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John McCain: Iraq War 'Can't Be Judged as Anything Other Than a Mistake'

"I have to accept my share of the blame for it," the ailing senator writes in a new book, even while defending several other interventions and surges.

||| Simon & SchusterSimon & SchusterSen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), arguably the most influential post-Cold War hawk to never have worked inside the White House, makes a startling admission on page 107 of his soon-to-be-released book, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations.

"The principal reason for invading Iraq, that Saddam had WMD, was wrong," McCain writes along with co-author Mark Salter. "The war, with its cost in lives and treasure and security, can't be judged as anything other than a mistake, a very serious one, and I have to accept my share of the blame for it."

This marks a departure from McCain's historical stances on whether the war was justified. In his speech after wrapping up the GOP presidential nomination in March 2008—long after the lack of weapons of mass destruction was well established—McCain insisted that "I will defend the decision to destroy Saddam Hussein's regime as I criticized the failed tactics that were employed for too long to establish the conditions that will allow us to leave that country with our country's interests secure and our honor intact."

McCain spent most of the 2007-2008 election cycle focusing not on the original decision to go to war, but on President George W. Bush's unpopular counter-insurgency "surge" of U.S. troops, which the senator had been advocating for years. "The next president of the United States is not going to have to address the issue as to whether we went into Iraq or not," McCain said at his first debate with Barack Obama. "The next president of the United States is going to have to decide how we leave, when we leave, and what we leave behind." (Obama's counter: "John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007…[A]t the time when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shiite and Sunni. And you were wrong.")

McCain's 2007 book Hard Call: Great Decisions and the Extraordinary People Who Made Them, rather than address the hard call to overthrow Saddam Hussein, limited that discussion to a single passage that was concerned chiefly with the consequences of faulty intelligence: "Leave aside the question of whether we would have invaded had we known the true state of his weapons programs: some have argued we shouldn't have; others, myself included, argued that Saddam still posed a threat that was best to address sooner rather than later."

As of 2013, the senator had moved to a more neutral position about the war's origins, while maintaining his usual position that things would be going a lot better if the U.S. maintained a more robust military presence in the region. "Was Saddam Hussein a long-term threat to the United States and his neighbors? Of course," he told the Arizona Republic then. "Was that justification to go to war? It's very difficult to assess that. But the tragedy of Iraq is that we had it won, thanks to the surge that began with David Petraeus in 2007, but this administration willfully arranged it so that there was no residual force left behind, and we are now seeing the unraveling of Iraq."

McCain's insistence that "every public official involved" in the decision to attack Iraq "has to accept responsibility for it" appears to be new, at least according to an initial search of public statements and my old files. But the maverick's enthusiasm for military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria has remained remarkably undimmed.

"All we can say for certain," he concludes in that section of the book, "is that Iraq still has a difficult road to walk, but another opportunity to progress toward that hopeful vision of a democratic, independent nation that's learned to accommodate its sectarian differences, which generations of Iraqis have suffered without and hundreds of thousands of Americans risked everything for." Such language could be cut-and-pasted from McCain speeches of more than a decade ago.

On Afghanistan, too, the senator's policy and rhetoric are almost wearingly familiar, and seemingly unaltered by the disappointing results of previous applications. "If you're going to commit American lives to a conflict, you must give them a mission they can win and the support they need to do it," he writes, sidestepping the original road not taken of declaring "mission accomplished" after overthrowing the Taliban regime. Instead, there's this update on his previous 50-100 years formulation:

The way to shorten a war is to make clear to the enemy you're going to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to defeat them. The Afghanistan war has lasted more than sixteen years. It seems paradoxical to suggest that we can only win by committing to stay indefinitely, but that is the reality.

Thus McCain demonstrates one of the most fatal flaws of hawk-logic: It rarely takes into account the real-world constraints of American public opinion. Voter fatigue with never-ending war and perilous troop-deployment is part of the reason John McCain never made it to the White House, while such initial longshots as Barack Obama and Donald Trump did.

Having presidents less eager to use the military might make for frustrated political ambitions and poor policy outcomes, but it also provides an ever-ready excuse for when the interventions McCain champion turn out disastrous, as in Libya. "The U.S. and Europe, having intervened to change the regime, disengaged from the urgent, complex task of transforming a terrorized nation into a functioning civil society, of helping Libyans build national institutions where none existed," he complains. Yet despite all evidence that post-dictatorial, multi-sectarian, majority-Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa are not exactly promising candidates for America-led liberalism, McCain still believes: "There are many who still have faith they are capable of building a modern democracy. I do, too. I have met them, and been inspired by them, and believe in them. They need other Libyans to believe in their future, too, and assistance from the West to help them build it."

Then, after having lamented the lawless chaos of post-intervention Libya, McCain on literally the next page of his book agitates for a vigorous bombing campaign against Syria. There are rarely unintended consequences in these considerations, just insufficient resolve.

For someone whose entire lifespan, and those of his father and grandfather (and plenty of relatives besides, including two sons), has been marked by the fateful decisions of whether to go to war, McCain remains to his last days fascinatingly incurious about the implications of being wrong. As I wrote in a 2007 review of Hard Call:

Winston Churchill's pre–World War I conversion of the British navy from coal-fueled engines to oil is lauded. But once World War I is under way and he establishes a disastrous record in the Dardanelles campaign and on the shores of Gallipoli, we get only this: "I think Churchill was made a scapegoat for the mistakes and irresolution of others. But that is not a universal opinion and is perhaps best left for another book." As for the lasting geopolitical necessities brought on by the U.K.'s sudden and massive thirst for oil, which was at least partly responsible for the way Churchill drew the map of the modern Middle East, McCain is silent. [...]

This pattern is repeated in McCain's other books and public utterances. In his 1999 memoir Faith of My Fathers, he describes his grandfather's time patrolling the Philippines during the long and bloody insurrection there as a Tom Sawyer–like adventure of swimming and fishing. He mentions that critics considered the 1965 invasion of the Dominican Republic, which his father commanded, "an unlawful intervention" (and "with good reason"), but there the inquiry ends.

Nowhere is this historical incuriosity more evident than in McCain's public discussion of the conflict that concerns him most: Vietnam. When National Public Radio interviewer Terry Gross asked the senator in 2000 whether he would have still wanted to go to Vietnam had he known what he'd learned after coming home, McCain replied, improbably, "That question has never been asked of me before." [...]

The biggest hint of any sort of intellectual exploration regarding Vietnam came in McCain's nine-month stint at what was then called the National War College in 1973–74. There, McCain wrote in an introduction to a recent edition of David Halberstam's history The Best and the Brightest, he "arranged sort of a private tutorial on the war, choosing all the texts myself, in the hope that I might better understand how we came to be involved in the war and why, after paying such a terrible cost, we lost." The results of McCain's Vietnam studies, therefore, have been of particular interest to those trying to pin down his evolution on questions of intervention, particularly during the time he was transitioning from orders-taking soldier to orders-giving civilian.

But McCain's April 1974 research paper, recently released after a Freedom of Information Act request, has absolutely nothing to do with how we got into Vietnam.

(That last tale is told here.)

