Friday, June 13, 2014

The Losing of Iraq...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth


When the administration of George W. Bush made it's decision to invade Iraq (using questionable justification it helped set up the scenario we see unfolding today. Ultimately the decision destabilized the region further, created more anti American sentiment in the region, and set up Iraq for civil strife and internal political instability. All for a cost of billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars, loss of American life, and loss of Iraqi life.

I could go on for a very long time but Fareed Zakarian does a better job of presenting the evidence if you will than I might.

The Washington Post - It is becoming increasingly likely that Iraq has reached a turning point. The forces hostile to the government have grown stronger, better equipped and more organized. And having now secured arms, ammunition and hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from their takeover of Mosul — Iraq’s second-largest city — they will build on these strengths. Inevitably, in Washington, the question has surfaced: Who lost Iraq?

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

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

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

But how did Maliki come to be prime minister of Iraq? He was the product of a series of momentous decisions made by the Bush administration. Having invaded Iraq with a small force — what the expert Tom Ricks called “the worst war plan in American history” — the administration needed to find local allies. It quickly decided to destroy Iraq’s Sunni ruling establishment and empower the hard-line Shiite religious parties that had opposed Saddam Hussein. This meant that a structure of Sunni power that had been in the area for centuries collapsed. These moves — to disband the army, dismantle the bureaucracy and purge Sunnis in general — might have been more consequential than the invasion itself. {CONTINUE READING BELOW THE FOLD}
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I note that Zakaria attaches some blame to the Obama administration as well with this; If the Bush administration deserves a fair share of blame for “losing Iraq,” what about the Obama administration and its decision to withdraw American forces from the country by the end of 2011? I would have preferred to see a small American force in Iraq to try to prevent the country’s collapse. But let’s remember why this force is not there. Maliki refused to provide the guarantees that every other country in the world that hosts U.S. forces offers. ...

There is blame to go around, the lion's share of which rests with President GWB and Iraqi Prime Minister Malaki.

Via: Memeorandum

50 comments:

  1. It seems sometimes these countries with a variety of beliefs and almost tribal connections need a strong SOB to keep them together...remember Yugoslavia & Tito?

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    1. Do they "need" this, BB. Will has written at length about Woodrow Wilson. Yugoslavia was his pet project. Hundreds of thousands died for his mistakes such as attaching Kosovo to Serbia without even asking Kosovo.

      Perhaps one way to look at at, BB, isn't that a strongman is needed to hold it all together..... but perhaps the idea that what might very well be 3 separate nations needs to be held together at all.

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    2. '3 separate nations' seems the inevitable conclusion at this point: the Sunni/Shiite animosity draw the attention of both Syria and Iran, so IMO, aside from the Kurdish
      autochthonous area, the religious pockets and oil sources remain a sticky wicket. When our neocons pick sides, they should study all aspects of intervention, not just pushing troops around claiming to protect the US. We are talking about the Fertile Crescent, the cradle of civilization, which under Sargon II spread from Egypt to Turkey; centered on
      Babylon, the hunger for oil, led by Britain, the CIA shenanigans under Eisenhower just
      muddied the waters. Look upon my works, ye mighty and despair. In the US, we cannot
      agree on anything and stumble along between two extremes...and we expect to export
      democracy? I tried: I wrote my congressman about WMD from the standpoint of a former
      chemical weapons officer (the presentation by Powell and Rice was a joke, IMO a fiction fomented by Cheney and his 'vulcans') Blaming Obama is just cursing the wind.

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  2. Indeed I do BB Idaho. Hussein keep Iraq together and his presence acted as a counter balance to Iran. Not that I approve of his tactics but sometimes it is best to keep one's nose (as in USA's) out of other nation's sphere of influence.

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  3. RN: The "counterbalancing" of Iran by Iraq cost at least a half a million Iraqi and Iranian lives., which 3 times the most accurate count of the Iraq War death toll. Global chess games, "RISK" etc itself can sometimes have a very very high cost....

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    1. My point is two sovereign nations fought each other to a draw. There was a balance of power in the region. Toppling Hussein and creating greater instability seems to be the result of our ill advised and unnecessary incursion into Iraq.

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  4. "There is blame to go around, the lion's share of which rests with President GWB and Iraqi Prime Minister Malaki."

    According to the Daily Mail, Obama might very continue the Iraq War in a heavy fashion, If this happens, it will likely mean that Obama will have presided over this for longer than George W. Bush did.

    While the groundwork for how the US handled this was laid by GWB, remember that this is Obama's war too. He could have ended the US involvement in 2009, but he chose to keep it going. He also has had plenty of years to change how the US has handled things there... but there has been an amateurish and lackadaisical approach to it all.

