Tag Archives: Iraq War

Jeb Bush: Pro-Iraq War Since 1997

Of course Jeb Bush would have invaded Iraq.

Am I the only one who remembers PNAC? Jeb Bush was one of the original signers of PNAC’s Statement of Principals back in 1997, which declared:

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

• we need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

In 1998, these are the geniuses who sent this now-infamous letter to President Clinton advocating regime change in Iraq. They were convinced, as early as January 1998 (in truth, well before), that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs and would destabilize the Middle East and the West’s access to its precious oil reserves unless he were removed from power. They wrote:

The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.

We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration’s attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam’s regime from power.

This was five years before our invasion of Iraq. They were focused like a laser on one thing and one thing only. The idea that “all of the intelligence agencies got it wrong” is such laughable bullshit. The entire Neocon-chickenhawk foreign policy apparatus behind George W. Bush had an agenda they’d been pushing for years, and that apparatus included his brother, Jeb. There was no “oops, we were given the wrong intel.” It was, “we’ve had this plan in the works for years and now we finally get to implement it!” Any “intel” that was used was cherry-picked to pre-select that which agreed with their agenda so they could justify their actions to the rest of the world.

So please, news media. Stop pretending Jeb just “flubbed a question.” You guys are getting it wrong because once again you’re just focused on the campaign, instead of being focused on the policy. The policy Jeb Bush has always advocated is hard-core Neocon hawkishness, and that is what failed us in Iraq. Not some cherry-picked intelligence.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Iraq War, media

The Market Has Spoken

I do not for the life of me understand why cable news outfits (cough*cough*MSNBC*cough*cough) continue to bring Ken Pollack on to discuss Iraq. Do they not understand what fools this makes them?

Pollack, of course, famously wrote the 2002 book, The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq:

Examining all sides of the debate and bringing a keen eye to the military and geopolitical forces at work, Pollack ultimately comes to this controversial conclusion: through our own mistakes, the perfidy of others, and Saddam’s cunning, the United States is left with few good policy options regarding Iraq. Increasingly, the option that makes the most sense is for the United States to launch a full-scale invasion, eradicate Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, and rebuild Iraq as a prosperous and stable society—for the good of the United States, the Iraqi people, and the entire region.

Hmm, yes, that went well, didn’t it. BTW, you can buy the book on Amazon now for a whopping 0.01:

pollack2

The market has spoken.

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Filed under Iraq War, media, MSNBC

How Many People Have To Die For Our Original Mistake?

About that ....

About that ….

Headline from my local fishwrap today:

Iraq chaos disheartens Tennessee widow, soldier, senator

And from the story:

As Iraq plunges deeper into chaos, his wife says she hopes Hawn’s sacrifice wasn’t for nothing.

“There is a part of me who is relieved we’re not putting boots on the ground, that air strikes are a possibility,” Angie Hawn wrote in a text message on Monday. “Then there is the part of me that goes, don’t let Freddie’s death be in vain. Let’s go get this done.”

God, I don’t get this “don’t let them die in vain” crap. Wake up, people! How many more people have to die because we refuse to admit we made a colossal mistake the first time? Be pissed about it, get angry — Lord knows I’m angry, I’ve been angry for years — but for God’s sake, don’t send more of our soldiers to die in a war to protect the damn oil supply so your loss “won’t be in vain.” Face it, America: it was in vain. It’s horrible, it’s tragic, it’s an epic blunder for which there’s been zero accountability. Take to the streets about it, for God’s sake. Demand answers. But don’t make the same mistake twice.

We should never, ever have gone into Iraq. Never. End, full stop. What’s happening now in Iraq is exactly what we peaceniks said would happen waaaay back in 2002 when this was being “debated” the first time. Sectarian violence, civil war, Sunni vs Shia, etc. etc. etc. All of that stuff. We were told we were unpatriotic. We were told to support the troops. We were told to shut up and clap louder and put a yellow ribbon on our cars and stick a cork in it and stop talking about how much the war would cost because “deficits don’t matter.” We were right then, and we’re right now.

And to the mainstream news media, who banged the war drums so loudly 12 years ago: stop trotting out everyone who was completely wrong last time to offer “expertise” this time. There are no do-overs in warmongering.

