Barack Obama

Obama's Iraqi Fairy Tale

America's worst foreign policy decision, whitewashed.


I promised myself that I would no longer comment on what Barack Obama has to say, because it's just not worth the time and effort. Obama's public remarks are comprehensible only if you keep one thing in mind: he, like other politicians, thinks most people are morons.

I am so appalled by what Obama said in Europe the other day, however, that I must break my promise. In his speech he said, regarding events in Crimea, that

Russia has pointed to America's decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. Now, it is true that the Iraq War was a subject of vigorous debate not just around the world, but in the United States as well. I participated in that debate and I opposed our military intervention there. But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq's territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future.

It is hard to believe that a presidential speechwriter could manage to pack so many lies into so few sentences. But the speechwriter could only compose the sentences. Obama chose to deliver them, and for that, he should be indicted for gross deception with malice aforethought. (Need I say this is not unique to Obama? Virtually all politicians are demagogues. Obama's distinguishing trait is his smoothness.)

Let us count the lies.

The Iraq War was a subject of vigorous debate not just around the world, but in the United States as well.

Note he did not say "honest debate," for how honest can a debate be when the government fills the mostly willing media with lies about WMD and suggestions that Saddam Hussein was connected to the attacks on 9/11? Every top member of the Bush administration having anything to do with "national security" lied to the public at one time or another. People who questioned the "slam-dunk" intelligence were dismissed as pusillanimous or soft on Saddam. If that counts as open debate, then there is no difference between the Bush administration and any outright autocratic regime.

America sought to work within the international system.

Really? In terms of international law, Bush was not allowed to launch a war against Iraq, which had threatened no one, until he secured another resolution from the Security Council (the 18th or 2nd, depending on how you count). That resolution was proposed but then withdrawn when Bush realized it would be vetoed. So he ignored the UN rules, which prohibit launching a war unless it's in self-defense or authorized by the Security Council, and invaded on his own say-so, after Congress rubberstamped his discretionary "authorization for the use of military force." Yes, he dragged some other governments' forces along for cover, the so-called Coalition of the Willing, three members of which — out of 48 — actually sent some troops. (The Bush administration was good at coming up with Orwellian names for things.)

We did not claim or annex Iraq's territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain.

No, they didn't, but in many respects the Bush administration sure tried. America's savvy rulers long ago realized that old-style empire building was passé. Subjugated populations wouldn't stand for it, and that raised the already considerable costs of empire maintenance. So a new, softer imperialism was born. No more annexations. No more UN mandates or protectorates. No more de jure colonies. But this says nothing about de facto control, which was the Bush regime's objective in Iraq from Day One.

The presumptuous whiz-kid bureaucrats sent in after Saddam fell were armed with plans to remake Iraq right down to its traffic lights and flag. The oil resources were to be "privatized" and parceled out to crony American companies. (Remember the promises that oil revenues would pay for the costly war? Didn't happen.)

Billions of dollars ostensibly spent to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed by American bombers (beginning in 1991) ended up lining the pockets of contractors, subcontractors, and sub-subcontractors (ad infinitum) — with little to show for it. Iraqis to this day suffer from inadequate public services like water, electricity, sewerage, and medical care.

The Bush administration also expected to have some three dozen permanent military bases (with lots of American firms granted lucrative business concessions), and an embassy the size of the Vatican.

Few of these plans came to fruition — but only because Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who was Iran's handpicked candidate for prime minister, wouldn't permit it. To be sure, the U.S. government did not gain territory or grab resources — but not for lack of trying.

We ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future.

The war indeed ended in 2011. But let's not forget that before (most of) the troops left, Obama begged al-Maliki to let U.S. forces stay beyond the deadline set in the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Al-Maliki — who didn't need the United States when he had Iran in his corner — demanded conditions so unacceptable to Obama that most forces were withdrawn as scheduled. (SOFA was signed by Bush, but that doesn't stop Obama from claiming credit for "ending the war.") The U.S. government continues to finance, arm, and train al-Maliki's military, which represses the minority Sunni population.

