• Remember Iraq? Romney, Obama Fail To Make War Part Of Campaign

    October 14, 2012

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State, Iraq, Military

    Dan Froomkin of the Huffington Post deserves our thanks for being one of the few journalists out there still writing about Iraq.

    Remember that? America invaded Iraq in 2003 and occupied the country for some nine years, at the cost of over 5,000 American and who-the-f*ck knows how many Iraqi lives. Of all those troops the candidates are always honoring and planning to help (start anytime, guys), many served in Iraq.

    Yet the Iraq War is a ghost, barely mentioned anywhere and about as popular on the campaign trail as herpes on toast.

    Dan reminds us:

    But the U.S still maintains a significant diplomatic presence there, in the form of the largest and most expensive ($6 billion a year ongoing operating costs) embassy ever built. Iraq is at long last becoming a geopolitical force in the region — but an increasingly authoritarian one, closely allied with Iran.


    Dan quotes me as arguing:

    …the war in Iraq showed the United States’ enemies its weaknesses. America’s power was demonstrated to have very clear limits. We have the world’s most powerful military, but there seems to be a back door in terms of how to bleed it, how to defeat it.


    The full piece is well worth reading, especially since you won’t hear a word about Iraq from either candidate.



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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      Since we depleted our voluntary military forces in the Iraq and Afghan fiasco, if Romney is elected we will get drawn into the Iran War by that Nutty-yahoo and need the military draft to fight it. This is the genius of Romney: millions of “war-supporting” parents will convert to Mormonism to enable them to send their children on missions to places like France just like Mitt did.

      10/14/12 1:48 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      2

      Iraq …what’s that? I thought I heard something about it a few years …ummm… nevermind. ‘merican Idol is coming on..yahooooeee!! ..bye.

      10/14/12 2:43 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      Yoo-who, it’s that time again:

      Q: If you were president, would you need to go to Congress to get authorization to take military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities?

      Romney: You sit down with your attorneys and tell you what you have to do, but obviously, the president has to do what’s in the best interest of the US to protect us against a potential threat. The president did that as he was planning on moving into Iraq and received the authorization of Congress.

      10/14/12 2:46 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      4

      Don’t worry, Iraq will be back in the news after the elections.

      Iraq is going to be one of those conflicts that will not go away for years, thanks in part to our elected officials’ ability to try to ignore problems, which of course helps them mushroom. Of course, if things get really bad, we can always cut their World of Warcraft access, like we did with Iran. That will fix problems surely

      10/14/12 3:41 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      5

      …That is, after we finally provide the electricity we’ve been promising since the Cheney administration when in addition to the pipe dreams, we dreamt of creating a magical electrical grid…

      10/14/12 3:42 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      6

      The sad truth about we regular folk: We sort of want the regular folk who have the misfortune to live in a full out or quasi totalitarian systems to take up arms with suffering and death to transform their nation but we are reluctant to do so in the USA. Voting in elections will never change the reality that the beribboned gangsters at the Pentagon run the American project’s evolution. We bought into their “protection” racket years ago. We are the compliant shop keepers who would never realize we need to risk our lives to put a stop to this madness. Needed action won’t come with hanging chads.

      10/14/12 4:16 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      7

      With irony, it’s the ballot that holds the fate of elected officials in our hands and reminds them, at least once in every four years, oh yeah they DO need the voter.

      The fault lies not in our not wanting to risk our lives — but in our failure to vote those who are failed leaders — back into office each cycle — or grumble ‘how insignificant our vote is so i need an excuse to stay home and surf tv.’

      We are not yet at the level where guys in leather jackets hide hundreds of ballots in these jackets and stuff them into the machines on voting day en masse, like some *coughs* countries — but do we want to descend to that level??

      10/14/12 5:01 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      8

      * they do need the voter, or they need the voter to stay home on election day

      10/14/12 5:03 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      9

      We progressives laugh at the ruse of American moral exceptionalism brilliantly marketed to the underclass by the plutarchy but we too have bought into an even cleverer exceptionalism ruse. It is that we are a unique empire which won’t need the tragic violent revolution model to reform our currently dysfunctional governing algorithm- we have the ballot box.

