Neo-cons' warnings about Iraq falling on deaf ears
Even though neo-conservatives - including many of the same ones who persuaded President George W. Bush to intervene in Iraq - have received ample time in mainstream media to press their case for a more strenuous U.S. military response to the Sunni Islamists, this time, a Presidential administration, many members of Congress (including previous Iraq hawks), and wide segments of the public aren't moved.
If the interventionists (beginning with former Vice President Dick Cheney) don't get it, they need only review the children's folk tale of Chicken Little.
Imagine a different reality. Suppose the George W. Bush Administration DID intervene in Afghanistan - to take out the Taliban after 9/11 - but had resisted pressure to attack Iraq. Suppose Saddam Hussein had died naturally about now, or one of his folks had taken him out. No ISIS insurgency, because Saddam's regime was Sunni. We may, or may not have seen an Arab spring and a Syrian civil war.
Paradox: Neo-cons would've been in a far better position today to make the case for U.S. military intervention -- against Iran.
Take a look at Jim Lobe's piece... from The ASIA TIMES on line...
By the way, did Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) just throw away his (presumed) hope of capturing the Republican Presidential nomination by, in effect, siding with President Obama over ex-Vice President Cheney on Iraq? Or are there many more anti-interventionist folks within the Republican Party these days?
Glad to hear the Neo-Cons are being ignored. Sadly most of the nation didn't ignore them when Bush Jr. wanted to invade Iraq.
Former Delaware Senator Joe Biden seems to be being vindicated from his prediction of 2006 that the only way to settle the Iraq problem was to divide the nation into three sectors, one for the Sunnis, one for the Kurdish, and one for the Shiites. He got laughed out-of-town by the "Brain Trust" of the Bush Jr. Administration. It appears Biden may have been correct.
So policy expert on foreign affairs as Senator to Court Jester in the Obama Administration may now be vindicated:
The primary objection to the Biden plan was that it was the U.S. imposing a plan on Iraq. Personally, I agreed with it. But we should only have encouraged it as an option. But the best course of action would have been to allow Hussein to remain in power.
Mon, Jun 23, 2014 9:30am
As we view history through the Wayback Machine, I'm sure there are quite a few historical blunders (as seen in the rear-view mirror) that should/could have been avoided... however, when Bush attacked Iraq almost everyone (even Hillary) agreed that it was the only option because Israeli, British, and American intel said that Saddam had WMDs and threatened to use them. Saddam himself made those exact claims, but it was bluster to appear strong to neighboring Iran... this blustering blew up in his face and ours, when we found out Saddam was full of "it" and had neither a functioning nuke program nor mass storage of WMDs.
Biden's plan just may come through by natural occurrence...North to the Kurds, Middle to Syria and South to Iran. Will the U.S. now build a military base in the Kurdish region?
The neo-cons should be ignored (especially since our military has zero "intelligence" on the ground in Iraq)... enough American blood has been spilled to give the Iraqis a chance for freedom/democracy.
In my opinion, Iraq would have stayed together if one of the following had been done:
(1) The CIA "installed" another "strongman" to replace Saddam Hussein, or
(2) We had kept American troops in Iraq to help in stabilizing new democracy...like we did in Europe, Japan and South Korea.
But we did neither and no one should really be that surprised by the results... I'm surprised it happened so quickly, but not surprised the whole "project" collapsed.
Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 23, 2014 10:36am
EarlGrey: The Wayback Machine also shows us that Bush Jr. didn't wait for U.N. crews to complete their inspection of Iraq, probably because HE wanted to invade Iraq and knew if Hans Blitz didn't find any WMDs, the nation and the world would not back him invading Iraq. So he jumped the gun, and went in anyhow.
We should have waited for U.N. inspectors to complete their work; then when they turned up nothing, Little Bush would have had a much more difficult time selling all of us on invading Iraq. So probably we wouldn't have gone into Iraq and Saddam Hussein would probably still be the big cheese in Iraq, but at least that nation would have been far more stable than it is today.
Other benefits, had Bush Jr. not gone into Iraq, the U.S. wouldn't be in debt the way it is now. Thousands of American military personnel would still be alive; possibly there would have been a Republican President AFTER Bush rather than Obama.
My guess is McCain wouldn't have been the nominee in 2008, so no Sarah Palin as a V.P. candidate [I always viewed him as a throwaway candidate knowing the G.O.P. was probably going to lose 2008's election, as the economy had already calapsed, so why waste a good/great candidate only for them to lose]. There'd be no TEA party, less extremism, etc., in the Republican ranks, had one of their own had won 2008.
