Free Markets, Free People

Folding the flag in Iraq

The 9 year long war in Iraq is officially over.  Frankly, I’m fine with that.  I think the one lesson we need to have learned from both Iraq and Afghanistan is the meaning of punitive raid or punitive action.  If a country attacks us or otherwise deserves to see the “blunt instrument” of national policy used, we need to go in and do what is necessary, then leave.

For whatever reason, we’ve chosen nation building as an end state instead.  And while I certainly understand the theory (and the examples where it has worked … such as Japan, West Germany, etc.), it shouldn’t be something we do on a routine basis. 

There were certainly valid reasons to do what we did in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  And while I supported both actions, the decision to try to build a democracy in both countries has been expensive in both blood and treasure and I’d deem it somewhat successful in Iraq (we’ll see if they can keep it) and at best marginally successful in Afghanistan (where I fully expect the effort to collapse when we withdraw).

So I’m fine with folding the flag and leaving Iraq.  And before the Obamabots try to claim it was their man who finally made it happen, Google it.  This is the Bush plan, negotiated before he left office and simply executed by this administration.   That said, Obama will shamelessly try to take credit for it while also trying to erase the memory of voting not to fund the war while troops were engaged in combat.

It is going to be interesting to see how Iraq turns out.  It is an extraordinarily volatile country sitting right next to two countries waging religious war against each other by proxy.  Saudi Arabia and Iran are deadly enemies and with the end of the US presence there, I think Iraq will end up being their battleground.

Within a few months I think there will be concerted campaigns of violence aimed at toppling the current government and installing some flavor of Islamist regime there.  I hope I’m wrong.

But again, bottom line – I’m happy to see this chapter draw to a close and that we’re getting our troops out of Iraq.  It’s time.  And to them all, a huge “well done” and “welcome home”.


Twitter: @McQandO

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77 Responses to Folding the flag in Iraq

  • Bu…but Obama said we are leaving behind a stable democracy…

    Heh. Another Erp head detonation in 3…2…

  • Yes, it was a Bush plan, and in fact President Bush deserves a lot of credit for recognizing the failure of the initial very ambitious mission that saw long term US presence in Iraq and bringing to change to the entire region. He shifted the neo-conservatives either out or to a diminished status (Cheney’s influence waned dramatically), redefined the goals and set President Obama up for success. Many on the so-called left do not give President Bush credit, I actually think he was a very good President from 2007 onward – he grew into the job. President Obama deserves credit too; giving all the credit to President Bush would be as wrong as all the credit to Obama, they pulled this off together.

    The bigger lesson about democracy is that political culture matters, and warnings about the instability of Iraqi ethnic divisions and post-Ottoman habits were ignored. The comparison with Japan and Germany was always misguided since those two had each tried democracy (Germany a longer experiment than Japan) and had modern institutions. Even so Japan’s post-WWII political system was very much like the pre-WWII system — single party dominate, links between state-finance-business and a very directed effort at export led growth. The militarism was stripped away, but McArthur was careful not to try to remake Japanese culture. Militaries can win wars, they can’t reshape cultures to the specifications of political leaders.

    Also, I think you need to give President Obama credit for undoing some of the damage to American prestige caused by the Iraq war and the perception of American weakness afterwards. US policy in Libya and the emerging behind the scenes efforts in Syria and even Iran have helped restore a sense that America can act effectively in that region of the world. The “Obama is all bad” meme is as misguided as the earlier “Bush is all bad” one.

  • I do have a problem with a complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq. It’s a mistake akin to refusing to help the South Vietnamese government *after* our withdrawal in the 1970s.

    Obama is an unworthy and unreliable commander-in-chief, and I will never forgive his all too obvious shout outs to the car bombers in Iraq during the ’08 campaign that “help is on the way.”

    Iraq has had good exposure to our magnificent troops and perhaps some of that manliness rubbed off on them. Human beings are imitative by nature. That’s an intangible factor that could draw out a new ethical and heroic identity for Iraqi men. Let’s hope so.

    I supported staying in Iraq for fifty years. It took an extraordinary event for us to get into the Middle East, we did eventually get hold of the situation (in record time really; very effective counterinsurgency, which the war colleges will be studying for a good long time), and we should have kept a base or two there to protect our investment.

    The big mistake in Iraq was to overstate the importance of the mission. It was a minor war of major importance, but it was blown out of proportion in its public and political perception and became a domestic war by the Left against America.

    it’s a bad day under the influence of a historically rotten president, but let’s hope that the Iraqis can take what we’ve left them and keep the lights of civilization on for a long time.

    • Bruce, what’s the limit on words in comments?

