nerve accusing people of intentionally not listening. You have been provided evidence that you are wrong and you continue to deny it.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/energysource/2012/03/29/u-s-might-have-more-oil-resources-than-saudi-arabia-but/

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, it isn’t complicated. Through the 1980s we supplied the mujahideen in Afghanistan with weapons to drive out the USSR. It worked. Al Qaeda was part of that and was friendly to the U.S.. In 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait. Bin Laden wanted the House of Saud to fund al Qaeda to liberate Kuwait, but the U.S. and our allies were called on instead. Alright, no big deal since al Qaeda was friendly to the U.S..

        But we didn’t remove the Hussein regime, and then the House of Saud asked us, or permitted us, to “occupy” Islamic Holy Lands to “contain” Iraq, which meant keep fighting the war at a lower level. That enraged the fundamentalists like bin Laden and al Qaeda, and they turned against the House of Saud. They were exiled and understand that they can’t touch the House of Saud as long as the U.S. backs the royals.

        What to do? Drive a wedge between the U.S. and the House of Saud. How to do that? Use Saudi nationals, exiles, false IDs or otherwise to attack the U.S. and our interests. That started in 1993 with the attack on the World Trade Center.

        It is all connected. But you won’t find it all in one spot, unless you listen to somebody that spent months researching it. Somebody that did not buy into the whole “WMD” thing, somebody that strongly opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but asked questions and sought answers anyway. Somebody that found the answers and changed their mind about the 2003 invasion and more, somebody that began to understand the situation and reasons. Somebdy that recognizes the mistakes made along the way that got us to where we are now, but realizes those mistakes cannot be undone. They can be corrected, but not undone.

        But you don’t want to hear any of it. You won’t listen.

  11. Anse says:

    If we’re going to make nice with Middle Eastern autocrats, we ought to be reaching out to the Iranians. The Shiites are slightly less crazy than the Sunnis. Or we could just treat the Middle East the same way we treat Central Africa and leave it alone. Of course we all know why we’ll never do that.

    • flypusher says:

      Oil is a hellava drug. Even anti-Muslim sentiments can’t overcome it.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Oil is the blood of the world’s economy.

      • flypusher says:

        Yes, and we collectively delude ourselves about its true cost.

      • Anse says:

        “Blood” is a very apt metaphor, for sure. One day we’ll get out of the Oil Age. It won’t take running out of oil, just finding a combination of good alternatives and no-longer-tolerable political risks. Personally I think Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell and BP should foot the bill for the Pentagon’s budget since it seems to exist to further their interests.

      • CaptSternn says:

        We won’t be out of the “oil age” for at least another century or two. It is too cheap and abundant and efficient for anybody to abandon it. We do need to think about other costs, which is why we need much more domestic production and pipelines from Canada. We know which side of the aisle is blocking those measures.

      • Anse says:

        Everybody loves a pipeline until it runs through their backyard. We should be amping up alternative technologies and working to get out of the oil economy right now. Saying it’s going to take a couple of centuries is like saying it’s just not important. There are a host of problems with the oil economy and not all of them have to do with the Middle East. The answer is not going to be one alternative source of fuel but a combination of many, of which oil and gas will continue to be a part, but right now the Right is so uninterested in this they’re actually standing in the way of developing those alternatives. The Keystone Pipeline needs to be dead in the water.

      • DanMan says:

        Oil is also the energy of the world’s economy. fly and Anse are children wishing for things they can’t have. Go cry in a corner babies.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Develop the alternatives if you want, sell them and get rich. But do it on your own dime, no subsidies, and don’t try to bring down the U.S. economy while promoting China and India among other places.

      • flypusher says:

        “But do it on your own dime, no subsidies…”

        You mean, no subsides the way oil got subsidies. Nice double standard.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No problem with tax breaks, that is allowing people and companies to keep some of what they earn. Subsidies are direct handouts, taken from one or some and given to others. And yes, I do oppose farm subsidies.

      • flypusher says:

        Subsides are more than cash, Sternn. The fact that we would send young Americans into dangerous places, that we would prop up vile despots and look the other way from their crimes as long as they kept the oil flowing-those are major subsidies that oil has received throughout the years. I don’t propose similar moral lapses for the sake of oil alternatives- some aggressive R&D funding would be just fine.

