Barack Obama

"Why Obama's Iraq War Will be a Disaster"


So America is headed back to war in Iraq. That wasnt' a good idea in 2003 and it's not a good idea now, I argue in a new Daily Beast column. Here are snippets:

Why the hell is the United States going back into Iraq? And to what end?

Americans famously don't know much about history, but the willingness to ignore the immediate decade-plus of failure and plunge back into the fog of war without any clear articulation of national interests, exit strategy, or even obvious battle plan borders on the criminally insane.

In last week's official notification to Congress, President Obama invoked immediate, limited humanitarian aims as the trigger for action— who doesn't feel for the the Yazidis, who are already suffering under the lunatic vision of a Caliphate propounded by the Islamic State?

But as The Daily Beast's Eli Lake reported, he's using that aspect of the mission to provide cover for a far more expansive "military campaign [that] would last months and not weeks." Our goal, the president said at a press conference, is to make sure the Islamic State "is not engaging in actions that could cripple a country." How's that for an open-ended statement of purpose?…

The goal of American foreign policy should first and foremost be the defense of American lives and goals. There's no more reason to go back into Iraq now than there was to invade back in 2003. If the first decade-plus of the 21st century should have taught us anything, it's that the United States' ability to terraform the world in its image is severely limited and leads to all sorts of unintended consequences. In terms of strict humanitarian concerns, it would better to help people leave war-torn regions and accept them on our shores.

But if the warrant for a new Iraq war is, in the president's words, to make sure that ISIL and other groups are "not engaging in actions that could cripple a country," America's worst days of playing World Police are still sadly ahead of us.

Read the whole thing here.


NEXT: NEW POLL: 42 Percent of Americans Think Obama Has Expanded Presidential Power Too Much; 53 Percent Want the US Less Involved in Israel-Hamas Peace Talks

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  1. Americans famously don’t know much about history…

    Or biology, science book or the French they took. But they do know ISIS must be stopped or else all of Dubya’s Iraq work being undone will be put on Obama.

    1. Americans famously don’t know much about history

      Even if this is technically true, I can’t stand this formulation, as it’s obviously intended to imply that Americans are uniquely ignorant as compared to our so-called “betters”, say Frenchmen, or Brits, or Norwegians.

      It’s rubbish, and it’s another typical example of the deep-seated cosmotarian need to pander to their liberal media friends.

      1. Or maybe its just a cute, offhand reference to Sam Cooke

        derpy derpy derp, derp derp derp

  2. This is obviously Bush’s fault.

    1. It obviously is.

      1. And as usual, Barry’s solution is to double down

        1. Do you know what doubling down means?

          1. In Obama’s case, it means looking down at a hard-18 and over at the dealer’s 10, doubling the bet and taking a single hit.

            A hard-18 versus the dealer’s 10 isn’t optimum, but taking additional action is stupid.

            1. In Obama’s case, it means looking down at a hard-18

              I didn’t realize Michelle was that big.

    2. You’d think it would be the fault of ISIS / ISIL, but nope, it must be the fault of an American pres. This country is just that powerful and omnipresent.

      It’s not the fault of crazy Muslims, or Syria, or the Iraqi government, or the Iraqi people. It’s either the fault of Bush or Obama.

      1. It’s entirely the fault of states, and militant religious nutjobs that want to form states.

        In other words, all of the above.

        But the solipsism of US foreign policy, which dates back well into the 20th century and persists today, is a major contributor to Middle East chaos.

  3. Military boots on the ground aren’t boots on the ground if Obama says there are no boots. Or ground.

    He should just wish ISIS away to the cornfield.

    1. or unleash a hashtag strike for maximum effect.

  4. Jesus Nick you are an absolute masochist to post there. The comments are just wonderful:

    I would remind everyone yet again, that Bush blew 3 trillion dollars and killed hundreds of thousands of people only to create the current situation. Obama may not always be successful in his attempts to protect our interests and seek peace, but perhaps its time we all realized and supported this more reasoned approach.

    Nobel Peace Prize, ladies and gentlemen.