    • @martinmcphillips You were ready to stay in Iraq for 50 years. You were out of touch and wrong on Iraq, history has shown that. It developed pretty much as I predicted (though I was reasonably surprised by the capacity of President Bush to change his policy after 2006 — he earned my respect through that), and if you look back at any discussions we had about this in 2003 or 2004, it’ll be clear you didn’t understand what was happening. Back in 2000 you were appalled by gay marriage and predicted a quick amendment to the constitution that would ban it. Yet instead its spreading, and young people left and right tend to support it. The thing is, for all your insults of my understanding of things, you’re the one out of touch with your culture and how politics is changing. Martin, I suggest you read Stephen King’s new work “11/22/63.” I think the America you want is the one he describes going back to 1958. Your ideological bias is preventing you from understanding the way this country has changed and continues to change.

      • @scotterb @martinmcphillips In case anyone is wondering why Sméagol is citing Steven King, of all people, it is because at the tender young age of 50-something he has just discovered the section of the library where books written by people about things that didn’t, haven’t, never will, might possibly occur are kept. Fiction I think the young youth call it. Having not been exposed to this concept before (despite exhortations to others to broaden their readings, oh the irony) it is easy to understand why he has trouble discerning the boundaries between this reality and that in which thieves are cast into the fiery depths of Orodruin, or that the memory hole isn’t a convenient WordPress feature for discomforted political writers.

        • @DocD @scotterb @martinmcphillips Geez…whip-lash warnings should be MANDATORY on all Erp posts.

          If I was not so busy with trial prep, I’d fisk his idiot post below…which is HIGHLY fisk-worthy just from a real history stand-point.

          But the logical rear-end collision (OK, there’s a pun in there, I admit) from Iraq to gay marriage is just TOO strange and lurching.

          Odd, and funny (in the “self-parody” kinda way…)

        • @Ragspierre @scotterb @martinmcphillips If my ass was being regularly handed round on a plate by a group of strange men every day I am sure I’d be a bit obsessed with gay issues too.

        • @DocD @scotterb @martinmcphillips Wicked. Just wicked….

        • @DocD @scotterb @martinmcphillips “It’s a mistake akin to refusing to help the South Vietnamese government *after* our withdrawal in the 1970s.”

          You mean the totally invented, corrupt, dependent South Vietnamese government.
          I don’t have the time to go into the history of Vietnam, and obviously you never have, but it was our presence there that stoked the nationalism that drove Minh into the arms of China and USSR.
          Ho was never a Stalinist… or Maoist… or much of a communist really. He was a nationalist first and foremost before finding a home with the Russians and the Chinese when, after 1954-56, we didn’t follow through on our own deal to give free elections in Vietnam when it was clear Ho would win, and decided to prop up Diem. Once Diem and his cronies figured out that we would never stop funding them, they had no motivation for genuine reform. Instead, they lined their own pockets at the expense of the Vietnamese. Sound familiar? Who knows where Vietnam would have gone if we had never been there – but history shows that Vietnam, or communist presence in SE Asia, was never a real threat. And history will show the same for Iraq.

          It’s not our fuck!ng job to spread our democratic style of government around the world. It never works anyway. Anytime we’ve gone in to try to better the situation for us, we just end up spending loads of cash and spilling gallons of blood – always to end up just where we were before. Only with generational animosity.

          I don’t know if punitive measures work or not. But if they do, then it shouldn’t have taken 9 years and billions of dollars and thousands of lives to do it. But of course, punitive measures was not the motivation, was it? It was the “nation building” meme perpetuated by Bush and his supporters – like those here at QandO (and yes, i remember you guys fully supporting the nation building theory) that ended up costing what it did.

          Decades from now, they’ll be teaching the mistakes of Iraq right alongside the mistakes of Vietnam.


        • @PogueMahone

          Ho Chi Minh was a committed Communist. He was trained in Moscow. And he was a Soviet client. That “nationalist” line was the invention of the Left to pooh-pooh his Soviet connection and his chip in the game of international Communism. He was murdering people, as Communists inevitably do, in the North and many were fleeing to the South. Vietnam was an active theater in the containment strategy, and the South would have been a lot better off if we had kept our post-withdrawal commitment, and the boat people, those who survived at least, will testify to that. They fled rather than be murdered or sent to re-education camps, as the North Vietnamese Communists instituted what in the South? Not “nationalism.” Marxist-Leninist Communism. And one would think that the Cambodians, at least the one’s who survived, would have something to say as well about the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia, after the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot got hold of them.

        • @PogueMahone @DocD @scotterb @martinmcphillips “Ho was never a Stalinist… or Maoist… or much of a communist really.”

          That’s completely wrong.

          “It’s not our fuck!ng job to spread our democratic style of government around the world.”

          That’s completely right.

          You have promise if you just get your damned history correct.