      • DanMan says:

        man this economy would be booming if we could burn liberals for fuel wouldn’t it? and they’d be so much more useful in that capacity

        think of it as late term abortion fly, for the good of the nation

      • CaptSternn says:

        You seem to be confusing national security with subsidies. Guess that means you believe you are getting welfare handouts?

      • flypusher says:

        No confusion on my part what so ever Sternn. I know selling one’s soul when I see it. Oil and security are entwined because we choose to make that so. We chose that subsidy, and most of us didn’t have to directly pay it, so all the easier to pretend it doesn’t exist.

      • DanMan says:

        oh look, fly is going to preach morals while his wax winged idol has lied about every initiative he has undertaken yet fly has never wavered in his support

      • CaptSternn says:

        So we are all being subsidised because the USSR did not invade and take over, because we have wood and brick to build homes and businesses, because Texas is not part of Mexico … very thing in the world is a subsidy. That is a seriously weak and even wrong claim, Fly. Oil is a natural resource like any other. Natural resources are part of national security. But we could go back to living in caves, right?

      • Turtles Run says:

        Dan, how hard is it to get around after you plucked your eyes out to miss all the GOP lies?

      • flypusher says:

        “Oil is a natural resource like any other.”

        Using natural resources is one thing. Propping up tyrants who are the total opposite of what we claim are our values for the sake of making that resource artificially cheap is an entirely different thing.

      • CaptSternn says:

        It isn’t artificially cheap, for one thing, and we will prop up governments for many reasons, not just to keep oil flowing. It is about projecting U.S. power around the world to protect our security and interests.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Fly, first you are deluding yourself about oil. Of course you have at this time in your possession many products made out of plastics, you have a car or two or three, you have flown places, the typical ‘I take the moral high ground but I don’t walk it.’ Secondly, I truly wonder if you care about the troops.

        How many of billions of dollars did Obama waste and throw at alternative fuel? And you liberals still prop him up.

      • DanMan says:

        hey turtlehead, show me where I’ve praised that party, I’m a conservative

      • flypusher says:

        “Fly, first you are deluding yourself about oil. Of course you have at this time in your possession many products made out of plastics,”

        Which is all the more reason to be aggressively pursuing alternative energy sources, oil has a use as a chemical stock.

        “..have a car or two or three, you have flown places, the typical ‘I take the moral high ground but I don’t walk it.’”

        Everybody uses it, because our economic setup hasn’t set up a lot of alternatives (but I did vote with my $ for wind power to run my home when that option became available).

        Secondly, I truly wonder if you care about the troops.

        Well buzzy considering that I grew up in a military family, and my own brother once spent some time in Iraq, I don’t wonder at all whether you are totally full of crap.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “Everybody uses it, because our economic setup hasn’t set up a lot of alternatives …”

        Our “economic setup” chose oil based fuels a long time ago. There was serious competition between steam, electric, biofuel and oil based fuel to win the day. Oil based fuel won because it is cheap, efficient, plentiful, the best of the competition. There is no serious competition even now, and the effinciency has only improved.

        Want an electric car? There are plenty to choose from. Want to take a long road trip? Plan for many stops that take hours, but decent for golf carts. Then discuss the disposal of the batteries, not to mention the making of batteries. Want biofuels? Expect lower mileage and higher food prices. Want steam? Do I even have to mention or ask what will create the steam?

        Ours is still mostly a capitalist nation, and we are making it a capitalist world, even if socialist and communist nations have to commit to capitalism to survive. The days of the collective hive mind are receding, socialist and communist nations are failing. Why do liberals want to set us back by a hundred years or more? To take us back to times when human labor and slavery were the norm and profitable?

        This is where the difference between pie-in-the-sky leftists and reality based conservatives show through. Socialism, communism and feudalism are all old and ancient. Capitalism is a recent development. Look what capitalism has given us. People had steam engines 2,000 years ago and more, knew about electricity maybe even longer than that. Capitalism gives us our modern way of life, our modern health care system, technology, creature comforts, grocery stores and more.

        And we still aren’t even talking about the topic of this latest entry, the situation in Iraq. Must be far too painful for the left.

