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04 March 2017


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Marcy C.


i am arguing with a classmate. He says just because the jihadis overrunning Iraq have backwards beliefs does not mean they cannot engage with modern tech. I say they can engage but upto a point. What do you say? If they got their hands on an American warplane, could they figure out how to use it, and more importantly, could they reach us in North America?
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have lots of American equipment laying around and they are not far from Iraq.


I doubt that there will be much interest in a "who lost Iraq" discussion. After the Hanoi army over-ran the south in 1975 it was pretty much accepted by most Americans -- the recriminations had already spent themselves out during the big debates from 1968 - 1972.

There certainly should be such a discussion. Why is the NY Times giving Ken Pollack a big op-ed to advise us on how to respond to this latest crisis in Iraq? This was the neocon who told us in 2003 that the Iraq war would only cost a few 10s of billions of dollars.


Somebody more clever than I am should rework the old, bitter joke from the Middle East about the scorpion and the frog with the NeoConservatives taking the role of the scorpion. They could retain the punch line where the scorpion informs the now fatally-stung frog just before they both drown in the stream that they were crossing in response to the frog's anguished query as to WHY the scorpion had stung him while he was generously ferrying the scorpion across the stream. That punch line being, of course,"It is my nature".

Willingly dwelling in the mirrored hall of lies and half-truths as they are, your conclusion on how the NeoConservatives will now disport themselves is undoubtedly correct, Col. Lang. It is, indeed, "their nature", reflexive wreckers and liars that they are.

Bad enemies, worse friends.


Col Lang it's refreshing to see someone of your stature denounce these interventionists.

These Neocons deserve a head on collision with the rest of us Americans, they never back down, they are aggressive as hell and control the narrative.

Until that narrative they control becomes loudly contested by "the respectable" voices that have access to the media they will rule the day.

They need to be called out by name and smeared in the same manner they do to those who have dared to raise their heads above the crowds.

Cantor v/s Brat may have been the modern day equivalent of the shot heard round the world. Crossing fingers.


Mary C.,

Why would ISIS or whoever is actually the emerging winner in Iraq going to then engage the US in a war with 'captured' equipment?


To paraphrase Reagan: The worst words another country can hear are "I'm from the United States, and here to help."


The Neocon narrative will be released soon enough.

It will go something like this: "Obama is weak. He cut and ran out of Iraq and now Afghanistan. We should have stayed and done more in both places. Our strategy worked, it's just that we were fighting with one hand tied behind our backs thanks to lilly livered Liberals like Obama."

I also note that the "responsibility to protect" crowd have gone very quiet.

Meanwhile, I await another thundering speech from Vladimir Putin asking America and Europe if they want another Syria or Iraq style tragedy in Ukraine.


Since David Petreus is mentioned, it's worth noting that he now represents a NYC private equity fund, KKR, which is trying to get its hands on North Dakota's State Investment Board money--flush with millions of fracking money.

There's a bit of an ethics scandal brewing in North Dakota over Petreus' recent visit to the state to make his pitch.


FB Ali

Col Lang,

I think the Afghan army created by the US is likely to collapse in the face of the Taliban as the Iraqi army just did.

All that these armies built on the US model (and equipped with billions of dollars worth of equipment - good for US industry) are capable of is oppressing the ordinary people where they are based, and producing a half-decent guard of honour for visiting bigwigs.

Jim Ticehurst

And Their Opponents will Magnify and Exploit NeoCon Failures so they can Hide their Own..There is No Accountability For any of them..



Yes, "Nous sommes trahis." (We wuz robbed)

The Virginian

An interesting article from Paul Pillar at the following link:


That the headlines are not failing to address the reality that the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was an unmitigated disaster tells much as to the silliness of Washington. Has Obama made a hash of MENA policy? - yes. But 2003 and the stupidity of the CPA guaranteed the instability of Iraq. At the same time, while the US / neocons are responsible for 2003, one cannot take away agency from the Iraqis (and people of the region) themselves. The blood that is flowing is theirs, thus they are as much to blame as anyone. The difference in part is that extremists on both sides welcome such bloodshed, and see it as the path to achieving their interests. The US never understood the depth of belief and interest posed by the conflation of neo-Baathis with Islamist militancy.

The key for the Kurds is to not overplay their hand. If Arab Iraq (or even ISIS militants) in force focus north the Kurds would be able to prevent any conventional encroachment (unless things changed which freed up Iraqi armor and ISOF) but would face terrorist attacks inside the green line. They are best served by playing a long game that leads to statehood (assuming the international community accepts them - the Kurdish lobby in DC is amping it up I imagine), even though that will amount to essentially becoming the Duchy of Ankara - but better than what they have had to date. The Kurds are corrupt, oppressive and as misrepresentative of history as anyone - but they do benefit from ethnic (though not not ideological or economic) homogeneity. If they can remain cohesive internally - and the external threat may help - while introducing some governance / service delivery in disputed territories then they have a chance. The Kurds have limited heavy weaponry, no air force and limited combat depth thus their lines of communication would get strained beyond Kirkuk or Eastern Ninevah. In reality the control over Kirkuk was established some time ago, this just makes it a bit more solidified but such things are fluid.

On oil, like weaponry, the lack of being recognized as a sovereign state is an issue, but one that may become less so if the rest of Iraq devolves into full civil conflict. It also depends upon ownership of the oil and gas inside the pipelines. Will IOCs have ownership and demand market rates as volumes reach Ceyhan, or will the KRG take ownership from the wellhead? Will be interesting to see how it goes. The Turks are hungry for Kurdish gas, but the Kurds need some for domestic use as well, thus we'll have to see. Should the Kurds assume control over Kirkuk volumes then that will draw Iraqi Arab ire.

