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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Here’s an amazing fact that most of the Chicken Little rhetoric about the crisis in Iraq fails to take into account: The city of Mosul, population 1.5 million, fell to ISIS insurgents because two divisions of Iraq’s army (30,000 soldiers) shed their uniforms, abandoned their weapons, and fled from 800 Sunni religious extremists in pickup trucks.

You read that right: 800 holy warriors routed 30,000 Iraqi soldiers. Large parts of Iraq’s army clearly have no trust in their officers or loyalty to the Maliki government, which is seen by most people as sectarian organized crime.

Writing in the Washington Post, Marc Lynch explains: “Maliki lost Sunni Iraq through his sectarian and authoritarian policies. His repeated refusal over long years to strike an urgently needed political accord with the Sunni minority, his construction of corrupt, ineffective and sectarian state institutions, and his heavy-handed military repression…are the key factors in the long-developing disintegration of Iraq.”

In short, it’s a political and religious breakdown more than a military failure, and one that no amount of U.S. bombs or military advisors can fix.

Been there, done that. Screwed it up so badly that only the most perfervid TV studio commandos want to go back. So naturally, those were the only guests the TV networks booked on the political talk shows: a parade of sad-sack Bush administration retreads and embittered GOP presidential candidates who blamed it all on President Obama.

The whole gang was there: Mitt Romney, Senator John McCain, even neoconservative carnival barker Paul Wolfowitz, who explained that everything would have been just dandy if we’d committed to stay in Iraq as we’d stayed in South Korea for another 60 years.

“We had it won. Thanks to the surge and thanks to Gen. David Petraeus, we had it won,” explained perennial sorehead McCain. “The fact is we had the conflict won, and we had a stable government…but the president wanted out and now we are paying a very heavy price.”

The Very Angry Senator has been so wrong so often about Iraq, that putting him on national TV is like asking Bernie Madoff to comment upon economic policy. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes compiled a series of devastating video clips — including McCain’s confident assertion that Iraqis would see American soldiers as “liberators,” that the war would pay for itself, and that “there is not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and Shias, so I think they can probably get along.”

However, the TV networks are in the business of marketing political melodrama. They require conflict to push the narrative, the more bellicose and simple-minded the better. They don’t put McCain on despite his dismal track record, but because of it. Almost regardless of the question, you get the same answer: It’s all Obama’s fault, and Bombs Away!

By now, however, the TV commandos have lost audience share. Polls show that 16 percent of Americans would support sending troops back into Iraq, while 74 percent are opposed. As reliable a conservative as Thomas Sowell writes that he’s had it with “glib and heady talk of ‘national greatness’ interventionists who were prepared to put other people’s lives on the line from the safety of their editorial offices.”

The Washington Post’s George Will thinks GOP presidential aspirants should be asked whether “given the absence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and given that we now know how little we know about ‘nation-building’ and about the promotion of democracy…if you could rewind history to March 2003, would you favor invading Iraq?”

Welcome back to the real world, fellows. There never was anything remotely conservative about Wolfowitz and company’s “Project for a New American Century” to begin with, which this column long ago described as “a grandiose scheme for world domination that would have credited a James Bond villain or V.I. Lenin.”

Anyway, here’s the second big thing the Chicken Little rhetoric gets wrong: A sectarian civil war between Sunni jihadists and Shiite militias in Iraq may be an appalling human tragedy. But it’s not necessarily a grave threat to U.S. security. As Steven Simon of the Middle East Institute explains in the New York Times, a few thousand lightly-armed Sunni militants are highly unlikely to overrun Baghdad—a largely Shiite city of 7 million. And even if they did, they’d end up wishing they hadn’t.

The more brutally Sunni militants act in the conquered provinces, the fiercer the resistance they’ll encounter—almost regardless of the Malaki regime. Lest we forget — and most Americans never knew — Iraq and Iran fought a terrible bloody war between 1980 and 1988, leaving more than a million dead but nothing changed, strategically speaking. Back then, the neocons all supported Saddam Hussein.

