Iraq

On Iraq, Non-Interventionists Told You So

And they don't like having to tell you

|

Contrary to popular belief, there is no satisfaction in being able to say, "I told you so." This is especially so with Iraq, where recent events are enough to sicken one's stomach. Yet it still must be said: those who opposed the George W. Bush administration's invasion of Iraq in March 2003 — not to mention his father's war on Iraq in 1991 and the sanctions enforced through the administration of Bill Clinton — were right.

The noninterventionists predicted a violent unraveling of the country, and that's what we're witnessing. They agreed with Amr Moussa, chairman of the Arab League, who warned in September 2002 that the invasion would "open the gates of hell." There was no Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) or al-Qaeda in Saddam Hussein's Iraq before the U.S. invasion.

Once again, the establishment news media have ill-served the American public. In the buildup to the 2003 bipartisan war on Iraq — which was justified through lies about weapons of mass destruction and complicity in the 9/11 attacks — little time and ink were devoted to the principled opponents of intervention.

Maybe war builds circulation, ratings, and advertising revenues. Or maybe corporate news outlets fear losing access to high-ranking government officials. Whatever the explanation, far more media resources went toward hyping the illegal aggressive war than toward the case against it.

No one can grasp the complexity of one's own society, we noninterventionists said, much less a society with Iraq's unique religious, sectarian, and political culture and history. Intervention grows out of hubris. Non-intervention accepts the limits of any ruling cadre's knowledge. The war planners had no clue how to reform Iraqi society. But there was one thing they did know: they would not suffer the consequences of their arrogance.

You'd think that with the noninterventionists proven right, the media would learn from their folly and turn to them to analyze the current turmoil in Iraq. But you'd be mistaken.

With few exceptions, the go-to "authorities" are the same people who got it wrong — not all of them neoconservatives, because interventionists come in different stripes. The discussion today is almost exclusively over how the Obama administration should intervene in Iraq, not if it should intervene. Even Paul Wolfowitz, one of the wizards of the original invasion, gets face time on major networks. He was part of the crowd which said that American invaders would be greeted with rose petals, that regime change in Iraq would spread liberal democracy throughout the Middle East, and that even peace between the Israelis and Palestinians would take place.

These "authorities" were wrong about everything — assuming they believed their own words — but that seems not to matter.

They have their own story, of course. It's not the 2003 invasion that has brought Iraq to disintegration, they say. It is Barack Obama's failure to leave U.S. troops in Iraq after 2011. This argument doesn't work.

First, Obama (wrongly) asked Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to allow troops to remain beyond the deadline negotiated by Bush, but al-Maliki insisted that U.S. personnel who commit crimes be subject to Iraqi law, a reasonable demand. Obama would not accept that.

Second, why should we believe the advocates of the original invasion when they say a residual U.S. force could have prevented the offensive now conducted by ISIS? It's far more likely that if American troops were in Iraq today, they would be killing and dying.

Al-Maliki is everyone's favorite scapegoat now, and the ruler known as the Shi'ite Saddam certainly is a villain. He has arrested respected Sunni figures and ordered troops to shoot peaceful Sunni demonstrators. But recriminations against the Sunnis, who were identified with Saddam's secular Ba'athist party, started with the American administration of Iraq.

U.S. intervention now would be perceived as taking the Shi'ite side in Iraq's sectarian war. (Obama is intervening, though on the opposite side, in Syria, which helped build ISIS.) The conflict is complicated — not all Sunnis and Shiites want sectarian violence — but that's all the more reason to think that neither American troops nor diplomats can repair Iraq. The Iraqi people themselves will have to work things out. As for terrorism, it is U.S. intervention that makes Americans targets.

This article originally appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

167 responses to “On Iraq, Non-Interventionists Told You So

  1. …the establishment news media have ill-served the American public.

    Well there’s a shocker.

    1. FYI FOR ALL HERE…It is THURSDAY!

  2. A principled Democrat? John Walsh replaced Max Baucus as Montana Senator. His address on the floor concerning Iraq:

    Video

    …Because I know that the foreign policy failures made in Washington fall disproportionately on the backs of young men and women from small towns across Montana and America.
    I’ve seen war up close. And like too many American families, I’ve seen the costs of war up close. On families. On communities.
    It is now time for the Iraqis to secure and defend their own nation. The embrace of their own self-determination is the only path to a true and everlasting peace in Iraq.
    Thank you.

    [Emphasis mine]

    1. Thanks for the link.

    2. Yes.

      The question is, ‘who are the “Iraqis”‘? though.

      because there are at some of them ‘standing up and attempting to secure their own nation’. And killing lots of other iraqis to do so. The other Iraqis think they have their own nation. But its unclear if they can keep it.

    3. Wow. Kudos to Walsh for standing against Dear Leader.

  3. Once again, the establishment news media have ill-served the American public. In the buildup to the 2003 bipartisan war on Iraq ? which was justified through lies about weapons of mass destruction and complicity in the 9/11 attacks ? little time and ink were devoted to the principled opponents of intervention.

    Au contraire. Google “isolationist” during that time period.

