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Honor Our Armed Forces By Avoiding Unnecessary Wars

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Honor Our Armed Forces By Avoiding Unnecessary Wars

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With recent military victories by the self-proclaimed Islamic State, President Barack Obama’s critics are once again ratcheting up their rhetoric, blaming him for the spreading violence in the Middle East. Beginning his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) chimed in:

“If you fought in Iraq, it worked. It’s not your fault it’s going to hell. It’s Obama’s fault,” he said.

That’s been more or less the tack taken by all the declared and potential candidates in the Republican presidential field: Pretend that George W. Bush’s invasion had nothing to do with the disastrous escalation of war and terror from Syria to Iraq to Yemen. Blame it all on Obama. Play to a public nervous about the gruesome videos of Islamic State jihadists beheading their captives.

But here’s the one thing that you’re unlikely to hear from those armchair hawks: a plan to put large numbers of U.S. forces on the ground. The graves that are being spruced up for Memorial Day are too fresh, the memories of our Iraqi misadventure too raw.

Then again, GOP politicians still want to pummel the president for allegedly pulling troops out of Iraq too soon. Speaking to a crowd in New Hampshire recently — and trying to recover from a dumb defense of his brother’s invasion — Jeb Bush accused Obama of following public opinion rather than sound military advice.

“That’s what the president did when he abandoned, when he left Iraq. And I think it was wrong,” he said.

That’s a glib answer from a man whose children don’t serve under fire, whose friends and fat-cat donors keep their kids far away from the duties and demands of the U.S. armed forces. And that’s true for the vast majority of the GOP field. Graham was a military lawyer who never saw combat, but at least he served. Most of them did not.

Indeed, the drumbeat for war depends on the service of a relatively small percentage of Americans. Fewer than 1 percent of our citizens currently serve in the armed forces, and they are disproportionately drawn from working-class and lower-middle-class households.

As a rule, members of the 1 percent don’t go. (None of Mitt Romney’s five sons ever served.) For that matter, neither do the members of the top 10 percent.

And it’s especially irksome that those armchair hawks refuse to acknowledge that George W. Bush’s decision to depose Saddam Hussein set up the conditions for the current chaos in the Middle East. (Young Ivy Ziedrich, a college student, was right when she confronted Jeb Bush at a Reno, Nevada, event: “Your brother created ISIS,” she said.)

The Islamic State jihadists are largely Sunni; while they claim many grievances, they are chiefly waging war against their fellow Muslims who are Shi’a. Saddam was a Sunni who cruelly repressed Shiites and granted special favors to Sunnis, but his iron-fisted rule kept the peace.

Had the invasion of Iraq depended on a military draft, it’s unlikely Bush would have attempted it. It’s hard to imagine that the U.S. Senate would have given him the authority to go in. The news media, which were largely quiescent in the face of Bush’s warmongering, would probably have asked more questions.

After all, it was clear even then that members of the Bush administration — especially Dick Cheney, who received deferments to avoid service in Vietnam — were exaggerating or distorting intelligence claiming ties between al Qaeda and Saddam. And while most Republicans now claim that faulty intelligence about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was to blame for the invasion, the fact is that should not have mattered. Even if Saddam had WMDs, they were no threat to us. A few months before 9/11, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell had said as much.

If we’ve learned anything (and it’s not clear that we have), it should be this: As brave and capable as they are, the men and women of the U.S. armed forces cannot calm every conflict, destroy every dictatorship or bend the world to our will. The best way to honor their service is to refrain from sending them recklessly to war.

(Cynthia Tucker won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007. She can be reached at cynthia@cynthiatucker.com.) 

Photo: Peter Lee via Flickr

Cynthia Tucker Haynes

Cynthia Tucker Haynes, a veteran newspaper journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, is a Visiting Professor of Journalism and Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Georgia. She is also a highly-regarded commentator on TV and radio news shows.

Haynes was editorial page editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper for 17 years, where she led the development of opinion policy. More recently, she was that newspaper’s Washington-based political columnist. She maintains a syndicated column through Universal Press Syndicate, which is published in dozens of newspapers around the country. Besides winning the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007, Haynes has also received numerous other awards, including Journalist of the Year from the National Association of Black Journalists.

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  1. mike May 23, 2015

    Yesterday National Memo had an article from Ramesh Ponnura on “16 questions Hillary Clinton should answer” but now the article is gone from the site. Why?? Did the Clinton Bully machine demand National Memo to remove it??

    1. Paul Bass May 23, 2015

      Mike, OFF TOPIC!!!
      Therefore YOU are nothing but a troll! Please go away and tell your lies to Fox News or some other idiot who would believe them.

      1. mike May 23, 2015

        Not surprised by your post.
        Sadly, you don’t even care that the article disappeared and why.
        I just got a post that NM got the message and understands that if they one a piece of the Clinton Foundation monies, which they did, they had to get on board or else.
        They took the money and lost their integrity.

        1. JPHALL May 23, 2015

          You keep proving you are a troll! No one cares about your unproven accusations against Clinton. Get over it until you have some real proof to support your claims not just repeated unproven accusations.

        2. Daniel Jones May 24, 2015

          1) The article was MOVED, it’s still on the site you lying douche.

          2) The Memo is NOT funded by the Clinton Foundation, you cheesy lying spunk puddle.

          3) Are you seriously trying to get your faithless paranoid anus–the hole you speak out of–reamed by the lawyers? You are rapidly approaching the point the Memo WILL sue your worthless hypocritical carcass.

          1. mike May 25, 2015

            Here you go douche bag. This is what I said two days ago.

            mike • 2 days ago

            CORRECTION: It is under Politics, go read it.

            A more important article as mysterious disappeared from this site. Why???

            Yesterday National Memo had an article from Ramesh Ponnuru on “16 questions Hillary Clinton should answer” but now the article is gone from the site. Why?? Did the Clinton Bully machine demand National Memo to remove it??

    2. TZToronto May 23, 2015

      One might say that there are hundreds of questions one might ask of Dubya, Cheney, Rummy, Wolfy, et al., about why 9/11 happened and why, really, the U.S. conducted an illegal invasion of Iraq. The first question is, “What were you thinking.” The second question is, “Are you stupid?” And this time they should be required to testify under oath and in public.