For President Obama, the important thing is to resist being stampeded into doing something stupid, and to make damn sure the American people know why.

AFP Photo/Ahmad Al-Rubaye

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo

68 Responses to Welcome Back To Reality, Neocons

  1. The only reason the Neo-Thugs are pounding the war drums so virulently is they know their children of privilege will not be called upon to serve our country! Let’s bring back the draft and see how loudly these same individuals call for non-intervention once they know their own children and grandchildren may be called upon to serve – especially if they cannot get deferments due to having “important things” to do!

    • I couldn’t agree more. Make the children and grandchildren of these chickenhawks/neocons be the first to suit up. All these men and women are what we called John Waynes, long on talk and short on walk during Vietnam. All that is except John McCain. He is getting more senile by the day and his expertise is based on being a POW. John give it a rest.

    • I think it is time for our poor and middle class young men and women to inure themselves of the hype of Recruiters and the promise of lucrative bonuses and say “Hell No We Will Not Volunteer”. Once more – bring back the Draft and make deferments next to impossible to obtain. Let the children of the privileged put their lives on the line for this Country. The past ten years I have worked for our Veterans and with Gold Star Spouses and Parents. For the most part all of these Gold Star people are lower middle to Middle to Upper Middle Class. I have yet to encounter one from the Upper Elite Class. This is truly a poor man’s War fought with the blood of our poor young people. Bring back the Draft with no deferments. Let their children help fight the Wars for which they clamor.

    • The only problem is that most if not all of them will send their kids to a war free zone boot camp to avoid the draft. Didn’t Romney’s father do the same for Mitt? How many senators and congress members will take advantage of something like that? I’d say all of them on both sides of the aisle.

    • I don’t even want to hear the war mongers – chicken hawks telling us we must go to war again. If they want war then they must bring back the draft so all young people have to join in the war. If the sons of the rich are the first ones drafted then we will know they are serious. Otherwise it is just more send the poor kids, and we will get the oil and build the planes and get richer.

  2. What is happening in Iraq was predictable. What is surprising is how long it took for the Sunnis to launch a well organized and effective counter insurgency.
    To his credit, former President Reagan recognized the importance of the Saddam Hussein secular regime as a stabilizing force in the Persian Gulf region, and as an effective deterrent to Iranian dominance. His decision to provide WMDs, satellite and aerial imagery, and training to Saddam’s forces during the Iran-Iraq war were pivotal in the ability of Saddam to survive.
    Fast forward to Bush’s tenure. Immediately after 9/11, and in spite of CIA reports that identified the terrorists that attacked us, their leader, and financiers as members of the Saudi Arabian Wahabist sect, our neocons convinced Bush of the need to invade Iraq. Why? Both Cheney and Rumsfeld never forgave Saddam for his decision to reject the contract bids they had submitted on behalf of Halliburton and Bechtel, and giving the contracts they wanted to Russian and French firms. Most importantly, they recognized that they needed a villain to project the illusion that something was being done to avenge 9/11 when, in fact, we were giving a free pass to the homeland of those who attacked us in exchange for lucrative contracts and U.S. Treasury bond purchases. As deceitful as the invasion of Iraq was, the worst part involved the replacement of Sunni government officials with Shias aligned spiritually to Iran. The cast was set the moment that ill-fated decision was made. To his credit, Gen. Petreaus recognized the root cause of the insurgency that followed, and put in place a program to hire tens of thousands of unemployed Sunnis. The benefits of that decision became apparent immediately. Unfortunately, one of the first decisions made by our puppet, al-Maliki, as soon as we withdrew was to fire most Sunnis and resume sectarian purges. The reaction that followed was to be expected. The Sunnis, our former allies, are fighting for their lives, for their right to exist, and their latest insurgency leaves us with the unpalatable choice of having to side with Iran to keep an inept and corrupt Shia dictator in power. The only measurable consequence of W’s decision, or inability to reject the proposals put forth by Cheney and the neocons that controlled U.S. foreign policy during the Bush era, is that W was re-elected in spite of his pathetic record. They succeeded in convincing a large number of Americans that Saddam was somehow involved in 9/11 when, in fact, the Saddam regime was itself a target of Al Qaeda.