    Similar to how Obama inherited the Afghanistan war, and hardly paid attention to it until about a year into his administration.

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    1. I realize the constant desire to tie every negative in all things to Obama. I get that the right has an agenda and it is to totally discredit the President.

      Let's wait and see where Obama takes this. He inherited two wars, he listened to his military advisors, and here we are. Now he again has the unenviable task of trying to fix a complete cluster f**k that began in 2003.

      We are going to be dealing with the Bush f**k ups for a very long time I fear. My thoughts are we will return to failed logic and policy of the past. In other words INSANITY.

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  5. Constant desire? No, I was pointing out the *fact* that Obama had been in charge of the situation there for the past 5 years, not GWB. And Obama chose to extend major US involvement, instead of getting us out of there in early 2009. It is "insanity" in my opinion to ignore these facts. And it is not any sort of "tie everything negative to Obama" to point out what has happened entirely on his watch.

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    1. You are essentially arguing both ways, wanting your cake and eating it too.

      Do me a favor, refute the quite logical points in the Zakarian article, point by point. If you can.

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    2. Both ways? Well there is responsibility by both for the present situation there.

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    3. Yes, there is.

      Now, for Zakaria and point by point refutation?

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    4. Why? While a lot of what has gone on is under Obama's management, it is acceptable to say that what Bush started it and ran for years has the most impact.

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  6. And yes, he "inherited two wars"...and chose to extend them and make them his own. For several years now.

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    1. Obama doesn't live or function in a vacuum. He has advisors, military and civilian. Choices made were based on informed advice. Bush made the choices that got us involved and continued for five years. Obama made choices similar to Bush with the goal of getting us out as soon as practical.

      Unfortunately we are dealing with the Bush legacy, the Iraq war was started by the Bush administration, the ramifications of that mistake were manifest in 2009 and they still are today obviously.Lets wait a bit and see how Obama responds to this "crisis."

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    2. Now that is fairly well stated....

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    3. It seems clear that starting a war is much simpler than stopping a war. I gotta agree with General Powell-"you break it-you own it". We know who broke it. All the king's horses, including Obama, couldn't put it together again.

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    4. And if you throw more logs on a fire that someone else started (instead of throwing water) you own it too.

      Delete
  7. 'the 'LOSING" of Iraq'......hmmmm ....when was it OURS to lose?

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    1. Good question okjimm.

      It should not have been our mision to start it. But Bush and our "leaders" thought differently

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  8. DMarks... I think part of the issue is something like this...

    There was no way to rescue and refight the war after we were sent down such a crummy path by the previous Admin. Sort of like Vietnam. Johnson, or Kennedy, depending on your politics, sent us down a horrendous path that had no way of ever being successful.

    When we are headed down those paths, what are our options?

    Obama was trashed before he even took office, he just did not know it, or chose to ignore those facts.

    If you set off on a journey to sail the pacific and your boat has a whole in it, no amount of fixing is gonna change that you are in deep water.

    I noticed you had nothing to say about Zakaria's points. Is he inaccurate?

    RN... not sure you saw this but Shep Smith of FOX News has an interesting take on Iraq, at least for the FOX crowd... he say the people for doing something now are the same ones whe were so wrong about the initial invasion. Interesting...

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/13/shep-smith-the-same-peopl_n_5493655.html

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  9. Dave: If it is a voyage of the Titanic, so to speak, and the captain decides to push ahead instead of turn back, surely the captain has some of the blame, right?

    "I noticed you had nothing to say about Zakaria's points"

    So? I suppose your reading comprehension on this matter is weak like RN's has been a couple of times so far.

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  10. The weak reading comprehension is not ours dmarks.

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    1. Not mine at all, either. There was nothing like a "Zakaria is full of crap" comment from me, which would have elicited the questions.

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  11. dmarks, you are being evasive. However, I'll accept your evasiveness as your answer of your agreement in full with Zakarian's assessment.

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  12. Evasive? Not at all. I am usually never asked to defend my attack on someone's column when there is no such attack.

    Agree in full? Probably not. Agree by and large? Yes. I usually find that with his writings.

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    1. So, what do you DISAGREE with?

      You never know. If your arguments are solid they may cause someone to modify their views.

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    2. Why? Again, is there some sort of "Zakaria is full of crap" comment I made and forgot that you are referring to... to imply I would make such arguments? You are acting as if you are referring to comments that haven't been made at all.