    1. No, he’s correct.

      Non-interventionism was not the same thing as maintaining the status quo as of 2002. There were three options between August 1990 and March 2003. The choices were:

      1) Genuine non-intervention, allowing Saddam Hussein free rein to conquer the Arabian Peninsula, putting the combined oil of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates under his control.

      2) “Defensive” intervention, preventing Hussein from marching his army south by putting infidel boots on the Arabian Peninsula and provoking religious fanatics into a series of escalating terrorist attacks (Khobar Towers, US Embassies in Africa, USS Cole, 9/11).

      3) “Offensive” intervention, overthrowing Hussein.

      Sure, there were some fringe mentions of #1 here and there, but nobody in 2002 was paying any serious attention to anyone advocating real non-intervention. The whole actual argument was between #2 and #3.

      1. #1 in the Fall 2002 was a lot different from #1 in Fall 1990.

        1. I also think it’s unlikely Iraq would have been able to take Saudi Arabia in a fight.

          1. This. The idea that Saddam was going to take the entire AP is hysterical pearl-clutching.

          2. A reasonable belief. I’m not going to claim Iraqi domination of the Arabian Peninsula was inevitable had the US stayed out; simply that the alternative was giving Saddam Hussein free rein to try.

            I really don’t have any confidence which choice, of the three (and what variant thereof) would have actually worked out the best in practice in the long run. I’m sympathetic to #1, but I don’t think it was actually ever politically plausible.

            1. There was never any indication that Saddam had designs on the entire AP that I’ve ever been aware of. He quietly came to the US and said “I have a border issue with Kuwait and I’m going to use my army to take some land from them” and the US diplomat on the scene said “OK.”

              Once those troops crossed that border, suddenly he was the new Hitler.

          3. “itss unlikely Iraq would have been able to take Saudi Arabia in a fight.”

            Iraq Army = ~1m. Many salty from fighting w/ Iran.

            Saudi Army = 120,000. populated by officers in cushy posts granted by family connections.

      2. Chris Layne and Ted Carpenter at CATO were among the “fringe” who advocated genuine non-intervention in late 1990.

        In November 1990 they wrote: “America has plunged headlong into a commitment that has a high probability of ending in a setback (diplomatic or military) and little chance of achieving Washington’s objectives?especially its long-term ones.” Their recommendation: “Washington should begin to withdraw its forces from the region as soon as possible.”

        http://object.cato.org/sites/c…../pa142.pdf

      3. This is an excellent post. Bush did NOT start the Iraq War, he ended it. His only mistake was not bugging out as soon as Sadaam was pulled from the spider-hole.

  4. How the fuck did Wolfowitz get “rehabilitated”?

    When did that happen?

    1. one more parallel between DC and Hollywood. Entertainment has its addicts who clean up; politics has its decision-makers who are recast. Build them up, tear them down, watch them climb again.

  5. Contrary to popular belief, there is no satisfaction in being able to say, “I told you so.”

    Yes, there is!

    I TOLD YOU SO, YOU FUCKING FOOLS!

    1. Seriously. It’s one of the few fun things about being a libertarian.

      1. That and chasing Joe back to Lowell and shaming shriek every day.

        1. Shriek has no shame.

    2. Yeah, that lede is just cray.

      1. I don’t condone gloating, particularly when innocent people suffer as a result of bad decisions. But in nicole’s defense, it is the first time she’s ever been right about anything.

  6. Almost without exception, the neocons and lefty hawks who want to get re-involved in Iraq seem to have little or no understanding of Iraqi culture and history. And you don’t have to be an expert to understand that Iraq is a “fake country” that was drawn up by the British/French and is unfixable. It’s full of tribes and sects that have fought low-grade wars for centuries and have no particular desire to live together. There is a westernized veneer there that is post-tribal and secular (just like in Syria), but not nearly enough to make a difference.

    We have no business getting involved in that mess again.

    1. I’ll take 1994 Cheney for the win Alex

      1. Holy shit. I’d never seen that. Too bad 1994 Cheney couldn’t have slapped 2003 Cheney and 2003 Dubya upside the head. I suppose the lucrative defense contracts were too irresistible.

        1. I suppose the lucrative defense contracts were too irresistible.

          Or, perhaps, 1994 Cheney didn’t expect the religious offense cause by leaving US troops in Saudi Arabia to protect it from a still-in-power Saddam Hussein would incite terrorist attacks killing thousands of Americans, while 2003 Cheney could look at a historical record that proved it would.

          1. Or perhaps the 2003 Cheney didn’t like Iraq selling oil in Euros.

            How many of the 9/11 hijackers came from and/or trained in Iraq?

  7. A principled Democrat?

    I’ll put that in the “You Cannot Be WRONG All The Time, Either” file.

    I keep wondering what Bullock’s jackpot in that deal was. Baucus got to be Ambassador to China (WTFSRSLY?), Walsh got to be Senator (with a big running start and all the benefits and protections of incumbency for the campaign against Daines), but what did Bullock get? A few trash bags filled with hundred dollar bills from OFA?

    1. Not sure about Bullock, but I’ll bet we find out.

      Sounds like Sweitzer might run for president.

      As far as Daines v Walsh, I won’t vote for either of them, but it’s kinda nice to see a Democrat without Obama’s cock in his mouth.