    • What you have written Dominick I consider it like: “A Case Study” which was supposed to be done by “W” Administration before waging any war. If it is true of what you have written, I can see a genuine case to answer to all who authorised the war in Iraq. Relying on Intelligency only obtained around the world, according to them, that was not sufficient reason to send anyone to go and die. You can’t lose more than 4,000 lives PLUS treasure and just take it as a normal matter. This is not acceptable.

      • Our intelligence agencies failed to stop the 9/11 attack, but they were very clear regarding who carried out the attack, and the fact that there was no evidence whatsoever supporting Bush’s claim of nuclear weapons. Don’t forget that when Bush and Cheney decided to include the threat of nuclear attacks in W’s state of the union, the CIA urged them to remove it, only to see Cheney put it back in. It is also important to remember what happened to Ambassador Wilson when he reiterated the conclusions of IAEA inspector who assured us, and the world, that the WMDs that were provided to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war had been destroyed. Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame’s, CIA connection was exposed in retaliation.
        The problem was not bad intelligence, at least not in the context the Bush administration claimed. The problem was deceit, arrogance, political priorities, and a deliberate decision to put the lives of American soldiers at risk to save W’s political hide.

    • Very good, Dominick, except that you left out something important: the reason behind Diane Feinstein’s endorsement of overt U. S. military action against the insurgents.

      Why don’t you address that? I see Feinstein’s call for war as her picking up the gauntlet in Joseph Lieberman’s absence. Feinstein is Jewish. Lieberman is Jewish. Both have only Israel’s interests in mind. They look at the United States as being responsible for Israel’s survival. A ridiculous thesis, considering the strength of Israel’s armed forces.

      My loyalty is only to the United States. I want our troops out of the Middle East. I don’t care about the safety of any other country. I think that Obama feels the same way. We’ve already spent too much of our blood and national treasure on the spurious issue of maintaining the safety of Israel. Obviously, Diane Feinstein feels differently, but that’s because she’s Jewish. She doesn’t care about the United States, except as Israel’s protector.

      • Our unconditional support to Israel, which has been there regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats are in power, is the main reason, along with the existence of U.S. military bases near Mecca and Medina, for the Fatwa issued by Osama bin Laden, and its promise to attack the USA.
        The time to mind our own business, and limit military action to the protection of the USA and our interests, is long overdue. Like you said, Israel has one of the most formidable military forces in the world, and an intelligence agency that is second to none. They can handle their national security problems without our help.

      • There are many people who aren’t Jewish that have the same opinion as Diane. Many Neocons and tea partiers are continually asking for more support for israel. This is more of a Republican thing. Surprised you haven’t noticed.

  3. Rachel Maddow had a special about how we really went to war to secure oil leases for large companies who felt Saddam would not be a reliable partner. She had leaked documents to prove this and interviews with people who were there.. The ultimate blame for the disintegration of Iraq belongs to Paul Bremer our 1st ambassador who sat in a room for 1 year to write Iraq’s new constitution. He over ruled the Army who wanted to vet the Iraqi army and have them act as the police force. Bremer also dismissed all the government employees. this left Iraq with no governmental infrastructure and the defeated army was sent home with their guns. This lead to the insurgency. Maliki who spent the last 20 yrs living in Iran was chosen to lead. All this was a recipe for disaster. So anyone who actually listens to these people are fools. The only savior for him is Iran’s Quds army who is sending troops.

    • And yet Cheney has the gall to write an op-ed in the WSJ condemning Obama and practically patting himself on the back for his “wisdom.”

      • One heart attack–if severe enough, can debilitate a human brain profoundly…Cheney had five!