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    3. I recall having a disagreement with dmarks some 7 years ago when he could not grasp the difference between national debt versus the national budget. How could former President Clinton show a budget surplus, he insisted, when the country was still in debt? No matter how hard I tried to explain the simple and accepted accounting concepts of "positive cash flow" versus "servicing debt," his mind clamped shut and refused to budge.

      Same here: A pitifully short memory of Bush's policy blunders and a refusal to put these in context. Blunders like General Gardner's successful negotiation with the Iraqi Army and police force to keep the security apparatus in place - only to be overturned by Bremer (who served as "Regent" at the time) in consultation with Dick "The Prick" Cheney - thus triggering the start of the insurgency. Blunders like failing to secure all weapons arsenals - thus turning them into veritable shopping malls for the insurgency. Blunders like putting a Shia government in place and supporting al Maliki who was beholden to the Iranians - having spent his exile years in Iran. Blunders like ignoring the fact that 85% of the Middle East is Sunni and has had a Sunni power structure for CENTURIES - thus ignoring the pages of history and starting a sectarian conflict that is now engulfing the region.

      So what is Obama's role in all of this - NOTHING except being President at the wrong time and having a giant neo-con failure thrown in his lap.

      Nope, the real WMDs are a willful ignorance of history and the minds that clamp shut - costing this country an estimated $2 to $4 trillion that has impoverished us, almost 4,500 war dead, and 30,000 injuries requiring a lifetime of care. Great going, dmarks!

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  13. My mind did not shut. Clinton was irresponsibly spending more than he took in.you got around this by cooking the books...taking out some of his spending to bring it down in line with some imaginary threahold. But at the end of the day Clinton spent more than he took in.

    it sure is one very old bone you brought up to gnaw on. And one you were flat out incorrect on.

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    1. Let me think... Got it. So if Clinton was irresponsibly spending more than he took in, not at all uncommon for some time now, but he was spending less than Bush did by far, and he did close out showing a balanced budget (but yes we still had a national debt we were servicing) what really is your point? That Bush was a raving maniacal deficit spender?

      I thought you would have mentioned that the republicans were responsible for Clinton's surplus, which is at least partially true.

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    2. At one time, Clinton had a very low deficit, even if he never did have an actual surplus. After years of high ones, but it is low.

      Yes, he was spending less than Bush by far, and even less than Obama.

      "I thought you would have mentioned that the republicans were responsible for Clinton's surplus"

      Aside from no surplus existing, Newt Gingrich has taken credit for the situation. I tend to tilt toward ultimate responsibility for something like this to the one at the top: which would have been Clinton.

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    3. Also consider that by the end of Clinton's presidency, the amount of this national debt was a total which had grown by a very large percentage during his presidency. That is, this debt he was servicing was one that he chose to grow about 40% in a long series of very out of whack budgets. So if you accept the smoke and mirrors of artificially excusing the part of his overall deficit budget which is servicing the debt, remember that a large percentage of this debt was accumulated during his watch.

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    4. Here are the statistics by president going back to Carter relative to growth of national debt as a percentage. Followed by the link to the data. Pay close attention to the entire report dmarks, it should clear up your misconceptions.

      If you have verifiable data disproving these numbers I for one will be very appreciative if you supply a link to the data.

      Carter 42.3
      Reagan 188.6
      Bush 1 55.6
      Clinton 35.6 I note that Clinton oversaw the smallest change in debt per capita of the 6 at 22.5%

      Bush 2 89.0
      Obama 53.6

      LINK TO DATA TABLE

      I hope this clears it up for you.

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    5. I have presented no evidence of "misconceptions" on this. This is consistent with my claim that while Clinton never actually ran a surplus and he increased the debt a lot, he wasn't as bad as those before and after him.

      I have no verifiable data to disprove this, nor would I want it. It seems like it comes from Treasury date which I use as my source also. The 35.6 % given to you was is similar, very much so, in fact to the rounded 40% I gave for Clinton from looking at US Treasury Data.

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  14. "So what is Obama's role in all of this - NOTHING except being President at the wrong time and having a giant neo-con failure thrown in his lap. "

    Spoken like a "partisanship ahead of principle" stooge. Obama has been in charge of US policy for 5 years. While it is folly to say he created the mess in the first place, and that Bush isn't mostly to blame for what is going on there now, it is also folly to claim that what is happening is not partially Obama's fault also.

    I can bring up old bones too....like your defense of paying New York transit workers 40% above the fair wage (including paying some of them hundreds of thousands of dollars a year). I recall the famous flop when you talked about how expensive it is to live in New York City... and as an example you brought up one of the most expensive places there... witht housing costs way way way above the average. Lots of fail there, and all yours.