No Obamacare, no legalized LGBT marriage, etc., etc. So from where I'm sitting, Bush Jr. caused much mayhem to this nation, that we're still reaping the harvest from his arrogant, bone-headed decision to invade Iraq. Bush Jr. is no hero and certainly not a great President, in my opinion.
Local Iraq media reports the judge who sentenced Saddam Hussein to death has been executed by ISIS.
Mon, Jun 23, 2014 11:11am
Wayback machines are not real. Because there is no end. Had you gone way back and switched Gore beating Bush, all of the above would have happened, AND, we'd be debt-free. The National Debt would have been retired in 2008...
It was Americans who messed up. Really blaming Bush/Cheney is a cop-out. For they told us exactly what they'd do, and Americans said, "we don't care, we'll vote for you anyway." The press was culpable too; it ignored the implications of what havivg neo-cons in the White House would do to America, and ran polls instead on "which candidate would you rather have a beer with." Every American who voted Republican primarily out of ignorance, is to blame. It was all there to see if you looked. No surprises....
Mostly it was the tax cuts which did the lasting damage... Because of that election, we are $17 trillion in debt, and could have had zero these past 5 years... (The great recession would not have happened, assuming the removal of derivatives from government oversight and regulation would never have occurred.)
Mon, Jun 23, 2014 11:13am
Mike: Most Tea Partiers are not huge Bush fans (G.W./H.W. or Jeb) The Tea Party wants LESS government not BIG Government.
Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 23, 2014 1:23pm
EarlGrey: I understand, but had Bush Jr. not gone into Iraq, putting this nation into debt again, with the economic collapse happening in 2007, and a G.O.P. President had been elected in 2008, my guess is the TEA party wouldn't have been born.
From what I've read Papa Bush, tried to tell "W" not to go into Iraq. So Papa Bush had an idea of the result; sadly his son didn't listen. Remember General Norman Schwarzkopf wanted to march right into Baghdad and Papa Bush said no. We did what we came here to do; now let's get out.
The only successful war since WWII was Papa Bush's mini war to save the Kuwaiti oil wells. He, like Truman, resisted the temptation [from General MacArthur] of going further [Truman into China during the Korean War].
Both Truman and Papa Bush, I believe, were correct.
Mon, Jun 23, 2014 2:29pm
We could play the "what if" game till the end of time...what if Bill Clinton actually took out Osama bin Laden (no 9/11),what if America took out Hitler before the Death Camps (no state of Israel?), what if...Schwarzkopf was right?
We can't change the past, so let's learn from it.
What if Republicans actually ran a strong leader and not another Neo-con pro-establishment Progressive-lite?...
Mon, Jun 23, 2014 2:52pm
You guys keep talking about Schwarzkopf as though he were hell-bent on taking Baghdad. I'm not sure the record supports that conclusion.
He apparently did want to reduce Iraqi military assets to shambles, but I challenge you to find me definitive evidence that he wanted to proceed the way George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney did in Gulf War II.
Indeed, Colin Powell's U.N. speech apparently persuaded Schwarzkopf as to the merits of invading Iraq after 9/11, but Schwarzkopf appears to have become quickly disenchanted by the second Bush Administration's lack of follow-up, and he appears to have always had apprehensions about keeping Humpty-Dumpty (Iraq) intact given the profound religious-ethnic divide that we all see today. In that sense, he shared some of the same concerns as Joe Biden.
Schwarzkopf was also very turned off by what he perceived as Rummy's clear enjoyment of those defense briefings which made him such a "hit" on Fox. (Although Schwarzkopf himself appears to have enjoyed that one post-war briefing where he declared Saddam Hussein was neither a strategist not a tactician).
Earl Grey's correct, obviously. The "what if" game can go to absurdity. Still, it can be fun, and more importantly, it can sometimes be useful in judging all sides of a FUTURE action. Also, judging some who were clearly wrong in the past...
Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 23, 2014 3:17pm
Thanks, Allan, for some additional clarity and the spelling for Schwarzkopf.
I only remember the general wanting to continue on into Baghdad to finish the job, my impression, at the time, was that Schwarzkopf thought it would be pretty easy to do, so he'd not be dragging the U.S. into a big drawn-out war. At least that's how I interpreted the general's point-of-view then.
Still Papa Bush said no, and I still believe he was correct. I do remember Papa Bush taking some heat from the media, polls, etc., on not wanting to go into Baghdad. We all had seen on TV each night how the Iraqi military was not a real army at all. It was like watching a high school football team take on an NFL football team. No contest. However, President Bush 41 stood his ground as he believed that wasn't what we, or our allies, had signed on to do.
Papa Bush wasn't a real popular President, but I believe history will remember him more fondly than his son, "W".