      1. mike May 23, 2015

        Yesterday National Memo had an article from Ramesh Ponnuru on “16 questions Hillary Clinton should answer” but now the article is gone from the site. Why?? Did the Clinton Bully machine demand National Memo to remove it??

        And you are not even curious why!! You are nothing more thanPathetic partisan and intellectually dishonest.
        Still living in the past!! Sad.

        1. charleo1 May 23, 2015

          It was filed in the politics section to make room on the front page. What? You’re mouse is broken? Just looking at the pics? Trying to change the subject? Don’t blame you Righties for wanting to talk about e-mails, and Benghazi for the next year and a half.

          1. mike May 23, 2015

            Thanks, glad it is still available.
            Keep trying old boy, stay in the past and blaming Bush for all the sins of the world.
            No, you want to change the subject. The emails and server go to her character, she was caught lying about them, ignoring Obama’s directive to use only govt. servers in 2009.
            On Benghazi, as her latest emails released show the video was not the reason for the attack on 9/11, but a story sent to her by Sydney Blumenthal’s , a person Obama would not allow in his administration, a person being paid by the Clinton Foundation, a person whose email account, with Hillary emails, was hacked, The email was passed on to the WH without naming the source by Hillary. The next day the released emails show that Blumenthal emailed her saying it was not a video, that govt. sources said it was a planned attack that had been in the planning for months.
            Knowing the new information she still went out and blamed it on a video for least 2 weeks. What is so despicable, she used the video excuse in the Hangar when the bodies of the four dead Americans were returned.
            And you want her as your next president. Pathetic. It just shows just how corrupt you are.

          2. ralphkr May 23, 2015

            Which Benghazi attack are you talking about, mike, the one that killed Ambassador Stevens and Press Officer Smith (both deaths due to smoke inhalation) or the much later attack on the CIA installation that killed American CIA mercenaries Woods & Doherty (both due to enemy fire)?

            I read & saw reports posted right after the first attack where the participants told reporters that they decided to attack after watching TV reports all day about the Cairo & other attacks (those attacks were due to an American TV movie recently dubbed in Arabic and shown on Al Jazeera). This was later verified in a statement by the leader of that group after he was taken into custody. I have no idea why the administration changed their original report that that the attack was due to TV (basically, the truth according to the Muslim participants) to the obvious falsehood that it had been planned and organized far in advance of the attack.

            Unlike the first attack which appeared very disorganized to reporters on the scene the second attack was tightly organized and was carried out by a highly trained militia group which wished to retain their USA supplied weapons and had been planned well in advance.

          3. Dominick Vila May 24, 2015

            Your account of what happened is consistent with what Al Libby, the Lybian militia leader that participated in the second attack against our consulate, stated after we took him prisoner.
            Unfortunately, facts and even the conclusions of the Republicans that participated in the witch haunts, mean nothing to the partisans that rely on deceit and distortion to deflect attention from their blunders.

          4. mike May 25, 2015

            Which attack?? really!!! Hell even Hillary considers it one attack.
            Take the time to read the emails by Blumenthal to Hillary starting with 9/12 saying his intelligence from the president of Libya and Libyan intelligence people said it was a video. On 9/13 Blumenthal wrote Hillary saying that the same sources said it was an attack that had been planned for over a month by Ansar Al-sharia. Her response to the 9/13 email was to email her staff. “we should get this around ASAP.” On 9/14 knowing that she had additional information she stood in the Andrews Hangar as the 4 dead Americans were brought home and said it was a video. She lied to the American people for political reasons. The video was later proven not to have been the reason for the attack. You will also find emails to the effect of warning Hillary as far back as July 2012 of the deterioration of the political and security climate within the Libya.

          5. ralphkr May 25, 2015

            Unlike you, mike, I do not believe that whatever H. Clinton says is the word of God and must be accepted no matter what errors it contains. There was one attack June 8 that killed Ambassador Stevens and Press Officer Smith that was inspired by TV news reports about attacks in other cities according to interviews with the attackers that night during the attack. This was carried out by a local terrorist cell, i.e., amateurs. Since this attack was triggered by news reports about attacks triggered by the video it could be indirectly attributed to the video and directly attributed to Television news casts.

            There was another attack June 9 on the CIA facility that killed two CIA mercenaries, Woods & Doherty, that was carried out by a highly trained militia group. This attack had been planned in advance.

            Two attacks, two different days, carried out by two distinctly different groups, on two different targets but, since they happened in the same town in the same year too many Americans (including H. Clinton, evidently) carelessly lump them together.

          6. mike May 26, 2015

            Your post is as faulty as your information. The CIA annex was attacked because of CIA agents attempted the rescue those at the consulate. Once they had collected individuals from the consulate they fought their way back to the annex, where the terrorist continued their attack. Even in testimony before congress July 2014, a general and defense attache, said the first attack was planned.
            So for the record, All four were killed in Benghazi on JUNE 8/9, 2012, IS THAT CORRECT? Not June 11th, Not September 11th, but June 8th/9th, Right?? Quit wasting my time. You can’t even get the time line correct, let alone the circumstances.

            You can ignore the facts that the video was proven a lie, that Hillary understood the the attack was planned and wanted the information sent ASAP to others, but yet went out and told the world it was the cause of a video, “that we had nothing to do with.”

          7. ralphkr May 26, 2015

            Well, mikey boy, you certainly have a poor concept of time and an even worse understanding of the two Benghazi attacks. The attack by a TERRORIST group that resulted in the death of Ambassador Stevens and Press Officer Smith began about 9 PM and all fighting was done before 11 PM the 8 June. There was a rescue attempt by two CIA agents leading ten Libyan guards during the attack and they did recover Smith’s body and withdrew. None of the original attackers followed that group to the CIA outpost.

            After midnight a Libyan MILITIA mounted a coordinated attack on the CIA Post in retaliation for the CIA trying to force the Libyans to return US weapons we had supplied them. Another group of CIA personnel accompanied with a large detachment of Libyan military fought off the Militia and THEY were the ones who were able to rescue over 30 Americans and transport them to the airport to be evacuated.

            Your first paragraph is riddled with errors. CIA only rescued the body of Smith and collected a couple of security personnel from the Consulate. They did NOT have to fight their way back to the CIA Post because the TERRORIST group was only interested in looting the Consulate compound.