      That said, this state is a mess.

    2. It is carefully calculated, just like see every step so far in this guy’s ascension. He pleases the anti-war left with an anti-war speech, while appealing to conservative independents by appearing to defy the extremely unpopular (in Montana) President, while being more agreeable to his policies than pretty much any politician in the state. Being an Iraq veteran (albeit a NG general, unlikely to have exactly been on the front lines) snubs any attempt by the already extraordinarily inept Republican Party in MT to criticize him as “soft on terror”.

      Daines will probably be the only Republican I vote for this year, only as my little “Fuck you” to the Montana Democratic political machine, and the 10,000 ghost voters in Missoula County.

  8. and after the Bushies talked of democracy spreading in the ME, the Obamabots fixated on the Arab Spring, since Cairo and Prague are identical. This is not partisan, it is cultural, as in DC culture.

    1. They are not alike, fool. One involved a massive war.

      I know you have to try to protect Team Red though. Nice try.

      1. You bastard Buttplug! Of course Bush was a dickhead for getting us into that war, but Obama ran on ending the war and he could have done so early on (Blamed the whole thing on Bush) and save us all another half trillion, but like Nixon he didn’t do that, the dumb fuck continued the war making him even dickheader!

        1. “but Obama ran on ending the war ”

          Which he did

          1. He only pulled out the combat troops. That doesn’t count.

            1. He only happened to be warming the chair in the Oval Office when the deadline that Bush negotiated arrived and Obama’s attempts to extend that deadline failed.

              1. the deadline that Bush negotiated was forced to accept

                1. Negotiated or forced to accept doesn’t really make a difference to Obama’s involvement. He didn’t do shit other than abide by the SOFA, and in point of fact, as Richman somehow accidentally managed to correctly point out, tried as hard as he could to keep troops in Iraq past the SOFA deadline.

  9. which was justified through lies about weapons of mass destruction and complicity in the 9/11 attacks

    Hey, um, Sheldon, I’m as anti preemptive war as any libertarian, but that statement is outright mendacity.

    We were being briefed by the intel community as early as 1993 that Iraq was storing/making WMD. GWB, 911, GWOT… didn’t exist in 1993. It’s yellow journalism. You write for Reason. Knock it the fuck off. What are you, shreek?

    1. glad I’m not the only one who thought “bullshit” on that one. That talking point has reached urban legend status, as if repetition is enough to turn opinion into fact.

      1. So, a rational person should accord credibility to the intel community?

        1. The alternative?

          1. Who are the people comprising the “intel” community?

            The types that make and produce upon a voluntary, consensual basis?

            The people who zealously adhere to Washington’s admonition to stay the fuck out of foreign entanglements?

            The type of people who would be ashamed of themselves for being in the public sector?

            The type of people who have a sterling reputation for honesty?

            Nuff said.

            1. Old GOP sympathies die hard for many here LM.

              From the Senate report on the use of Intel by the Bush administration ” It concludes that the US Administration “repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.” These included President Bush’s statements of a partnership between Iraq and Al Qa’ida, that Saddam Hussein was preparing to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups, and Iraq’s capability to produce chemical weapons.”
              http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki…..ce_on_Iraq

              In any other circumstance they’d be calling that lies

              1. Even before those reports, everyone believed Sadaam had those weapons. There was good reason to. He DID have some mustard gas stockpiles.

                1. You believe that because government critters said so?

                2. yeah, I wonder who gave him the mustard gas? hmmmm?

                  1. B&Y, you imply that Saddam got the mustard gas from the US. However, wasn’t Saddam allied with the Soviets for years/decades? You’re saying the US sold weapons to a Soviet ally during the Cold War? Got evidence? I’ve read that the US sold little if any weapons to Iraq. Perhaps you can show me otherwise.

                    1. That should read “few if any weapons…”.

              2. Old GOP sympathies die hard for many here LM.

                SOCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!(!!!!)!!!!!!!!!!!!

                “We know that [Saddam Hussein] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country”

                ? Al Gore, 9/23/02

                “And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he [Saddam Hussein] will use the arsenal. And I think every one of you who’s really worked on this for any length of time believes that, too.”

                ? Bill Clinton, 2/17/98

                “Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.”

                ? Nancy Pelosi, 12/16/98

                “[Saddam Hussein] will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has 10 times since 1983.”

                ? Sandy Berger, 2/18/98

                TEH GEEEEOHHHHPEEEEE LIES!!!!!!

                1. Just because someone criticizes the GOP doesn’t mean they support the Democrats.

        2. things I didn’t say for $600, Alex.

          A rational person wouldn’t say “justified through lies about weapons” when talk of those weapons dates way back.

          1. The key word being “talk”

            1. right; if only those dead Kurds could talk. And the Iranians gassed during their war with Saddam.

              You’re missing the point – Sheldon is repeating the claim of Bush’s decision being based on a lie. If that were true, the lie came to life before he was even Governor in TX, let alone President.

              1. There was a great deal of equivocation from Bush’s administration there, mustard gas =\= mushroom clouds

              2. I’ve never got why the “Bush didn’t lie, he was just incompetently wrong about everything!” argument was supposed to make me feel better about the Iraq War.