Having McCain call the Iraq War a "mistake," and owning up to his responsibility for it, is certainly a welcome if belated tonic in our low age. The next step, for those who have shared the man's hawkishness, is to ruthlessly self-examine the aggressive mindset that not only led to the original errors, but arguably compounded them afterward. There are, at long last, limits to the applications of American power. Some waves would be better off a little less restless.

Photo Credit: Matt Welch

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  • Robert||

    At this point, what difference does it make?

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    He's hoping Jebus won't judge him too harshly in the afterlife.

  • Mark22||

    I suspect that train left the station long ago.

  • MoreFreedom||

    McCain has a brain addled via cancer, chemo and radiation. While some would like to believe he's changed his mind after decades of being a war hawk happy to overthrow any perceived enemy, people should just ignore him now. I say this as someone who's never cared for him or his rent-seeking wife who owns a business where government restricts her competition ensuring her millions in unjust profits.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    His inheritors will get more royalties for 90 years after he dies.

  • Flinch||

    Not only that, but if I want tonic... there will be gin.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    McCain's insistence that "every public official involved" in the decision to attack Iraq "has to accept responsibility for it"

    OMG leave Hillary alone! Fine, she voted Yes on the Iraq resolution when she was in the Senate. That's only because George W. Bush tricked her with falsified intelligence.

    #StillWithHer

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Hillary and her supporters, the easiliest tricked group on earth. Fact.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    "easiliest" Not sure that's an English word but it should be goddamit!

  • Flinch||

    Very good. Chalk that up right next to "misunderestimate" and "nucular"?

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Hillary's only "flaw" was in being too willing to trust that the President of the United States would not manipulate intelligence to launch a war and enrich Halliburton. She was not the only Senate Democrat who got fooled.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    The first step is to admit you have a problem. Here you have admitted Hillary actually does have one flaw, even though you put it in scare quotes. That's a first baby step at least.

    Congratulations!

  • Mark22||

    Hillary's only "flaw" was in being too willing to trust that the President of the United States

    So you are saying that Hillary could be bamboozled by someone as foolish and stupid as Bush. Now imagine what kind of damage Hillary did when negotiating as SoS with foreign leaders, and how much more damage she would have done if she had negotiated with foreign leaders as president.

    Thanks for making it so crystal clear that Hillary was completely incompetent at her jobs.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Mark, it's well known that W. Is simultaneously the dumbest piece of shit ever, and also the worlds most diabolical mega genius super villain.

  • stuartl||

    We already knew She was incompetent; She couldn't understand classification markings. What does that TS mean anyway?

  • DenverJ||

    Bullshit. HRC is a card carrying neo-conservative, squarely in the world police camp.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    If she were resident, we would likely be well on our way to a some proxy war with Russia.

  • Agammamon||

    I'm not sure what you guys think is going on here. You know OBL is a troll of the Colbert model, right? He's occassionally funny but still a troll. Stop engaging him as if he were serious.

  • Sevo||

    "You know OBL is a troll of the Colbert model, right?"
    That's my take; I remain pretty certain it's commie-kid who got sick of having his hat handed to him and adopted this sock to get undeserved comfort rather than being constantly asked about his mortgage.

  • Jesse Walker||

    You know OBL is a troll of the Colbert model, right?

    It's a little depressing how many people do not pick this up immediately.

  • Kochtopussy||

    You know OBL is a troll of the Colbert model, right?

    Is that why he bombed the Twin Towers?

  • Ecoli||

    Awesome troll work. Your best effort so far!

    By the way, did you notice that Hillary is now carrying her email server on her back? It requires her to wear a long coat and heavy scarf, which is unseasonably warm at this time of year, but that is a small price to pay for the extra security.

  • Widhalm19||

    Are you really that stupid or just pretending to be?

  • Widhalm19||

    Are you really that stupid or just pretending to be?

  • stuartl||

    Yes he is

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    OpenBordersLiberal-tarian That's an oxymoron. You can't favor Open Borders and claim to be a liberal-tarian. A liberal, no problem. Liberals favor expanding the welfare state and importing voters in favor of expanding the welfare state. Libertarian, not exactly. Importing welfare-dependent cheap labor which then votes for more welfare (along with racial quotas, higher taxes, more crime, etc.) is about as anti-libertarian as you can get.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    OBL, good news. There is a company (non-profit of course) coming out with a line of HRC style pamtsuits.....FOR MEN! Now you can show how woke you are and your complete submission to Hillary, and fourth wave feminism, through fashion! There's even going to be matching accessories, like both pink and non-pink pussy ears.

    Now you can virtue signal to anyone who lays eyes on you without saying a single word. Everyone will know how progressive you are, and that you have your mind right.

  • Flinch||

    You left out the no-bid contracts Feinstein landed, OBL.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Well, and Obama always learned everything from the newspapers after the fact.

  • Nige||

    Yeah! I mean, you have to kind of trample over every single Republican who wasn't in on the murderous scam and all the stupid Republican voters, but sure, when you get that far, she's the stupidliest!

  • Mr. Gus||

    How fucking dare anyone out there make fun of Hillary after all she has been through!

    She lost her election, she went through a position as Secretary of State. She had a fuckin' kid.

    Her husband turned out to be a user, a cheater, and now she's going through an inability to accept retirement. All you people care about is readers and making money off of her.

    SHE'S A HUMAN! (ah! ooh!) What you don't realize is that Hillary is making you all this money and all you do is write a bunch of crap about her.

    She hasn't performed on stage in years. Her campaign is called "stronger together" for a reason because all you people want is for her to be WEAK! WEAK-WEAK, WEAK: WEAK!

    LEAVE HER ALONE! You are lucky she even ran for you BASTARDS! LEAVE HILLARY ALONE! Please.

    Donald Trump talked about professionalism and said if Hillary was a professional she would've pulled it off no matter what.

    Speaking of professionalism, when is it professional to publicly bash someone who is going through a hard time.

    Leave Hillary alone please!

    Leave Hillary Clinton alone! Right now! I mean it!

    Anyone that has a problem with her you deal with me, because she is not well right now.

    LEAVE HER ALONE!

  • Shirley Knott||

    Shunning does seem like the best approach.
    IOW, treat her like the semi-ambulatory toxic waste dump she is.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    She's a human? I'm gonna need to see some proof of that.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Hillary has no soul. Although if she once had one and sold it to be president she should sue for breach of contract.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    She is president...of her knitting club! She didn't read the fine print.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Sounds like a Crossroads Crowley deal.

  • Widhalm19||

    Get over yourself honey. HRC is and was a loser from the get go. Sorry if you are too stupid to realize that fact.

  • Don't look at me.||

    IT WAS HER TURN!

  • Flinch||

    If she would leave us alone, reciprocating would be easy. Go back to Bills first term and look at her healthcare proposal. If I dared pay my doctor in a 'fee for service' arrangment, she was going to offer one of two choices to that doctor: drop all medicare/medicaid patients [I forget which was specified] or GO TO JAIL. Net result? A doctor with a mortage, family, and maybe a student loan was going to be removed from being available to those in the most need. So much for being the party of the "little guy". Fast forward to State, and she's giving away our uranium for foundation contributions with Kerry acting as the bag man to deliver our tax dollars to Iran KNOWING the cash would underwrite international terrorism, and conveniently... the mullahs had enough to buy freed up uranium stockpiles from the deal. Would it take your backyard being turned into glass to note you are being assaulted, and with your own tax dollars? I never want this woman anywhere a position of public trust for the remainder of her days - she's a threat to humanity.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    No, Biden and Daschle urged Bill Clinton to invade Iraq because of WMDs in 1998...her vote had nothing to do with Bush's exaggerated claims. Still, in 2002 most Democrats including Hillary didn't support the actual invasion because they urged a larger role for the UN which Bush failed to get involved.

