Tag Archives: Iraq

Who Is Fighting the War on Terror? – An Analysis (14 September 2015)

by Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analyses

Part I – Varying Goals

Back on 1 May 2015 I wrote an analysis on “Changing Alliances and the National Interest in the Middle East.” In this piece, which can be found on my website, tothepointanalyses.com, I made the argument that, at least since September 2001 and the declaration of the “war on terror,” the defeat of al-Qaeda and its affiliates has been a publicly stated national interest of the United States. This certainly has been the way it has been presented by almost continuous government pronouncements and media stories dedicated to this “war” over the years. 

Given this goal, it logically follows that, with the evolution of al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations such as the so-called Islamic State (aka ISIS or Daesh) and Jabhat al Nusra (aka al-Qaeda in Syria), those who also seek the destruction of such groups are America’s de facto allies in the “war on terror” and warrant our assistance. Likewise, those who openly or clandestinely support these religious fanatics are opponents of a central U.S. national interest, and their relationship with the United States should at least be open to review. 

Then comes the shocker. Who has been and continues to actively oppose these al-Qaeda derivatives with soldiers on the ground? It turns out to be, among others, Iran, Hezbollah and Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government. Who are clandestinely aiding the al-Qaeda enemies of Washington? It turns out to be Israel and Saudi Arabia. …

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Original Iraq War Skeptics Find The Rekindled Debate Maddening

by Sam Stein and Michael Calderone, Huffington Post, 5/18/15

WASHINGTON — Though there were some bumps, leading Republican presidential candidates in the past week settled on an Iraq war narrative. Yes, the intelligence turned out to be faulty, so much so that there wouldn’t be a strong enough case to authorize the invasion in retrospect. But there was consensus that at the time President George W. Bush made the call, something had to be done about the threat posed by Iraq.

For those lawmakers who actually voted against the war, and those journalists who reported skeptically before the attack, this is misleading at best and self-serving at worst. Watching the revisionist story take hold 13 years after they opposed the invasion is reviving the frustration and marginalization they felt back then.

“I was amazed, absolutely amazed at how people were supporting going to war on the basis of things that just weren’t so,” said former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), one of a handful of members who opposed the invasion. “It was clear as it could be. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. None of the intel suggested they had anything to do with 9/11 and the whole rationale for WMD [weapons of mass destruction] was just very, very thin for anybody who read the intelligence reports.” As for the 2016 candidates’ comments, he said: “It is just a rewriting of history in an attempt for everybody to cover their extraordinary mistake; probably one of the most serious mistakes in the military and diplomatic history of the United States, and they were all complicit.”…

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Errors and Lies

by Paul Krugman, New York Times, 5/18/15

Surprise! It turns out that there’s something to be said for having the brother of a failed president make his own run for the White House. Thanks to Jeb Bush, we may finally have the frank discussion of the Iraq invasion we should have had a decade ago.

But many influential people — not just Mr. Bush — would prefer that we not have that discussion. There’s a palpable sense right now of the political and media elite trying to draw a line under the subject. Yes, the narrative goes, we now know that invading Iraq was a terrible mistake, and it’s about time that everyone admits it. Now let’s move on.

Well, let’s not — because that’s a false narrative, and everyone who was involved in the debate over the war knows that it’s false. The Iraq war wasn’t an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.

The fraudulence of the case for war was actually obvious even at the time….

continue reading at New York Times

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“What did thousands of dead Americans get us?” Before granting war powers, let’s see where the last two got us

by Robert Hennelly, Salon.com Feb 22, 2015

As we plan another war, it’s time to ask: Just what kind of real-world results has our war machine produced so far?

President Obama’s new National Security Strategy and his move to extend his war powers to fight ISIL reflect the challenge of keeping alive the image of the United States as a guarantor of global stability as failed states proliferate and refugee populations swell.

While the administration projects the air of “no drama” inner serenity, the 24-7 news cycle streams video of a rising tide of bloody sectarian violence on the march from Africa, through the Mideast and into Eastern Europe. Last week the president’s proposed budget tipped his hand, in that even though he says he has brought home over 90 percent of the ground troops from the Iraq-Afghanistan theater, there was no peace dividend in the proposed FY2016 spending plan.

The president’s freshly minted National Security Strategy is first and foremost self-congratulatory and disconnected from reality. It reads like what could be the introduction to a sequel to the president’s “The Audacity of Hope,” which he could title “I Did My Best Under the Circumstances.”

“Globally, we have moved beyond the large ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that defined so much of American foreign policy over the past decade. Compared to the nearly 180,000 troops we had in Iraq and Afghanistan when I took office we now have fewer than 15,000 deployed in those countries,” the president writes. “We possess a military whose might, technology and geostrategic reach is unrivaled in human history.”

And so, the inference is those ground wars are over because, well, we say they are. Yet now, as the Times reports, the president has a new and improved kind of war he’s selling. Now might be the time to pause and ask just what kind of practical real-world results has our unparalleled military machine produced so far?

All the Beltway reporting about the prospects of new war powers for the president focus on the parlor politics of whether he can get it through Congress, not on the efficacy of his strategy. Funny, how we insist on results-based assessments on everything else but lose all reason when we hear the battle bugles blare…

continue reading at Salon.com

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