    • GG says:

      Now what reason could that possibly be? 🙂

  12. DanMan says:

    I think we should advance the same concept of withdrawing from the ME to the war on poverty. By every measure this 50 year struggle has produced the opposite of the intended outcomes.

    The people that were targeted by this initiative hate the nation that attempted to help them. They are worse off by every category of evaluation that is used to measure progress and they show no sign of joining the rest of society in building a strong economy, secure borders and civil accord.

    It is bankrupting the nation and placing an undue burden on the productive folks that were tasked with paying for it. It’s unsustainable. Let’s end it now and stop the madness it has wrought.

    • Anse says:

      You’re absolutely wrong on poverty. You’re so wrong, it’s probably not even worth getting into it, not to mention that it’s not the subject of this article anyway. But you just can’t debate a person who has no understanding of reality.

  13. CaptSternn says:

    Oh boy, here we go. I am sure this entry will explode in no time with the usual ignorance and lies.

    But before that happens, before so many on the left have to be reminded rthat Iraq was in violation of the cease-fire and what “containment” cost us, there are factors you and Frum are ignoring, namely Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Turkey will not accept a Kurdistan, that war was going on long before the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Saudi Arabia is probably backing the Sunni uprising, though doing so quietly. The Saudis said they would take action if the U.S. left Iraq.

    It is easy to say that it is none of our business now, it is just a local matter, the same attitude we had towards Afghanistan through the 1990s. We can be almost certain Obama is not going to put troops back into Iraq since he was so proud to have gotten them out, though now it is becoming obvious he should have found a way to keep some there.

    I do not doubt many will look at this as a simple, straight forward issue. Nothing in that region is simple or straight forward. Nothing there is isolated. Events don’t just happen separately and on their own, there is a chain of events going back decades where we are concerned, much longer before we got involved.

    We really need to look at and understand what this means for our own security and interests and examine what we should do about it, and we should be doing something about it. Probably sooner is better. But what should we do? Too bad nobody paid attention to Bush43’s warning about this happening.

    • vivalagalgo says:

      I don’t think the Iraqi government wanted any US troops to stay. And the American people did not want to keep US troops in Iraq any longer. Would it have been better if some US troops stayed as a stabilizing/training force? Probably so, but a long term US presence in Iraq is probably not feasible. As for the Saudi’s, many in intelligence circles are sure the Saudi’s are in fact supporting the Sunni insurgents. A US ally supporting an insurgency against another US ally? Who’d a thunk it? Bush 43 can issue all the warnings he wants but we’d not be in this mess, or watching this mess unfold if he’d not invaded Iraq in the first place. That was one mistake, the other and probably bigger mistake was disbanding the Iraqi army, the 3rd largest standing army in the world at the time, I believe. A whole lot of those guys took their weapons and joined the insurgents when they found themselves out of a job. So, what to do about the current situation? I really don’t know if there’s anything that can be done on our end. The current Iraqi military that we trained and armed needs to stand and fight for a change. That might be a good start.

      • CaptSternn says:

        This mess started with the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which happened because of the failed attempt to conquer Iran, which happened because of the changes in Iraq and Iran in 1979, which happened … well, you can maybe get the idea. Afghanistan happened for those reasons and others as well. You could blame it on Clinton for staying with the war through his two terms, for Desert Fox and for making regime change the official U.S. policy. You could blame it on Bush41 for not removing the regime in 1991. Blame it on Reagan for helping Iraq against Iran, blame it on Carter for allowing Iran to fall into the hands of the ayatollahs, we can go all the way back to FDR and his meeting with the Saudi King.

        It was a serious mistake to disband the military and police forces, which can be seen clearly in hindsight. But going into it was different. Saddam Hussein idolized Hitler and tried to make his Ba’ath Party like the Nazi Party. Would we have considered leaving the Nazis in charge of Germany after WWII and only have removed the top leaders? Of course not.

        The Iraqi military does need to stand and fight, but who is backing whom? The simple Afghanistan fighters took dow the USSR with our backing.

      • Anse says:

        The “mess” started with the end of the Ottoman Empire and the arbitrary political boundaries drawn up by Europeans without regard for ethnic or religious allegiances. Then proceed to the long list of errors made by western powers in the following century to the present day.

        At some point you’d think we’d stop kicking the hive, but we just can’t seem to resist.