      PS. PVB is generous to allow comments by guest visitors. I hope to never abuse his hospitality.

      10/14/12 7:51 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      10

      The comments are part of the joy of reading Peter’s blog, truly.

      Could the plutarchy be waking up though, given this effort to disenfranchise voters and false claims about massive hoardes of unqualified voters? Sometimes one has to wonder if there is collusion across party lines to bore the voters into remaining snug at home on election day so the status quo can continue. And now, for some reason, there is worry

      John Oliver did a very funny video on our sense of moral exceptionalism (“but we’re the good guys”) when we cut funding to Unesco over the Mid East vote – it’s a 2 part segment (not sure why it says pt 3 and 4 but its 2 parts)

      1. http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-march-15-2012/march-15–2012—pt–3

      2. http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-march-15-2012/march-15–2012—pt–4

      10/14/12 10:49 PM | Comment Link

    • Eric Hodgdon said...

      11

      Voting is a tool. Weapons are tools, but I’m advocating in the slightest to go the route of greatest trouble.

      Non-violent struggle/actions from Gene Sharp make much more sense, and is a home-grown tool for a lot of occasions.

      Non-violent methods are part of Lithuanian society, a part of their Constitution.

      Political Parties serve to focus people into groups. OK, Eric, that’s right, so what? Well, they split the population in to smaller pieces – sort of like bite sized pieces. Smaller is more manageable. This is an observation of a piece of our country’s whole. File this, but don’t forget it.

      Progressive I hear of more than before, but it seems to have started around 1900 +- 12 years. Today it seems to be used to define those somewhere in the left wing of our antiquated visual representation of political spectrum, who want to distance themselves from the Democrats’ movement rightward.

      While people find comfort in belonging to a party, it’s a poor choice to do so. Parties reduce the need to think much beyond a certain amount, such as, “Where do I vote?” and “Who do I vote for this time?” and “?”

      By reducing the requirements to three questions, control has been largely lost. Those who vote, ~60% on a good day, for one of the two parties controlling our “federal” government system, perpetuate it. So, we have a minority of the majority who give us these wonderful smiling faces.

      For myself, Independent as in independent, is my solution. It’s not a moderate position, nor is there a political party making my choice for me, telling me who I should vote for.

      My independent view does not use that linear “wing” visualization, because we are in a three-dimensional universe.

      Antics at the Dept. of State are but one of many issues requiring attention. The more citizens and/or people accept these challenges, the better the odds of surviving, and surviving with an intact set of moral principles. Absent of spin, or party influence, or historical glossing over, moral principles can be what holds together our future where these things can live again.

      10/15/12 7:55 AM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...

      12

      American foreign policy since World War II has actively sought to reshape both
      domestic and international orders, hoping to hasten the coming of the “end of history”
      in a peaceful democratic utopia. While the end of the Cold War heightened optimism that
      this goal was near, American foreign policymakers still face dramatic challenges. In War,
      Welfare & Democracy, Peter Munson argues that the problems we face today stem from
      common roots—the modern state system’s struggle to cope with the pressures of market
      development and sociopolitical modernization.

      America’s policies seek to treat challenges as varied as insurgency, organized crime, fiscal
      crises, immigration pressures, authoritarianism, and violations of human rights with a
      schizophrenic mix of realpolitik and idealism. The ideologies that inform this policy outlook
      were born during the Great Depression and two world wars and honed during the early
      years of the Cold War. Although the world has long since changed, American policy has
      failed to adjust. The crisis of the world’s leading welfare states compounds this inflexibility.

      By addressing the inequality of wealth, security, and stability brought on by dramatic
      economic change and modernization, Munson describes how America can lead in
      reforming the welfare state paradigm and adjust its antiquated policies to best manage the
      transformation we must face.