I find it completely unacceptable that we live in a country where Americans will take to the streets to prevent their fellow citizens from having health insurance, but they refuse to acknowledge that this country sent its soldiers to die for oil company profits. Wake the fuck up, people.

No, there will not be “Iraq Forever.”

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Filed under Housekeeping

A Bush Administration Legacy

If you’re like me you’ll remember all the many hundreds if not thousands of times someone in the waning days of the failed Bush Administration told us “history will prove Bush was right” or, “history will remember Bush well.”

We heard this a lot from Republicans who couldn’t bear the idea of anything else. Remember: conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed! And, barring that, we just need a 50-year perspective!

Well, four years isn’t a lot of history but we’re already seeing a bit of the Bush legacy: a near-allergic reaction to war. I mean, who would ever have predicted that the real Bush legacy was to forge an alliance among the liberal doves, the Libertarian isolationists, and the rank-and-file Obama-hating Republicans? That leaves Senators Cranky “Bomb-Bomb-Iran” McCrankypants and Lindsay Graham off in the weeds by themselves trying to get their former hawks interested in a little war action in Syria.

I know we on the internet love to become instant experts on everything, and I’m sorry but I just haven’t had a chance to do that in regards to Syria. I’ve heard some claims that this chemical weapons attack is based on bogus intelligence, and I’m waiting for the UN inspectors’ report later this week. I don’t know shit about Syria or the civil war there, who’s allied with whom, etc. etc. Sounds like both sides are equally bad, and there are no good guys. But what do I know — nothing. I’m hearing a lot of chatter and I’m not educated enough about this to separate the wheat from the chaff here, so I’ve largely shut up about it.

I do think America needs to stop bombing Middle Eastern countries, especially unilateral actions. I don’t want to hear about another American military action in this part of the world, I just don’t.

What I do find a little interesting is all of the chortling about President Obama “dithering,” as if bombing Syria would have been okay a year ago but now, fuhgeddaboutit! Snooze you lose, no launch codes for you!

You know, Republicans always spoke of the Iraq War as a moral, justified action. Saddam Hussein was a horrible dictator and tyrant who “gassed his own people,” he’d do it again, heck, he’ll do it to us! That was the argument, yes?

So, okay, apparently Assad ain’t exactly humanitarian of the year either, he “gassed his own people” on August 21. So now it’s three weeks later and there’s dithering going on? How many months did it take the Bush Administration to get their authorization? Maybe I’m missing something here. Anyway, I’m glad we have a president who isn’t such a trigger-happy cowboy his first knee-jerk reaction to every incident is to launch missiles. I like having a president who wants to check the intel and the facts on the ground first. I think the rest of the country is, too. That’s why there’s so little support for U.S. military action in Syria.

Also, I’m surprised to hear Republicans say Obama should have just launched a Tomahawk missile or two into Syria the way he did with Libya. Wasn’t that an international action, though? And didn’t Republicans use this attack as justification to draft articles of impeachment? Yes, they did. So, get y’all’s stories straight, here, folks. You don’t have any more credibility on the war talk than anyone else.

Anyway, if Assad did use chemical weapons on a civilian population, and if we are looking at a human rights atrocity, I think it’s really sad that the world doesn’t seem inclined to do anything at all. There are always options other than war. [UPDATE: Here’s a good one. Fingers crossed.]

That’s a pretty sad state of affairs. And I have to wonder if that isn’t yet another Bush legacy: that the world is so soured on war that they’ll just stand by and let someone attack civilians.

From my observers’ perspective, I see President Obama making a moral case to the world to do something about a human rights violation. Folks may want to mock him and his Nobel Peace Prize but I do see a consistency here. And I have to wonder if, when it comes to legacies, Obama won’t fare better than his predecessor. Trying and failing to act against genocide is a lot better than launching a protracted invasion and occupation of a country for completely bogus reasons.

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Filed under Bush Administration, peace

Zombie WMDs

[UPDATE]:

And on NPR this evening, I heard national political correspondent Mara Liasson refer to Syria’s Bashir as “Saddam.” NPR is really harshing my post-vacation mellow.