                1. Accurately describing reality is its own reward – it was never intended to make you feel better about anything.

        3. No, LM, a rational person would conclude the intel was simply WRONG rather than a LIE.

          1. What Colin Powell said they had in his UN speech contradicted intelligence and evidence we had at the time. I don’t know that he knew, but whoever wrote the speech and/or gave him the evidence knew it was a lie, not just some information that turned out later to be wrong.

            1. The Intel Community is a very big place. Believe it or not, there is not consensus within it.

              Where he got his information makes a difference. I HAVE NO DOUBT, Bush cherry picked the intel to justify his desires, but the general belief was there were WMDs.

              I suspect Powell, being a General, was fully aware of the hazard of putting too much faith in the intel. But the intel existed PRIOR to Bush using it.

              1. “cherry picked the intel to justify his desires”

                I think this is what a lot of people are short-handing with the word “lie.”

                They had no interest in discussing any of it with anyone – they had some intel about there being WMDs, but they had a lot more about there being no WMDs.

                The latter batch of evidence was largely swept under the rug, but it was never really a discussion. They had decided that they wanted to get us involved in that war so they told us whatever they felt would be most effective to get us riled up enough to get us into the war.

                Did they even give a shit whether or not Saddam had WMDs? I believe no.

        4. This. The intel community doesn’t have a great track record. Additionally, we know that at the least evidence was distorted and selectively focused on to bolster the claims of WMDs. That’s close enough to lying for government work, to borrow a phrase

          1. The intel community doesn’t have a great track record.

            Perhaps you believe this because you don’t understand what it is the Intelligence Community actually does. (I attribute this to your youth, lack of life experience and general ignorance.)

            Intel is not a science, nor would almost anything they produce meet the standards of “burden of proof”. Their job is to piece together what is likely going on in the world based upon bits and pieces of information. These scenarios are then used to guide decisions about how to proceed in battle (or otherwise). It’s not always the correct conclusion, nor was it designed to be 100% accurate.

            So, yes, Bush overplayed his hand when attempting to justify war with Iraq based upon such data. He CLEARLY gave it too much credibility. But he didn’t fabricate it and he didn’t lie about it. He over-hyped it to get his desired outcome (which was wrong).

            1. Bullshit. In the Senate Congressional record Bob Graham testified that the intelligence committee was told by the White House that nuclear unmanned AV’s were on their way to the US coastline (from Iraq).

              There were many lies.

              1. Fuck you idiot.

                [citation or fuck off]

                1. http://www.informationclearing…..le5385.htm

                  I can get the Senate.gov record too.

                  1. Your citation doesn’t support your original claim.

                    Nelson said the senators were told Iraq had both biological and chemical weapons, notably anthrax, and it could deliver them to cities along the Eastern seaboard via unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones.

                    I see nothing about nukes OR that they were “on their way”.

                    You are a mendacious twat.

            2. “So, yes, Bush overplayed his hand when attempting to justify war with Iraq based upon such data. He CLEARLY gave it too much credibility. But he didn’t fabricate it and he didn’t lie about it. He over-hyped it to get his desired outcome (which was wrong).”

              I’d say many officials engaged in willful over-hyping but some of them lied as well. Although I cannot recall exactly what I heard and read several years ago to convince me of this I did just find this site: http://www.publicintegrity.org…..-pretenses

              You might prefer “over-hyping” or exaggerating but I would call it lying.

              Charles

              1. It would be lying if the intel was fabricated. It wasn’t.

                I put it to you that a country manufacturing/storing WMD is NOT provocation to enter a preemptive war to begin with. But the entire country, fueled with the lust for revenge for 911, bought into it (myself included, regretfully).

                1. “It would be lying if the intel was fabricated. It wasn’t.”

                  I don’t think you will be convinced otherwise.

                  I agree with your thoughts on preemptive war being unjustified and the country’s vengeful mood following the terrorist attacks on September 11th.

                  1. It’s not a matter of convincing me. I was getting those intel briefs as far back as 93. They existed. And that’s what the vast majority of the community believed. I have first-hand knowledge.

                    Now you might be able to say it was a lie to not present the other side’s opinion (yes there was a small minority of the community that thought otherwise). But I have no doubt of two things.

                    1. GWB wanted to go to war with Iraq.
                    2. GWB honestly believed that Iraq had WMD

                    The thing I’m unsure about is whether GWB really believed that having WMD was a good enough reason to go to war? But that’s the excuse he used and we all bought into it.

                    1. WMD was about 5th on the list of why we invaded Iraq. Sometimes realpolitik is something you have to do. Its too late for abject isolationism. One has to protect one’s strategic interests.

                      I’ll say again that the latest mistake was to completely pull out of Iraq. If I were in charge, I’d put a large airbase in Kurd territory with an armored division in place. If nothing else than to scare the shit out of the Iranians.

                    2. “One has to protect one’s strategic interests.”

                      Who is this “one” of which you speak and why do I owe it to him to protect his “interests”?