            The real battle was hours later as the CIA & Libyan Military were attempting to evacuate the CIA Post and they were the ones who had to battle their way back through the Militia to the airport.

            By the way, mikey, I first copied this timeline from the FOX News website long ago so, in your mind, it must be utterly true. Admittedly they did delete this particular reporter’s account a month or two later when someone realized that it did not fully support the Fascist Party account.

          8. mike May 26, 2015

            More breathtaking ignorance again from you. Not only can’t you get the dates straight but also the events.

            They did come under fire returning to the annex by official accounts.

            A fierce firefight ensued and the team managed to get into the consulate and shepherd its occupants back to the annex under constant attack from machine gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

            This from the official ARB report

            Ambassador Chris Stevens arrived in Benghazi, Libya on September 10, 2012, accompanied by two temporary duty (TDY) Assistant Regional Security Officers (ARSOs) from Tripoli. It was the Ambassador’s first visit to Benghazi since he departed as then-Special Envoy in November 2011. With the Ambassador’s arrival, there were eight Americans at the Special Mission compound (SMC) on September 10-11, 2012, including the Ambassador; Information Management Officer (IMO) Sean Smith, who arrived in Benghazi one week earlier to provide TDY communications and management support; and five Diplomatic Security (DS) agents (three assigned on short-term TDY to Benghazi – “TDY RSO”, “ARSO 1” and “ARSO 2” – and the two who traveled from Tripoli to provide protection for the Ambassador during his visit – “ARSO 3” and “ARSO 4”). The eighth American, the TDY Benghazi principal officer, completed his 13-day assignment and returned to his full-time job in Tripoli the morning of September 11, leaving seven Americans at the compound. Ambassador Stevens was scheduled to remain in Benghazi until September 14, and his visit was timed in part to fill the staffing gaps between TDY principal officers as well as to open an American Corner at a local school and to reconnect with local contacts.

            Here is more from ARB report, proving you wrong again.

            At the urging of the Annex security team and friendly militia members, who warned that the compound was at risk of being overrun, the TDY RSO and four ARSOs departed for the Annex without having found Ambassador Stevens. As the Annex team provided cover fire, the five DS agents’ fully armored vehicle departed and took hostile fire as they left the SMC and turned right out of the C1 entrance. The driver, ARSO 1, reversed direction to avoid a crowd farther down the street, then reverted back to the original easterly route towards the crowd after a man whom the DS agents believed to be with February 17 signaled them to do so. Farther ahead, another man in a small group of individuals then motioned to them to enter a neighboring compound, some 300 meters to the east of the C1 entrance of the Special Mission compound. The DS agents suspected a trap, ignored this signal, and continued past. The group along the route then opened fire at the vehicle’s side, shattering and almost penetrating the armored glass and blowing out two tires. While the identities of the individuals who fired upon the DS agents is unknown, they may have been part of the initial wave of attackers who swarmed the SMC earlier that night. A roadblock was present outside this compound and groups of attackers were seen entering it at about the time this vehicle movement was taking place.

            ARSO 1 accelerated past the armed crowd and navigated around another crowd and roadblock near the end of the road, driving down the center median and into the oncoming lane at one point to bypass stopped traffic. Two cars followed, with one turning off and the other following them with its lights off until it turned into a warehouse area not far from the Annex. The DS vehicle then proceeded to the Annex, arriving around 2330 local. There the ARSOs joined Annex personnel and took up defensive positions, to await the Annex security and Tripoli response team. The situation was relatively quiet. Wounded personnel received medical support.

          9. ralphkr May 26, 2015

            Speaking of breathtaking, mikey, I find it fascinating that you have posted a report that supports my post and shoots your theory down and think that it supports your fallacious account. You stated that the Consulate attackers followed the rescue group but in the official report they state nothing resembling that fiction. They stated that they ran in to groups who fired on them, dodged mobs of rioters (not surprising since Benghazi is not a village but has over 600K population), avoided a suspected ambush when someone they feared might be one of the attackers but could just as easily been someone trying to guide them to safety. I also note that there is no mention of what the 12 man rescue team sent to the Consulate from the CIA Post was doing during this time (you know, the group that battled the Consulate attackers and withdrew with the body of Smith) other than that “At the urging of the Annex security team and friendly militia members” they bugged out for the Annex leaving the rescue team to battle the terrorists.

          10. mike May 27, 2015

            No, you ignoramus, I pasted page 18, pages 24 and 25 of the official ARB Report.
            You can’t read, by reference to Americans was the “7” at the Consulate.
            Here is more from page 26 of the ARB Report.: Just before midnight, shortly after the DS and Annex security teams arrived from the SMC, the Annex began to be targeted by gunfire and RPGs, which continued intermittently for an hour. Annex security personnel engaged from their defensive positions, which were reinforced by DS agents. Other personnel remained in contact with Embassy Tripoli from the Annex.
            Again you are wrong. If you don’t think the terrorist didn’t follow them the 1 mile you are nuts. They were targeted “immediately.
            You didn’t even know the correct dates, so why am I not surprised you couldn’t even get the events straight.

          11. ralphkr May 27, 2015

            So, Mikey, the Annex was attacked by gunfire and RPG then how do you explain that the two civilian security men were killed by mortar fire? I bet you are ignoring that fact because it highlights that the attack on the CIA Annex was by a trained military force rather than a terrorist group. Of the 7 at the consulate, 2 were killed (Stevens & Smith) and 5 (the security detail) bugged out in an armored vehicle leaving behind the the rescue group (CIA & Libyan) to make its own way back.

          12. mike May 27, 2015

            Ralphie, Ralphie, Ralphie, you said to me, “You stated that the Consulate attackers followed the rescue group but in the official report they state nothing resembling that fiction.” I gave you the ARB Report verbatim which proves no fiction on my part.

            Here is more from page 26 of the ARB Report.: Just before midnight, shortly after the DS and Annex security teams arrived from the SMC, the Annex began to be targeted by gunfire and RPGs, which continued intermittently for an hour.

            So they were fired on heading to the Annex and shortly after they arrived they were under fire again. Where do you suppose the attackers came from, their beds?? Stay in la la land.
            From Hillary’s emails the administration knew that Ansar al-Sharia planned the attack on the consulate and anyone with an ounce of common sense would come to the conclusion they were also part of the attack on the Annex. In the ARB there is no distinction between those that attacked the consulate and annex, that I could find. It was planned by
            Ansar al-Sharia who were very capable of the attack on both facilities.
            Heck you didn’t even have the dates right, let alone the facts.