      PETER J. MUNSON is a Middle East specialist and Marine officer with fifteen years of service around the world. The author of Iraq in Transition: The Legacy of Dictatorship and the Prospects for Democracy (Potomac Books, 2009) and the editor of the Small Wars Journal, Munson earned his master of arts degree in national security affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School. He lives near Tampa, Florida.

      10/15/12 6:03 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      13

      These are interesting points, JHoover, the only thing is I’d ask Mr Munson — is the US really a welfare state? We dont subsidize alot of programs that can be found in other countries like Canada, the EU, China. We are in the process of jettisoning social security and have killed the pension system. Students are not funded beyond high school level. Our programs for the poor are shrinking. Can what is occurring can even be described as ‘modernization’ in the US because we seem to be slipping behind in so many areas and many Americans have seen a decline in standards of living. Maybe swap out “modernization” referenced in the last paragraph above and replace with steep decline in ethics and integrity.

      Mr Munson seems to be advocating the idea if we drop the “welfare state” paradigm, then the US will be the strong world power and thus have a successful foreign policy, etc. This sounds like advocacy for the commercial sectors of our country and privatization, which already drive much of our foreign policy.

      Have so-called “privatization” and “liberalization” schemes in the Middle East really been effective and worked? So far, standards of living in the region or productive modes havent exactly boomed — if anything income disparities have worsened. Dr. Ilya Harik’s book, “Privatization and Liberalization in the Middle East” has some good case studies. (http://www.amazon.com/Privatization-Liberalization-Indiana-Islamic-Studies/dp/0253207487/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350336933&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=privitzation+and+liberalization+in+the+middle+east)

      But then again, no one seems to be able to clarify what is meant by “modernization” and everyone seems to have their own view what this is supposed to be.

      We had the opportunity to achieve something in Iraq and Afghanistan, and help ‘modernize’ economies in Iraq and Afghanistan and what happened? We also fall victim to our own confusion on what is modernity — is it westernizing, or the ability of women to wear mini-skirts in the street, or, is it runaway Capitalism with a very much weakened regulatory framework?

      Meanwhile in our own country, we’ve adopted an economic and political policy we seem to be stuck with and won’t jettison — it’s called the policy of Avoidance. That’s not foreboding well in this country and frankly it’s a low standard for governing. Munson is right we need a new paradigm — but, heh, what will it be?

      10/15/12 10:18 PM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...

      14

      Have so-called “privatization” and “liberalization” schemes in the Middle East really been effective and worked?

      There is different view some they thinks yes others no.
      In my view ME countries and nations feels they are suppressed and marginalised due to tyrant regimes, corrupted regimes and so on and so forth. Did thinks changing for better?

      Things going badly. The outcome in Iraq miserable as Iranian proxy religious parties put & handed the power, showing very high level of corruptions, thuggish and criminal activities, as they using their militias to spreads havoc between Iraqis having ready name to put the blame on each time Iraqis killed, as for other Arab Spring countries things not that bright as people they hoped.

      As “privatization” and “liberalization” schemes even if exiting in some of ME countries the schemes are hijacked by rulers, they control the schemes with wide spread corruptions and not as genuine schemes.

      May I pick your attentions to article about recent development in Saudi Arabia in regards to economics within the Kingdome, which give you more deep view what’s going on inside the Kingdome which also applicable to most gulf states and other monarchy in ME (Jordanian , Moroccan)
      رسالة إلى أصحاب المعالي

      10/16/12 7:19 AM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...

      15

      is the US really a welfare state؟

      Romney stated 47% of Americans on welfare!

      10/16/12 7:24 AM | Comment Link

    • Eric Hodgdon said...

      16

      @Kyzl Orda & Jhoover (Munson)

      Thanks.

      If the new shift is more of the same conservative economic falsehoods of self-interest and privatization, we will continue to Devolve and Degenerate.

      The shift from the supposed welfare state continues as we become mere brutes and mindless automatons seeking nothing at all.