  • Ecoli||

    LOL. Excellent spin.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Lol, you are clueless.

  • Ecoli||

    LOL

    I am totally clued in.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Do you have a raging clue? Are you going to shoot clue goo?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Sure she did.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Trump had the exact same position and Trump believes that position means you opposed the Iraq War.

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    OpenBordersLiberal-tarian That's an oxymoron. You can't favor Open Borders and claim to be a liberal-tarian. A liberal, no problem. Liberals favor expanding the welfare state and importing voters in favor of expanding the welfare state. Libertarian, not exactly. Importing welfare-dependent cheap labor which then votes for more welfare (along with racial quotas, higher taxes, more crime, etc.) is about as anti-libertarian as you can get.

  • stuartl||

    Excellent! I give this a 9 for humor

  • Cy||

    Definitely some Grade A trolling.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    So this asshole's decades of war mongering led to how many horrible painful deaths? But in retrospect it was just a mistake? This deathbed revelation is pathetic, his crimes against humanity can not be forgiven. If there is anything like justice in this life, which I doubt, he will die screaming in agony deprived of morphine thanks to his beloved WOD.

  • SJW Libertarian||

    So now John "Songbird" McCain is now feeling guilty? How many thousands of Americans died because of him? Fuck you to hell, Maverick.

    #HurryUpBrainCancer

  • Cy||

    We invaded a foreign country and killed over 500,000 Iraqis in their own country. That's borderline genocide. I always find it strange everyone only wants to talk about American deaths.

  • JesseAz||

    When someone throws out the 500k number number you know you're dealing with a true idiot.

  • Flinch||

    Like most, I respect McCains military service, but there is zero respect after that. A decade long war on free speech from his perch in the senate yielded so called 'campaign finance reform' and Soros has been pissing in the election pool ever since. As senators go, he has been a constant danger, and the more critical an issue was to the health of the nation, the more likely he was going to jump across the aisle and sing their fight song, while stabbing the nation in the neck. Arizona has been flamboozled for a long time, and... shame on the media there that let him get away with his "pushing back against the liberal agenda" lie. This, after all is a man who admired Mao by some accounts. That's far enough out there, I'd like to know what he thinks a "liberal" really is - I can't think of an example of him really fighting anyone on the left for reasons other than personal animus. We do know that when americans called for some fiscal responsibility and doing something about the lawlessness on our borders, he took the time out to label them as "hobbits". If anything, I would sum McCain as both a prog and a warmonger - that's a very toxic combination.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Come on wingnuts - all together now:

    BUT WHAT ABOUT LIBYA????????

  • Mr. Gus||

    Iraq, Libya, you...all of these were mistakes.

  • BigT||

    Yeah. Obama didn't pull out as promised, leading to catastrophe. Just like Plug's dad.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Hillary lost. It's time to move on.

  • Don't look at me.||

    BUT IT WAS HER TURN!

  • Rev. Arthur Ꮮ. Kirkland||

    That would be the case where, without Congressional authorization, knowing the regime for sure didn't have WMDs, and with the recent example of Iraq to learn from, a US administration engaged in regime change without a plan as to what to do afterward, with the result being bloody chaos and a haven for Islamic extremists?

    Well, let me quote a well-known wingnut on that:

    "[My worst mistake was] [p]robably failing to plan for the day after . . . in intervening in Libya." -- Barack Obama.

  • Sevo||

    "My worst mistake was] [p]robably failing to plan for the day after . . . in intervening in Libya." -- Barack Obama."

    Worse than lying that it was caused by some vid? It seems the hag voters are easily mislead, and here's out new lefty asshole to prove it.

  • Eidde||

    It's a doppleganger with a handle almost identical to the rev.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, now I see the I. faking the L.
    I been socked!

  • Sevo||

    And thanks.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Another one to watch out for. There is a Rev. sock that for some reason has a Serif font L. So the L. is different from the normal. I think that's a pretty clever change.

  • Sevo||

    The twit deserves as money socks as he(?) gets; 'smug' is his only product.

  • Rev. Arthur Ꮮ. Kirkland||

    Specifically, it's a Cherokee tle, and how it appears depends what font is called on to support the Cherokee syllabary by your system.

  • BigT||

    Cultural appropriation!!

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Will the real Arty please stand? Please stand up?

  • JesseAz||

    His library started limiting computer time to the homeless. He's on less and less.

  • damikesc||

    Obama is so off.

    He had way bigger mistakes than that.

    It's difficult to think of many non-mistakes he made.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    What about Viet Nam, What about Kosovo, What about Tokyo, What about Korea? What's your point? You think war is a partisan issue?

  • Flinch||

    Hillary's work on the undeclared 'ring of fire' doctrine destabilizing as much around Israel as possible may be reprehensible [and anti-semitic], but... that's not McCains fault - he wasn't working at state, and most of what Obama did avoided congress anyway. Where are you going with this [other than poking the bear for sport]?

  • Mark22||

    This marks a departure from McCain's historical stances on whether the war was justified.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Only took him 15 years to figure that out.

  • leninsmummy||

    He's irrelevant now.

  • JeremyR||

    And yet, Iraq is more or less a democracy, no longer ruled by a dictator who could (and did) kill his people on a whim. The Kurds, at least in Iraq, are more or less autonomous, no longer needing to worry about being gassed.

    As failures go, it was a pretty beneficial one.

  • DenverJ||

    What? That's stupid.

  • Sevo||

    "What? That's stupid."
    Thought so, too; I've been following other news (and having a life) and sort of missed recent events there:

    "Bergen: The good news from Iraq"
    [...]
    "On Saturday, Iraqis go to the polls to elect their new Parliament and prime minister.
    And the news here is that Iraq -- which only four years ago seemed on the brink of collapse as ISIS's army menaced the Iraqi capital Baghdad -- is in the best shape it has been for years.
    In 2014, ISIS stormed onto the world stage seizing Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, declaring its self-styled "caliphate" there, while the Iraqi military fled in ignominious retreat.
    Last year, ISIS lost Mosul and today its black flags no longer fly over any of Iraq's territory. The group exists now only as a rump terrorist organization, capable of mounting only sporadic attacks in Iraq."
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/11/opinions/the-
    good-news-from-iraq-bergen/index.html

    CNN, so you can be sure it's credited to Obo, but it seems that *only* 17 years of US lives and treasure might have accomplished more that the normal 'UN Peacekeepers Rape Locals'.
    IOWs, no, I'm not willing to police the world; depose your own damn dictators.

  • BigT||

    MAGA!!

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    For China! We have fracking now so Iraq will always be a mistake because it will have benefited China with lower oil prices.

  • Sevo||

    What about Elvis' alien love child, huhn?