      • @scotterb I don’t have an ideology, you horrible jerk. I have principles, with sufficient information and concepts to apply them. You don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to Iraq, you never did, and you never will. George Bush took the matter under control by following through with the surge, which was opposed virtually everywhere, by this corrupt and sick president, his party, the people in his party who originally supported the war, all of whom continued to oppose it even as it was succeeding, because they, like you, had become so heavily invested in defeat. As for gay marriage, it’s a revolting offense to civilization itself, and I understand very well what it will do to this society. And what it is doing already. You talk about it like you have one hand down your pants.

        • @martinmcphillips You have biases, not principles. Your insult-laden bravado might have worked in the flame wars of the early 90s, but it was style and silly sounding by 2000. Now you sound a bit like a crank shaking his fist at a reality he can’t stand but can’t change.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips Oh Christ please don’t let Sméagol start raving about Gandalf again.

        • @DocD @scotterb @martinmcphillips Wasn’t Smeagol the “good” personality? Are you sure you mean Smeagol, or are you being charitable…???

        • @Ragspierre @scotterb @martinmcphillips I guess Sméagol was eventually repentamt, but it was also Sméagol who committed the original crime of theft against Deagol (who we are reliably informed had it coming).

        • @scotterb Well, no doubt, Scott, there’s a long tradition of Erbs who fall in line behind realities that they can’t change and are unwilling to resist, of which there were plenty in the 20th Century. Your problems are deep enough to be genetic, so I’ll assume they are, at least in part. My positions are based on right and wrong, good and evil. I support right and good, and oppose wrong and evil. And as JPII said, “Moral good is objective and a properly formed conscience can perceive it.” You are fundamentally without a properly formed conscience, Scott, and that’s a shame, but it’s obvious. That’s not your only problem, but it’s the big one.

        • @martinmcphillips Someone who uses the kind of language you use to talk about others certainly shows evidence of lacking a properly formed conscience. A true sense of good requires kindness, understanding, charity and forgiveness. By their fruits ye shall know them, and you exude in your words and style something very different from what one would call Christian virtues. Perhaps it’s all a game and you’re not really the way your words make you appear, but that’s all I can go on.

        • @scotterb I describe you as you are, Scott. I don’t make anything up. It’s right there in view. If you don’t like getting it straight, don’t come around and put your pathologies on display. Some people deserve to have their feelings spare. You’re not one of them.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips Hmmm now we’ve got an attack of the holier than thous… Erb tactic #3. This thread is a veritable documentary on the habits of the Erb in its natural habitat.

        • @martinmcphillips @scotterb “I don’t have an ideology, you horrible jerk. I have principles, with sufficient information and concepts to apply them.”

          A collection of consistent principles is a type of ideology, so in the correct use of the word (not Scott’s), your principles are an ideology. That word is Scott’s latest shibboleth. It merely demonstrates he doesn’t understand the definition. The root of the word is idea, which means he is stupidly indicting the use of organized ideas to make decisions (as opposed to winging it randomly). He attacks “ideology” by listing the bad ones, but fails to make any sort of discrimination between those, which are based upon bad ideas, and ideologies based upon good ideas (principles), which are, contrary to his assertion of over-simplification (a symptom of a bad ideology), not irrationally rigid, but sound enough to deal with novel circumstances.

          “You don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to Iraq, you never did, and you never will.”

          I didn’t support the Iraq invasion, but unlike Scott and his brethren, my opposition was consistent even when it was Obama calling the shots in Libya. And, the principles by which I opposed the war apply just as well to opposition to ObamaPelosiCare, the faux green initiatives and regulations, and all manner of using other people’s money against their moral objections. And, unlike many of the Bush-hating protesters, I didn’t revel in American failures or the latest news of carnage.

        • @myweeklycrime @martinmcphillips @scotterb Whenever the good professor says “ideology” in a pejorative sense he actually means “ideologue”. It is a distinction of only a letter or two so he should be forgiven perhaps. But a semester of remedial English wouldn’t go astray.

      • @scotterb As for staying in Iraq for 50 years, of course that’s the way it should have been done. To maintain stability as Iraqi society worked out a livable politics between its main factions. America has stayed in other countries where it has invested in military action and the benefit has been prolonged peace and prosperity. It kept insane German militarism on the straight and narrow. Likewise Japan. And in Korea it allowed the South to achieve modern prosperity. It’s a relatively inexpensive investment, and it works. See the difference: Iraq goes from being the most unstable country in the most unstable region in the world to be one of the most stable. Now, however, this precipitous but no doubt intentional failure to come to an agreement with the Iraqi government puts it at risk, too early in historical terms.