      • CaptSternn says:

        True on that, Anse. As you stated above, we know why we won’t leave it alone, at least the fundamental reason. Other reasons have been created since then, including 9/11/2001.

      • flypusher says:

        “I don’t think the Iraqi government wanted any US troops to stay. ”

        I do believe the offer was made (SOFA), and Iraq turned it down. Bad call there.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Did we ask Germany and Japan if they wanted us to stay after WWII?

      • flypusher says:

        You might have noticed that we didn’t have troops in Germany and Japan indefinitely without their consent. The time came when occupation ended and the US troops who were there were part of mutual defense agreements. Iraq had that chance. They chose poorly.

      • CaptSternn says:

        We wouldn’t allow them to have much in the way of a military after WWII, Fly. We stayed to protect our interests, whether they wanted it or not.

      • flypusher says:

        Yet we spent all that time training up the Iraqi military, so that doesn’t parallel all that well with Germany and Japan. Also most of the Germans and Japanese didn’t act like they had a problem with the US doing all the heavy lifting during the Cold War.

        This bad call is on Iraq.

      • DanMan says:

        and here we have the Boobsie twins fly and Anse omitting 9/11 from the discussion and the fact radical muslims celebrate death as a reward

        talk about not being able to discuss issues with people not grounded in reality Anse, you are that guy/girl/transgendered/questioning or whatever you are today

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Anse and Fly, know your history. The Captain is correct. Germany and Japan had no choice about our military staying. We also limited them to defense capability only as we did with Iraq. Man, you guys need some schooling.

    • Anse says:

      Apparently Turkey is now open to the possibility of an independent Kurdistan:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/17/turkey-kurdistan_n_5504309.html

      • CaptSternn says:

        It isn’t just the Kurds in Iraq that want their own nation, they include the Kurds in Turkey. Their borders, what they want, includes as much territory in Turkey as in Iraq.

      • DanMan says:

        Man who could have seen that coming?

    • Turtles Run says:

      “Oh boy, here we go. I am sure this entry will explode in no time with the usual ignorance and lies.”

      We expect no less from you Cappy. North Korea violated the cease fire as well, lets invade there as well.

      • CaptSternn says:

        North Korea is no threat to Saudi Arabia, North Korea is in a different part of the world, North Korea is protected by China. I really wish you would open your eyes to reality some day, Turtles. One size does not fit all.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Iraq is no threat to Saudi Arabia either. As for North Korea I guess you take the bully approach, only want to fight those that can’t fight back.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Iraq was a serious threat to the entire region, including Saudi Arabia. Why do you work so hard to reject realityy and facts and remain deliberately ignorant of the issues, Turtles? It is almost like a knee-jerk reaction, if I said it was wrong to have liberated Kuwait in 1991, you would go all out and tell me that it was right. If I said it was wrong to launch Desert Fox against Iraq in 1998, you would explain to me what a saint Clinton was for discovering and acting on the ties between Iraq and al Qaeda. Then again, do you even realize those things happened?

  14. John Galt says:

    Overly optimistic. While Kurdistan would probably be a functioning country, it would be that way only because its sectarian minorities are small enough not to cause problems. NATO ally Turkey – particularly under Erdogan – would rather bulldoze Istanbul into the Bosphorus than allow an independent Kurdish nation on its borders.

    • vivalagalgo says:

      I agree about Turkey, that’s probably the reason the Kurds have not declared independence already. And I doubt that Iran would be happy to have an independent Kurdish nation on it’s border. And if, somehow, the Iraqi military can win the fight against the insurgents and stabilize the country, they are going to want their territory returned that the Peshmerga has occupied recently. And since it’s territory that the Kurds consider to be their traditional lands, they might put up a fight for it.

      • DanMan says:

        I disagree. The Kurds are pushing out about 400,000 barrels/day aren’t they? Turkey already has a pipeline to the region. Turkey is looking at a new energy rich ally in Kurdistan if it happens.

      • John Galt says:

        That’s insane, Dan. The Turks hate the Kurds and have for centuries. They have systematically oppressed them since Ataturk. A few million barrels of oil is not going to persuade them to support a Kurdish state next door.

        This is the mistake made by the neocons in the Bush administration: they ascribe Western, Judeo-Christian values and motivations on Middle Eastern, Muslim thinking. We should be savvier as a country than that.

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