Part of the bottom line is that this is an unprecedented opportunity for the Kurds, and a strategic danger. Regardless, for the rest of Iraq, it promises another rupture and more blood.


"... a follow-up invitation to come to New York City to talk business."

"“KKR does not have any current or pending business relationship with the [State Investment Board],” Murtha wrote. "

North Dakota has the money, KKR wants to make a return off 'service' to the fund. KKR needs to come to ND, not the other way around. If SIB members want to go to NYC they need to go on vacation not a state paid trip. It's spelled out pretty well in the article. They (ND) must really have allot of extra money for KKR to even look at them.


The Virginian

"the headlines are not failing to address the reality that the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was an unmitigated disaster" Yes, but that will not stop the neocons from mounting a long term campaign to justify their criminal activities in deceiving the American people about Iraq. As to the responsibility of the ME populations, so what? One might as well blame the moon for causing tides. It was our responsibility to understand the nature of the moon. We failed in that responsibility. Well, some of us did. pl


Virginian, If I am not mistaken, Kurds also have the support of Israel, in materiel, intel and political ways. Please correct if I am wrong.



"A Virginian," and "The Virginian" are not the same person. pl

Babak Makkinejad

They would be consumers of modern technology and at their very best, poor maintainers of that said technology.

They will not be innovators in a consistent manner and over time.

Babak Makkinejad


Only 3 countries have offered to help Iraq: Russia, China and Iran.

Everyone else, specially EU, is silent.

Arab League cannot hide its glee...


FBI Ali:

Yes, but we have trained many Iraqi's in how to use the equipment. Many will suddenly discover they always were ISIL supporters, and use that training again, after all, the training the US gave obviously did not instill loyalty.

I would count it as a double negative.

Anthony Cordesman was very correct when he labeled the Iraqi misadventure a mistake.



"Anthony Cordesman was very correct when he labeled the Iraqi misadventure a mistake." Cordesman? Hey! The SOB was a cheerleader for the invasion, an enabler for a long time. i had dinner with him in Kuwait a few years into the war and I remember the snide, condescension of his attitude towards my insistence that the war was a disastrous idea. Have you read my piece "Drinking the Koolaid?" pl


The neocons are much smarter than people give them credit for, and the key to understanding this is to never believe anything they say about their purported "goals" but to look instead at what they are actually doing. What they really have been promoting for decades is failed states all around Israel (except Jordan) and that's what they are creating. Wolfowitz, Perle, Faith, Abrams and the people they work for never wanted a "democratic and secular" Middle East. They know perfectly well this is bs but it got them the support of lots of useful idiots of the kind pl here describes so well. If that's what you really want to do, you don't start by invading or destabilizing the most secular Arab states. In the case of Iraq, people should look really carefully at who exactly took the decision to disband the army and the whole bureaucracy of the civil service. There was quite a steer a few years ago when Bush revealed in an interview that he didn't know who took this decision. Then there was a back and forth between Bremer and if I remember well several neocons like Wolfowitz on who took this decision.

If anyone still has a doubt, the support the Syrian opposition got from the usual suspects should be eye-opening. Supposedly we want a more secular and democratic Middle East so we arm and support the fanatics who want to impose Sharia to overthrow Assad?

It doesn't make sense unless the goal is instead destabilized countries mired in internal conflict and permanent weakness, a stalemate of the kind we are seeing in Syria, coming now to Iraq.

I would suggest people start realising that the US is being manipulated to help in the complete destabilization of the Middle East with several failed states and occasional outbursts of great violence between Sunni and Shia, which has been a wet dream of the Israeli national security establishment for a long long time. It will take a lot of pressure off them. Or one can choose to believe instead that the neocons and those behind them are well-meaning but incompetent fantasists, poor them, on account of, well, their ... articles and papers and what they say publicly.



Yes, as you know these Sunni fundamentalists have a permanent prejudice against bida' (innovation)in all things. this includes the products of modern civilization in all forms. this does not apply to the temporary secular allies that they have. The maintenance in the old Iraqi army was the best i ever saw in the 3rd World. pl



"except Jordan" Until Jordan signed the treaty, the Israelis continuously tried to destabilize Jordan as well. they lied about the country all the time and they insinuated that anyone who liked the Bedouin in Jordan must be at least bisexual. The Jordanians have the custom of kissing each other on the cheek. "Ah, you like the kisses. Now I see why you defend them." I have a long memory. pl


Concur, Cordesman was a true believer in and cheerleader for the invasion of Iraq. I recall seeing him on numerous TV programs speaking for the invasion and what a great thing it was for the nation.


Iirc when the Iraqis put their exocets on Falcon Bizjets everybody, including the French, was surprised because they didn't expect them to be able to engineer this, and never got the idea themselves.

In one of my first jobs when I was a student, I worked in a large engineering firm that sold cement factories to Iraq. One of the seasoned engineers there told me about his time in Iraq and spoke of the experts with respect. He called the Iraqis the Prussians of the Middle East.

He said they analysed the factory plans presented and then told him how to improve them based on analysis of their plants and those of the competitors.

My second station in the company was with the sales people, and it was that breed that wrecked the company by selling undervalued contracts to the Saudis. I preferred the engineers. The sales folks were too clever by half.

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