Bush, Obama and Renewed Violence in Iraq

Sometimes my mind just boggles at how ridiculous the American media and political discourse can be. A perfect example is the current attempt to turn the inevitable — yes, inevitable — violence in Iraq into a political weapon to use against President Obama. This begins with Fox News actually crediting President Bush with anticipating the surge in sectarian violence there after our troops left.

“In 2007, President George W. Bush pretty much laid this out as it is happening,” Fox anchor Martha MacCallum said, playing videos of Bush warning that violence could resurface should American troops withdraw. After the clips, Andy Card, Bush’s former chief-of-staff, popped up to reinforce narrative.

Not mentioned: the Status of Forces Agreement that Bush signed requiring the withdrawal of American troops by the end of 2011. Also not mentioned: the fact that President Obama actually tried to talk the Iraqi government into changing the SOFA to allow some additional American troops to stay beyond that deadline. The Iraqis refused to do so. They wanted our troops out of there. So how anyone who isn’t absolutely blinded by partisan prejudice could possibly blame this on Obama is beyond me. He followed the legal requirements of the agreement that Bush signed.

To make things worse, now some of the people who bungled the war in Iraq so gloriously, like Paul Wolfowitz, are once again writing op-eds and pontificating on how to fix the problem they created. Why the hell would anyone listen to anything that Bill Kristol or John McCain have to say about this after being utterly wrong on every single thing that has happened up to this point?

My first thought when this latest round of violence from ISIS began was pure sarcasm: Gee, who could have anticipated such a thing happening? I mean, other than virtually everyone who wasn’t cheerleading for the invasion of Iraq in 2003? This was absolutely inevitable. There were only two possible outcomes: we were going to have to stay forever or, once we left, the old religious and tribal divisions were going to come to the surface and explode in violence. Hell, that happened while our troops were there immediately following the invasion. How could anyone possibly have believed that this wouldn’t become far worse when their only opposition was an inept Iraqi military?

No, this was inevitable. And it was inevitable from the moment we invaded in 2003.

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  • kraut

    “No, this was inevitable. And it was inevitable from the moment we invaded in 2003.”

    Maybe it was, but the financing of the Sunni insurgent by our “allies” – Saudi Arabia in particular, helped a lot.

  • raven

    Poll: Nobody Wants To Put American Troops Back Into Iraq

    ThinkProgress ‎- 1 day ago

    By Hayes Brown June 17, 2014 at 10:05 am Updated: June 17, 2014 at 10:05 am … that while Americans want to help Iraq in its struggle against the militants … The result: many more Americans prefer the policies of President … “In order to deal with the crisis in

    The latest poll shows that 74% of Americans oppose sending combat troops back to Iraq. Even a majority of Theothuglicans opposed it.

    1. Obama should just keep doing what he has been doing, stay out of Iraq as much as possible.

    2. He and us should just throw Iraq right back in the Chickenhawk’s face. Over and over.

    The question is who lost Vietnam, I mean Iraq. They did, starting when Bush invaded for no real reason.

  • otrame

    It was inevitable from the moment that Saddam Hussein took dictatorial control, given that all his sons were wastes of skin and that he had successfully neutered his military high command. There was always going to be a big fight when he died. The only thing we accomplished going in there was delaying it a little, killing and maiming thousands of American kids, and completely disrupting what little social structure that Hussein had left in his attempts to stay in power.

    The only way we could have won that game was not to play.

  • A Hermit

    Dick Cheney saw it coming…in 1994. Here he is explaining why pushing on to Baghdad after kicking the Iraqis out of Kuwait would have been a mistake…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EstVJo6URdQ

    “Once you got to Iraq and took it over, and took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq you can easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. Part of it the Syrians would like to have to the west. Part of eastern Iraq, the Iranians would like to claim, fought over for eight years. In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey. It’s a quagmire.”

  • kraut

    If cheney saw it coming – than his support for the invasion in 2003 means he was fine with the destruction of a functioning society, and bomb them back a few decades in order to achieve whatever foreign policy goals.

    One could call that the behavior of a war criminal.

  • =8)-DX

    Recent reading has lead me to believe the sectarian “divide and conquer” political pressures from the US were quite an influence.