What was left to Iraq's people was a catastrophe, as already indicated. Peter Van Buren, a State Department officer who oversaw reconstruction in two eastern Iraqi provinces, calls the Iraq War "the single worst foreign policy decision in American history." There can hardly be a better example of blind ambition. Take the deadly siege of Fallujah in 2004. Journalist Dahr Jamail writes,

According to the Bush administration at the time, the siege of Fallujah was carried out in the name of fighting something called "terrorism" and yet, from the point of view of the Iraqis I was observing at such close quarters, the terror was strictly American. In fact, it was the Americans who first began the spiraling cycle of violence in Fallujah when U.S. troops from the 82nd Airborne Division killed 17 unarmed demonstrators on April 28th of the previous year outside a school they had occupied and turned into a combat outpost. The protesters had simply wanted the school vacated by the Americans, so their children could use it. But then, as now, those who respond to government-sanctioned violence are regularly written off as "terrorists." Governments are rarely referred to in the same terms.

The architects of the catastrophe had a plan, and the welfare of Iraqis would not be allowed to get in their way. As Van Buren points out,

All that was needed [the Americans thought] was a quick slash into Iraq to establish a permanent American military presence in the heart of Mesopotamia. Our future garrisons there could obviously oversee things, providing the necessary muscle to swat down any future destabilizing elements. It all made so much sense to the neocon visionaries of the early Bush years. The only thing that Washington couldn't imagine was this: that the primary destabilizing element would be us.

The invasion unleashed a conflagration of sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiites, unseen during Saddam's tenure and consciously facilitated by the U.S. government. Most Sunnis were cleansed from Baghdad. Countless were killed and maimed; millions more became refugees. The fire burns out of control to this day, fueled by the oppression and corruption of al-Maliki, who's earned the moniker "the Shia Saddam." Van Buren writes,

As part of the breakdown, desperate men [in the Bush administration], blindsided by history, turned up the volume on desperate measures: torture, secret gulags, rendition, drone killings, extra-constitutional actions at home. The sleaziest of deals were cut to try to salvage something….

The mind boggles at the sheer evil the Americans, who expected gratitude, did there. The result? Van Buren notes:

Even the usually sunny Department of State advises American travelers to Iraq that US citizens "remain at risk for kidnapping … [as] numerous insurgent groups, including Al Qaida, remain active" and notes that "State Department guidance to US businesses in Iraq advises the use of Protective Security Details."

That is what has been left to the Iraqi people by the benevolent power of the United States of America. As for the U.S. government's respect for Iraq's sovereignty, the Obama administration is pressuring al-Maliki to stop allowing Iraq's ally Iran to fly through Iraqi airspace to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his civil war. So much for Iraqi sovereignty.

This highlights just one of the many absurd features of U.S. policy (if you can call it that): while Obama helps al-Maliki fight al-Qaeda in Iraq, the United States also helps al-Qaeda affiliates fight Assad in Syria. (For the record, al-Qaeda wasn't in Iraq before Bush invaded.) Again, the mind boggles.

The upshot is that one need not condone Vladimir Putin's ham-handedness to see that Obama has no leg to stand on when he contrasts Russia's essentially bloodless and provoked annexation of Crimea with America's unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq. Unfortunately, the Americans who committed this cold-blooded mass murder and societal destruction are less likely to face justice than Putin is for his crimes in, say, Chechnya.

This column originally appeared in the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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  1. Last year I went to Iraq. Before Team America showed up, it was a happy place. They had flowery meadows and rainbow skies, and rivers made of chocolate, where the children danced and laughed and played with gumdrop smiles.

    1. Title: “[Sheldon]’s Iraqi Fairy Tale”

    2. Last year I went to Iraq.

      Any home-spun wisdom from your rickshaw operator?

      1. What has been going on in Iraq is unbelievable, and it has been on my mind ever since it began. It is impossible not to be tantalized by the potential of these events to change the course of Iraq’s history. What’s important, however, is that we focus on what this means on the street. The current administration seems too caught up in dissecting the macro-level situation to pay attention to what’s important on the ground. Just call it missing the tables for the wood.

        When thinking about the ongoing turmoil, it’s important to remember three things: One, people don’t behave like computer programs, so attempts to treat them as such inevitably look foolish. Computer programs never suddenly set up a black market for Western DVDs. Two, Iraq has spent decades being batted back and forth between colonial powers, so a mindset of peace and stability will seem foreign and strange. And three, freedom is an extraordinarily powerful idea: If authoritarianism is Iraq’s ironing board, then freedom is certainly its alarm clock.

        1. Courtesy of this.

          1. Damn, I was about to applaud your photorealistic rendition of TF.

          2. This may be the greatest thing of all time. Now we need a Krugman generator.

  2. I continue to be confused and hope some commenters will instruct me – the intelligence was cooked? Or not? Last time I got completely contradictory answers to this question.