————————————–

In the car this morning I caught about 10 minutes of On Point’s discussion of Syria. It’s a call-in show and if you were listening you heard an Ohio Teanut phone in to ramble something bizarre about “Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood” and advising John McCain to talk to Sarah Palin. But the kicker was when he said, I shit you not,

“Those Iraq WMD’s? Looks like they ended up in Syria.”

You gotta give ’em credit: there’s no true believer like a conservative true believer.

This idea that Saddam’s WMDs ended up in Syria has cropped up occasionally on wingnut websites over the past 10 years. It’s one of those zombie lies that just won’t die. I figured it was only a matter of time before some Breit Bulb suggested maybe there’s a connection between Iraq and Syria, and it looks like the chain e-mail FWDs have begun.

Iraq’s WMDs did not end up in Syria. It’s been debunked aplenty, but officially by the Iraq Survey Group. But the Breitbarts and Freepers have kept the myth alive because they need it to be true. Desperately and pathetically, they need to believe Saddam Hussein had WMD. It’s crucial to their entire worldview to believe our intelligence wasn’t faulty (or our Administration didn’t lie us into war). If the WMD thing is false, it all unravels — every bit of it. It is the worst institutional failure conceivable. That the mighty U.S. intelligence apparatus we’re always told rules the world like a master puppeteer is not just incompetent but irresponsible? Even dangerous? Not possible. We’re the good guys! We’re AMERICA, man! We’re Big Daddy and Big Daddy is not incompetent.

I get the need to hold onto this thing, I really do. So much of the conservative worldview has to be taken on faith anyway — evolution is false, peace through war, tax cuts create budget surpluses, feminism killed the American family. At least if the WMDs had been found there could be one tangible thing they could hold on to proving their worldview correct.

Now even a Republican Congress Critter is bringing this zombie lie back to life:

WASHINGTON — Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) said on Thursday that he is against military intervention in Syria, even though his “gut feeling” is that the Syrian government now possesses chemical weapons that came from fallen Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain.

“The theory then and the evidence was that Iraq was an enemy of the United States and had direct plans in either support of al Qaeda and/or with other weapons that we found out weren’t there — which I still think they were moved to Syria,” said Terry. “And it wouldn’t surprise me if some of the chemical weapons that have been used by Syria actually came from Iraq.”

There is no evidence that Hussein sent weapons of mass destruction to Syria. When Becka asked whether Terry’s claim about the transfer of weapons was based on information he had received as a member of Congress, Terry replied, “Gut feeling. Yeah, I have not had any classified briefing, but all we know that Iraq had … chemical and biological weapons and then they weren’t there. … It wasn’t that the U.S. was guessing; that was something that they had actually declared. But they went someplace.”

Hilarious. Rep. Terry has been in Congress since 1999, and was a gung-ho supporter of the Iraq invasion. Now he says he doesn’t support military intervention in Syria. Why, Rep. Terry? If having WMD was good enough to take out Saddam, why not Assad? Don’t bothering answering that one. We all know the difference: only Republican presidents are given their pet wars!

By the way, that On Point radio show I was telling you about? The Teanut caller’s comments about WMD and “Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood” were both completely ignored by Tom Ashbrook and the rest of the panel. Instead, they addressed the guy’s belief that President Obama wants to pass all responsibility/blame related to Syria onto the Republicans. Which is a heads-we-win-tails-you-lose proposition, since certain Tea Party Republicans have been yammering for President Obama to bring any action on Syria before the U.S. Congress for a full debate.

I guess it makes sense to ignore the truly nutty stuff on the air, but seriously: when even a member of Congress starts bringing back the Zombie WMD lie? Maybe y’all need to start paying attention to it. “We’re going to have to leave it there” on WMDs is kinda how we got into this mess in the first place, isn’t it?

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Filed under Iraq War, Media, NPR, WMD

The News Is Different When You’re On Vacation

DSCN4621

Somewhere not too far from where the above photo was taken there is an organic olive oil farm for sale. Cheap, too, as these things go — under $1 million. In my dreams I win the lottery and say goodbye to Nashville and start my organic olive oil operation, all sustainable, off-grid, and solar-powered.

