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20 August 2012

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Kurt

Like Duncan said, maybe we should re-invade to teach those ungrateful wogs a lesson.

FB Ali

Why should this surprise anyone?

Those US policy makers, pundits and media commentators who thought that Maliki being nice to Bush (and later Obama) meant that he had been converted from a lifelong, hardened Shia-Iraqi activist into a US-loving liberal democrat, need to have their heads examined.

Such naivety would be comical were it not allied to the most awesome military power the world has ever seen.

GregB

So, Mission Accomplished!

mbrenner

The gap between reality and convenient fiction is enduring. Its significance is two-fold. First, it shields from us the full consequences of monumental stupidity and deceit - thereby increasing the chances of repeating it. That is exactly what we did in Afghanistan when Obama decided, during the campaign, to escalate in order to cover himself from charges that he was 'doft' on Iraq. yes that is the way he thought in 2008. The foreign affairs community fell in behind him - in lockstep.

Second, it perpetuates feelings among Americans that we sacrifice for those who don't appreciate us - WE are the victimized and betrayed party. Sometimes, facing up to one's flaws is necessary for psychic health and sane behavior. On Iraq, we compulsively fail to do so. That's called immaturity.

William R. Cumming

How long before Iraq has another go at Kuwait?

different clue

One could examine their heads all one wants; one wouldn't find a thing.

Amir

I think what people the commentators above forget is that the support for Saddam by Reagan and the betrayal of the Shia-Kurdish insurgency during the First Iraq-US war by Bush, is not easily forgiven.

It is very easy to sit here and have intellectual debates about the geopolitics. It is not easy to forgive those who collaborated with those that shed blood of tens if not hundreds of thousands, one of which might be your own family member.

Alba Etie

Hey I know --lets invade one of the most rabidly nationalist Arab countries in the world , based on made up and untrue propaganda about WMD's going to AQ , ... And then send in freshly minted neocons true believers to run the whole illegal occuppation , what could possibly go wrong .

turcopolier

Amir

Half the Iraqi Shia also "coolaborated" with Saddam's government against Iran. They could not have fought the war without them. I knew many Iraqi Shia in the Iraqi Army then and they fought well against their co-religionists. pl

Allen Thomson


One of my correspondents, pivoting off the same NYT story, suggests that Obama should have abrogated the 2008 SOFA signed by Bush and continued the occupation. This strikes me as being of questionable wisdom, but what do you who know far more than I about such matters think?

turcopolier

allen Thomseo

Until when? if we had not left the country the war against us would have have resumed in full flower. does your friend think we should have annexed iraq? pl

Charles I

to what possible better end at what cost?

William R. Cumming

Blowback?

oofda

Allen Thomson

At what cost to abrogate the 2008 SOFA- in blood, treasure and international standing?

Matthew

Col: I think the neo-con attitude to all ME states is described in this article.

They are all Melians, and we are Athenians. See http://www.lobelog.com/will-iran-be-the-united-states-melos/


Allen Thomson


I will undoubtedly have to eat crow and apologize extensively for this, but I think the correspondent's concerns are close to this from the current cover story in Newsweek. With the additional specific concern that Iraq currently isn't acting very US-friendly, per the NYT article.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/08/19/niall-ferguson-on-why-barack-obama-needs-to-go.html

"Understandably, the men and women who have served there(*) wonder what exactly their sacrifice was for, if any notion that we are nation building has been quietly dumped. Only when both countries sink back into civil war will we realize the real price of Obama’s foreign policy."

(*) "There" in Ferguson's article means both Iraq and Afghanistan, but my correspondent was talking about Iraq.

walter

The only consistent theme I can identify in US politics is self-interest (as opposed to what is good for our country and our people). Its on both sides.

oofda

I don't agree that the question of what the sacrifice was for of the men and women service personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan is related to Obama's foreign policy. It was Bush's foreign policy, such as it was, that got us into Iraq and botched up whatever chance we had in Afghanistan. As Col Lang noted, had we abrogated the 2008 SOFA, we would have been embroiled- as we still might be today- in a full-scale war. And remember, the 2008 SOFA was negotiated under Bush- that was the best we could get. The neo-con's fantasy of Iraq being a bulwark for 'freedom and democracy' in the Middle East was just that, a fansasy.

turcopolier

oofda

All that is true nut BHO chose to listen to COIN's siren song in Afghanistan. pl

different clue

My extremely limited exposure to Niall Ferguson leads me to think that he is a British Empire nostalgiast and he wants America to be the New British Empire in whose shining glory he might get to sunbathe.

Allen Thomson

> I don't agree that the question of what the sacrifice was for of the men and women service personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan is related to Obama's foreign policy. It was Bush's foreign policy,


That was my response to Ye Correspondent (who is, BTW, very well credentialed, experienced, generally sane and otherwise qualified). But his response, as indicated upthread, was that Obama could have and should have instituted his own, different policy on coming into office. Which, I guess, would have continued the occupation and established a defacto protectorate.

jerseycityjoan

I think we'd better be prepared to be galled by Iraq for many years to come.

It seems to me that a future without Saddam Hussein or his terrible sons Uday and Qusay is a plus for Iraq that will bring many benefits to the country, whatever else happens. Won't the average Iraqi's life in 50 or 100 years be considerably better than it was in 2001?

Now ask me if I think the average American's life will be better in 50 or 100 years than it was in 2001 and I cannot give the same answer. We spent money we didn't have there and we committed ourselves and our troops to a cause that turned out to be a mirage.

turcopolier

JCJ

Iraqis had a relatively high standard of living before "us." pl

FB Ali

No, it isn't stupidity -- nor naivety either (one says things like that out of frustration: so much potential for doing good squandered). It is the belief that the country's power (military, economic, political, and cultural power) can achieve any desired result. With all that power, allied to the belief in the absolute virtue of one's intentions and purposes, every contrary or constraining factor becomes insignificant; why bother about them?

Things gone wrong, the desired end not achieved, give the screw another turn or two, it'll all fall into place. And if it doesn't, drop a few bombs.

jerseycityjoan

That's true.

I was thinking of more than material gains though, for them and for us.

I believe that the war will be marked as the beginning of a general upswing for them -- though there may be many bumps and backward steps along the way.

I would not be surprised if historians look back at the war in Iraq as one first major missteps on the road of our decline in power, prestige and influence in the world. They may say that had we known how much we'd slipped already that we'd never have undertaken such a step.

Knowing what we know now, it's madness for us to even contemplate backing up any Israel adventures in Iran.

In contrast to Iraq, I think the fate of average Afghans in 50 or 100 years is in real doubt. The surge of outside money in that country -- a surge which will be ending soon -- greatly empowered and emboldened a collection of parasites to an unprecedented extent. As I recall, foreign money has been over 95% of their GDP in recent years.

When it's gone, who's going to left to prey on but the powerless Afghans? But how will people who've grown accustomed to stealing billions from stupid Americans and Europeans be content with mere millions which have to be dragged out of a poor and protesting population?

God knows what they'll think of us or their fate in 50 or 100 years.

Still, given recent events I wonder why we don't just leave early. What are we staying for? To be targetted for another two years with no gains in sight seems stupid.

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