    1. Evidently it wasn’t cooked… until it was.
      Look, everybody threw all their stuff into the pot and somebody realized 12 hours later it was the crock-pot. Stew, anyone?

    2. “the intelligence was cooked? Or not?”

      To be honest, the intelligence core temp never reached an optimal 145?, so it was still sorta pink inside….

    3. So those WMD’s they found in Syria from Iraq and the ones in Libya from Iraq and the WMD’s they found in Iraq… those were previously not wmd’s until being categorized as wmd’s?

      1. I served 3 tours in Iraq, during my first tour (2004-2005)containers were found with chemicals that are only used as chemical weapons, however in order to be classied as a “chemical weapon” the chemical must be weaponized, placed in a means to deliver such as a rocket, missle or bomb. Anything else is simply classified as a hazardous material. Why this was done is beyond me. We know Iraq had and enployed WMDs during the Iran-Iraq War and we are pretty sure Iraq used them against the Kurds in ’88. It isn’t a question of if they had them, it is the question of whether or not Iraq’s possession of WMDs actual was a threat to our national security, which was the excuse we used for invasion.

    4. if you think that the reason (as opposed to ‘excuse’) for invading Iraq was “WMD’s”, then I have a wonderful Wild Goose recipe for you.

    5. It wasn’t cooked. Lots of foreign intelligence agencies also believed Saddam had WMDs at the time, and Saddam, even under threat of invasion, refused to state that he didn’t have them.

      1. And let’s not forget that there was a 16-month-long run-up to the war, when Saddam certainly knew an invasion was inevitable. If you can’t hide your WMDs in a country the size of the state of Washington with the population density of Iowa over the course of almost a year and a half, then you’re not trying.

        Plus, if the Bush administration didn’t really believe that they would find WMDs in Iraq, the weasels surely would have arranged it so that there would be plenty of damning evidence to uncover.

      2. Saddam’s own generals thought they had WMD.

        Another problem with Obama’s speech: he was a f***ing Illinois state senator in 2002. He was participating in any Iraq war debates. He was participating in Iraq war circle masturbates.

  3. I’m trying to count the 4 lies Sheldon comes up with and all I get is 4 strawmen in his argument.

    1. I thought the exact same thing. Sheldon also just makes a lot of things up and regards them as facts (sort of like strawmen, I guess). What a horrible article.

      1. Yeah, you’ll get no argument from me that OIF was a debacle from beginning to end, but as far as this speech is concerned, it consists of carefully chosen words that are by themselves factually accurate…classic political speech. Claiming they are lies is just obvious ax-grinding.

        1. Except for the fact that Obama did not participate in the Iraq War debate. He was voting “Present” in the IL state senate at the time.

          The dipshit just can’t seem to deal with fact that he himself had no role. Obama is a fucking megalomaniac.

  4. “America’s worst foreign policy decision”



    The stench that will never leave.

    Obama had to defend this country – even on the Iraq disaster.

    1. The stench that will never leave.

      And PB misses the irony again!

    2. Ah yes, because as commander-in-chief Obama has no authority to recall the troops or anything. Blaming Bush (rightfully so) and yet ignoring Obama’s part in this disaster is like getting mad at your daughter for crashing your car but not at your son who subsequently lit the gas tank on fire. Both deserve the blame.

    3. Eau d’Obama smells exactly the same. At least here in Trashcanistan.

  6. “Reason’s worst foreign policy [article].”

    Is this strawmen-temper-tantrum horseshit what we can expect in the future?

    No more please.

  7. Wow, this is a rather impressive amount of bullshit. I’m not sure it cancels out Obama’s own bullshit though as much as just adds to it.

  8. I really dont see that happening any time soon.

  9. Sheldon tried to get this published in The Nation but they told him it was a little too over the top.

    1. oh, snap

  10. then there is no difference between the Bush administration and any outright autocratic regime.

    Seriously, dude? There are numerous actually autocratic regimes available for you to travel to and compare your experiences. I’m no fan of the current state of the US government but this shit is pathetic.

  11. You have to go pretty low on the truth-manipulation pole to get under our government, but Richman manages to do so without even breaking a sweat. Possibly he’s considering a career in politics?

  12. I have often treated Sheldon Richman as though he was an otherwise smart person in service of a failed theoretical framework for foreign policy that inevitably leads him to write stupid shit.