  • DenverJ||

    Too little, too late. It's times like this I wish I believed in an afterlife, because this war-mongering fool deserves eternity in hell.

  • Agammamon||

    "The war, with its cost in lives and treasure and security, can't be judged as anything other than a mistake, a very serious one, and I have to accept my share of the blame for it."

    Note that he wasn't willing to accept any blame when he thought he still had a long career ahead of him.

    And, frankly, 'accepting blame' means nothing. There'll be no retribution. There'll be no reparations. He'll take no actions towards making up for the death and suffering he's helped cause (even if he only accepts American deaths and suffering as 'legitimate). He'll suffer no negative consequences while keeping all the benefits he gained from being a relentless war-hawk.

    Fuck him.

  • Sevo||

    "And, frankly, 'accepting blame' means nothing."
    Yeah, like Reno 'accepting responsibility' for the Waco massacre before going out for drinks on Friday evening.

  • BigT||

    Reno and McCain sharing a cage in hell....

    We can dream can't we.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    John MacNamara said the same thing about Vietnam later in life. If he genuinely regrets it, better late than never.

  • Sevo||

    Reno seems to have done nothing of the sort.
    MacNamara would have done better by paying me for years of my life lost fighting his assholishness.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    I'm not saying you should forgive MacNamara, it's not my place to weigh in on that.

    As for Reno, forget her ever feeling remorse for Waco. Or the people she falsely convicted as AG of Florida.

  • damikesc||

    Yeah. As bad as Reno was (and it was really bad), what she did in FL is measures worse.

  • BigT||

    Worse than burning 60 people to death? Please go on...

  • Agammamon||

    No, not better late than never. Not when 'late' just means 'I'm no longer benefiting from doing this immoral act so I'll stop now'. There's no moral change, no character growth, in people who decide, *after it no longer benefits them* to stop being horrible people.

    This is someone being the same monster they were - just socially signalling a different community they wish to take advantage of.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Don't forget about me when I'm dead! Please!

  • Harvard||

    The JMan should have been relegated to the congressional dustbin after Keating. It was only his appeal to the not-yet-crazy luke warm liberals in Arizona that he kept his seat as long as he did. Always the "renegade", even now, at death's door, he'll never consider retiring so the governor can appoint a successor to get a leg up on the next election. Almost amusing to watch him make this feeble attempt at polishing his "legacy".

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen||

    That's exactly why he's waiting. If he resigns or dies before the end of May, there will be a primary election in August and a general election in November. If he waits until June or later, Gov, Ducey appoints someone who will hold the seat until an election in 2020. The R's desperately *don't* want both Senate seats up for election this year for fear the blue wave will sweep two Senate seats into the Democrats' hands. Debbie Lesko just barely won CD8 by five points, in a district that Trump won by >20%, in a district that didn't even bother to have a Democrat run in the last two election cycles. Arizona is now a battleground state.

  • Sevo||

    Did you, by any chance, predict an HRC landslide?

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen||

    Why would you ask that? I'm not a Democrat - I've been a card-carrying Libertarian since 1981. Just calling 'em as I see 'em from here on the ground in AZ, where I am a resident.

  • Sevo||

    "Why would you ask that?"
    Because many who predict a "blue wave sweep" also predicted a landslide for HRC. Did you miss that election?

  • Tony||

    She did win the election by a perfectly comfortable margin. Just not the electoral college, who weren't being polled.

  • damikesc||

    She should be governor of CA. That was her popular vote lead right there.

  • damikesc||

    She should be governor of CA. That was her popular vote lead right there.

  • damikesc||

    She should be governor of CA. That was her popular vote lead right there.

  • Tony||

    And as everyone knows, Californians aren't full people like those astute stewards of enlightened governance in Alabama.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    So she lost. Getting a bunch of extra votes in CA and NY, probably illegals, felons, and the graveyard population, is not how a presidential election is won.

    So fuck you Tony, and have a Trumptastic day.

  • Agammamon||

    So, in other words, she lost the election.

    Because its the Electoral College that counts, not the popular vote. Your 'most qualified candidate ever' (which means Obama himself screwed the country over by not making way for her the first time around) and her team forgot that (or didn't know it) and so ran an incompetent campaign.

    And if she was that incompetent during what is in effect an *interview*, why would we want her in the job?

    Especially when you add in all the other things she 'didn't know' - like how official communications are handled in the USG (where she held multiple positions of authority over multiple years and somehow still didn't know basic administrative procedures).

  • stuartl||

    Procedures are for little people, not royalty.

  • JoeBlow123||

    "Procedures are for little people, not royalty."

    This. See Petraeus, David.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Means nothing, but keep saying it.

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen||

    Whatever. John McCain has had more positions than a Stormy Daniels performance.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    She really only has 3-4 per scene, not counting oral. And she never did a DP.

  • Bearded Spock||

    Whoa. John McCain, flip-flopping his position on an issue in order to curry favor with the Media and Democrats and make himself look good?

    No. Fucking. Way.

  • JoeBlow123||

    Heh. This. Dude loves his adulation in the media even when he torpedoes his own party.

  • miketol||

    John McCain and the rest of the war hawks annoy me because they never seem to learn. Even though McCain is close to admitting that Iraqi Freedom was a big mistake, he would be all for regime change in Iran or Syria.

  • Nardz||

    And I note he's not apologizing for orchestrating a coup in Ukraine that's led to over 4 years of hell there

  • JoeBlow123||

    Yeah he is not at fault for that. That would be Putin.

  • ||

    And yet there that democratic government stands along with substantial majorities of Iraqis reporting they believe the invasion was worth it in perpetual rebuttal to the foolish, self-affirming notion that the Iraq War did no good.

    It is remarkable how much politics is a persistent exercise in ego.

    Including among libertarians who, typically, bring more humility to the political table.

    A more humble question in the face of those fairly stark facts would be to ask oneself, "Is it possible I might be wrong?"

    Certainly would be more honest.❤️

  • TGoodchild||

    "Our low age"

    Eh, what? The human condition continues its upward trajectory. Clinton lost, get over it.

  • ||

    I have to accept my share of the blame for it.

    What a pathetic attempt at conscience easing. I am sure he confessed to his wife of a few marital indiscretions as well. Who cares about the mess in his wake, at least he sleeps well for his last few nights on earth. Has this scumbag ever been on the right side of an issue?

  • Agammamon||

    Torture.

  • Widhalm19||

    Well ... for once I agree with the old turd. Yes, the Iraq War was an idiotic mistake fought for the good of US corporations. Thank you for admitting your senility and idiocy you stupid f*ck.

  • Widhalm19||

    Well ... for once I agree with the old turd. Yes, the Iraq War was an idiotic mistake fought for the good of US corporations. Thank you for admitting your senility and idiocy you stupid f*ck.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    No, it was fought to liberate Iraq's oil from Saddam to benefit the global middle class. Oil is the most important commodity in the world and the Financial Meltdown was caused by a lack of oil production because the war was a failure. Once fracking started increasing supply the global middle class started expanding again. The Bush family has a long history of trying to benefit billions of people overseas at the expense of millions here.

  • Sevo||

    Nice tin-foil hat.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Gullible people that lap up fake news like you suck.