      Competition for material things serves little to progress ourselves into a moral society or even into the purpose of government itself – protection from harm. This lowest reason is not being served, as the federal government is selectively harming people in America. Constant warfare internally and externally – shame on you federal government, your immorality is ever present and quite destructive.

      It was in 1986, when Ronnie held up the package of crack. Shame on him. Enough said.

      A new shift, I sense will be further erosion in: civility, rights, responsibilities, reason, concern, human worth, and so on down the line.

      Cynicism? No way! A truthful extrapolation of the current degeneracies endemic in most all governments in these United States of America.

      When all fault is placed onto the individual by repeated hateful dialog, while denying, even restricting legal means for the individual to help oneself, we have a corrupt and dangerous federal government, a federal government above the law and beyond reason – insane is our Federal Government.

      However, most troublesome is those of this country who accept and embrace the unconstitutional usurpation of legal authority by the Federal Government. And so with State governments too, the lackeys and minions of much lower caliber.

      But, I have hope, most likely a false and childlike hope, we may shift elsewhere instead.

      10/16/12 7:29 AM | Comment Link

    • Eric Hodgdon said...

      17

      Munson wrote this?
      “By addressing the inequality of wealth, security, and stability brought on by dramatic economic change and modernization, Munson describes how America can lead in reforming the welfare state paradigm and adjust its antiquated policies to best manage the transformation we must face.”

      America leads the world in inequality of wealth, in-security, and in-stability here at home.

      Maybe he doesn’t get out much?

      I’d like to meet him face-to-face and discuss these views, politely.

      10/16/12 7:45 AM | Comment Link

    • Eric Hodgdon said...

      18

      Upon further review of ‘the Munson book blurb’ it could use some clarification.

      If the last paragraph is to say America can lead by addressing its own inequalities first, then I was in error.

      However, the “dramatic economic change and modernization” is fuzzy as to what and how and when, but I may be of the fiber which does not see modernization** as anything other than normal and healthy. But the economic changes of the last 30-40 years has increased inequality to highs not seen since 1930.

      One overriding problem is too much secrecy in the federal government from their choosing the courses of action which DO put the country in harms way “…with a schizophrenic mix of realpolitik and idealism.” And, this leaves the voters with an unacceptable lack of information to make their decisions in voting.

      There’s at least two conflicting views on who leads who. Some say businesses control government, while the other says government is in control. My view is government is too important to be left to either – the People must re-assert their lawful authority again, modify said government, or make a new Constitution with a new government.

      NOTE: As I reference the “federal government” I reference “it” and not the people who operate “it” unless stated so.

      ** Meaning technological advancements and social liberalization. Economics is excluded.

      10/16/12 4:37 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      19

      @ Eric and Jhoover:

      Your comments are spot on. I have to read the link to the article on Saudi Arabia. Heh, if Romney said it, it must be true lol. Eric so many of your points are valid and the future is not looking so good if our course isnt reformed

      10/17/12 3:57 AM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...

      20

      if Romney said it?

      There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

      Romney went on: “[M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

      Romney: 47% Of Americans Will Vote for Obama No Matter What

      Let you know what sort of “Iranian proxy” Iraqis “oppositions” US worked to invade Iraq and put them in control?

      He was the 1st prime minister for Iraq after the invasion in 2003!!

      He do not know Czechoslovakia no longer a state, it was divided by two independent different states, (Czech republic and Slovak republic) his talk was on TV and public!!

      يالبؤس العراق .. رئيس التحالف لم يعلم بعد بتفتت تشيكوسلوفاكيا منذ 20عاما!!
      http://www.kitabat.com/ar/page/16/10/2012/4998/يالبؤس-العراق–رئيس-التحالف-لم-يعلم-بعد-بتفتت-تشيكوسلوفاكيا-منذ-20عاما.html

      10/17/12 6:36 AM | Comment Link

    • Jhoover said...

      21

      Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Zamil: A notable merchant and a top industrialist

      10/17/12 7:57 AM | Comment Link

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