Mon, Jun 23, 2014 6:15pm
His son 'W' switched from being a Neocon to Socialist in 20 minutes. If you think that is easy; try it. In my book this makes him a great president. Probably better than his father...
He saved the banks and kept the global economy afloat. Compare that to Hoover who was so tied up in his philosophy and party structure, he couldn't go against it... With each problem of the Great Depression, he said like Romney did 75 years later. Let them fail; let the market straighten things out... Roosevelt came in in 1932 and showed that only the government is powerful enough to straighten things out...
Mon, Jun 23, 2014 9:25pm
Ignore the neo-cons at your own peril.
Mon, Jun 23, 2014 11:46pm
It's time to put the Bush-Cheney stuff behind us and move forward. In the words of the late great Rodney King: "Can't we all just get along?"
Mike from Delaware
Tue, Jun 24, 2014 7:56am
Kavips: Good point about "W"'s one shining accomplishment as Prez. However, he wasn't as smart as FDR; somehow I don't believe the Greatest President of the 20th Century [FDR in my opinion] would have set up the deal without better language in the agreement to prevent the banks from taking taxpayers' money, and putting it in their pockets as a bonus.
So yes, I'll give Bush Jr. points for trying to save the banks [good point of going from a Neo-Con to a Socialist in 20 minutes] vs. the Hoover /TEA plan of let them fail and the market will adjust. Meanwhile with the Hoover/TEA plan, we'd all be singing that ole 1930's era song "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?". But unlike FDR, Bush Jr. did a half-arse job of it.
We'll never know, but if in the same situation, who knows, Papa Bush might have done the FDR thing too, but he, being more pragmatic than his son.... my guess is Pop Bush would have made sure all the t's were crossed and the i's dotted before just handing over all that tax money to the banks.
For your musical enjoyment, here's Rudy Vallee singing "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?" on a radio broadcast from 1931.
A great version of this song is done by Spanky and Our Gang in 1967, with lead vocalist Elaine McFarlane belting out a great vocal.
Tue, Jun 24, 2014 11:57am
One of the things that made FDR a great president, Mike, was the super-majority of Congress that came with him... What he promised got done the first 100 days...
He wouldn't have been so great if Congress were still shutting itself down over protest of Social Security benefits....
Tue, Jun 24, 2014 8:14pm
Shut the bums down and throw the bums out!
Wed, Jun 25, 2014 8:50am
FDR also had FOUR terms to push his agenda...I can't imagine what our country would look like after another 2 terms of our current president.
Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jun 25, 2014 2:09pm
Kavips: FDR did have a lot of opposition from a "TEA party"-type group called the Liberty League. The Liberty League fought FDR tooth and nail over his New Deal until 1940, when the group disbanded. Roosevelt knew how to appeal to the public with his famous Fireside Chats on the radio. Americans trusted President Roosevelt. Many had a photo of him up on their living room wall along with the picture of Jesus [not an actual photo], or a Cross, or Crucifix. I don't know of anyone, not even among DEMS I know, who have a photo of Obama up on their living room wall. How many Americans, even among loyal DEMS, truly trust Obama? FDR had that type of power; folks trusted him to help them get through those rough days of the Depression.
Obama, although a good speaker [especially listening to Bush Jr fumble his way through speeches for 8 years], doesn't know how to get people to want to do what he wants. He's an idea guy, but not a seller of ideas. FDR had that special spark, JFK, Reagan, and Clinton all had that ability. Obama doesn't.
Wed, Jun 25, 2014 6:54pm
But here's the question, Mike:
Given today's splintered public and media; given contemporary cynicism; given distrust of every major U.S. institution; given previously unimaginable spending by PACs and the very wealthy on politics; given the 24/7 magnifying glass, would even FDR have succeeded today? Reagan and Clinton suffered from that intense glare, and it's even brighter today.
Surely FDR's debilitating medical condition and his outside relationship (Lucy Mercer) would've come to light today, for example.
Wed, Jun 25, 2014 8:36pm
Mike, it is interesting that you brought that up... All too often we look back with the glazed eye of history and see only the events that made it into the record books...
We don't see the opposition... I was recently reminded of how vociferous opposition was against FDR in his second term as we tried to help Britain... It was decided along party lines, with Democrats for, and Republicans against. There were the calls of treason and impeachment like we are hearing now, primarily from the isolationists who were like the rabble-rousers today, primarily rural and Republican... They didn't teach us it was that close in high school.. Just that it passed, and so I assumed most of America was behind it... Polls then shows 54% for, with no qualifications ... Difficult to believe that when Britain was holding down the fort for democracy, Republicans would rather them fall, then have us lend them material...
Have Republicans ever been right? (Serious question.)