  • BigT||

    It's satire, obv.

  • Seamus||

    Except that Saddam would have been happy to sell it to us. How is the global middle class any better off buying it from those Iranian allies that are in charge in Baghdad now?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    No, we had sanctions on Iraq which prevented them from maximizing oil production. Iraq was seriously underproducing because of Saddam's mismanagement. In 2001 the leaders of the oil industry believed in some notion of "peak oil" and Lee Raymond dismissed fracking out of hand. The only place oil industry leaders believed could satisfy increasing global demand for oil was Iraq which is why it was necessary to remove Saddam sooner rather than later. Think about it—a big reason Saddam was neatured was because oil was cheap during the 1990s and that was about to change because China was going to BOOM! If oil was expensive Saddam would grow more powerful.

  • Agammamon||

    You don't understand what 'fungible commodity' means,

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Yes I do, the global oil price is based on global demand and global supply. From 2001-2008 supply plateaued while demand soared while every other major commodity also saw increased demand BUT which increased supply.

    Do you have a theory why the production of the most important commodity plateaued from 2001-2008??

  • Agammamon||

    1. Its irrelevant. No matter how you spin it, it makes no sense for anyone to spend 150 trillion to seize a trillion dollars of product. Even if oil were as essential as you claim - its not - we would still have been better, to the tune of a hundred trillion or so - if we had done nothing.

    2. The *US* had embargo. No one else did. So they sell oil to one of the countries that will buy it. Then Russia/Venezuela/Saudi Arabia/etc sell their oil to the US. Embargoing a single oil-producing country does nothing without a concomitant blockade.

    4. Iraq is only a medium level oil producer - which is why Hussein went after the Kuwaiti oil fields in the first place. The *complete loss* of the Iraqi oilfields would have been a blip on the global economy.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    1. Obviously the Iraq War was not supposed to cost nearly as much as it ended costing.

    2. Sanctions prevented investment in oil production.

    4. Iraq has the potential to be the 3rd biggest producer and in 2002 before fracking for oil Iraq had the potential to be the second biggest producer.

  • BigT||

    " The only place oil industry leaders believed could satisfy increasing global demand for oil was Iraq which is why it was necessary to remove Saddam sooner rather than later. "

    Sure. Oil production always booms in a war zone!

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Wow, you are really dumb! Bush and Cheney didn't think the fighting would last long.

  • Tony||

    So I gather from the comments that Hillary Clinton is almost solely responsible for the Iraq War. Not the president and vice president who agitated for it or the party that champions it, with exceptions, to this day. Hillary Clinton. And we wonder how we dupe ourselves into ridiculous wars.

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    Hillary didn't launch the second Iraq war. That would be Bush, McCain, and Cheney. However, she voted for it. Bush and Cheney are long gone, discredited in countless ways. Hillary is still around, loudly proclaiming her moral superiority over all. That makes her a legitimate target.

  • Tony||

    She's exactly as "still around" as Bush and Cheney. And she's not the one saying how great torture is.

    This attempt to lay the entire blame for that war at her feet is as nauseating as it is audacious. Of course you idiots eat it up. Let no Republican go without the affirmative action of low expectations.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Trump and his sycophants are responsible for this strange fake news inspired 180. So prior to Trump the typical Republican believed the Iraq War was a success that Obama squandered. Now the typical Trump supporter thinks it was a mistake that Hillary got us into.

    The reality is Trump was a Hillary supporter in 2002 and he had the same position as her—invade but only with UN approval and a broad coalition with actual troops from those nations.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    We never tortured anyone you palsied buggerer of schoolboys. Sleep deprivation being made to stand for long periods of time, and having no water poured over your face aren't torture. I mean, maybe it is to a soft little pussy progressive like you Tony. But to the rest of us torture, is being bull whipped, beaten, electrocuted, burned, having one's fingernails pulled out with pliers, etc..

    But then, you're a progressive, you're with the terrorists. You think you can do opt them into some kind of scheme to spread your Marxism and strangle more of our freedoms through your evil master HRC.

    By the way, the democrats ere fully on board with all the things you cry about here. Nancy Pelosi was present with W. When they were briefed on the enhanced interrogation program and its particulars. She didn't say shit until you rank and file pussies whined and cried about it. Just like HRC was on board with the war until it became unpopular.

    Now,that I've straightened you out (no pun intended, as I'm sure you're still full on boy hungry chickenhawk), go drink your Drano.

    Note: brand name Drano may be substituted with any industrial strength drain cleaner.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "We never tortured anyone you palsied buggerer of schoolboys. Sleep deprivation being made to stand for long periods of time, and having no water poured over your face aren't torture. "

    This is morally pathetic.

    Never mind that the government is prohibited from doing this by both the Fifth and Eighth Amendments (and anyone who advocates doing something like that and then turns around and claims everyone else should support their First and Second Amendment rights is a disgusting hypocrite).

    No, we can just stick with the basics. If a psychopath is someone without empathy, then you're a psychopath. I feel sorry for your friends and family. I'd mention your coworkers, but it's hard to imagine that someone so quick to psychopathic rationalizations could hold a job for long.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    The government isn't prohibited from playing "mind games" on evil people to get them to tell the truth. People like you that feign moral outrage at the people trying to protect you are what is "pathetic".

  • Ken Shultz||

    Don't violate the Constitution to protect me. The government's legitimate job is to protect the Constitution.

    I also don't want them to violate the Fifth Amendment rights of child molesters, rapists, arsonists, or Nickleback. Don't need that kind of protection. If they're perpetrating injustice to save me from criminals, then who's going to protect us from them?

    Anyone who advocates violating the Constitution to protect our rights is necessarily a shithead.

    P.S. And anyone who defends torturing people from a constitutional or ethical perspective is a moral defective.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    We torture all of those people after they are convicted if they are confined to solitary.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Does the term tu quoque mean anything to you?

    Because we're wrong about one thing, it's okay to be wrong about everything else, too?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Where is your "outrage" at Obama and Holder for not giving KSM a trial while keeping him in solitary for 8 years?? And how is that NOT worse than water boarding him??

  • Ken Shultz||

    You're running around with these bizarre goalposts, only stopping to trip over other fallacies . . .

    Suggesting that I don't oppose Obama or Holder violating people's constitutional rights because I also oppose torture is a bizarre conclusion. I guess this came from voices in your head--it certainly doesn't have anything to do with anything I've written.

    . . . it's almost as bad as the weirdo below that apparently thinks torturing people and violating the Constitution--is the way to stop Muslims from throwing people off of rooftops?

    From one display of bizarre thinking to another.

  • BigT||

    If we did it to our own troops for training, it ain't torture. That's the best definition I've ever heard.

  • Agammamon||

    That's a stupid definition.

    We do it to our own troops - and its not routine, only for certain troops - TO PREPARE THEM FOR SITUATIONS WHERE THEY MAY BE TORTURED WHILE IN CAPTIVITY.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    You exhibit a total lack of empathy very similar to a sociopath. People have had to make difficult decisions since 9/11 including Bush and Obama and the men and women that served under them. Maybe you should try giving them a break because their heart was in the right place trying to protect fellow Americans...you have hate in your heart and you need to move on with your life.