    1. Did they just throw in an extra ‘trillion’ for effect there?

      (not to mention the slaughter of hundreds of thousands)

  5. jostasauce 1 hour ago
    Bush lied to force America in to a decade long quagmire just to pick up where his father left off and be a war time president. Obama commits military assets to prevent a slaughter of thousands and to keep rampaging militants at bay. Big difference, but Mr. Gillespie doesn’t seem to think so. He’s a conservative and its his only mission nowadays is to attack the Obama administration.

    1. …”Big difference,”…

      Bush = 4 letters
      Obama = 5 letters
      Maybe not that much of a difference.

  6. If, as it appears, Iraqis aren’t willing to stand up and defend their own country, there’s not much the U.S. can do about it. I don’t see how people can’t understand this.

    It wasn’t a coincidence that Sadamm Hussein was a brutal dictator. His government was a reflection of their society. If they are just all liberal democrats yearning to be free as the interventionists would have us believe, that regime (and now ISIS) would not be the ones to gain power.

    1. Agreed, though in this case the US is mostly helping out the Kurds, who are actually fighting to keep ISIL out, right?

    2. Kurds are willing to defend their country.

      But the US has refused to recognizer their country, allowed that country to free trade with the world and initiated a blockade of weapons so that they cannot defend themselves for barbarians.

      Instead, the US government has quadrupled down on preserving the territorial integrity of Iraq. A ‘country’ that never existed until it popped into the heads of some British imperial administrators in London, ninety odd years ago.

      1. This. Our policy is so completely dependent on approval from the Turks and Saudis, that it will never make long-term sense.

  7. oldwhiteguy 1 hour ago
    In fact this very morning, the news was reporting that the tactics have been quite successful. The air strikes, coupled with massive humanitarian aid seems to have done a lot of good. In spite of the rows of clucking hens on the right who squawk at anything and everything the President does – or doesn’t – do, once again his approach has turned out to be far preferable to the ride ’em cowboy approach of his predecessor. I would remind everyone yet again, that Bush blew 3 trillion dollars and killed hundreds of thousands of people only to create the current situation. Obama may not always be successful in his attempts to protect our interests and seek peace, but perhaps its time we all realized and supported this more reasoned approach.

    1. And people wonder why I don’t bother voting.

  8. fjikes 1 hour ago
    Obama has clear understanding of the history and politics of the middle east..including recent history…clearly he feels a limited hands off approach is ideal for America…and i think most of the world,Americas allies and public are war weary enough to agree with him …Hillary and the neo-cons are as ever agenda driven…selfishly so…Obama has pulled the US out of Iraq…i pray has the courage to keep them out…

    1. Obama has clear understanding of the history and politics of the middle east

      citation needed


        1. Knowing more about the Middle East than Bush Jr is no intellectual feat.

          1. It’s also not shown that Obo has risen to that pathetic level.

    2. Why do this? Why build up this fictional construct? Obama and his appointees couldn’t be more obviously incompetent. And they don’t have a strategy they can articulate, let alone execute.

      Lowering your standards is a bad idea in almost any situation, but especially when judging the performance of people with absurd power. The absurd power is the main problem, but letting them behave like dishonest morons without consequence is stupid, too.

      1. You shut your whore mouth, Valerie Jarrett is a genius… A GENIUS

  9. Progrssive-guy 2 hours ago
    Obama’s war in in Iraq? Total hogwash. A dozen bombing sorties does not constitute a war. And IS is a pretty awful bunch that needs to be destroyed. Providing support for Iraq to accomplish that is something I am completely fine with.

    1. There was a pretty article up at CafeHayek the other day talking about how the rhetoric has all changed.

      Foreign military involvement is never referred to as a “war”, it’s always “kinetic action”, “humanitarian intervention”, or “establishing democracy”.

      Contrast that with all the “wars” we have domestically – war on drugs, the war on terror, the war on poverty, etc.