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jun 26, 2014 8:21am
Allan: You are correct, as I understand history, the media cooperated with FDR never filming, photographing, or in general reporting him showing/discussing his handicap. There apparently are only a couple photos and film clips that were shown in a documentary on PBS a few years ago, but apparently never shown to the public back then].
Today's media, on the other hand, digs to find any and all dirt. So if candidate "Irving Glick" got caught cheating at Hide and Seek as a 7 year old, and as a 10 year old got his mouth washed out with soap for saying a four letter word, we'll know about it. This also might explain why some better qualified folks don't run for office today. Only someone with one heck of an "ego" and no feeling for the rest of their family would put their family through all that scrutiny.
Its no longer whether or not someone is qualified to lead and make great decisions, but the bigger issue is do we like them. How do they look on TV. Thus Hillary's Achilles Heel. She's one smart cookie, yet she's just not likeable and she's not a "pretty woman" so her visuals on TV aren't high. Whereas her husband Bill, I don't believe is as intellectually as smart, but is very smart in a political sense [knowing how to appeal to voters]. Bubba Clinton is very likeable as he has that "charismatic" personality, that seems to appeal especially to women, in spite of Monica, Jennifer Flowers, etc.
I've seen polls that showed if Bill ran again, he'd win. That might be Hillary's only hope, that voters longing for those happy better economic days when Bill was busy chasing Monica around the Oval Office while "solving the nation's problems" [what a multi-tasker] would vote for Hillary figuring they don't just get Hillary, but they get Bill back in the White House. Most conservative Republicans believe we've already had a Hillary Clinton Presidency as Rush and the gang used to rant about how Hillary actually ran things, because the "Slickmeister" or "Executive in Sleeze" was busy chasing Monica around the "Oval Bedroom".
To get back to your question Allan, I'd say FDR would have a more difficult time and probably not get his party's nomination as he'd not appear as energetic and "youthful" on TV. Our society doesn't really like old people as its all about the young today. Old folks used to be valued and respected for their wisdom, common sense, etc. Today they're considered to be a burden, thus the younger TEA party folks NOT wanting to support Social Security.
Yes FDR lived in the radio age where the illusion of radio could be used to make a handicapped candidate like FDR appear to be a giant among men. Interestingly, FDR proved that a handicap such as the Polio he battled need not keep a person from being a giant among men/women.
So maybe in another sense, because of TV, Internet, and Cable TV with its 24 hour news cycle we've missed out on some "FDR's" as leaders. This I believe to be our loss.
Mike from Delaware
Thu, Jun 26, 2014 8:35am
Kavips: Republicans are correct on many "moral" issues, but what they fail to realize is you can not legislate such things as they as "spiritual issues. An example, abortion is taking a life that God apparently wants as the woman is pregnant. However, as many of our fellow citizens do not today come from homes where right and wrong, and more importantly following and worshiping God and following his commands are taught these folks do not believe that killing a full term baby in the mother's womb is wrong. So trying to legislate such issues as this or gay/lesbian marriage is doomed to failure. The secular society is in the "anything goes" mentality now. Yep the Hippies won and we are now reaping what they sowed back in the late 60's and early 70's.
The GOP should not focus on those issues, that's what help defeat Romney in 2012, but instead allow God to change people's hearts on those issues which he has done with many people over the years, so even Roe of Roe v Wade is now a Pro Lifer as I recall reading a number of years ago.
The moderate Republicans do have value for their fiscal abilities, and if they'd have more compassion for the little guy would be great public servants, in my opinion. Mitt Romney used to be such a guy, before embracing the TEA party view. Interesting his former state of Mass has the best schools, best medical in the nation, from what I've read. So being a moderate Republican is not a bad thing, they, like moderate DEMS do get things done. Its the extreme in both party's the extreme liberals and extreme conservatives that cripple our nation, in my opinion.
Thu, Jun 26, 2014 11:21am
"Have Republicans ever been right? (Serious question.)"~kavips
Depends...are talking about "establishment types" (those Karl Rove would support) or Republicans like Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan?
Thu, Jun 26, 2014 11:26am
kavips: Have Progressive Democrats/Republicans ever been right? I could actually vote for a Classical Liberal, but never for a Progressive Liberal.
"In the late 19th century, classical liberalism developed into neo-classical liberalism, which argued for government to be as small as possible in order to allow the exercise of individual freedom. In its most extreme form, it advocated Social Darwinism. Libertarianism is a modern form of neo-classical liberalism."
Thu, Jun 26, 2014 4:37pm
The only reason Obama is a good speaker is because he's a phony drone who's good at reading a teleprompter.
Bush, on the other hand, was the real deal, because he spoke from his heart.
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