    Everyone should have be brought to the table after Saddam fell, no one excluded.

  • kraut

    https://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2014/06/17/washingtons-iraq-victory/

    “What Washington has done in Iraq and Libya, and is trying to do in Syria, is to destroy governments that kept Jihadists under control. Washington faces the prospect of a Jihadist government encompassing Iraq and Syria. The Neoconservative conquest of the Middle East is becoming an al Qaeda conquest.

    Washington has opened Pandora’s Box. This is Washington’s accomplishment in the Middle East.

    Even as Iraq falls to al Qaeda, Washington is supplying the al Qaeda forces attacking Syria with heavy weapons. It is demonized Iran that has sent troops to defend the Washington-installed regime in Baghdad! Is it possible for a country to look more foolish than Washington looks?”

  • scienceavenger

    This begins with Fox News actually crediting President Bush with anticipating the surge in sectarian violence there after our troops left.

    Stopped clock…

  • garnetstar

    It’s exactly what happened when Tito died: he, like Saddam Hussein, was a ruthless and powerful enough dictator that all the religious and ethnic groups, who had been a daggers drawn for centuries, were strictly (if brutally) kept in line. The moment he was gone, the strife came out, leading to long, vicious conflict, a vast amount of bloodshed, and finally division into separate countries.

    Everyone who was watching during the nineties could have foreseen this.

  • tsig

    Why is trouble in Iraq a problem the US president has to deal with?

  • Olav

    Kraut #1:

    “No, this was inevitable. And it was inevitable from the moment we invaded in 2003.”

    Maybe it was, but the financing of the Sunni insurgent by our “allies” – Saudi Arabia in particular, helped a lot.

    Which was also inevitable, given their proclivities.

  • colnago80

    Re Kraut @ #7

    The author of the article that the Hun links to is Paul Craig Roberts, a former Reagan Administration official and promoter of supply side “economics”. In going to his web site and contemplating some of his previous articles, it is obvious that he is as round the bend as Glenn Beck is Much of his crap is published in the Internet site Counterpunch, the left wing equivalent of Stormfront. The Hun will have to do better then Paul Craig Roberts.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    To be fair, next time we invade them it will all be fine. Or the time after that. But eventually.

  • cptdoom

    It’s exactly what happened when Tito died: he, like Saddam Hussein, was a ruthless and powerful enough dictator that all the religious and ethnic groups, who had been a daggers drawn for centuries, were strictly (if brutally) kept in line. The moment he was gone, the strife came out, leading to long, vicious conflict, a vast amount of bloodshed, and finally division into separate countries.

    Everyone who was watching during the nineties could have foreseen this.

    Which is also not surprising because both Yugoslavia and Iraq were created out of the chaos at the end of WWI. Neither country ever existed before that, and there was really nothing other than geography linking the disparate groups together.

  • colnago80

    Re cptdoom @ #14

    The same thing could be said about some other “nations” in the Middle East, particularly Syria and Jordan.

  • dingojack

    tsig – The ‘Pottery Barn’ dictum: you break it, you buy it.

    Dingo

  • fmitchell

    The local Fox station ran an interview with a local Iraq veteran who said, essentially, that with just a little more effort the U.S. could keep the country together. Maybe they’re talking to the wrong veterans.

  • comfychair

    “Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Senate intelligence committee, told a hearing on Wednesday that Maliki’s government “has got to go if you want any reconciliation”, and Republican John McCain called for the use of US air power but also urged Obama to “make very clear to Maliki that his time is up”.”

    Regime change, again? Really? For fuck’s sake.

    I blame Twitter for our inability to remember anything that happened more than 10 minutes ago.

  • raven

    The local Fox station ran an interview with a local Iraq veteran who said, essentially, that with just a little more effort the U.S. could keep the country together.

    They said that in Vietnam too.

    Just a few more troops. Until we were up to 500,000.

    Just a few more bombing missions over North Vietnam and Laos. Until we dropped more bombs on them than we did during WWII in all of Europe.

    Just invade a few more countries. We invaded Cambodia and Laos.