    Now I think I’m going to have to change my tune and just say he’s a fucking idiot, because there’s a million *good* ways to criticize the war in Iraq, and apparently even with a truck full of Ammo, Sheldon couldn’t hit one of them with a minigun.

    The ‘reasoning’ behind the war in Iraq was fully outlined in Richard Pearle’s 1996 “Clean Break” paper. The basic idea being: imposing ‘Western Government’ on 1 or 2 large middle eastern arab states could potentially result in shift away from Israel as its collective nemesis and create a basis for a far more long term security scenario where there *is no longer any threat from the region*;( domino theory the other way around, perhaps.

    For people with the ‘BUTS OIL!!!” spittle all over their face; yes, dear. Because Oil Does Matter. But the program was primarily about ‘defusing’ a region that by all accounts was going to be a pain in everyone’s ass for the next 100 years. One can certainly object to ‘interventionism’ as a form of geopolitical engineering = I simply ask that you fucking understand what you’re talking about before you open your dumb piehole and actually start writing about it. Because when you write stuff like Richman, you’re just making Dumb people Dumber.

    1. Well said.

    2. Whenever I hear that “No Blood For Oil” bullshit I feel that it’s my bounden duty to reply:

      “Hey, fuckhead. You know what uses oil? Ambulances. The trucks that deliver food and goods to the store where you buy your groceries. You live in southern Maryland. Ever seen an avocado tree? No? How the fuck do you think these bananas got here? When you call 911 because you’re having a massive coronary, would you rather the paramedics drive to you or arrive via horseback? So, yes, shithead, YES blood for fucking oil.”

      1. So, yes, shithead, YES blood for fucking oil.

        Not to defend any particular dumbass shouting ‘No blood for oil!!1!1’ but, given the choice of ‘Fracking for oil!’ or ‘War for oil!’ I always choose the former. I am aware the situation isn’t that black and white, but I’m also pretty sure a lot of times the situation is painted grey because the TOP MEN don’t have the testicles to admit that they don’t have the skills to be a great painter in black, white, or grey.

    3. The ‘reasoning’ behind the war in Iraq was fully outlined in Richard Pearle’s 1996 “Clean Break” paper.

      If that was the reasoning behind the war, Bush and everyone in his administration was lying. In 2002-03 they said it was about WMDs and Saddam threatening his neighbors. Nothing about imposing western governments. They latched onto that (at least publicly) only after the WMD reasoning was shown to be fallaciious.

      1. There is a difference between the strategic reason for a war in Iraq and the legal justifications for that war. You can’t declare war on a sovereign nation “because it would be a good idea to install a democracy in a large, middle eastern country”.

        You can, however, seize the opportunity to implement your pet theory when it presents itself.

        Plus I’m sure there was no shortage of people in the military, diplomatic corps and white house who were generally fed up with Hussein and perfectly happy to have a justification to let the big dog off the chain. A dozen years of Tariq Aziz might be enough to make a hawk out of Gandhi.

  13. Speaking of Geopolitical Engineering…

    A piece by Chris Hitchens which I considered one of the best essays I’d ever read, on how Britain created 100 years of conflict by trying to “solve problems” by drawing lines on maps and running away =…..tchens.htm

    I note = he wrote this the month of the Iraq invasion.

    His underlying ‘NeoCon/Liberal’ theme is certainly worth criticizing =

    “to test the improvised but increasingly systematic world order, in which rescue operations are undertaken from the developed world, assisted by a nexus of nongovernmental organizations, and then mutate into semi-permanent administrations. “Empire” is the word employed by some hubristic American intellectuals for this new dominion. A series of uncovenanted mandates, for failed states or former abattoir regimes, is more likely to be the real picture. … However we confront this inheritance of responsibility (should it be called the global man’s burden?), the British past is replete with lessons on how not to discharge it. “

    While I disagree with the whole NeoCon/Liberal geopolitical theory, at least I understand it. Richman on the other hand is a drooling moron.

  14. No one “lied” to get us into war. Even many liberals admit to this.

    Come on, Iraq is nothing like Ukraine. America was attacked in 9/11, and Saddam Hussein was a known warmonger and harbored WMD ambitions. We’re not getting gallons of free oil from that free region (gas prices are going up). Our military followed the rules of war.

    What threat did Ukraine pose to Russia? Putin simply took advantage of an unrest in a region of economic interest and sent troops (without insignia) to occupy a region. No dialogue or international cooperation whatsoever.

    Did I mention we were attacked? This was back 2001, the good old days of the Clinton years were barely over. That was when Americans were ok with air strikes and medium sized military intervention. Back then even Matt Welch was making up his mind on the war.