I know a lot of you will see this picture and think, “Ick. Too scorched.” This is the landscape I grew up with, though, and to me it’s the prettiest place on earth. And if the nation is going to get embroiled in another military adventure in the Middle East, what better place to hole up than an organic, sustainable, off-grid, solar-powered olive oil ranch? Y’all come. Harvest is in November. Democommie, you can even bring Buddy.

So, I don’t confess to be any genius about Syria, or what Russia and China have to do with it, or any of the larger issues involved. I don’t have a private Joint Chiefs to advise me. I am reflexively anti-war, but I trust President Obama in a way that I didn’t trust President Bush, in part because of the massive Neocon-War-Machine-Halliburton-Blackwater-Big Oil rip-off behind the Bush-Cheney-Rummy cabal. That said, I remain reflexively anti-war, always.

As I sip my chardonnay from a vacation la-la land, I have to say: watching the war dialogue this time — a tad more than 10 years after the Iraq invasion — is an amazing thing to see. Remember when the media lost its collective mind? Remember when we were told, ad nauseum, that Saddam Hussein “gassed his own people”, and so an invasion was justified? Remember when not supporting/trusting the president’s war judgement was tantamount to treason? My, what some distance from 9/11 brings.

I heard today that Britain’s Parliament has voted against military involvement in Syria. Are we going to dump English breakfast tea in the gutters? Will English muffins be renamed “Freedom Muffins” in the Congressional cafeteria? No? Why not?

Just curious: is this reticence to rush to war because we’ve learned some lessons after the Iraq debacle? Or is this just more reflexive If-Obama-Wants-It-We’re-Against-It stuff from the GOP?

These are interesting times, indeed. The United States is now a major oil producer, for the first time in decades. It’s safe to say, oil embargoes are not the threat they once were. Surely that plays into the mix, yes?

I am reflexively anti-war, always. I’m also on vacation and haven’t been watching the news 24/7 as I usually do. From the snippets I’ve received, I’m not hearing “let’s invade/occupy” from the President. I’m hearing, “let’s take action.” I’d like to know more what that means.

I’m also hearing more questioning than I heard in the run-up to Iraq. I’m seeing a news media behave a tad more responsibly. I observe these things and am glad that we’re not so gung-ho for war, but really questioning the motives behind all of it.

I probably shouldn’t look these gift horses in the mouth. I probably should retire to my olive ranch and just breathe deep and go about my business.

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Filed under peace, travel, war economy, War On Terror

Oh, That Pesky National Debt!

Yes, Republicans, DO tell me about your concern for the national debt. I’m all ears:

US’s $60bn Iraq rebuilding effort ‘achieved little’

The US rebuilding effort in Iraq achieved little despite $60bn (£40bn) spent since the 2003 invasion, a US auditor for reconstruction has said.

In his final report, the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction estimated the US wasted at least $8bn.

Stuart Bowen put the “limited positive effects” down to corruption, poor security and insufficient consultation with Iraqi authorities.

The eight-year war in Iraq cost the US about $800bn and nearly 5,000 lives.

This is what happens when you elect people who don’t believe in government’s ability to do anything right. For example:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told Mr Bowen there had been “misspending” of US money.

The US-funded rebuilding programme “could have brought great change in Iraq” but fell short, he said.

Osama al-Nujaifi, speaker of the Iraqi parliament and the country’s top Sunni Muslim official, said rebuilding projects “had unfavourable outcomes in general.”

And Kurdish official Qubad Talabani told auditors: “You think if you throw money at a problem, you can fix it. It was just not strategic thinking.”

Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate’s foreign relations committee, said the report’s findings were “appalling” and that lessons must be learnt to avoid repeating mistakes in Afghanistan.

Yes, Sen. Corker. The lesson I’ve learned is to never, ever, ever, ever vote someone into government when the key plank in their party’s platform is that government is the problem. This outcome was entirely predictable.

Also, it appears the BBC has fallen into the U.S. media’s habit of only quoting Republicans. I’d like to know what the top Democrat on the committee thought. We are, after all, in charge of the Senate. Anyone?

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Filed under Iraq War

War Crimes

[UPDATE]:

Salon.com has more….