                    3. Ok go keep the sea lanes open yourself, maintain the supply of oil yourself, etc.

                    4. While I appreciate your presumption regarding knowing what my interests are and what all foreigners need to be killed in order to “protect” them, I’m capable of identifying my own interests and acting on them my own self, but thanks for your generous offers of help.

                    5. we all bought into it

                      Speak for yourself. I and many others could tell that these claims were utter bullshit from the beginning. I could never understand how it wasn’t blatantly obvious to everyone.

                    6. “But I have no doubt of two things.

                      1. GWB wanted to go to war with Iraq.
                      2. GWB honestly believed that Iraq had WMD”

                      I have seen sufficient material to be in complete agreement with your first opinion. I also know that he wasn’t alone in this desire.

                      With regards to what the President believed, we will simply have to disagree.

                      Here is a link to one of the things I was trying to recall earlier: http://www.iaea.org/newscenter…..n006.shtml

                      “Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents – which formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger – are in fact not authentic. We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded. However, we will continue to follow up any additional evidence, if it emerges, relevant to efforts by Iraq to illicitly import nuclear materials.”

                      And there is this from former CIA director Tenet “A speech by Cheney in August 2002 ‘went well beyond what our analysis could support…. The speech charged, among other things, that Hussein had restarted his nuclear program and would ‘acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon . . . perhaps within a year.'”
                      http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..st_emailed

                      Regards,

                      Charles

            3. I attribute this to your youth, lack of life experience and general ignorance

              My leftist grandmother says that to anyone anytime they disagree with her, even to my 53 year old father when he talks about overregulation and complex tax forms. Don’t get me started when she talks about the evils of tablets and smartphones even though she can’t even use a mouse (she never owned a computer).

              1. My leftist grandfather said it to my Republican father, who says it to me at every opportunity. I would say the same thing to my daughter, but she doesn’t yet have strong political views.

              2. My leftist grandmother says that to anyone anytime they disagree with her

                Yeah, but in Bo’s case…it’s most likely true.

      2. No, you weren’t. And there are dead Kurds who would testify if they could.

      3. Worse yet is Reason’s seeming love of repeating the MSM BS on this issue.

        1. You mean the same MSM that helped build all of this up in the first place and lumps moderate interventionists like Rand Paul in with hardcore isolationists?

    2. Forget it, Richman is a quasi-truther who claims that the nefarious hand of the devil state of Israel is in everything.

      You’re not going to get any traction with him.

      1. Yeah, at this point I just expect that shit from Richman and have learned to ignore it.

      2. By your logic Michael Scheuer is a truther.

    3. He’s actually Ahmadinejad. Explains everything.

      I’ve given up hope that Reason will ever get rid of this guy and get an actual competent foreign affairs contributor who does anything beyond rewriting PressTV talking points.

      1. Like that statist cock-sucker Moynihan?

      2. I have asked you multiple times before to provide me with evidence that anyone at Reason got their info from PressTV and you have yet to do so.

        1. Go fuck yourself, Mary.

          1. Or Tulpa. Can’t keep my sock puppets straight.

    4. How could you possibly compare a Rothbardian like Richman to that left-wing hawk? Are you one of those who think Obama and Ron Paul have the same foreign policy? Which side were you on when Ron Paul put Giuliani in his place during that 2007 GOP debate?

      And who gave that poor sandpit those weapons in the first place?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r42oejmpkgw

    5. “We were being briefed by the intel community as early as 1993 that Iraq was storing/making WMD. GWB, 911, GWOT… didn’t exist in 1993. It’s yellow journalism. You write for Reason. Knock it the fuck off. What are you, shreek?”

      Yes, everyone believed Hussein had WMDs– except for the people actually doing the intelligence and the commander of American forces in Iraq. I said at the time that I didn’t ‘t care if Iraq had wmds. The dilemma that should have been presented to saddam Hussein should have been about using them. MAD worked for 40 some odd years between the u.s. And the Soviet Union. Why wouldn’t it have worked with saddam?

      Shooo weee , there sure are alot of right- wingers making excuses for GWB and his reprehensible father on the board today. I wonder why my taxes are so high.

      1. He’s not making excuses shitheel, he’s refuting an assertion.

    6. You don’t think they lied about WMD? What was that UN presentation by Colin Powell besides completely made up lies?

  10. The noninterventionists predicted a violent unraveling of the country

    Any retard could have seen that coming a mile away. It’s not like it hasn’t happened a jillion times before.

    1. Even Cheney knew it would happen (back in ’94 before they replaced him with a clone)

  11. The lie was that Saddam had anything that made him an imminent threat (“we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”) that had to be removed RIGHT NOW. Even I expected them to find a can of Raid or something.

    If Saddam’s WMD where such a threat, can you outline exactly what protection the average invading US soldier was given when facing them?

    1. Nigerian yellowcake, anyone?

      1. It was Nigerien yellowcake.

        Nigerien with two “e”s.

    2. If Saddam’s WMD where such a threat, can you outline exactly what protection the average invading US soldier was given when facing them?

      Are you being serious here? I lugged all my chem-gear to Iraq as late as 2004. Every soldier on the ground was equipped with it. There is NO DOUBT that everyone thought he had the shit.