    1. Yes, we were attacked. But we weren’t attacked by Iraq, and there was no plausible scenario at the time in which we would be attacked by Iraq, kind of an important detail you seem not to be processing.

      I do agree that the UKR situation is totally different, though.

      1. The Iraq connection was not even argued to be “we were attacked by Iraq.” Revisionist conspiracy theorists may like to pretend otherwise, but that was never even part of the argument. The closest that idea comes to reality is the allegations that Saddam’s Iraq was financing and training “terrorists”, including some branch or other of Al Qaeda. Well, those allegations were true – whether related to 9-11 or not.

        As stated above, the real motivation for the Iraq invasion was the conversion of the middle east to democracy by the example of a large state conversion. This was combined with the dead-end proposition of leaving the sanctions against Saddam in place. Those sanctions and the presence of foreign troops to enforce them was a major motivating factor for the pivot of Al Qaeda toward hatred for the west and the US in particular. Deposing Saddam was seen as a two-fer on that count. The alternative response would have been to walk away from the sanctions regime and leave Iraq in peace. The status-quo was untenable.

        1. All the lingo about WMD was merely there to support the notion that Saddam was in violation of the cease fire agreement. This point completely negates the argument that an additional security council resolution was needed. Whether or not Iraq was in possession of WMD at the time, it is inarguable that the Iraq government intentionally obfuscated the status of their WMD and failed to cooperate with the inspection regime they had agreed to for many, many years.

          It may have been a stupid, pointless war that was sold on faulty information and pursued by people of dubious character, but none of the criticisms leveled in this article hold water.

        2. The Iraq connection was not even argued to be “we were attacked by Iraq.”

          Then why is XM bringing up the attacks at all? It’s just a red herring.

      2. We know we weren’t attacked by Iraq now, but what about back then? Did we really know for certain that Iraq didn’t sponsor homegrown terrorists like AFG? Even now I hear reports that found some remnants of WMDs in Syria.

        I don’t recall Bush insisting that Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government personally masterminded 9/11. The threat allegedly came from their government harboring terrorists and developing deadly weapons that can used against the world or transferred to terrorist organization.

        Yes, the larger mission was probably “nation building” and taking out a dictator to introduce democracy. It didn’t pan out, but much of world suspected the likes of Hussein and Bin Laden back then. Their history was known.

        1. We know we weren’t attacked by Iraq now, but what about back then? Did we really know for certain that Iraq didn’t sponsor homegrown terrorists like AFG?

          So there was an information deficit. But if you’re going to invade a country, an action that will inevitably kill no less than 100,000 people, wouldn’t that necessitate certainty? I mean we can’t be sure that Cuba isn’t training terrorists, so lets invade them right? We don’t have enough information to justify not invading, is that how it works?

  15. Where to begin with this steaming pile?

    The biggest problem, and one that spawns much of his subsequent criticism, is that Richman claims that there was essentially no foreign policy strategy during the Bush administration (while paradoxically arguing that it was the result of a neocon conspiracy). On the contrary, there was a very clear and consistent policy. It was just not a very good one.

    Saddam WAS a perennial threat to the region and to our national interests, if not exactly a direct security threat. There WAS credible intelligence pointing to an active WMD program. The problem was that the general strategy of delivering democracy via the US military and watching it spread like crabgrass across the Middle East so as to eliminate regional conflict and terrorism was doomed from the start. It just doesn’t work like that. So, yes, the Iraq War was profoundly stupid, but it wasn’t a product of a lack of direction, nor was it the product of a widespread conspiracy of deception.

    If Richman is really concerned about American foreign policy he should stop confusing the issue by writing long versions of that old “Bush Lied, People Died” bumper sticker. I get that he has a massive hard-on for Dick Cheney, but blaming American failures in foreign policy on personalities no longer in office instead of on flawed strategies and ideologies is no different than the usual progressive Top Men argument.

    1. “….the general strategy of delivering democracy via the US military and watching it spread like crabgrass across the Middle East…”

      I remember Bush making that claim. He said other Arab States will see a burgeoning Democracy and want it, and want freedom of the Press, and womens rights. He then said the US would be there to help them achieve their goals. The ARAB Spring was predicted by George. It was part of the strategy, and might have worked. But, what he didn’t predict was the US would elect a feckless idiot who would help the despots, promise things to the people seeking freedom, then renege, thereby leaving the country up for grabs and then taken by extremists.