        • @martinmcphillips To even think this could be compared to Japan and Germany shows you don’t understand either US foreign policy or mideast politics. That was what I argued back in 2003, the post-Ottoman divided culture of the region is not conducive to the US ‘creating’ a stable democracy or somehow staying for 50 years. The culture, political and historical differences in these cases are immense. That’s what the neo-conservatives got wrong, something President Bush realized, switching policy to find a way out, a kind of Nixonian “peace with honor.” Few Presidents can make such a change in direction; LBJ couldn’t. It shows strength of character that Bush could recognize the failure and change course. I think very few Americans are upset about finally ending the Iraqi fiasco.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips Erb rule #24, when losing an argument try to get your opponent to argue against “Americans” in general. As far as bait and switch goes, one of his weaker attempts this week.

        • @scotterb The key to understanding a long U.S. presence in Iraq, you fumbliing moron, is the desirability of stability. The fundamental principle of going into Iraq, even in the UN Security Council resolutions, was to restore peace and stability to the region. You could look it up. That is the benefit that is in U.S. and Iraqi and regional interests. All situations are different and they come with their own unique modalities and you adapt. Adaptations in Japan were different than what was required in Germany, but the outcomes have been sustained peace after long periods of upheaval and violence. That is why we should have maintained a vigorous presence in Iraq. But unfortunately we have a ridiculous scumbag for a president. So he quite naturally has thrown that advantage away to please, in fact, imbeciles such as yourself.

        • @martinmcphillips Yet the point is that it massively increased instability, briefly helped al qaeda can support, gave Iran more influence in the region, and undercut American prestige and strength, especially as it divided American society. President Obama has done well to re-assert US strength and interests in the region, even if in your need to insult and demonize those who think different than you cause you to turn a blind eye to it.

        • @scotterb The point is that a very dangerous regime was removed, a predictable degree of instability followed that phase, it was counteracted with a deliberate process of reinstituting a political process and a government, and that was accompanied by brilliant counterinsurgency that was accomplished very rapidly.

          You ignored all that so that you could jerk yourself off about “the worst foreign policy mistake” blah blah, and you didn’t know what you were talking about, not for five minutes.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips Um…you are the one who FIRST evoked Germany and Japan…inappositely, I must add…as being somehow “different”. As ALWAYS, your analysis is WRONG. But…hey…no need to break with precedent…!!!

          And SOOOOO typical of you to employ the fallacy of popularity!!! Good to see the Norther Star Of Sophistry is still shining in its place.

        • @Ragspierre @scotterb @martinmcphillips Narcissists luuurrrrvvvve that popularity. It is also evident in his repeated referal to Obama restoring American prestige abroad and “uniting” the people. To my foreign ears he sounds like the archetypal jingoist American cowboy so often setup as strawmen in media. Except he appears to be serious. Where citizens of other nations usually couldn’t give two shits about prestige, this supposedly is a foreign policy win for Obama. Maybe Erb’s Germanocentrism has got the better of him and he’s gone feral as a Der Spiegel anti-American American parroting what he thinks will make him popular among foreignets. A parody of a parody. It would be a masterful performance, if it was a performance.

        • @DocD @Ragspierre @martinmcphillips Yup, I’m a jingoist narcissistic Germano-centric *eyes rolling* Actually I’m mainstream in my analysis of Obama’s foreign policy. You must just be spending a lot of time on right wing blogs and websites.

        • @martinmcphillips Yikes, Martin, you really need to educate yourself, you got just about everything wrong. Saddam was not dangerous in 2003. He’d lost Kurdistan already and he was essentially surviving as a mafia like don using food for oil money to pay off people and use Sunni fear of the Shi’ites to cling to power. If he hadn’t been removed by us, he’d likely have been a victim of the Arab spring, (and we could have helped as in Libya — not spending $2 trillion or costing hundreds of thousands of lives).

          The political processes in Iraq from 2004 to 2010 were chaotic, and outside the control of the US. Right now it’s a divided state, with the Sunnis running their own show in Sunni areas, the Kurds controlling Kurdistan, and the Shi’ites ruling with Islamic law in the Shi’ite areas. The government has been divided, is very corrupt, and has limited power.

          The counter insurgency was important because it was a shift from the original goals. Instead of fighting the Sunni insurgents the US joined them (to the dismay of the Shi’ites) in exchange for their vow to stop fighting the government and focus on al qaeda. The US had been unwilling to do that earlier (I believe on this blog one person said ‘we can’t make peace against people who have been killing Americans’), and the Sunnis also learned in the 2006 civil war that they were, indeed a minority. That shift politically won over the insurgents and changed the game to a fight not against Sunni insurgent but the tiny groups of al qaeda. Meanwhile al-Sadr was convinced to wait us out.