  • Agammamon||

    Maybe you should try giving them a break because their heart was in the right place trying to protect fellow Americans

    Fuck you. Those people created the very fucking situation that they're using to justify putting a gun to my head to force me to obey them in order for them to 'protect me'. Fuck you and fuck them. If they can't get it right then they need to get the fuck out. Period.

    There was never any reason for us to dick around in the ME beyond bombing the hell out of the Taliban. There was never a legitimate reason to go into Iraq. There certainly isn't one to justifiy having stayed in Afghanistan for a decade and a half.

    Apologism just allows these people to destroy lives - millions of them - in order to fuel a bunch of power-hungry sociopaths. And those are the people you want us to give a pass to?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    I am saying give the interrogators a break and give Obama a break for not giving KSM due process while holding him in solitary.

    I always opposed the Iraq War and even lost a job opportunity for voicing my opinion. Btw, my position was exactly the same as Trump's with respect to the Iraq War and I guarantee the a-hole that ended the job interview after I expressed my opinion after he asked my opinion ended up being a huge Trump supporter.

  • Agammamon||

    Government doesn't know who is or is not evil - they do mind games on everyone in order to secure a conviction.

    There's a massive difference between that and you're view of government.

  • Tony||

    So you are praising Democrats for being in favor of torture? Or is torture bad only when Democrats support it?

    My entire political identity was formed by the horrors of the Bush administration. Do you even have political beliefs, or are you content just cheering for Team Shirts as they drag decency and civilization into dust?

  • Agammamon||

    'Horrors of the Bush Administration'.

    You have lived a sheltered life.

  • Agammamon||

    So, you'd be ok if the cops did this to people?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Somehow the right to remain silent and prohibiting the government to inflict cruel and unusual punishment are divorced from their reality on this.

    It's basically principals over principles all over again.

    Scumbag progressives don't care about the Second Amendment rights of rednecks and the First Amendment rights of Christians because they hate rednecks and Christians.

    Scumbag necons don't care about the constitution or our rights because they're cowards--and they're afraid of and hate terrorists.

    In both cases, the principles of our rights existing regardless of whether the government violates them and the Constitution being the highest law of the land gets sold short because of their hatred of and cowardice towards principals.

    Fuck both of them. They're both traitors to the Constitution.

  • JoeBlow123||

    "Fuck both of them. They're both traitors to the Constitution."

    Honest question. How do you propose to deal with individuals who strap bombs to women and children, who kidnap anyone so they can saw their heads off in a brutal fashion, who throw gays and ethnic minorities off buildings and film it. And they are not declared combatants in an legal sense.

    I personally do not lose too much sleep worrying about the fates of murderers.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Honest question. How do you propose to deal with individuals who strap bombs to women and children, who kidnap anyone so they can saw their heads off in a brutal fashion, who throw gays and ethnic minorities off buildings and film it. And they are not declared combatants in an legal sense."

    If you think this is a serious problem in the United States, then you should definitely go see a psychiatrist.

    How do you propose we deal with cowardly Americans who would betray the Constitution and sell our rights short because of their irrational fears?

  • JoeBlow123||

    "If you think this is a serious problem in the United States, then you should definitely go see a psychiatrist."

    What I was describing was pretty much a daily occurrence in Iraq and/or Afghanistan over the past few years. These are the people who these methods are predominately used on, overseas cutthroats who are not Americans.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "What I was describing was pretty much a daily occurrence in Iraq and/or Afghanistan over the past few years. These are the people who these methods are predominately used on, overseas cutthroats who are not Americans."

    And you imagine that torturing people is somehow the solution?

    That's insane.

  • Agammamon||

    'declared combatant'? They've declared themselves combatant. The reason this is 'important' is because the *state* wishes to maintain the fiction that it is the only one that can legitimately use violence against others. The US has never had much of a problem with atrocities committed by troops of foreign governments - its when these dudes started working for themselves that our better freaked.

    And you deal with them the same way as you deal with anyone else - either their criminals or soldiers. In you example the difference is moot - they'll be shot when discovered committing those acts anyway. Hell, the cops will shoot you for jaywalking.

    You don't worry about the fates of murderers? Sure. But you assuage your conscience by, *in this particular arena*, assuming the government knows what its doing and is doing well. Something a libertarian doesn't assume with any other government activity. Something which an unbiased review of government action shows that the government continually fails to do in every other arena. But here they're competent?

    Or re you saying that the ruining the lives of a few innocent people is worth it? Because they're foreigners? Because you don't know them? Because you don't think it will ever happen to you?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Btw, over 75% of Americans would support enhanced interrogation of a child molester who had a child locked up and wouldn't tell the cops where the child is.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Are you under the impression that our rights are subject to a popularity contest?

    Are you like 14 years old or something? Maybe you're from some other country?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Not that it matters, but I dare you to link to something showing that 75% of Americans approve of torturing anybody I think you just made that number up.

    I don't suppose that should surprise me. Anyone who's so immoral that they'd approve of torturing people because they're scared of irrational stuff, probably has no problem just making shit up. Advocating for torture is much worse than making up shit, and if you're going to advocate for torture, it's better if you just make shit up, really.

    Otherwise, people might take you seriously.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Wow, you are a dumb one...we have something called "due process" in this country and down the line every American would cheer the cop that "tortured" the information out of the pedophile.

    You are extremely stupid but I will try to help you out. When you refer to "torture" what you are actually referring to is "torture" that results in confessions (true or false) which is anathema to American values.

    So the context of this discussion is that high level AQ operatives can be killed in foreign countries by presidential decree so getting information out of high level AQ operatives that are not Americans should obviously include enhanced interrogation. The only reason I don't support cutting their fingers off to get information is because it would be counterproductive to the goal of protecting Americans in light of the international "outrage" that would ensue.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Wow, you are a dumb one...we have something called "due process" in this country and down the line every American would cheer the cop that "tortured" the information out of the pedophile."

    In all seriousness, your assumptions about how others want to see people tortured may be pathological, and you should definitely get that checked out by a professional. I assure you, there are plenty of people who don't want to see anyone tortured. Tell the psychiatrist that you assume everybody wants to see bad people tortured, and just see what they have to say.

    "High level AQ operatives can be killed in foreign countries by presidential decree so getting information out of high level AQ operatives that are not Americans should obviously include enhanced interrogation.

    This reasoning makes no sense to anyone but you, and calling torture "enhanced interrogation" changes nothing.

    "The only reason I don't support cutting their fingers off to get information is because it would be counterproductive to the goal of protecting Americans in light of the international "outrage" that would ensue."

    Yeah, the inability to empathize with others + no moral compass at all--only seeing suffering in terms of how its benefits you, etc. These are the things people are talking about when they're talking about psychopaths.

    You're a fuckin' nutjob.

  • JoeBlow123||

    I ask again, what is our moral obligation to individuals who strap bombs to children and blow themselves up inside busy markets? Do we have one?

  • Ken Shultz||

    And I'll' say again, the Eighth Amendment doesn't extend rights to people they wouldn't have otherwise. The Eighth Amendment prohibit the government from doing things.

    "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

    ----Eighth Amendment

    The Fifth Amendment does likewise. It prohibits the government from compelling people to be a witness against themselves.