      1. I lugged that same shit in 2005 and am glad I did. Johnny Longtorso may use Sarin gas as deodorant, but those IEDs laced with the shit became prevalent during OIF3.

      2. Contrary to Longtorso’s ignorance, Sadaam did have mustard gas stockpiles just not as much as expected.

        1. Yeah, a couple of cannisters that had been buried for decades.

          1. More like a couple hundred or thousand, twat.

          2. if that gas is so harmless may I put it in your garage

      3. You fought in that bullshit war? Hahahaha, it sure must be nice to see the fruits of your labor. I’m beginning to see the light about how the government can’t get anything right. Thanks a lot, mercenary kid… It must be nice to get paid for totally fucking over a country. God job boot clicker!

        1. Just when I thought I couldn’t think any less of you, you prove me wrong.

          God, you are an ignorant, vile individual.

          1. What’s hilarious is that if Obama said today that the Iraqis were the sworn enemy of socialism and everything it represents, asshole would be jumping to sign up.

            1. *cough*Syria*cough*

              *cough*Libya*cough*

              *cough*Ukraine*cough*

              Or, you know, Obama sending “advisers” back into Iraq.

              American dipshit certainly wouldn’t be jumping to sign up though. He’d be jumping for you and me to sign up. Remember the central tenet of first world socialism: What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.

          2. Yeah, he/she/it pretty much is the scum of the Earth. While I love the WWW–indeed, I make my living off of it–I hate that it lets this sad fuck spew hateful bile with anonymity. I think it’s a disgusting, idiotic little thug, but at least I’d have some respect for it if it posted under its real name. I highly doubt that it would have the integrity to replicate its forum behavior in a public setting.

            I swear, sometimes it just seems like all the wrong people have cancer.

  12. It’s fun and rational to hate on the neo-cons or neo-whatevers, but out current place in history seems to be some sort of grand unraveling of the post WWII-Cold War construct. The failure of imperial wars and proliferation of civil and religious wars in the ME seems to be a long delayed reaction to the power vacuum left by the slow disintegration of that construct. The financial crisis that created tremendous food price inflation in the ME was the straw that broke the camels back, not the Iraq War.

    Now that it might be possible for the US to reach energy independence, other than a commitment to Israel, why would we stay?

    1. The sunk cost fallacy is very appealing to those who love sinking costs. The morning shows were filled with “Think of all the American soldiers maimed and killed in Iraq!” with the implication that the only way to honor them was to maim and kill more of our soldiers.

      1. It’s amazing that noone has shoved that line back in their faces.

        1. That would require them to not having raging warboners of their own. The NBC interview with Kerry not only let him say it unchallenged, but Samantha Guthrie tried to tie the rise of ISIS to Obama not invading Syria months ago, letting Lurch get all daydreamy about throwing American lives into that meat grinder.

          1. Somebody should ask Kerry how you ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake?

    2. There’s also a larger unraveling underway of the nation-state construct itself. In many parts of the world, but especially in former colonial areas, central governments have little or no control over the countryside anymore.

      This is even true in Europe, where nationalities like the Scots and Catalonians are less willing to be subsumed into larger states that don’t always further their interests.

      It’ll be interesting to see if this same unraveling hits the USA eventually. We theoretically already have a heavily federal structure, but I can envision more and more willingness for states and regions to simply ignore dictates from Washington DC and go their own way.

      1. There’s also a larger unraveling underway of the nation-state construct itself.

        I think it’s already happening and has been happening in the US to a small degree. There’s a general perception that the feds are incompetent and corrupt. Both Bush and Obama have fed this perception to an exponential degree. Under Bush: the intelligence failure of 9/11, the Iraq War, the response to Katrina, the financial crisis. Then under Obama: the disastrous roll-out of Obamacare, the various failed interventions (Libya, Syria, Ukraine), the continuing failure of the economy to recover.

        In small ways (k-12 implosion, higher ed tuition inflation, sub-prime mortgages) and large, there’s little belief the government is capable of anything.

        And states are challenging the feds. Gov. Jindal just issued an executive order stating LA is pulling out of the federal Common Core “voluntary” requirement. The states’ attorney generals challenging O-care on constitutional grounds is another example.

        I expect the states (particularly the red states) to continue to try to work around the feds.

        This is a great thing; it undermines the legitimacy of the state. Excellent.

        1. This is a great thing; it undermines the legitimacy of the state. Excellent.

          I’m all for pushback. It’s the right thing to do, HOWEVER, it will eventually come to a head. Authoritarians will decide they don’t like not being obeyed and will come with force. Then you must either back it up, or submit.

        2. It’s worth pointing out that US states used to enjoy a much higher degree of autonomy than they do today, and have continued to capitulate to the federal government at nearly every turn (Obamacare, Medicaid, NCLB, Common Core, minimum drinking age, transportation, shovel-ready “stimulus”, etc etc). To the extent there is any actual trend toward more state autonomy (and I would argue there is absolutely none) it’s only by comparison to the very, very recent past.

  13. Yet it still must be said: those who opposed the George W. Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq in March 2003 ? not to mention his father’s war on Iraq in 1991 and the sanctions enforced through the administration of Bill Clinton ? were right.