      There’s a pretty good meme floating around out there that says, “Well, we declared war on drugs and poverty and they’re flourishing. Maybe we should declare a war on jobs next, and the unemployment rate will go down…”

    2. The people being blown up by American bombs will be pleased to know that the US is not at war with them.

    3. So Israel and Hamas are not at war either, right? They’re just lobbing a few bombs at each other, that’s all.

    4. A dozen bombing sorties does not constitute a war.

      -1 Pearl Harbor

    5. Next up, bombing sorties in Missouri.

      1. Missouri, Mosul, hmmm…

    6. Killing people and taking sides in a conflict is involving yourself in a war. That’s one of the reasons a president shouldn’t be able to unilaterally act except in the limited case of repelling direct attacks.

      1. It’s only a war if you let the other guys shoot back.

        1. Call me hopelessly primitive and unsophisticated, but, at a minimum, if someone is going to make people hate me because of my nationality, I’d at least like my representatives in Congress to agree that there’s a good reason for doing that.

          1. you are hopelessly primitive and unsophisticated, that’s why the TOP MEN have selflessly taken it upon themselves to go around killing people in your name.

  10. Iraq seems to me to have a similar dynamic as the world wars. The consequences from an idiotic, wholly unnecessary intervention by the US has in turn, created a situation which is much more compelling that intervention to stop disgusting acts is necessary.

    1. We’re all reaping the fruits of the Sykes Picot Agreement

      1. Well, general, I will leave you. Major Lawrence doubtless has reports to make……about my people and their weakness……and the need to keep them in the British interest. And the French interest too. We must not forget the French.

        I told you, no such treaty exists.

        Yes, general, you have lied most bravely, but not convincingly. I know this treaty does exist.

        Treaty, sir?

        He does it better than you, general. But then, of course, he is almost an Arab.

        You really don’t know? Then what the devil’s this?

        It’s my request for release from Arabia, sir.

        Why? Are you sure you haven’t heard of the Sykes-Picot Treaty?

        No.- I can guess.

        – Don’t guess. Tell him.

        Well, now… Mr. Sykes is as English civil servant. Monsieur Picot is a French civil servant. Mr. Sykes and Monsieur Picot met, and they agreed that after the war……France and England should share the Turkish Empire. Including Arabia. They signed an agreement, not a treaty, sir. An agreement to that effect.

        There may be honour among thieves, but there’s none in politicians.

        And let’s have no displays of indignation. You may not have known,
        but you certainly had suspicions.
        If we’ve told lies, you’ve told half-lies. And a man who tells lies, like me,
        merely hides the truth. But a man who tells half-lies has forgotten where he put it.

  11. Obama is smart and he has a name that sounds like their names. So his war in Iraq will be successful. Unlike Chimpy McBushitler who is stupid, old and white.

  12. Obama’s new war in Iraq will be a disaster because its being run by an idiot. It doesn’t matter how ill- or well-advised it might be; the outcome is inevitable because of who is in charge.

  13. Wasn’t Obama saying, just last week, that there will be no troops sent to Iraq? Didn’t he say this almost a dozen times already?

    I’m sure we can take his word that this will be a limited dedployment.

    1. According to Tony, 20 times bitten, shy the next time there’s a GOP prez.

    2. Memory is an artificial construct used to advance the interests of white corporations and their hegemony.

      1. And patriarchy.

  14. The Democrat-run State Media will ensure this war will be a success. Even if it results in the deaths of every American in the region.

  15. I know that noninterventionists want all interventions to be a fiasco, but that doesn’t make it so. A bombing campaign to limit the spread of ISIS into Kurdistan and arms shipments to Kurdistan are smart, cheap moves.

    1. Troops OTOH are just a bad idea.

    2. That was exactly how we got involved in Vietnam guy. First we sent in the aircraft, then the men to protect the aircraft, then the men go after the snipers who attack the men who protect the aircraft, then the men to search for the supply caches of the forces who support the snipers who attack the men who protect the aircraft. And before you know it we are invading Cambodia

      1. not smart or cheap

  16. It is very disappointing to see the US going back to fight in Iraq. I thought the Kurds could handle the ISIS. Obama is playing a dangerous game here – expecting to go in and get out quick. But that is not how the leviathan MIC works. They want perpetual war. The MIC is much more dangerous to the US than the ISIS. The pentagon militarists victimize the taxpayers mercilessly.

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