    Your suggestion that the government can violate the Fifth and Eighth Amendments and do so in harmony with the Constitution has no basis in reality--and it's the very stuff that authoritarianism is made of. The idea that people's rights only need to be respected by the government when it's convenient for the government to do so is pretty much the same thing as the idea that our rights only exist if the government says so. The Constitution merely protects our rights. The rights themselves exist independent of any government.

    Something else that doesn't have any basis in reality is the suggestion that terrorist bombings or throwing people from buildings is somehow prevented by torturing people. That's delusional.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    The CIA employed enhanced interrogation to get information which if it didn't produce results then they would have changed tactics.

  • Agammamon||

    No.

    We have a moral obligation to all the other people to not snatch them up and cage them and torture them. Period.

    The dude with a bomb? Not our problem.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    And you are really stupid. The number of people that actually agree with you is very small but because the liberal media conflated enhanced interrogation with false confessions many Americans knee jerk reacted against the program. We know from the memos released under Obama that the program used the techniques responsibly and ethically and America's reputation was needlessly tarnished by the liberal media and Democrats to win elections in 2006 and 2008.

    And we know that neither Obama nor Holder believed "torture" took place because they did not prosecute anyone unlike Bush with regard to Abu Grahib.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The number of people that actually agree with you is very small but because the liberal media conflated enhanced interrogation with false confessions . . .

    It's hard to tell what you're even talking about.

    Here's the Wikipedia on the issue. Be advised before you go, it contains graphic images of torture, nude prisoners, etc.--and can't be unseen.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.....oner_abuse

    Here's the Schlesinger Report detailing not only how torture came to Abu Ghraib, but reports of precisely what was approved, why it was illegal, etc.

    http://news.findlaw.com/wsj/do.....aibrpt.pdf

  • JoeBlow123||

    "Something else that doesn't have any basis in reality is the suggestion that terrorist bombings or throwing people from buildings is somehow prevented by torturing people. That's delusional."

    I never suggested it is a solution or even a good idea, I simply suggested if these actions occur to avowed murderous thugs who are not Americans and not lawful combatants then I lose no sleep over their fates. In fact it is probably a bad idea to engage in these activities since they just become recruiting tools for these fools to go kill more Americans.

    What I will not do is wring my hands and tear out my hair at the inhumanity of it all. Many of the terrorists / jihadis / revolutionaries / whatever you want to call them deserve nothing less than a swift execution.

    By the way, did you see the news from Surabaya? Mom, dad, two daughters, and two sons simultaneous suicide bombings in churches. Nice people.

  • Agammamon||

    DO you lose sleep over the others we've captured? Or are you going to pretend that - despite US cops and prosecutors constantly railroading innocent people because its easier even though they are both trained investigators and have the time to investigate without being shot at - that the dudes snatching people up don't screw up? That Bashar is guilty because Bazzi said so?

  • JoeBlow123||

    "DO you lose sleep over the others we've captured? Or are you going to pretend that - despite US cops and prosecutors constantly railroading innocent people because its easier even though they are both trained investigators and have the time to investigate without being shot at - that the dudes snatching people up don't screw up? That Bashar is guilty because Bazzi said so?"

    Yes this is indeed a problem and a legitimate concern. In a war zone I am not sure you can do much about this though.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Very few Americans agree with your position that playing mind tricks on foreign high level AQ operatives for information that could save American lives is a bad thing. Almost all Americans agree that we shouldn't torture low level thugs for kicks or false confessions.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "And you are really stupid. The number of people that actually agree with you is very small but because the liberal media conflated enhanced interrogation with false confessions many Americans knee jerk reacted against the program."

    Notice two things:

    1) Underlying assumption that everyone else is as morally depraved as you are.

    2) That what the text of the Fifth and Eighth Amendments say is irrelevant compared to how you interpret it--when the text says what it says regardless of whether you or anyone else believes it.

    All this is laughable. It's just the rationalizations of a depraved mind--based on nothing but your own depravity.

  • Agammamon||

    Bush and Cheney aren't running for President.

  • damikesc||

    "What does John McCain think about any issue" is not a question I tend to ask.

    I'm waiting for Reason to discuss how darned libertarian McCain is.

    Because, to Reason, anti-Trump = libertarian.

    In a few months, they will discuss the libertarian bona fides of Sanders, Harris, and Warren.

  • Seamus||

    Nice of him to say that, but I have to remind myself that the U.S. didn't get involved in quite as many foreign wars as John McCain would have gotten us mixed up in.

  • Ken Shultz||

    This is my favorite link ever:

    "WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists' strike against this country.

    Sixty-nine percent in a Washington Post poll published Saturday said they believe it is likely the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks carried out by al-Qaeda. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe it's likely Saddam was involved."

    ----USA Today, 6 months after we invaded Iraq

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com.....iraq_x.htm

    Much of that is a legacy of the Anthrax attack. People forget what they knew and when they knew it. I don't fault McCain for being taken in by the intelligence. I was as surprised as anyone to learn that the WMD program we were looking for simply wasn't there.

    If no one can get elected president admitting he was fooled, that's on us.

    It's no surprise if John McCain's enthusiasm for the Iraq War evaporated along with the American people's belief that Saddam Hussein was complicit in 9/11. That's what politicians are supposed to do.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Meanwhile, all the reasons that Bush Sr. didn't depose Hussein in 1991 were still valid in 2003, and many of us opposed the Iraq War for those reasons--reasons that were and still are anathema to neocons like John McCain. Welch is right to point out that McCain still hasn't given up that logic in reference to places like Syria. McCain wants to repeat the biggest mistake of Iraq in Syria--which was invading Iraq in the first place.

    That's why he's done everything he can to throw a monkey wrench in Trump's collaborative relationship with Putin.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    I remember in 2003 Fox News had "breaking news" every several days that WMD had POSSIBLY been found! I still don't understand how those very same people believe Trump that Bush lied about WMDs...the only explanation is they must pop a lot of Oxy and their brains must be fried!

  • JoeBlow123||

    "Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists' strike against this country."

    Immaterial. Regular people were not privy to the intelligence that led to the government convincing us war was necessary. The only fuckup the American people made was trusting shitbags like Bush and Cheney and our intelligence agencies.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    That ignores the fact Biden and Daschle and Gore all were privy to intelligence prior to the Bush administration that said Saddam had chemical and biological weapons. The invasion was morally justified but it was still a stupid thing to do because Americans shouldn't try to help foreigners that are uneducated and violent.

  • Agammamon||

    The invasion was morally justified but it was still a stupid thing to do because Americans shouldn't try to help foreigners that are uneducated and violent.

    How was it morally justified?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Seriously?? Saddam was an evil dictator that was squandering his people's oil wealth. He was also destabilizing the region. Bush gave the Iraqis a golden opportunity and the Iraqis chose to have a civil war.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Immaterial to what argument?

    Or are you responding to voices in your head?

  • JoeBlow123||

    "I don't fault McCain for being taken in by the intelligence. I was as surprised as anyone to learn that the WMD program we were looking for simply wasn't there."

    You are trying to make the case it was a collective fuckup, we all had our hands in the cookie jar. This is a false narrative especially when one takes into account how the intelligence was massaged by the politicians to fit the narrative that Saddam had WMDs and conspired with Al-Qaeda.