          13. ralphkr May 27, 2015

            Oh, Mikey, you just do not seem to grasp that there were more people in Benghazi than members of the terrorist group. Yes. that ARB report mentions being fired upon but they had no idea who was shooting EXCEPT while leaving the Consulate, they also mention avoiding crowds (both armed and unarmed). Other, more accurate reports state that the attack on the CIA post was made by a militia group and there is a definite difference between a terrorist group and a militia group with the latter being a quasi-military outfit with uniforms and ranks and highly trained in maneuvers. By the way, the terrorist who attacked the Consulate did not have access to mortars but the militia attacking the CIA post had mortars with which they killed 2 of the American guards and wounded others with shrapnel.

          14. mike May 27, 2015

            Not only didn’t you know the correct dates, saying Benghazi happened, not on 9/11 but on June/8th and 9th, you can’t rule out they were not the same terrorist that attack the consulate. Only a person with a pea brain like yours could think that those that attacked the consulate were not on the streets when the Americans headed for the annex under fire, and didn’t open fire on them inside the annex perimeter.

            Nothing is more accurate than the ARB Report.

            How do you know that those who attacked the consulate didn’t have access to mortars. You don’t know squat. What a load a crap, just like the dates you claimed the attacks happened.

          15. ralphkr May 28, 2015

            Well, Mikey, the dates 6/8 & 9 were the dates of two of the reports I was rereading when posting. Now it is vaguely possible that those attacking the CIA were also the ones who attacked the Consulate EXCEPT that the ones attacking the CIA were wearing uniforms and acted as a military unit and had military equipment while those attacking the Consulate were not in any sort of uniform and were a completely disorganized mob according to observers on the scene. Now if you feel that Arabs are so superior to Americans that they can be transformed from a civilian mob to a disciplined military unit in less than 3 hours compared to the many months it takes us to do the same then it would greatly benefit the US if you would come forth and show our military how it is done. Only someone lacking the reasoning power of an antiquated mouse would think that the terrorists in the Consulate would be able to outrun our fleeing security men and get ahead of them to ambush them, but then, you seem to think the Jihadists are some sort of super men. Now, normal humans could have reached the CIA compound to open fire on them since it was nearly 3 hours later when that attack occurred and it is possible that they could have gone to their barracks, changed clothes, geared up, and taken vehicles to surround the CIA compound.

            It is obvious that the terrorist group that attacked the Consulate did not have mortars since no mortars were in evidence. It also takes more skill and training to use a mortar than an assault rifle or RPG. The few times over the last few decades that any terrorist group has acquired & tried to use a mortar they have invariable missed their intended target, often by over a half mile. They have better results by converting mortar & artillery rounds into IEDs.

          16. mike May 28, 2015

            Ralphie I find you one of the most despicable people I have ever met. On the post starting with “Unlike you……” you went in changed dates when I referenced your lack of knowledge of the correct dates several times in my posts. Then even in trying to hide the mistakes you still got it wrong, saying the 9/11 attack on the consulate happened on November 11. I knew you would do something so dumb so I recorded your original post days ago and have done the same on your changes this time.. You are intellectually dishonest, a fool, a liar, a dumba$$, with no credibility.
            As to your last post, anything you write has about as much credibility as the one you changed. None!!!!
            I will not waste my time on such a despicable person like you.

          17. ralphkr May 28, 2015

            You have obviously limited mathematical skills, mikey, or you would have noticed that roughly midway between June & November is, TA,DA, September but, I digress, since you have already amply proven your lack of cognitive ability..

          18. mike May 28, 2015

            You really are one of the most despicable people ever, you are intellectually dishonest, proven by the post above.
            No, you were caught being dishonest hoping to hide the facts you have no idea what you are talking about.
            You are one pathetic individual.

          19. ralphkr May 28, 2015

            So sorry, mikey, that facts do not jive with your fantasies but, by now, you really should be used to the fact that your beliefs have little resemblance to reality.

          20. mike May 28, 2015

            I wasn’t the one that changed a previous post to fit the facts and then got the changes wrong again.
            Delusion is all yours, delusion in your so-called facts and delusion that you can rewrite your post and not get caught.
            Your were caught lying and being dishonest.

          21. dpaano July 10, 2015

            Ralph….give it up. You’ll never convince Mikey of the truth of anything. He’s never going to understand fully what the ARB Report actually says and will continually read into it what he wants to believe.

          22. charleo1 May 24, 2015

            Believe me when I say, I would love to move on. Quit having to revisit Bush’s invasion of Iraq. But the reality is, what Bush did back in 2003, has had a direct bearing on what is happening today. And the two simply cannot be disassociated. One can’t honestly talk about, or criticize current White House strategy, or the lack of it, as the Right is attempting to do now. Without first acknowledging a great deal of what this administration is dealing with in the Mid-East, and Iraq in particular, is fallout from an incredibly stupid, self inflicted failure, in geo-poliical strategy by the Bush Adm. And worse in my book, they aren’t even trying to be helpful. In fact, they seem gleeful that the air campaign is looking insufficient. So, Obama might need to do a very unpopular thing, and insert a sizable number of troops. Then, Hillary might take a hit in the polls, and that would be good for them. The Right’s Iraq strategy looks a lot like their strategy on the economy prior to the 2012 election. Where they were doing essentially nothing to spur economic growth. Because the politics were, what was good for the Country, was also happened to be good for Obama. And their priorities were as usual, Party before Country. The reality being Obama had no hand in tanking the economy. But the Right was not only eager to blame him, but to intentionally obstruct him from dealing with it. So, e-mails, and private servers, and planned attacks, vs. videos, in an adjunct embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Versus an Adm. using the worst attacks since Pearl Harbor, that happen on their watch. To provably lying the Nation into a disastrous, war, do not comparative scandals make. Even if Hillary’s is one.