          I’m happy to help educate you, Martin!

        • @scotterb @DocD @martinmcphillips “Actually I’m mainstream in my analysis of Obama’s foreign policy. ”

          See? His poor old knees just keep jerking to that same fallacy!!! It is like Pavlov’s dog when the bell rings!

          Kind of sad…in a “watch what he does if I do THIS…” kinda way.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips And cripes, there you go pretending our presence in the Middle East didn’t have ANYTHING to do with the Arab Spring movement.

          Do you suppose you’d have been born if your father and mother never met Scott?

          It’s about the same. The entire middle east would be a different zone if we had NOT invaded Iraq the second time, so you don’t get to posit that current events recently played out would have done away with Saddam Hussein. That’s frankly stupid speculation on your part.

          And yeah, geeze, he Sunni’s didn’t KNOW they were a minority prior to 2006. Uh-huh.

        • @looker @martinmcphillips LOL! You think us having the debacle in Iraq is cause for the Arab Spring?! Are you daft? That’s laughable. Wow, now I’ve seen it all. (Shaking my head in incredulity that anyone could make such an bizarre claim). I could go through causality, methodology, the real causes of the Arab spring, and the utter lack of connection, but I don’t think you’re serious, you are not dumb enough to believe that claim.

          And yes, Sunnis had been arguing that the Shi’ite claims to be a majority were fraudulent, and in fact were taught that. The Sunnis thought they could take the Shi’ites on.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips The invasion of Iraq set off a chain of events politically, economically and technologically that you couldn’t hope, in your wildest dreams to predict. It’s literally at the level of the old saw “for want of a nail”. For all you know the I-Phone that you think caused Arab Spring would be a completely different device. It’s literally at THAT level. So please don’t make foolish suppositions that a brutal dictator wouldn’t have continued in his brutality to maintain control. As it was the Euro’s were kicking us to let up on Saddam’s throat, telling us he was okay, and that we could rescind the restrictions that kept him beggered and unable to do much. You can bet your bottom dollar the French and Germans and others were ready to go back to business of doing business with him because they don’t really give a rat’s ass about the people he’d oppress so long as he bought things from them with his oil money and supplied oil to them.

          But you’re busy trying to memory hole the fights we put up BEFORE 9/11 about letting Saddam back into the good graces of the world community. You certainly are NOT shy about quoting the aid foundations for how many DEATHS we caused his population by sticking with the various embargoes in place on him.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips No jackass, it’s bizzare to claim that history would have followed the path it is on whether we invaded and occupied Iraq or not. I wouldn’t expect you, however, to be able to follow that progression of reasoning, so play on with your fantasy that Hussein would have been gone anyway.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips By all means Professer daft – you go through the causality, methodology, I challenge you to do so, it will prove wildly entertaining.

          Put up, or shut up, Hoss.

        • @looker @martinmcphillips LOL! Oh, I get it – since history was changed by some action than any argument about the area is irrelevant because “history was changed.” In other words, you don’t have the moral integrity to admit you were wrong so you say, “well, we shook things up there so anything that happens might have been caused by us, or might not have happened without us…”

          Man, you’ve dug yourself in deep.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips No no, you can show the causality, the methodology,

          DO IT.

          It’s one thing to fling around that I’m dumb, and that I lack moral integrity, it’s another for you to be able to demonstrate within reason that your scenario of Hussein being over thrown by an Arab Spring occurring without the US invading Iraq in 2003 is probable.

          Good lord, you blamed Iraq on Bush’s downfall, what makes you think Obama would even be President today without that? The entire game changes without that.

          So, LOL your way out of it, but you claimed above you “could go through causality, methodology, the real causes of the Arab spring, and the utter lack of connection”

          DO IT. Speaking of people who’ve ‘dug themselves in deep”.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips “Yet the point is that it massively increased instability, briefly helped al qaeda can support, gave Iran more influence in the region, and undercut American prestige and strength, especially as it divided American society”

          Massively, your word, massively. Gave Iran more influence, undercut our prestige and strength. But Arab Spring would have happened all by itself without any of that, Course it would have, it was destined, it had to be because it gets you to your lame argument that Hussein would just HAVE to be gone today anyway without us doing a damn thing to him.

          Third largest army in the world, all dried up, blown away. No UN meddling, no change in various policies, no guarantee of a cratered economy here in the US. Yep, but the Middle East would be almost identical to today and they’d have had their various revolutions ANY WAY.

          Come on Hoss, you know you want to write a dissertation for us proving all that HAD to be true and that, you were right.

          But let’s face it, not gonna happen, because you have the same essential ability to view cause and effect as a gold fish does.