      1. The Arab Spring had nothing to do with the Iraq War. If anything the invasion probably delayed unrest against despotic govts by making the US the bogeyman again.

        I’m not sure you want GWB to get “credit” for the Arab Spring anyway, since with the arguable exception of Tunisia, it’s plunged into chaos and/or Islamic theocracy every country it’s touched (and some countries with the misfortune of neighboring a country it’s touched, as in the case of Mali).

  16. America’s worst foreign policy decision? Hardly.

    That honour goes to the US having elected Obama.

    1. America’s worst foreign policy decision? Hardly.

      I can certainly agree with this.

      I have a hard time moving past threatening to vaporize the modern world to see who blinks first.

      There’s also the whole hostage crisis that’s, possibly, the pre-emptor of all of the current bad decision-making.

  17. From the first “lie” (that there was a debate in the west about the Iraq war):

    People who questioned the “slam-dunk” intelligence were dismissed as pusillanimous or soft on Saddam. If that counts as open debate, then there is no difference between the Bush administration and any outright autocratic regime.

    Yes, because dismissing those who disagree with you in a debate as either pusillanimous or soft is exactly like being an autocratic regime. You know, the kind where there is no debate because if you try to criticize the autocrat you get beheaded. Or at least 7 years of house arrest. But yeah, disagreeing with people who criticize you is pretty autocratic. And in no way could a debate that had people debating loudly and publicly ever be called an open debate if the President didn’t agree with those on the other side.

    So good call on that Obama “lie”. Sheesh.

  18. Lol. Shorter Richman “Even though the US didn’t annex Iraq or any of its resources, it was still imperialism, without the whole, uh, empire thing. And even though Iran still has planes flying through Iraqi airspace, the US does not recognize Iraqi sovereignty because the US doesn’t like it.”

    Sovereignty means immunity from criticism, and imperialism doesn’t actually require an empire or the exploitation of resources.

    Oh, and the Russian annexation of Crimea is totally cool because it was “provoked”.

    The poor dumb motherfucker can’t even be consistent in his retardation.

  19. As an Iraq vet (twice over) I disagree with Richman about a lot of things, two in particular:

    1. It’s not correct to say that the US necessarily needed yet another resolution on Iraq. UN resolution 687 (as well as several subsquent ones) were MANDATORY resolutions, which means they authorized the use of force if Saddam didn’t comply to the terms of weapons inspections. Instead, he kept inspectors out for 8 years! On this basis, we bombed Iraq several times during the Clinton administration. No one claimed those actions were “illegal”. In fact, the first Gulf War really never ended. I understand this point is hotly debated, but I just wanted to point out that it isn’t as black and white as Richman makes it sound.

    2. This one is really ludicrous. How did the Bush administration try to annex Iraqi territory or takes it’s resources????? If Richman is going to make an extraordinary claim like that, please give me ONE example of it. Just one will do. True, at the time many people accused the Bush administration of trying to “steal the oil”, and some even accused them of trying to steal the country’s historic artifacts, but today not even the most extreme anti-war leftist believes that anymore.

    1. 1. This. I always find it funny that people conveniently forget that we we’re enforcing two no-fly zones for well over a decade before the ’03 invasion. To many, we went from peace to war w/ Iraq overnight, when in reality we’d been in a state of suspended hostilities that was going to require some sort of resolution some day. If for nothing else, I’m glad we at least put that situation to bed.

  20. There’s no sugarcoating it – some people have a bit of difficulty with Sheldon Richman’s thoughts on the situation in Iraq.

    1. That, folks, is how it is done. Ironic understatement… A hallmark of quality comedic writing.

  21. Obama has no leg to stand on when he contrasts Russia’s essentially bloodless and provoked annexation of Crimea with America’s unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq.

    So on top of Obama’s bullshit we get some Sheldon Richman bullshit? And I imagine that BOOOSH will claim that Saddam was “provoking” him.

    And hasn’t pretty much every warmonger in history claimed that they were provoked? So why do “anti-war” people claim that wars are okay if they are in “self-defense” since pretty much every country has claimed that and countries engaged in self-defense wars can do bad things?

    To be sure, the U.S. government did not gain territory or grab resources ? but not for lack of trying.

    So erm what parts of Iraq did the US try to annex?

    Also aren’t using these tu quoque arguments not really anti-war at all? Basically pro-war as long as TOP. MEN. are handling it?

  22. stem. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our

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