—————————————

I know, I know … the Bush Administration’s war crimes are so passe. Who cares! Get over it, hippie! So, just as Curveball’s latest confession that he completely fabricated the Saddam Hussein-WMD story has caused nary a ripple in the U.S. media’s constant election coverage, I’m sure the largely-unredacted release of Philip Zelikow’s 2006 torture memo won’t register, either. Zelikow was a senior advisor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and a strong critic of the Bush Administration’s authorization of torture. You can read his full memo warning that the use of torture is illegal here.

From the story:

Zelikow wrote that a law passed that year by Congress, restricting interrogation techniques, meant the “situation has now changed.” Both legally and as a matter of policy, he advised, administration officials were endangering both CIA interrogators and the reputation of the United States by engaging in extreme interrogations — even those that stop short of torture.

“We are unaware of any precedent in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or any subsequent conflict for authorized, systematic interrogation practices similar to those in question here,” Zelikow wrote, “even where the prisoners were presumed to be unlawful combatants.”

Other “advanced governments that face potentially catastrophic terrorist dangers” have “abandoned several of the techniques in question here,” Zelikow’s memo writes. The State Department blacked out a section of text that apparently listed those governments.

“Coercive” interrogation methods “least likely to be sustained” by judges were “the waterboard, walling, dousing, stress positions, and cramped confinement,” Zelikow advised, “especially [when] viewed cumulatively.” (Most CIA torture regimens made use of multiple torture techniques.) “Those most likely to be sustained are the basic detention conditions and, in context, the corrective techniques, such as slaps.”

The Obama Administration doesn’t get a pass on any of this, either, coming to the same conclusion as the Bush Administration regarding torture. I find this interesting:

Zelikow’s warnings about the legal dangers of torture went unheeded — not just by the Bush administration, which ignored them, but, ironically, by the Obama administration, which effectively refuted them. In June, the Justice Department concluded an extensive inquiry into CIA torture by dropping potential charges against agency interrogators in 99 out of 101 cases of detainee abuse. That inquiry did not examine criminal complicity for senior Bush administration officials who designed the torture regimen and ordered agency interrogators to implement it.

“I don’t know why Mr. Durham came to the conclusions he did,” Zelikow says, referring to the Justice Department special prosecutor for the CIA torture inquiry, John Durham. “I’m not impugning them, I just literally don’t know why, because he never published any details about either the factual analysis or legal analysis that led to those conclusions.”

Here’s a wild-haired tinfoil hat conspiracy theory for you: I have a friend who is convinced that the Obama Administration cut a deal with the Republican Party. The deal was that the GOP would not field any viable presidential candidate in 2012. In return, the Obama Administration wouldn’t prosecute any Bush Administration officials over the faulty intelligence that led to the Iraq War, their use of torture against detainees, etc.

Sounds crazy, I know — especially when you remember that Mitt Romney could easily win in November, what with all of the voter intimidation tactics, the river of money buying this election, the shaky economy, etc. But it’s an interesting theory.

The Bush Administration set the bar to a new low regarding human rights. This is a legacy we’ll be living with for a long, long time. I think this is one of those things they’ll be making movies about in 50 years, the way we look back with horror on the McCarthy hearings. The fact that no one seems interested in even discussing it right now strikes me as a collective admission of guilt by the American people. We know we were wrong, let’s just sweep it all under the rug. No need to worry our beautiful minds about it … yet.

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Filed under Bush Administration, Condolezza Rice, Iraq War, torture

Last U.S. Troops Have Just Left Iraq

This just in: the last U.S. convoy has just crossed the border into Kuwait:

KHABARI CROSSING, Kuwait — The U.S. military says the last American troops have left Iraq as the nearly nine-year war ends.

The final convoy rolled across the border into neighboring Kuwait as day broke on Sunday. Soldiers whooped, bumped fists and embraced each other in a burst of joy and relief.

I know, I know. We leave behind a giant military base “embassy”; Blackwater has just changed its name for a second time in the hopes we’d all lose track of who they really are so they can snatch up some big, fat private security contracts. I know it’s not really “over” — we never leave anywhere, do we? We’re still in Japan and Germany and Korea, for crying out loud. I mean, I guess we don’t have a base in Grenada, do we? So maybe we left one place. Heh.

But technically it’s finally over.

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Filed under Iraq War