        • @looker @martinmcphillips Looker, you’ve not proven your worth the time. First, you have to do something to try to back up your case that the US caused the Arab Spring. Absent that, you have nothing. That’s my point, you don’t understand these things if you make that kind of claim. I could take my time to educate you on social science, but you have to show you truly want help, and are appreciative of it. Absent that, why should I waste my time?

        • @looker @martinmcphillips Show your work, looker. Prove how the US debacle in Iraq caused the Egyptians to protest against Mubarak, led to the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi and the protests in Tunisia. Face it, besides your inability to admit you were wrong on Iraq you’ve made an outlandish claim about the Arab spring being the result of US action, you know it was ridiculous, you’ve been caught, and you’re running around trying to shift the argument. You can get your like minded allies to parrot your insults but deep down you KNOW you’ve been caught writing something insanely stupid. You and I both know it, and all the huffing and puffing you do can’t change it. *Smile*

        • @scotterb ”Saddam was not dangerous in 2003.”

          In fact, at that time, the concern was with his capacity to initiate asymmetrical warfare, you dope. Conventional containment was what is known as the last war. He was a revanchist psychopath with billions of dollars at his personal disposal with a worldwide security apparatus. He was, in fact, after 9/11, more dangerous because the new day had dawned on how to get at the U.S. That was why, the real why, he had to be taken off the board. And anyone who was paying attention and who cared about national security knew it.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips Yeah, what I expected. I have reality to point to Scott, you have a fantasy. I’m not required to prove things would be the way they ARE, you on the other hand posited that things would still be the same without the current historical path to get here.

          I was worth the time to call stupid, but not worth the time to understand WHY I was called stupid. Unless maybe if I act nice, and contrite, and apologize or grovel, or something.
          Why would you waste your time? Like you don’t WANT to educate all the right wing knuckle draggers over here?
          My God man, think of the other members of the audience. Some right smart folk read over here. You wouldn’t be doing it so much to help me, but others. Have you no desire to educate the ignorant?

          Yeah, not so much. You made a stupid statement, you got called on it, and now you’re just going to claim you aren’t proving it because I’m not worth the time.
          Now you’re going to pretend you ‘win’ if I don’t go to the effort of somehow proving that your fantasy history wouldn’t have happened. I’ve been ‘caught’


          Good to see you’re consistent in your pathology.

          Yeah, it’s what I expected Scott (and I’ll wager what everyone else reading this expected) so it’s okay.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips I never said we ’caused’ Arab Spring. What I said was we contributed the the world environment and the situation in the Middle East that lead to where it is today. It’s pretty much that simple Hoss from the 50,000 foot look. What we did led to where the world is today.

          You, what you have is your fantasy that it would all be the same even if we didn’t stir things up in the Middle East by invading Iraq.

          So, does your wife have to explain to you how your cereal gets from the box to the bowl?

        • @martinmcphillips Ah, no. Saddam couldn’t even hold Kurdistan and had a very weak military — that’s one reason he was so easily defeated. You can assert whatever you want if you want to maintain your bravado and avoid admitting you were wrong. But deep down, you know you were. I know you know it.

        • @looker @martinmcphillips Remove bravado and we still have you making an untenable statement: that the Arab Spring wouldn’t have happened without the US intervening in Iraq, and an inability on your part to support it. Everything else you are saying is noise to avoid admitting both that, and that you were wrong on Iraq. I can tell you know you’ve made a bad argument by trying to get your like minded buddies to agree (your last line). That’s an admission of defeat. “We’re wrong but as long as everyone calls him names we don’t have to admit it.” But you know that I know. That’s good enough for me.

        • @scotterb “Saddam couldn’t even hold Kurdistan and had a very weak military — that’s one reason he was so easily defeated.”

          You’re such an impossible dope, Scott. Hussein wasn’t dangerous because of his military. He was dangerous because of who and what he was in the context of the 9/11 wake up call. He became a yes/no question. Can we afford to leave this guy loose in the world? Yes or No. It was a matter of straightforward prudential judgement in foreign policy, and the answer was No. It came after considerable deliberation. There was an argument for Yes, but it was not as strong as the argument for No. No, we can’t leave him loose in the world. He can outsource fifty 9/11s, easily. He’s a psychopath. A revanchist. An accomplished murderer. He has to go. That was done and the aftermath got taken care of too, And we should have had a president who would have negotiated a long term U.S. presence in Iraq precisely for the purpose of peace and stability. Instead we have a creep president who works with determination against American interests, and our chief interest is peace and stability, because that is what works for us and everybody else.

          People like Obama are the problem, and we’ll see more of what he’s capable of this coming year, as he lurches from his multiple failures to try to wring out his reelection, with the same contempt for truth and sanity that he always shows.