          23. Dominick Vila May 24, 2015

            As reprehensible as the deceitful justifications used to invade Iraq were, the worst part of that embarrassing chapter in our history is what happened after we invaded Iraq, deposed and executed Saddam Hussein, and purged all members of the Baathist party from public office and senior military posts. The replacement of government officials, and military officers trained by Americans, and sometimes educated in U.S. military academies, and their replacement with Shias aligned to Iran was, without a doubt, one of the biggest strategic blunders in U.S. history.
            In addition to de-stabilizing the Persian Gulf, and shifting the balance of power in Iran’s favor, we radicalized our former allies and turned them into determined, and very capable foes. Those Sunni Baathists that we forced to flee their homeland are back with a vengeance under the name of ISIS. The fact that they are using political and military strategies that far exceed those employed by our pathetic puppets in Baghdad is not surprising. Neither is the fact that our puppets run for cover and leave behind their own mothers and children to save their skins.
            We have been betting on the wrong horse since we decided to engage in crusades destined to be as obtuse and short sighted as the ones in medieval times.
            As embarrassing as it is, it seems like Putin got it right on Syria. His warnings about the radicalism of the Syrian rebels, and the support he has been provided to Al Assad as the lesser of two evils, may prove to be a lot closer to reality than our myopic foreign policy.

          24. charleo1 May 24, 2015

            I’ll tell you what nearly knocked me over, Dom. It was nearing autumn of 2003. After the troops had reached Bagdad, and the sectarian war that would come to engulf Iraq, began in earnest when that Mosque was blow up? I had no idea why that was such a big deal. So I had to do some reading to try to figure out what was going on. But to my total surprise, Bush himself seemed completely unaware of the whole Sunni/Shia issue. In fact, he seemed completely taken aback that one, there were actually two sects of Muslims. And two, that they didn’t get along. He also seemed to have no idea of the religious significance of his invasion to the people involved. Or be appreciative of the fact that he had just deposed one sect, and replaced that one with the other. Or, that the Shias were allies of Iran. He seemed clueless to be taking the approach, what’s the big deal? The trouble as he was explaining it, was just a few dead enders. It’ll die down soon, when we establish a democratic gov. and hold elections. That’s very shocking to have as a permanent part of our National record.

          25. Dominick Vila May 24, 2015

            You are right, and that is precisely the reason the GOP is desperately trying to distract the American people with Benghazi, e-mails, and the horrendous circumstance of a brilliant ex-president collecting hefty fees from people who want to hear what he has to say.
            The two elements that doomed Bush’s crusades were arrogance and ignorance. He had no idea what he was getting our country into. I am convince he was reacting to the advice given by Cheney and the rest of the neo-cons in the Administration whose primary objectives was to deflect attention from the fact that W was President when 9/11 occurred, and that a distraction was desperately needed to improve his re-election chances by projecting an illusion of retribution where there was none. Financial benefits, which at one point included admissions of using Iraqi oil revenues to pay for the invasion, were an ancillary, but powerful, consideration.

          26. Daniel Jones May 24, 2015

            When Dubya dies and goes to Hell, I hope they bolt headph0ones to his ears and play James Woods’ speech from the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare reveal trailer on loop, so he can realize he was less effective than a purely made up character.

          27. dpaano July 10, 2015

            Bush was the most inept and uninformed president to ever walk the earth! He didn’t want to read the defense memos given to him daily, he didn’t want to listen to the defense agencies….all he wanted to do was “have fun” as he is quoted as saying at various times in his presidency. He spent over 900 days on “vacation” just in his first 4-year term….that’s almost 2 years total on vacation. He was either in Texas, at Camp David, or in Kennebuckport. It’s amazing that some people today just can’t understand how inept of a president that he was…..totally run by Cheney, Rove, and their buddy, Rice!

          28. mike May 25, 2015

            Keep trying!! There is no question that Bush’s mistakes, not lies, play a major part in the world today but the question that must be answered now is what to do about this Evil group. You can be like Obama with no strategy other than air to destroy ISIS, which he said he was going to do, or that the some form of on the ground troops will be needed.

            ISIS will never be destroyed by Air alone.
            Obama is reluctant to do anything else, believes this a regional problem, believes he is winning, doesn’t understand his leadership is the problem, lives in denial. Crises management of the nth degree.
            ISIS is a direct threat that Obama refuses to address.
            As to Powell’s emails, yes he had a personal email, but DID NOT have a private server.
            If Hillary wanted real transparency just release her server to an independent source and put this all to rest.

          29. charleo1 May 26, 2015

            You can ignore the glaring facts, and choose to believe whatever you want about the Bush Administration’s determination to go to war in Iraq. But what’s to be said in defense of a President making the defining decision of his two terms in office, and getting that decision so wrong? Oops? Then passing on the blowback, fallout, debt, and failures to the next administration to deal with? Now the Right is calling for Obama to go against his Party, and against the prevailing sentiment of the majority of the American people. And redeploy a major contingent of troops to fix the mistake. Then, after perhaps another 4000-5000 lives, and a trillion more of our tax dollars, stay for how long then? And to fight for what? The democracy, and freedom the Iraqis themselves don’t care enough about to fight for? Oil then? What is the goal? Retake Iraq, try to control it, and use it as a launching pad to attack Iran? The thing about mistakes is, there are some of them that once made, sometimes just cannot be fixed. There are no good answers. No magic bullet. Betray your wife, she may never trust you again. Lie to your business partners, and the trust is gone. Get it wrong, share that bad info with allies who follow you into war, knock down a country, chaos and sectarian strife ensues. You can’t control it, or outside influences, it spirals, it’s costing trillions, killing thousands, you make a quick deal to get out, and hope everything holds. It doesn’t, and so the next guy takes the fall And you say, gosh that was all so long ago, “Old Boy?” Really Mike?

          30. mike May 26, 2015

            You can live in the past, play the blame game all you want, the reality is they are here, they are winning. What will be Obama’s decision as how to handle ISIS, is the real question and concern.. He said he would destroy them, so far he has failed. His air war is a debacle, 75% of the air missions the planes are returning without dropping their payload. During the Ramadi loss only 169 sorties were flown.
            This is all happening on his watch and no matter what he wants to do, or his base wants him to do, his decisions should be based on what is best for the country not his normal decision making which is normally political.
            The middle east leaders don’t trust him. so how he builds a coalition with them will be a real challenge.
            Remember he has already returned almost 3000 troops and and more will be needed to make the air war work-not necessarily a “major contingent” . He either puts our troops into forward positions to coordinate air strikes or continue along the failed approach he is using now.