    And no, Clinton never did show a budget surplus: it was more spent than came in, all 8 years.

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    1. So, I"m curious, or perhaps it is just a bit muddled at this point, but what exactly is the principle that (O)CT(O)PUS is putting partisanship and Obama stoogery ahead of?

      New York is indeed expensive, quite as a matter of fact. And (O)CT(O)PUS's numbers on the other is correct. I checked them out.

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    2. The "principle" is when he leaves the man in charge for half a decade entirely off the hook.

      New York is expensive, but the figures Octo chose to show how expensive it is there were significantly above the cost of average, or even typical housing. As for the other numbers, I compared the average government transit worker pay to average pay for private-sector bus drivers and taxi drivers. He used all these numbers in defense of significantly overpaying a very large group of government workers, which I hold that is indeed a big problem for budgets.

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    3. Dmarks,
      Right now, the topic of this post is the current situation in Iraq. In consideration and respect for RN, we should return to the topic under discussion.

      On Friday, March 31, 2006, even Condoleezza Rice admitted: "I know we have made tactical errors, thousands of them I am sure," she said [source]. I have neither the time nor the energy to recount the "thousands" of blunders to which she admits other than this: If the U.S. were to re-engage in Iraq now, we would be allying ourselves with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and the Al-Quds force in defense of al-Maliki – a damn deceitful and duplicitous prospect even more absurd than allying ourselves with Al-Qaeda. Think about this BEFORE you start pointing partisan fingers.

      As for fear mongering coming from neo-con ranks, all I can say is: BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!

      I have a personal stake in this matter. My oldest daughter, a career military officer (Lt. Colonel to be exact), is currently deployed in the region. Since 2001, she has served in Saudi Arabia (as a Pentagon liaison), in Iraq (three deployments), Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Qatar. For the past 14 years, she has been the missing person at every holiday table, every family milestone event - every birth and every death in the family. Right now, she has a 3-year kid at home, and her husband is the sole parent until she returns. My family, like millions of other families who sustain our military, has made more than a fair share of sacrifices. AND WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

      I don’t give a shit what happens to Iraq at this point. They made this mess; al-Maliki is a Shiite dictator; and Iraq is NOT WORTH THE SACRIFICE OF EVEN ONE MORE AMERICAN LIFE. Since you accord no respect for the sacrifices military families have made over the years, why should I give a shit about your ignorant, uninformed, and all too often off-topic opinions!

      Delete
    4. (Apologies to RN for the angry invective. Tonight I spent an hour on the phone with my son-in-law learning that my daughter's current deployment may be extended due to the situation in Iraq. Sometimes you need a punching bag to lash out, and dmarks always presents an easy mark.)

      Delete
    5. why should I give a shit about your ignorant, uninformed, and all too often off-topic opinions"

      Then perhaps it is you who should not have diverted this by bringing up a 7 years old bone to gnaw you got wrong then and get wrong now.

      Delete
    6. Not so easy. You might think rage and insults make up for your often sloppy arguments. But I disagree.

      Delete
  15. Manhattan NY is the number 1 most expensive area to live in USA.
    Brooklyn NY is the number 2 most expensive area to live in the USA.

    LINK TO THE DATA

    On to the pay for NYC transit employees and other functions. Given that Manhattan and Brooklyn are the two most expensive places to live in the USA the salaries do not appear to be unreasonable.

    It seems to me you might be cherry picking your numbers dmarks, something I know you take issue with when liberals occasionally do the same.

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    1. RN: Rather than cherry pick, I used the first two or three sources I found. The figures on private sector transit worker pay came from New York City also. As the government pay is at least 30% higher, and is often hundreds of thousands a year, I consider this excessive.

      Delete
  16. Can you now return to the current (Bush, Cheney, Maliki sh*t) cluster f**k that is Iraq? Which was, is. the point of this post. Consider your other points as noted.

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    1. I read over what Zakaria said again. I didn't disagree with it earlier, and I agree more strongly now.

      And as someone with a brother-in-law who served in Afghanistan for a very long time, I find the "accord no respect" accusation out of line and baseless.

      Delete
  17. (O)CT(O)PUS, appology accepted and appreciated, although there was really no need.

    Ametica is grateful for your daughter's patriotic national service to her (our) country. You can,. and I'm certain you are, very proud of your daughter.

    For whatever it may be worth I wish her well and a safe return home. Very soon.

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  18. Next up: a seminar in how to start a war stupidly. By the experts . Holy Crap!

    ReplyDelete

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