        • @martinmcphillips His military had been severely weakened by the UN dismantling of the 90s and he lacked the capacity to keep up his equipment. He was effectively impotent outside the parts of Iraq where he still could terrorize his population (even that was fading). Yes, we’ll see what Obama is capable of – I suspect you’ll keep being disappointed and will be insulting the President for the next five years.

        • @scotterb “His military had been severely weakened by the UN dismantling of the 90s and he lacked the capacity to keep up his equipment.”

          Pay attention, you dope, I’m not going to repeat myself again because you ignore the point I’m making. You’re not fooling anyone.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips “that the Arab Spring wouldn’t have happened without the US intervening in Iraq, and an inability on your part to support it. ”

          Read this slowly, maybe it will help.
          The world is what it is today, based on what we did – economically, and certainly governmentally in the US with regard to the Democratic control of Congress and the Democratic control of the Presidency in 2008. Financially, geopolitically, all of it
          stems from the decision we made to invade Iraq. We’re a really really big butterfly, you know?

          The tsunami in Japan would have happened without our going to Iraq, the rise of Arab nationalism, the power struggles, the ‘loss of US prestige’ you always like to fling around. All likely results of our stationing hundreds of thousands of our men, our material in Arab countries. Of our blowing up Iraq, of our investing the country.

          Our investments would be different, our funding would be different, Iran would be different, the technologies would be different, etc, etc, etc.

          Mr. Quantum Mechanics, you were on here 2 weeks ago mumbling about the butterfly effect, and now you’re going to claim it would all have worked out the same even if we hadn’t invaded Iraq in 2003.

          Okay, that’s, really, rational.
          But, you know, you said you could prove it, and questioned my morality, and my integrity, and my intelligence, all because I disagreed that it would be the same.
          All because I disagreed.

          Yep, you’re the man professor. Look at it this way, your credibility didn’t suffer one ounce in this discussion, and anybody who follows your pronouncements here knows why.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips Oh, one more thing I forgot to say –


          You’re wrong.

        • @martinmcphillips Repeat all the nonsense you want, you’re simply wrong. I suspect you know you’re wrong too — I’ve never seen honesty as one of the ‘principles’ you claim to adhere to.

        • @scotterb “Repeat all the nonsense you want, you’re simply wrong. I suspect you know you’re wrong too — I’ve never seen honesty as one of the ‘principles’ you claim to adhere to.”

          All that I know, Scott, is that I make rigorous and coherent arguments about who and what the Hussein regime was. I put them in the context of what our most immediate national security concerns were. I relentlessly eliminate the specious nonsense of the antiwar clique, with all of its outrageous canned lies, and I don’t belittle the enormous efforts made by our military and the success that those efforts achieved. And I don’t have any motivation to lie; maximum motivation to get it exactly right. I am not a warmonger. I do not support all wars any more than I oppose all wars. And I pay attention to the essential meaning of what is going down.

          And I would never, ever have to lie about you. There’s no need for it. I just describe what I see, putting it into the most direct terms I can, because you’ve earned it.

        • @martinmcphillips No, you asserted that his regime was more powerful and dangerous than it was, and certainly it was not a threat to US interests. Even John Paul II, who you’ve quoted, opposed it. Most importantly, the warnings I and others gave in 2003 turned out to be right, and the optimism and bravado of the pro-war crowd turned out to be wrong. Perhaps if we’d deposed Saddam and left, things may have turned out better. My only other tip to you would be to reassess your writing style. That kind of in your face prose worked OK in usenet debates in the 90s, but its sort of lame in 2011.

        • @scotterb “No, you asserted that his regime was more powerful and dangerous than it was, and certainly it was not a threat to US interests.”

          Are you really so stupid that you cannot understand that with the dawning of the age of mass asymmetrical terror on 9/11 that a revanchist psychopath like Saddam Hussein must be understood as more, not less, dangerous? It’s not a question of his conventional capability and its conventional containment, but of his ability to use his control of national wealth to outsource terror. There’s nothing difficult in understanding it. It comes down to exactly who this man was and what he was capable of and why he would be inclined to do it. In addition to that, there were any number of concerns about him, including his treatment of his own people while under the constraints of UN Security Council measures. But the determinative matter was how dangerous he was as a potential terror master, and that risk was unacceptable.

          As for prose, you revolting imbecile, you only wish you could write a decent sentence instead of that sing-song claptrap fate and genetics appear to have condemned you to.

        • @martinmcphillips
          He did not have the capacity to wage “mass asymmetrical terror” and he had his hands full keeping power in Baghdad. He was a parochial dictator, his inability to think outside of Iraqi mindsets lead him into errors that destroyed his reign. Building him up as a “dangerous psychopath” somehow changed because of 9/11 is the stuff of fiction. It’s hyperbolic, irrational and defies reality.