        I think nowadays everyone can see his madness and he is certainly inconsequential.

        Simply a babbling old ass should have been dead madman!!!!

          • And a whole nation of Germans listened to Hitler as well and look where that got Germany.

            It’s out today that Gen. Petraus is advising no air strikes for Iraq.

            He wisely understands this is a problem spurred by Maliki’s identity politics.

            Now here is someone to listen to

    • Rachel is one of the few talking head on cable I will actually listen to. She does her research, is not afraid to correct misinformation, she is what I call a Journalist.

      • Agreed. I wish if that woman Mika could have her own show known as “Morning Mika”, instead of “Morning Joe”. I can’t stand Joe Scarborough. He is an empty head man always talking about when I was in Congress, without thinking why he is not there now.

        • I do not actually get cable or regular TV – I stream everything through a Roku. I have NBC channel on it so get small segments to Morning Joe. I can not even watch those. Even with Mika – there is nothing thoughtful in their discussions, they are almost always partisan and some that I have watched were so silly I had to turn them off.

      • I agree. During the campaign, she nailed Mitt Romney’s ass for lying about his having severed his connection to Bain Capital. He took advantage of the settled interest provisions in the Internal Revenue Code to report his Bain Capital remuneration as long-term capital gains. This position is available only to taxpayers who are actively engaged in the management of the fund.

  4. If the following is true, then how did they retrieve emails from 2009 to 2011 from other employees’ computers???? They need to keep their cover-up stories straighter.

    “According to documents provided by the IRS, during the time period Congress is investigating, the agency only saved emails for six months before it recycled backup tapes, effectively destroying older material.”

    Furthermore, if the IRS is not in compliance with federal data preservation requirements, every person responsible for that little “slip up” needs to be fired immediately and replaced by federal employees who follow the law.

    I agree with the lawmakers’ statement that plot lines from Hollywood are more believable.

    • You obviously know little about computers, networks or politicians. Just another Republican troll I guess. You also lack knowledge on a bureaucracy like the IRS. Bureaucrats and politicians lose things all the time and use a variety of excuses. Remember the onset of the ACA website last October.

      Contact the tech people if you want the information and forget the bureaucrats and politicians. And especially forget the media pundits who are merely selling out for the quick profits

    • Might be a little hard for you, but it doesn’t make you look smart to throw out something that is not part of the topic. Go read the article and see if you can discuss it.

  5. Three cheers, for Mr. Lyons’ punching the National News media in the nose over their deplorable, Fox-esk, coverage yesterday of the Iraq story. It was wall to wall, clearly intentional, and they should be ashamed. And, they are probably not, But the American public deserves better. Their re-hyping, and seeming advocation even, of the Neocon’s case for going to war in Iraq in the first place, was pure propaganda. There’s is just no other way to characterize booking a string of these ideological idiots, one after the other, bashing, and blaming a President, who, even before the bombing had begun,, opposed the invasion, and said Iraq would be a, “dumb war,” and it clearly was. This, as one fawning host, after the next sat nodding in agreement to the lies. Once again spewed out by the likes of such nitwits as Wolfowitz, Crocker, McCain, and the rest, unchallenged. To say for the cheap entertainment value, or,”Political melodrama,” is spot on. And a very important point, their scary big, and far too consolidated monopolies on the information venues, where Americans receive their information, will most likely insure, never sees the precious light of day. With light itself, being what the public is in dire need of the most. As noted time, and again over subject, after subject. Personally I became more, and more livid, the further NBCs “Nightly News with Brian Williams,” continued on with MSNBCs hatched job of the truth, and common knowledge, on the underpinnings of the situation in Iraq. That had begun butchering the facts, and building the slanted narrative with Scarborough, earlier that morning. Sanity only returning with the suspension of the, “hard news,” programming, and beginning ironically, with the opinion shows of Schultz, Sharpton, Mathews, etc. I happened to catch glances of, being in, and out of the T.V. room. My impression goes deeper than the deplorable act of a news operation dumpster diving for ratings. Bad enough. But I think it’s obvious here, the people running these mega corporations that own our major news outlets, are covering for the Right Wingers, who they generally agree with on with the financial issues, And who are already in trouble in so many other ways. But I also resent the hell out of them sitting back in their offices, corrupting the institution of a free press, reducing it, [the institutional press,] in it’s entirety, to the troubling propaganda/entertainment levels sunken to by Fox News, where it’s well know, and expected. Let’s not forget it was this same so called, unbiased, press, that failed in it’s duty to inform, and challenge the information coming out of Dick Cheney’s office, in the basement of the White House, in the building the case, before the invasion. NBCs coverage yesterday, was an outrageous assault on the sacred responsibilities of the press, and tolerated at the peril of our very freedoms.