    Regular people had ZERO access to the sources, methods, or analytical reasoning that led our government to claim in front of us, in front of Congress, and in front of the UN that Saddam had WMDs and worked with Al-Qaeda.

    The fact regular people trusted the government and trusted highly politicized intelligence information is nice, but the Americans collective belief does not absolve the government for pushing this false narrative.

  • BigT||

    Colin Powell's presentation at the UN was the capper. Who could doubt the decorated veteran hero?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "You are trying to make the case it was a collective fuckup, we all had our hands in the cookie jar. "

    I made the point that none of us were in a position to question the intelligence we were presented, that six months after we invaded Iraq, average Americans were still largely convinced that Saddam Hussein was personally complicit in 9/11 because of the anthrax attack, and I'm not sure John McCain had any more standing to refute the intelligence we were given than anyone else--especially since McCain wanted the intelligence to be true because he wanted to invade Iraq, he might not refute it even if he knew it were false.

    I said it's our fault for not letting our leaders not admit when they're wrong. If we punish presidential candidates for admitting when they were wrong, then yeah, that's on us. People make mistakes, and politicians who can admit they were wrong, OTBE, are probably better than those who can't.

    How you got from there to me saying it was a collective fuck up is a mystery. I opposed the Iraq War in 2003 for the same reasons I opposed invading Iraq in 1991--despite what we were told and despite the anthrax attack. But I saw no good reason to conclusively dismiss the WMD intelligence we were shown--and since it was irrelevant to my opposition, why should I have dismissed it?

  • Ken Shultz||

    The world is full of idiots who think that if you oppose something like a war, then you have to dismiss every fact that supports the rationale for war. That's horseshit. meanwhile, to whatever extent people fall for false dichotomies, yeah, we're to blame for that. Invading Iraq could have been a good or bad idea regardless of whether Saddam Hussein had WMD. That was the essence of the American people's error--but there's no shame in being fooled. The only shame was falling for a false dichotomy.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    This comment shows you are capable of rationale thought unlike your comments with respect mind tricks to get information from evil people that can save lives.

    I too opposed the Iraq War even though I had no reason to dismiss the intelligence. A very important person also opposed invading with that intelligence and his name was President Bill Clinton. The same intelligence existed in 1998 and many called for him to invade and he chose not to invade.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Some of your thought processes are so far out in left field, I can hardly figure out what you're saying half the time. Quite frankly, you seem to regurgitate a lot platitudes, many of which don't even seem to have anything to do with what anything I write.

    Suffice it to say, a lack of empathy, wanting to torture people, assuming everyone else wants to torture people, and arguing that we should do so--because it's expedient--is all evidence of a psychopathic mind.

    If you're one of these people who goes around bragging about how scared you are of terrorism, then don't be surprised if people call you out as a coward. That's what a coward is--someone who would sell their principles short out of fear. If you're not arguing this out of fear, in all seriousness, go see a psychiatrist. There are professionals who can help you.

    Meanwhile, I guess you want to use these arguments for torture--and not have anyone speculate about your mental health? That's unreasonable. The issue of torture rests on a foundation of ethics, and how could the ethics of anyone arguing that we should torture people not be open to criticism?

    We see people in this thread suggesting that torture will stop people from being thrown off the top of buildings--which is delusional. If that seems normal to you, then you may have spent far too much time reading scary websites. For your own mental health, you should stop doing that.

  • JoeBlow123||

    "How you got from there to me saying it was a collective fuck up is a mystery."

    *shrug* thats what it looked like to me. By the way, I never suggested torture will solve people getting thrown off buildings for being gay in the Middle East. I just said I do not care if fate catches up to these people in one way or another.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Your brain is really screwed up. I know you will most likely not be able to comprehend what I am writing so I am writing for other people that might read this.

    Have you actually read the memos released by Obama that convinced Obama that no torture took place?? Once again, I believed the Bush administration employed torture and I voted Democrat. I read the memos right when they were released and then as a rational human being I changed my mind that nothing close to "torture" actually took place...Obama and Holder came to the same conclusion.

  • jonnysage||

    He's lying now or lying before, so who cares what he says? He's still a senator and I don't see him rushing to get our troops out of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, etc. If he wants to do something good, resign and give someone else a chance.

  • BigT||

    My Buddy's mom makes $200 hourly on her back, dehanolono.

  • cynicalretiree||

    I was against the 2003 war until I met Kurds who told me they were liberated by our invasion. since 1921 when the British Royal Air Force bombed the Kurds of Mosul with mustard gas, these people have suffered.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Kurds practice female genital mutilation.

  • ipsquire||

    Call Annie Duke - you don't understand that good decision quality doesn't guarantee results. This isn't inconsistent at all.

    This bit is about results: "The war, with its cost in lives and treasure and security, can't be judged as anything other than a mistake, a very serious one, and I have to accept my share of the blame for it."

    This is about the decision: "whether the war was justified."

    If you judge decisions by outcomes, you're giving credit for luck. That's standard politics, I understand, but still stupid.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    Fuck McCain. He'll be worm food any day now.

  • khm001||

    Taking McCain seriously can't be judged as anything other than a mistake.

  • GCMS guy||

    I agree with John McCain that the Iraq invasion was a serious mistake. However, the invasion was compounded by further serious mistakes. For instance,the entire Iraq military, I believe about 150,000 soldiers, was fired. Unemployed. Paycheck discontinued. Many then went to work for the Tikriti faction. This had the disadvantage that Pres Bush denounced them as "terrorists", but it had the advantage of providing regular pay. Nobody else was hiring. So they attacked American soldiers, killing and wounding them..

    Another remarkably lame-brained decision was made after Saddam Hussein was captured. He was turned over to the "Iraqi government" for trial and execution. He should have been held by the U.S. as a hostage. He had value to the Tirkriti faction. Perhaps in exchange for keeping Hussein alive and well, they would have stopped attacking American soldiers, killing and wounding them.

    Are you seeing a pattern here? At this point I will state my conviction: Whatever the U.S. government was concerned about in Iraq, it was not sufficiently concerned about the lives and limbs of American military serving in Iraq.

  • GCMS guy||

    A further lame decision was made years before the Iraq invasion. For years, the US had an agreement with the Kurds. We protected them from Hussein, so they were able to establish a semi-independent nation-state, apparently funded by smuggling crude oil out through Turkey. When the Americans landed, we had allies in the Kurds. There was another important faction persecuted by Hussein, the Shia. My understanding is, we were in a position to give them the same protection, but we did not. When the American military arrived, we were greeted as hostile invaders by the Shia. As a result, they attacked American soldiers, killing and wounding more of us than all the other factions put together.

    Of the serious mistakes that were made there, this list is only a starter. At some point, the comment may be made that I am clearly ignorant of many relevant facts about Iraq. True, I am. It is hoped that those who know much more about it will join in this discussion.

    The final point I wish to make is that a great nation does not act impulsively, as apparently was the case with these decisions. The government of a great nation must think and plan years, decades in advance. Some secrecy is justified by security considerations, but in the main this planning must be discussed with the American people, and approved by them. Otherwise we, as a nation, will find ourselves in a serious mess.

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