    Yes, OIF was a terrible mistake and it was right to oppose that war, but if anything GHWB’s decision not to topple Hussein was prescient. I don’t see how having much of the Middle East’s oil reserves under the control of an unfriendly genocidal maniac (not to mention his sons) would have been a good thing, or how, exactly, unfolding events have vindicated “non-interventionists” in the same way they have been proven right in OIF.

    1. You actually got it exactly wrong: not toppling Sadaam in 1991 necessitated his toppling in 2003, and stopping him in 1991 was unnecessary. He couldn’t even defeat Iran.

      1. And toppling him in 1991 would have had the same result, ethnic infighting and sectarian violence.

    2. Their oil + we have natural gas, oh and we still have to build Keystone.

    3. Plus, there is a meme that has been circulating ever since 1990 that Saddam was on some global conquest mission, not acting on a local border dispute with Kuwait.

      1. A local border dispute that he asked US permission to act upon prior to doing so, but that left the warboner memory the week it happened.

    4. “unfriendly genocidal maniac[s]”

      You mean the oil-rich, bored plutocrats in Kuwait who put money in al queda’s bank account or someone else ?

      1. Last time I checked, Kuwait didn’t wage genocide on anybody.

        1. American dipshit thinks having oil money = genocide.

          1. It probably has something to do with recycling or something. These sociopaths tend to believe that using fossil fuels is tantamount to murder. They’re a little bit obsessed with violence and power.

  14. “but al-Maliki insisted that U.S. personnel who commit crimes be subject to Iraqi law, a reasonable demand. Obama would not accept that.”

    No, that’s not a reasonable demand. No American, at any point, should be subject to Sharia influenced laws. It may have been a reasonable demand if we had written their constitution for them… but no, just no. That’s fucking stupid.

    1. We don’t do that anywhere else where American soldiers are stationed. Anywhere. And neither do any other countries. SOFA sounds scary, but it’s essentially diplomatic immunity for soldiers, and according to most SOFAs only applies to soldiers on-duty.

  15. Sikes-Picot fucked up the region which was ultimately triggered by the Ottomans decision to back Germany in WW1. Regardless of that ancient history, give the fact that OIF happened, one option would have been to build a large base to keep the region somewhat pacified.

    Though I think that Tony Blair raised a fundamental set of points to consider. Total intervention in Iraq results in total chaos. Minor intervention in Libya results in total chaos. No intervention into Syria results in total chaos.

    On another subject, why no articles on the Redskins? WFTO?

    1. “Sikes-Picot fucked up the region which was ultimately triggered by the Ottomans decision to back Germany in WW1”

      Exactly this. Any time an old empire collapses, how the borders shake out is going to be an ugly messy thing for a while. S-P threw a huge wrench into that machine and fucked up the whole process even more.

      Disengaging and backing away at this point is the only way to deal with it.

  16. The noninterventionists predicted a violent unraveling of the country, and that’s what we’re witnessing.

    Such amazing power of prediction look less amazing when you consider that this fate is shared by EVERY COUNTRY WITH A STRONGMAN LIKE SADAAM. Syria, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, etc. No surprise that noninterventionists would pat themselves on the back for a predicting the inevitable and then misattributing the inevitable to teh evul interventionismz.

    1. After WWII, Germany, Italy, and Japan did not violently unravel following the disposition of their strongmen like Sadaam. Rather, they were conquered, civilian governments were installed, and they proceeded to rebuild.

      Back in the 1980s, there were quite a few Eastern European nations ruled by strongmen like Sadaam. Poland, East Germany, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria. They managed to pull it off without falling into an abyss of conflict. Czechoslovakia even managed a secession without violent conflict. Even the USSR’s dissolution was tame by comparison with the Middle East’s hornet nest.

      The neo-cons said over and over that the US would be greeted as liberators, that democracy and human rights are universally shared values, and any argument to the contrary was racist. They thought they could pull off what the US did in post-WWII Europe and Japan. They did think that violent unraveling was inevitable.

      1. America was greeted as a liberator.

        As Scruffy more or less points out below, Iraq was fated for this tear-up.

    2. You’re a Canadian. Why are you calling for MY country’s government to do something? What if I lectured Canada on not tipping waiters and waitresses?

      1. We would tell you to leave us alone. And, we do tip…okay some of us tip.

      2. Why are you calling for MY country’s government to do something?

        I’m not.

        1. They (the US) should have done this or that you always say.

    3. Every country that was only held together with a strongman like Sadaam has fallen apart.

      Iraq is a construct, Yugoslavia was a construct, Syria is a construct. Most of the Middle East consists of countries pieced together with no regard for ethnic or tribal affiliation. Yet we think we’re going to sort it out? Hubris.

      1. Kuwait is a construct.

        1. Which strongman runs Kuwait’s parliamentary monarchy again?

    4. Such amazing power of prediction look less amazing when you consider that this fate is shared by EVERY COUNTRY WITH A STRONGMAN LIKE SADAAM.

      So it’s obvious, right? That’s why the neocons looks so fucking dumb and evil.