  6. Here is my favorite line in the whole article; “They require conflict to push the narrative, the more bellicose and simple-minded the better.” Of course the author was referring to TV and cable news casters, which is the reason I no longer listen to the greatest majority of them. The bottom line is the corporations profit from a 24/7 news cycle that they have turned into poor entertainment that barely, if ever reports the news. So everything has become a scandal, breaking news and is told with the most frightening twist they can manage. They use actors rather than journalist or experts, do sloppy research and present everything from the political side of whatever big corporation owns their station. It is sad and good reason to turn them off and to not buy anything from their sponsors. They get away with it because you and I let them. It really does not matter how much more money those corporations have than the rest of us (the 99%) because they need us to buy their products to hold on to what they have and of course none of them ever have enough money. History, you know, is full of stories of wealthy and powerful rulers who are brought down by the masses. How lucky we are that we have votes and pocketbooks that will do that without the need for guns. So vote and choose you candidates carefully, shop local as much as you can, and avoid those product that buy advertising space on the bellicose and simple-minded news casters shows. I for really miss the real News with honest and smart newscasters that took their jobs seriously. I would like that back.

      • Right, faux news sounds more demented every day. They are so afraid that Clinton/Democrat will win the presidency they have resorted to insane comments. I am sure the military are just waiting for the book, not when the most opportune time opens up.

      • The Right continue to make clowns of themselves on a daily basis. I actually laughed out loud at the cheneys newly release campaign video – cowboy Cheney was wearing makeup.

  7. Considering these people “experts” is like asking the designer of the Tacoma Narrows bridge how to build the next one (search “tacoma narrows collapse” if you are not familiar with that story). Or putting someone who believes in “phlogiston” in charge of the fire department. Or nominating Jenny McCarthy for Surgeon General.

    Anyone have any more similes for this idiocy?

  8. The Democrats overall don’t want us to go back to war in Iraq because they don’t want to go to war. The Republicans overall don’t want us to go back to war in Iraq because they’re (1) afraid we’ll win and Obama will look good and (2) assume if we don’t that Iraq will collapse, which they can blame on Obama.

  9. Good to see you hitting the mark, Gene. Rarely do you miss. My contempt and disgust with the cheeneys, the morons in the Media who give them and the other chicken hawks time, is complete. And I cannot forgive Obama and Holder for letting them off the hook for their war crimes. Can you imagine if the situation were reversed? Anyway, thanks again. My day is charbed..

    • You sentiment is shared by many. Obama’s greatest failing is his and Holder’s suspension of the rule of law that should have been exercised aggressively and openly against the Neocons for Iraq and the Wall Street white collar criminals that engineered the greatest economic crisis since the great depression. Simply adds weight to the credibility problem of the US government and is indicative of our long slow decline into mediocrity.

  10. “His repeated refusal over long years to strike an urgently needed political accord with the Sunni minority … ” Aren’t the Sunni the majority in Iraq? Something like 85% of the population?

    • S.J. Jolly: The Shia are the majority in Iraq estimated at 65% and the Sunni at 35%. The Sunni were put in power by the British starting in 1920. They installed King Faisal who was forced out of Syria and the Sunni elites as rulers in Iraq.