    After all that, we had that touching scene where the last Americans were helicoptered off the roof of the US embassy right before the commies took Saigon.

    George Sanyana. “Those who cannot remember the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.” The chickenhawks have the memory span of fruitflies.

  • raven

    Ironically, Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld made us less safe than more safe.

    1. We are now suffering from Vietnam War syndrome. People are sick and tired of foreign wars that cost a lot and accomplish nothing.

    If we ever do have to fight somewhere for a good reason, it is going to be hard to round up any enthusiasm.

    2. We also encouraged the Moslem terrorists by marching around in the middle east without any compelling reasons, accomplishing nothing and sometimes it ended up being counterproductive.

  • iangould

    Whenever I read about the ceaseless neverending war of Sunni and Shia (because, you know, eveyone knows “The Islamics” are all subhuman psychotic murderers) I wonder if the peopel saying this have ever actually read a history of the region.

    There has never, NEVER been a war between Shia and Sunni that even comes close to the Thirty Years War (to name just one of Europe’s Wars of Religion) in terms of scale or savagery.

    But prove me wrong, give me details of all the Shia-Sunni wars in Iraq over the last thousand years (i.e. excluding the period of Ali’s life and of his immediate successors.)

    Anyone up for a partition of the US between Catholics and Protestants to forestall the inevitable sectarian bloodbath?

  • alwayscurious

    @5

    If cheney saw it coming – than his support for the invasion in 2003 means he was fine with the destruction of a functioning society, and bomb them back a few decades in order to achieve whatever foreign policy goals.

    Yes, but in 1994 Cheney wasn’t in charge of Halliburton. It was only a good idea after there was money to be made that invading became a good idea.

  • D. C. Sessions

    The chickenhawks have the memory span of fruitflies.

    If they don’t then they’re counting on us to.

  • colnago80

    Re Iangould @ #21

    That may have been true in the past but the Sunnis and the Shiites are trying hard to catch up. And they have much more lethal weapons systems available to them then Gustavus Adolphus, Count Tilly and Albrecht von Wallenstein had.

  • colnago80

    Re D. C. Sessions @ #23

    The neocons are like the French Bourbons. They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

  • D. C. Sessions

    And they have much more lethal weapons systems available to them then Gustavus Adolphus, Count Tilly and Albrecht von Wallenstein had.

    The Plague is a hard act to follow.

    Realistically the main casualties then, as now, are from collapse of civilization: famine, disease, exposure, crime, etc. Pillaging and looting kill people as surely as bullets and are generally much more widespread once the ball starts.

  • Nick Gotts

    So how anyone who isn’t absolutely blinded by partisan prejudice could possibly blame this on Obama is beyond me. He followed the legal requirements of the agreement that Bush signed.

    Well that’s exactly where he went wrong! Bush would never have let himself be constrained by mere legal formalities: if he’d wanted to leave troops there, and Al Maliki had demurred, he’d have organised a coup.

    /neocon

  • http://www.facebook.com/eo.raptor.3 eoraptor

    Cptdoom, there’s one more similarity: both countries were created out of land, the ownership of which was highly contested among the various ethnic groups living in the new “country.” We have the British empire to thank for most of this.

  • nicemarmot

    @alwayscurious, @A Hermit

    My thoughts exactly: 1994 Cheney viewed Iraq as a quagmire; 2003 Cheney saw it as an extremely profitable quagmire. 2014 Cheney is just a giant f*cking asshole.

  • comfychair

    I bet a President Romney would know exactly how to fix this.

  • D. C. Sessions

    I bet a President Romney would know exactly how to fix this.

    From someone who was there:

    http://www.stonekettle.com/2014/06/absolutely-nothing.html

  • comfychair

    Erm, okay, well, then how about President McCain? Surely the guy who blew up his own aircraft carr- wait, shit, let me start over… shit!

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “The neocons are like the French Bourbons.”

    Which is why I’ve always preferred the Kentucky Bourbons.

    What I can’t understand is why anybody on the right really gives a fuck. Iraqanians, even without the support of a decent Constitution, have managed to find a 2nd’mendment solution to suffering under a tyranicalistical regime.

    And Iraq, awash in gunz, is an exemplar of polite society.