      1. Yes, but anyone who thinks Iraq would be okay without the liberation is dumber.

  17. It seemed like it was time to take out Sadaam after the Kuwait invasion. Then we had to do something in response to the attempt to assassinate a US president. The whole “nation building” thing is pretty much a screw up – but we should also account for the dramatic changes in military structure and policy that have taken place – changing horses in mid-stream and not being able to follow-through. (And then in connection with that, give a rethink to the militarization of domestic policing.)

  18. We broke it, we bought it.

    We destbilized Iraq and made this possible, then we blew out of there like a crack whore after a one-rock hand job.

    Obama didn’t end the war; he started a new one. We are responsible.

    1. Total victory is the only safe way to end a war.

    2. Who is this “we”?

    3. ?? Saddam broke it. Fuck that.

  19. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, you just won’t know when.
    That being said the same thing was said about Japan having never been beaten until we came along and actually destroyed them which is not what we did with Iraq. Lets also note that even if warnings by the always anti war crowd were headed when you believe that a country has WMD and intends to use them then you have to do exactly what we did.

  20. This is the great thing about talking instead of doing things or being responsible for decisions. If you look like you’re right in hindsight, you get to brag about your perspicacity. If you’re wrong, just don’t mention it and pontificate about other stuff until you get another hit.

    1. Since most, if not all, of us will never be close to the levers of power talking is pretty much all we’ve got.

      1. True, talking makes us feel better.

  21. He pleases the anti-war left with an anti-war speech, while appealing to conservative independents by appearing to defy the extremely unpopular (in Montana) President, while being more agreeable to his policies than pretty much any politician in the state.

    Much like that fat fuck Tester makes an occasional foray back to Montana (in person or via an apparently open invite from the editorial page of the Billings Gazette) to spout a bunch of tribalist “Real Montanans want ________!” blather while faithfully taking his marching orders from people like Chuck Schumer, Barabara Boxer and Barack Obama.

  22. It’s sad that when someone is right for the wrong reasons, they think everything else they say based on the wrong reasons is right. The surge worked because the factions made agreements and the US backed up and forced them to honor their agreements. Without a strongman, Iraq is what it is, a mess.

    We broke it. Now something that may have dire consequences in the long time for regional stability is arising. Will they be the new Nazis? Unlikely due to geographical considerations, but then again, empires have arisen out of there.

    1. “empires have arisen out of there”

      No empire has arisen out of there in thousands of years.

      1. No empire has arisen out of there in thousands of years.

        Iraq was part of the Ottoman empire, which you may recall was HQ’d in neighboring Turkey, until 1920. The Ottoman empire began a little over 700 years ago.

    2. “We broke it”

      No we didn’t it was already broken.

  23. I really don’t think it much matters what was done, or what one does now. The Islamic culture over there, (not everywhere), is one of dominance and fighting. It was only a question of time before the Middle East became a blood bath, from one end to the other. AQ is not the problem and neither was Maliki, Saddam, the Ayatollah, etc. The whole ball of wax is the problem.

    Let it descend into madness. That sounds horrible, but it is what they want. Let them settle it once and for all. The only solution is for the average person on the street to start demanding peace and good governance. So far that hasn’t happened. Until that happens it will be us, or the Brits, or someone trying their hardest to stop someone over there from running amok.

    1. To be fair, I think that’s more a function of Arab culture than Muslim culture, the latter of course being a product of the former. Point being that if you look at Islam as a socio-political construct its success lies in its ability to arrange sovereignty among multiple, disparate tribes. Look at the caliphates historically. They didn’t end regional conflict, but they kept it very, very localized and very, very limited.

      I suspect that’s a large part of the appeal of AQ and radical Islam. The relatively new political structures currently in place are artificial and dysfunctional. Compared to the admittedly idealized unified Muslim world of the past, modern nation-states must seem like a terrible idea to Arabs.

  24. Didn’t Kuwait request our help when Iraq invaded in 1991? Sure we could have said we would not have helped. That could also have been the answer to WWI and WWII.

    Overall if we were to follow history, it may have been wisest to take out Iraq and setup a South Korea/Germany/Japan-like permanent base and prevent Iraq from having any form of military. This could still be done now.

    The other option now to (relative) peace in the Middle-East is to abandon Israel completely and allow them to fight it out with the rest of the Middle-East resulting in possible nuclear annihilation of one side or both – but there would be peace.

  25. Non interventionists told us so in WWII and the Cold War too.

    Sometimes staying out is the right answer, and sometimes it isn’t.

  26. The author sounds like a current left wing political hack. Can you say Begala – Brazil – Howard Dean?

    Iraq, and most any other country is do-able. The problem comes in when you don’t WIN the war. We never really pacified that country – not even close. The insurgency had access to an everlasting supply of artillery shells for IED’s because we never secured ALL of the ammo dumps. Not enough troops. Iran’s meddling etc..
    The Japanese were just as fanatical as islam/muslims. They did just fine after “knowing” they were defeated. Does anyone think for one minute that the average Sunni or Shiite thought themselves defeated by the US?

    Also the authors talk of lies to go to war – neocons – Halliburton and cabals is straight out of Reid and Pelosi’s mouths. It takes all credibility out of the points he wants to make.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.