          He did not have the capacity to ‘outsource terror,’ nor were terror organizations his allies. He was focused on one thing – keeping power in Iraq, and keeping his hands on as much as the food for oil wealth as he could. He hoped to get sanctions reduced and recover sovereignty — if that had happened he might have become dangerous. Otherwise, you’re just in the realm of your imagination – abstract labels, bold pronouncements and nothing to back your assertions up.

          You can call names all you want, but clearly you’ve got an aversion to reality. I think that’s why you go into the silly name calling — it’s a smokescreen, designed to hide that there’s nothing underneath. You’re hoping you can bother the other person because that might validate something about your political cause, but it’s pointless. Your style reflects impotence, not strength.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips

          The fallacy of an appeal to authority. Geez. What WILL you NOT stoop to…???

        • @scotterb @DocD @Ragspierre @martinmcphillips Of course you’re “mainstream” in meaty analysis of Obama’s “policy”. The big O is the ‘one ring to rule them all’ of narcissists and draws them in like moths to a flame. I will serve the master of the precious. Good master, good Sméagol, Gollum, Gollum!

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips
          Prof Erb now
          “That’s what the neo-conservatives got wrong, something President Bush realized, switching policy to find a way out, a kind of Nixonian “peace with honor.””

          Prof Erb ca 2007
          “All this ‘surge’ means is more people will be killed and nothing really will change, except perhaps Bush can find a ‘peace with honor’ moment to get out before the 2008 election cycle.”

          The surge was bad, until it was good. Peace with honor is a political expedient, until it isn’t.

          George Orwell, predicting the Age of Erb:
          “Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.”

      • @scotterb @martinmcphillips You are such an embarrassment. You predicted nothing like the present outcome.

        • @kyle8 @martinmcphillips Really? You mean when I argued against the idea it would be easy to construct a democracy, that the war would cost much more than the “Iraqi oil will pay for it” line the right was giving, that we were overstretching the military, dividing America and harming ourselves on the world stage for no real gain in national interest? Back when the right was saying the insurgency was in its last throes, that Iraq would be a long term ally, that we’d be able to use this to force regime change throughout the region. Back when I was saying that the Arabs would have to create their own regime change, that using the military to try to create cultural and political change of the sort we could control was folly?

          The nerve of you Kyle, to even pretend you all were “right” on this. I can respect someone admitting that the intentions were good but it went bad. But sheesh!

        • @scotterb @kyle8 @martinmcphillips Easy to construct – hold it Mr farmer, there are no straw men allowed in this field.

          No one EVER said it would be easy, well no one sane.

        • @looker @kyle8 @martinmcphillips Almost everyone was mocking me for correctly predicting how difficult it would be – and how it would harm US interests and gain us virtually nothing in return. Face it looker, you were wrong on Iraq as were those who supported that war. Admit it. Show some integrity.

        • @scotterb @looker @kyle8 @martinmcphillips

          “Almost everyone was mocking me…”

          And…there…you should’ve just stopped. But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo…you had to go and spoil it. Now we just have to keep mocking you.


        • @scotterb @looker @kyle8 @martinmcphillips If you will but recall, Erb, what we suggested was that not responding would hurt us more.

          As for the question of the war being over, it is not. It is my view is that it is probably about as over as when we left Vietnam. That lesson apparently has not been learned by the left. Unfortunately, I suspect we’re going to be hurt by that factor. You see, there is a difference between actually winning the war, and the were being over, versus simply taking your marbles and going home because not to do so causes a problem for your reelection.

    • @martinmcphillips I, too.
      I consider that what happened here is Obama walked away from a hot war, just in time for the election. A comparison to Vietnam is in order here. The war isn’t over. Whatsoever as our involvement in it, and that nearly as a tool toward Obama’s re-election. I pray I’m wrong, but I fear I am not. I suspect we will pay dearly for this early withdrawal and the long run

  • I did not support the actions, well at least the nation building. (I support killing lots of foreigners at all times because there are so many who need killin).

    But once we were in Iraq it was purely criminal to keep that bastard Rumsfeld in place so long and dithering around instead of going in with everything we have and ruthlessly getting the job done. Our silly go slow approach earned us nothing but contempt in the Arab world and soured the public on the whole fiasco.

  • Not to pour troubled water on all this oil…

    but troops are just being replaced to a large degree with a private-ish State Dept. army. A big ass private army…

    • @Ragspierre Well, now perhaps under General Clinton the job will be done right. Perhaps we should get the fantasy prediction from our correspondent in Maine.

      • @looker I think he’ll wait on that so he can make his typical “hindsight prediction”. Sucker is ALWAYS at least half right with those…

        Truly amazing…