          31. charleo1 May 26, 2015

            As inconvenient as it is, to, “win,” there has to be adequate ground forces, to not only take ground, but to occupy and hold it. And that requires more than air power. Which also requires the President to decide, first if this is even our fight. Then, what are the costs vs. the, “good of the Country.” And what are the chances of winning a war without the backing of the people?
            Never been done. So, it’s a lot things. None of them very good
            options. But I’m putting my faith in the guy that said it was a dumb war back before the all the chicken hawks, said it would be 6 week cakewalk, and cost less than 60 billion, which would all be repaid with Iraqi oil money, they claimed. Like the ones that are running for President now. Hollering about Obama having no plan. He’s got no plan!!! They’re running along in circles, flapping their arms. Where’s their big plan? If they want to run on sending a bigger ground force back into Iraq to fight, because the Iraqis we’ve poured billions into for over 10 years won’t, or can’t, it’s certainly up to them.

          32. mike May 26, 2015

            The inconvenient truth is that ISIS is winning and Obama is losing. His actions are those of a weak leader not only on foreign policy but domestic policies..
            He has no strategy and that is being exposed each and every day. ISIS grows stronger those are the facts.
            This is his and only his!!! It is the Pottery Barn theory, you break it you own it. Obama broke it and it is his. Obama buried his head in the sand and now it is far bigger than if he hadn’t. Obama is in a difficult spot and it is all of his making. He said he would destroy ISIS, he hasn’t. He said Assad had to go, he is still in power. He drew a line in the sand, and then ignored the threat. ISIS is a JV team, it isn’t.
            Obama is weak and ineffective and definitely not respect around the world or at home.

          33. dpaano July 10, 2015

            Mike, I’d be willing to send you there if you really want to help out….but I don’t guess you’d be interested in getting your “boots on the ground” and getting out of your Barcalounger!

          34. mike July 10, 2015

            More insipid remarks from you. I have had my boots on the ground,
            What you can’t refute is the fact Obama is a unmitigated loser when it comes to foreign affairs. Russia is stepping all over us, China building island 700 miles from their coast line and ISIS keeps growing and Obama dithers.
            Keep trying to be relevant even though it isn’t working. I enjoy a good laugh.

          35. dpaano July 10, 2015

            Charleo: You can talk your head off to Mike, but he just doesn’t see the truth in what you’re saying. He’s just another right-wing paid for troll. Trying to get him to accept the truth is impossible, so why keep trying? It’s better to just ignore him and perhaps he’ll go away (doubtful, but we can always hope). By the way, Mike, don’t bother to respond to this, I’m tired of your comments and BS! All you do is keep showing everyone how stupid and uninformed you really are!

          36. Sand_Cat May 25, 2015

            The fact that you still refuse to acknowledge the corruption and dishonesty of the administration preceding this one and its long-term effects puts you in a poor position to criticize Hillary, not to mention your refusal to acknowledge the same corruption and dishonesty in the Republicans who seek to oppose her.
            And despite all the ranting about dishonesty, your accusations are of an incredibly trivial nature.
            Again, give us a viable alternative before you whine about the Democrats. No, Hillary isn’t my first choice, if for no other reason than I think we’ve had more than enough of the Bushes and the Clintons, but I’ll take her any day over any of the lunatics your side is putting forward.
            Again, the only intelligent, competent Republican candidate for president in 2012 ran in last place from beginning to end in the primaries and polls, and apparently learned his lesson and isn’t running again, leaving us with a group for which any intelligent person and patriotic American citizen should feel profound embarrassment. If you want to include Clinton in that group, that’s your right, but you should at least be able to come up with more than trivialities and Fox News BS to back it up.

          37. mike May 25, 2015

            Trivial???? Really!!!

            She ignored Obama’s directive to use govt servers, and emails, she had her own server and private emails. she deleted emails which were the property of the U.S. govt.. she lied during her press conference. And her actions are trivial. Pathetic on your part.
            She lied to the American people about the video causing the attacks on 9/11, knowing she was lying.
            You can have as many opinions on the candidates on the right you want, which by the way, doesn’t mean squat at the point. What we do have is really only one lone democratic running for president, who is terribly flawed, is a liar, poor campaigner, lacking trustworthiness. More importantly is seen in poor light by the Independents who will elect the next president.

        2. TZToronto May 24, 2015

          Yes, very sad indeed. However, the past is still unfolding in the Middle East today. Thanks to the Bush administration’s obsession with deposing Saddam Hussein and gaining access to all that oil, the Middle East is in turmoil, and there’s no one capable of keeping the different factions under control. The lesson of Yugoslavia after Tito apparently made no impression on the geniuses of Dubya’s crew. The fact is that the mess made by Bush, et al., is just getting worse and worse and makes an undeniable connection between past and present. Oh, and don’t give me that nonsense about President Obama pulling out US troops from Iraq too soon. That was an agreement made by the Bush administration, one that Obama honored. Partisan? Yes. But there’s a very good reason for it

          1. mike May 25, 2015

            It is getting worse and yet Obama thinks he is winning. He is not. He has no strategy, thinks air will destroy ISIS, which it won’t. He promised to destroy ISIS, is this like removing Assad, red line in the sand? He is a weak leader, disconnected to the real danger of ISIS.
            As to troop remove, it was assumed that further negotiations as to numbers would be addressed, Military wanted 10k to 20k, Maliki talked the opposite, but in private and not denied by Rhoades in Filkin’s article wanted troops. Obama wanted out and had no desire to keep troops in Iraq. The removal played a role in the destabilization of Iraq.

          2. TZToronto May 26, 2015

            It’s a waste of time to go back to the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq since there’s no do-over. So we’re stuck with what’s there now. I think that President Obama is doing the right thing using air support and not putting American ground troops into the fight. This is a fight that the people most affected by the situation need to take on–if they’re interested in taking it on. I would not doubt that many people in the Middle East just want to get along and don’t really care who’s in charge–as long as they’re not the ones getting executed. In addition, getting rid of ISIS would necessitate working with Assad and probably Iran, and neither of those partners is especially enamoured with the United States. Calling President Obama a weak leader because he hasn’t put troops on the ground to counter a threat to a region that has been a quagmire for the United States suggests that you would like to repeat a mistake that was committed by the people who were in charge during the Bush II administration. You seem to me to be the kind of person who has a selectively short memory, blaming the deterioration of the Middle East situation on someone other than the people who caused it.