  11. Lest we forget – Bush,along with many Democrats in Congress voted to attack Iraq because of WMD’s – it looks like it was a mistake. Did we pull out to soon! perhaps! Now we have a new problem and we should deal with it united! The blame game will not solve the problem.

    • Unfortunately, I disagree. How many Dems regret their votes now, and how many republicans do the same? Mmmmh, rethinking is the best weapon one can use and the rest of us appreciate. It shows that we are all human beings, we make mistakes and once we realise we did, we ask for forgiveness.

      • FT the consequences are irreversible of our mistakes. Forgiveness is fine for moving on. The problem is we move on in ways that led to bigger mistakes because we don’t fail well

      • So the bank was robbed and the get away car awaits for the robbers to flea justice.

        He’s still a common criminal with a fancy job description!!!

    • Canister…There is no solution.

      Humans are not up to the task of solving the problems we create because humans are the problem

      In this matter it is simply how much longer will we be around before we totally destroy ourselves

      We simply live to hasten our extinction!

      Haven’t you noticed???

    • December 31,2011 was the negotiated date of withdrawal signed and approved by George Walker Bush and the Iraqi government. Later offers of continued presence was rejected by the Iraqi Government. Our only recourse was to leave. What we are presently seeing in Iraq with ISIS is only the tip of the iceberg so to speak. This is a “Religion” revolution and it encompasses the entire Moslem world. This doesn’t call for the United States to deal with this. This calls for the rest of the world to meet and handle this very volatile situation.

    • The blame game WILL solve the problem of clearly identifying who is loyal to the United States and who is loyal to Israel.

  12. I wouldn’t agree with the “welcome back” part of the title of this article.
    The Fascist and psychopathic Neocons have known what the reality is for a lot longer than most people think. What they’ve been doing is trying to change the reality to fit their worldview. So long as the Republicans are in charge of politics in this country, their worldview IS the reality. But, when the GOP aren’t in charge, that’s when they bitch, whine, moan and complain. These Neocons seriously need to STFU, as soon as possible.

    • While we’re at it, let’s identify how Israel, AIPAC and the American Jewish community are impacting this debate. It’s no accident that Diane Feinstein, a democrat, is advocating overt military intervention by the United States.

  13. ” “The Washington Post’s George Will thinks GOP presidential aspirants should be asked whether “given the absence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and given that we now know how little we know about ‘nation-building’ and about the promotion of democracy…if you could rewind history to March 2003, would you favor invading Iraq?” ”

    Glenn Beck said “Liberals you were right. We can’t make [other people govern like us]

  14. So a few car bombs and IEDs a week, all while our troops were still trying to keep the peace is considered a victory? I see nothing different between the conditions of Iraq now and Iraq when we were still there. America and it’s Western Allies will never get it, the Middle East has had tribal feuds, territorial disputes and religious strife for 2000 years and as long as we keep ignoring history we will never be able to win a war there. President Obama did the right thing by keeping his promise, we can’t keep expending precious blood and treasure in a place where we are not welcome by it’s citizens.

  15. When this whole “Iraqi” war thing came up, I mentioned to many of my friends that it would be nigh on to impossible for the Middle East to accept democracy. They’ve been ruled by sultans, shahs, kings, etc. for centuries…..they have NO concept of democracy or how to go about it. But, the Bush Administration just didn’t seem to understand that and thought we could just go in and “force” them to accept a concept they didn’t even understand! It’s amazing that now the same warmongers are coming back complaining about a war that THEY started with NO reason! I’ve stopped watching “Face the Nation” because I’m tired of their one-sided panels! I’m sure others are doing the same thing with the other Sunday morning BS shows! Do the networks think the American public are stupid? Do they think that we have such short memories? What a bunch of unenlightened idiots! We’ll never forget what they did…..it’s affected our economy, our way of life, and even our political standing.

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