          3. mike May 26, 2015

            As to “we’re stuck with what’s there now”, tell your left wing buddies that.
            As to Obama strategy, he has none. ISIS is winning and taking more land, recruiting more people and massacring thousands, destroying ancient sites.
            Air will not destroy ISIS as Obama promised. Latest numbers, show 75% missions returned with their payloads, because there is no one on the ground to direct them.
            Obama is a weak leader, he said Assad must go and did nothing, Obama drew a line in the sand and refused to do anything even after proof of chemical weapons. Obama called JV Team, which they weren’t. Obama calls a summit of Arab leaders and only 2 show up. another sign of weakness.
            No short memory here just facing reality that this is now and we and the rest of the world are in danger of a very vicious movement that wants to destroy the west and form a Caliphate.

          4. TZToronto May 26, 2015

            How’s that Domino Theory from the Vietnam War era workin’ for you?

          5. mike May 26, 2015

            For the record, half of Syria has been lost, about the same for Iraq. Iran is concerned enough to send in Revolutionary Guard. ISIS in 12 countries plus Afghanistan.
            Obama still a weak leader living in la la land.

          6. TZToronto May 26, 2015

            Yup . . . And the commies took over all of Vietnam. I hate to break it to ISIS, but they’re not the world power they think the are.

          7. mike May 26, 2015

            The difference between Vietnam and ISIS, one is political and the other-ISIS- is made up of Religious Terrorist who make every decision based on their religion.
            Not surprised at your small thinking.
            I never said “world power”! Just you wait ‘enry ‘iggins just you wait, they are on their way to being much more than a regional power. They have pledged allegiance to terrorist groups in Africa.

      2. dpaano July 10, 2015

        Don’t forget Condoleza Rice…she was also in that bunch!

        1. TZToronto July 12, 2015

          You’re right, of course. And she’s supposed to be intelligent. That’s what you get when you have an expert on the Soviet Union helping to plan a war in Iraq. And as for the Soviet Union, maybe it was better to have the devil we knew than the multiple devils we have now and don’t know very well.

  2. charleo1 May 23, 2015

    Given that the core of George Bush’s enemy list, his, “Axis of evil, ” if you will. Was Iraq, Iran, and N. Korea. It seems the original plan was to, “drain the swamp,” as one Neocon put it. That drove the Bush administration’s determination to invade Iraq. Also included a second phase, after the Iraqis welcomed us as Liberators. Was to use their Country as a launching pad to invade Iran. Then, that completed, we may only guess at future plans of invasion on the Korean Peninsula. But here’s the mystery. In all this grand planning of conquest, and chest thumping militarism. It seems incredulous that the instigators were oblivious to the fundamental rift of Shi’a vs. Sunni in the Muslim World. That their ignorance is the only explanation. That their plans would in fact, by de-Basthoification, disbanding the Iraqi Army, and insisting on elections in a Shi’a dominate Iraq, change the balance of power in the region against any compliance from a new Iraqi Gov. with any further plans of invasion against a Shi’a dominated Iran. Of course, it all quickly bogged down into an uncontrolled sectarian civil war in Iraq, long before any of those giant military bases could be used for phase 2 of the master plan. But still, one is compelled to wonder. What were they thinking? Or, were they thinking at all? Beyond the lure of huge oil contracts for American Corporations? What undoubtedly would be huge profits for civilian, and military contractors. A major player, Cheney himself had close association. signing lucrative, no-bid contracts? Or, was it the dogged determination of one Dick Cheney, who had had the invasion of Iraq on his personal bucket list since the first Gulf War. When President, Bush ’41, ignored him as Secretary of Defense, and refused to go on to Bagdad, and take Saddam out. Or, did they in the Bush Administration simply start to believe their own press? And were lured in by the political advantages of the bragging rights. That if, by some miracle, they were able to pull off their breathlessly reckless, doomed by ignorance misadventure, and it somehow all worked out? I don’t suppose we’ll ever really know. They are not talking about that. Cheney will soon be dead, And his memoirs defended the war in unconditional terms. As did the President who lead the invasion, as did his administration’s leadership to a man, or woman.

    1. ps0rjl May 24, 2015

      You must all remember that almost all neocons were chickenhawks when they were young. It’s just that the older they got and the farther from the guns they got, the braver they were.

  3. HowardBrazee May 23, 2015

    Make sure any wars we are in accomplish the stated goals (not just elect officials and make money for the arms industry). We didn’t attack Iraq in order to create Isis, but that’s what we got. Are we safer now? Is democracy stronger now?

  4. charleo1 May 23, 2015

    So how many more, Senators McCain, Graham, Rubio, Cruz, Bush, et.al.? How many more lives of our finest would you be willing to squander trying to fix the original blunder? It’s interesting for a Party that is quick to call the war on poverty a disastrous mistake, and advises cutting our loses there to balance the budget. Seems more than willing to double down in Iraq, with the lives of other parent’s kids, or the kids of parents other than themselves. With nary a mention in this case, of our 17 trillion dollar debt, or our own needs that need tending, and wounds that need mending here at home, after more than decade of war. I guess they haven’t noticed.

  5. FireBaron May 23, 2015

    Somebody please remind these fine Republican Senators that the US Troop withdrawal was negotiated by the Bush administration, and our offers to remain were rejected by the Iraqi government. Kind of hard to stick around when you’re not wanted. Also, the military leaders our troops trained were fired by al-Maliki, and replaced by his cronies. So, we did our job. It was our “ally” who screwed up royally.

    1. midway54 May 23, 2015

      Moreover. Iraq is a sovereign country despite the chaos therein and its status and wishes as such could not be ignored by the U.S.

      1. iamproteus May 23, 2015

        Haven’t you heard?? The GOP can ignore anything they want!

  6. Dominick Vila May 24, 2015

    The problem for our armed forces has absolutely nothing to do with capabilities, willingness, training, armament, or funding. The problems they have faced in countries like Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq are political and moral. Do we have the right to invade other countries, replace their leaders, model their forms of governments after ours, advance our interests over those of the indigenous population, and influence cultural changes on people who reject our culture and wish to preserve their values and traditions? Wars, and their aftermath, are unsustainable without popular support or the imposition of brutal tactics that are inconsistent with our Constitution and our purported values.
    It is also important to consider the impact of deceit, arrogance, and greed on our troops when they invade Third World or developing countries under the false belief that those countries have participated in attacks against the USA, or are a major threat to our security.
    Our armed forces are second to none. The problems that afflict them involve cowardly and greedy politicians, an unscrupulous and greedy war machine, and those who support violence and even deceit because of their prejudices, greed, or ignorance.
    Last, but not least, we must realize that just because our form of government, and the freedoms and democracy we enjoy work for us, they are not necessarily what is best for other people. We must learn to respect the values and wishes of other people, or we risk being viewed as the bullies of the 21st century.

    1. CPAinNewYork May 26, 2015

      We are not going to “…respect the values and wishes of other people….” We never have. We’re led by arrogant, greedy bastards who do not care about moral issues.

      Human crap like Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton and the like mirror the bastards who ruled the British Empire from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. They were so intent on filling their pockets that they failed to see the burgeoning independence movements that were gaining momentum right under their noses.

      No empire, from the Egyptian to the Roman to the United States ever “…respect(ed) the values and wishes of other people…,” especially the people they subjugated.

      Eventually, they build up so many enemies that they are crushed, just as our empire will eventually be crushed. The current conflict with Islam may well be the start. I believe that the Muslims are winning the war, not because they’re so lovable or admired, but because so many people hate the United States. The event that led to our demise against the Muslims is the unqualified support that we give Israel. We should naver have given up the position of “disinterested broker” between the Muslims and the Isrealis. Unfortunately, the outlandish wealth accumulated by the American Jewish community has dimmed the better judgment of our political leaders.

  7. Alvin Harrison May 25, 2015


    World War Two and virtually every war thereafter were “phony” wars. Oh, real Americans died in them. But they were initiated and financed by the rich and powerful. In World War Two, the biggest supporters of Hitler and the Nazis were American multi-national corporations. Large banks like Chase Manhattan, J.P Morgan, Guaranty Trust Co. of New York, Bank of the City of New York and American Express financed the Nazis. Americans were killed by war machines whose patent owners included the likes of Ford and General Electric…these patents were basically given to the Nazis because the super rich in America liked the idea of controlling populations with an iron fist….and slave labor (thanks to IBM’s systems used to keep track of undesirables) is such a money saver. AT&T installed the Nazis, at that time, state of the art communications system….making sure they had plenty of spare parts. This is fact…google it. Hell, German pilots were drinking Coca Cola as they bombed our troops.

    According to the BBC and other sources, Prescott Bush, JP Morgan and other leading financiers also funded a coup against President Franklin Roosevelt in an attempt – basically – to implement fascism in the U.S. Also fact…google it. World War Two and the Nazis were basically “started” to protect the rich from the communists in Russia who were ridding themselves of “Royalty”. Hitler came to power and stayed there with money from the rich in democratic countries…and that includes the money he needed to kick start the German economy and become a national hero and savior. The super rich liked his style.

    World War One and World War Two taught the rich some very valuable lessons. War is good for business and even better when you sell to both sides. Unfortunately, after those two wars we needed new enemies….enter Asia, the Middle East and South America…but total destruction, like the previous wars, ends the conflicts too soon and leaves too many potential customers penniless…so these “new” wars drag on and on.

    Below is a link to a 3 hour expose on how the super rich tricked us and continue to tick us into believing these wars are necessary. They do it by controlling the media, creating enemies we must hate…. down to stoking our fear with fake terror attacks like 911 to get us to accept their reduction of our freedoms and increase their control. I know, I know….I am paranoid. Well, actually I am not…I am read a lot and do tons of research. The conclusions I come to are my own….not what is fed to me as “the truth”. Unless you take the time to check what you are being told you will continue to fall for the tricks of the rich.

    Unless a majority of Americans get smarter, which the rich do not want hence our abysmal education system, we will continue to be led and our children sacrificed in phony wars that will go on forever to protect the profit machine of the rich.

    I ran across this documentary yesterday ( https://youtu.be/U1Qt6a-vaNM ) , ironically it documents how truly screwed we are as a society, because the corp/1% have control the likes of which has NEVER been seen before in human history. This documentary will never let you see the USA and those who control it the same again….So this Memorial Day while you honor the fallen…think about the real reason they fell. They fell because because war is good for business, and those who profit could care less about who dies….you mean nothing to them…and if you do, your worth is measured in dollars. If you TRUELY want to honor those who fell…spend a few hour finding out the REAL reason they died.

    Here are some links to start you off…Enjoy your Memorial Day



    1. dpaano July 10, 2015

      Just read a great book by Vincent Bugliosi….”The Prosecution of George W Bush for Murder.” It basically backs up everything you’ve said, especially about the war in the Middle East.

  8. bigfish May 27, 2015

    Rand Paul may not agree with this author’s description of ALL the GOP presidential candidates as “armchair Hawks”.


  9. dpaano July 10, 2015

    Of course, the seem to forget that (1) we HAD to pull our troops out because Afghanistan refused to allow American soldiers to stay even if Obama wanted them there; (2) we wouldn’t have these jihadists running around if Bush hadn’t started a war that we didn’t need. By taking out Sadaam, he pushed the Shi’ites against the Bathists and those against the Kurds. The so-called “terrorists” didn’t show up until they banded together against the American “invaders;” (3) Bush started the so-called war in Iraq because he said he was going after the people who caused 9/11, despite the fact that Iraq and Sadaam had NOTHING to do with 9/11; and I could go on and on. How quickly the GOP forgets how this mess in the Middle East all started despite Bush and his cronies (Cheney, Rove, and Rice) were told by most all of the security agencies that Iraq had NO weapons of mass destruction, had NO ties to Bin Laden, and had NO thoughts of putting together a nuclear bomb. It’s amazing, but most of the American public will still believe all the BS they were told about the Iraqi war. Too bad they also forget that Bush’s little snafu killed over 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians and over 4,000 American men and women! He and his administration should all be tried for murder!!

    1. TZToronto July 12, 2015

      I still see people insisting that WMDs were found in Iraq when the U.S. invaded.


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