August 2nd, 2014

Want to feel angry?

Read this.

I can’t read about Iraq today without feeling rage at President Obama for his failure to negotiate a SOFA agreement—his politically motivated and short-sighted abandonment and betrayal of Iraq, our military who fought and died there, and decency. And the harmonic echoes of the abandonment of Vietnam still vibrate in the air.

26 Responses to “Want to feel angry?”

  1. Doom Says:

    The Dem party is known for getting us into wars and then cutting former allies to the bone. It is what they do. Get a very simple notice of which presidents and party was involved with getting America into war then stripping former allies of any assistance. It’s what they do. A Dem congress stripped South Vietnam, Carter turned Iran into what it is, Clinton went to war to cover his personal scandal, Zero is just carrying the typical Dem ball. They don’t just hate America, they hate our real allies.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    Without hate, it cannot be discerned. Without love, it cannot be seen.

  3. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I think its more basic than dems hating America as primary motivation. It’s a case of fight or flight. And the difference between fight or flight is the ‘l’ which in this case stands for loyalty. Those who choose to fight do so out of love of country and principle. Those who choose flight do so out of love of self. Those who choose flight view appeasement as their default tactic. They will only fight if no other choice is available with their enemy not accepting surrender and cornered with no escape. Rats indeed, DemocRats betray whenever it offers an advantage.

    There’s no obligation toward the stranger in the drive to create utopia on earth, loyalty to the greater cause, to the masses sure and perhaps to family and friends but to a fellow American? There it’s every man for himself.

  4. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I make it a point to read Belmont club every day. Wretchard brings a uniquely astute perspective to examination of events. As for Iraq, the Sunni Jihadist Caliphate may well be in its earliest stage of emergence. It will be a nuclear armed Caliphate ruled by truly brutal and barbaric religious fanatics. What could go wrong?

  5. Old Rebel Says:

    Yes, it’s Obama’s fault W the Conqueror started a no-win war for an impossible goal.

  6. AMR Says:

    On April 1, a weeping Lon Nol, crippled by nervous breakdowns and a series of minor strokes, fled Phnom Penh for Hawaii with his family and entourage while Prince Sirik Matak and other Lon Nol supporters remained behind in the hopes of organizing a last-minute peace talks. The Khmer Rouge rejected the talks and pressed further into the capital. US Ambassador to Cambodia John Gunther Dean quickly made plans to evacuate US embassy staff and their families along with key Cambodian government officials, including Sirik Matak, Lon Nol’s brother Lon Non, and acting prime minister Long Boret. All three declined the offer. In the hours leading up to the evacuation Sirik Matak responded to Dean’s invitation:

    Dear Excellency and friend,

    I thank you very sincerely for your letter and for your offer to transport me towards freedom. I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion.

    As for you and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which has chosen liberty. You have refused us your protection and we can do nothing about it. You leave us and it is my wish that you and your country will find happiness under the sky.

    But mark it well that, if I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad because we are all born and must die one day. I have only committed the mistake of believing in you, the Americans.

    Please accept, Excellency, my dear friend, my faithful and friendly sentiments. Sirik Matak.

    Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak, former contender for the Cambodian throne and co-conspirator in the Lon Nol coup, would be executed by the Khmer Rouge two weeks later, along with Long Boret, Lon Non, and the other remaining members of the Lon Nol government.

  7. J.J. Says:

    Last night Megyn Kelly had a guest on her program who is the son of one of the leaders of Hamas. He looked to be in his twenties. He has seen the light and knows that Hamas is an evil, medieval group. When Megyn asked him what President Obama should do, he replied (paraphrasing) that Obama should come firmly down on the side of freedom and against the tyranny of Hamas and all such terror groups. He said it with such conviction that I knew he meant it. Clear-headed, non-compromising thought from a young Palestinian. His statement was like a drink of cold water. Obama and the progs all want to see some kind of equivalence between Hamas and Israel. There is none! Period, full stop. Until the West begins to think in those clear, unequivocal terms, we will continue to falter in defending ourselves and the rest of the free world.

    I thought to myself after watching the segment that it was just such clear-headed, non-compromising thinking about the bright line between freedom and tyranny that was characteristic of Ronald Reagan. The progs and the MSM have collaborated to blur that line until few can remember it.

  8. Eric Says:

    Old Rebel: “Yes, it’s Obama’s fault W the Conqueror started a no-win war for an impossible goal.”

    The war for regime change was won in 2003, we met our objectives for the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement, and we had turned the corner on building the peace with post-Saddam Iraq. However, we left the peace-building project with Iraq prematurely while the area, especially the country next door to Iraq, was growing more dangerous.

    Excerpts from:
    http://learning-curve.blogspot.com/2014/05/operation-iraqi-freedom-faq.html

    When Saddam failed to comply volitionally in his “final opportunity” (UNSCR 1441), the objectives set by Clinton to resolve the Saddam problem were achieved by OIF: Iraq in compliance, Iraq at peace with its neighbors and the international community, and Iraq internally reformed with regime change.
    . . .

    Q: Was Operation Iraqi Freedom a strategic blunder or a strategic victory?

    A: OIF was a strategic victory.

    President Bush handed OIF to President Obama having resolved the festering Saddam problem (none too soon, according to the Duelfer Report), revitalized international enforcement in the defining international enforcement of the post-Cold War, and proved the mettle of American leadership and devastated the terrorists with the Counterinsurgency “Surge”. The emerging pluralistic, liberalizing post-Saddam Iraq provided the US with a keystone “strategic partner” to reform the region.

    Obama should have built upon the hard-won foundational progress made under Bush in geopolitically critical Iraq. However, instead of staying the course like President Eisenhower stayed the course from President Truman, Obama committed the strategic blunder of bungling the SOFA negotiation with Iraq and abandoning the Bush Freedom Agenda. The premature departure of US forces removed America’s protection at the same time Iraq’s vicinity was growing dangerously unstable as the Arab Spring disintegrated, particularly in neighboring Syria. In the singular pivotal moment that sure-handed American leadership could have changed the course of history, Obama’s feckless ‘lead from behind’ approach to the Arab Spring, instead, opened great gaps for the terrorists to resurge. Iraq is suffering the consequences.

    Misinformation and mischaracterization have distorted the public’s understanding of the context, stakes, and achievements of the Gulf War ceasefire enforcement that President Bush carried forward from President Clinton and the ground-breaking peace operations by the US military in post-Saddam Iraq. The corrupted public perception of the Iraq mission has enabled Obama’s elementary, catastrophic errors, undermined the enforcement of international norms, and curtailed the further development of peace operations.

    Security is the necessary condition for securing and building the peace, and under the umbrella of vital American security, Iraq had turned the corner when Bush handed OIF over to Obama.

    To wit, in May 2011, President Obama marked Iraq’s “promise of a multiethnic, multisectarian democracy … poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress”:

    Indeed, one of the broader lessons to be drawn from this period is that sectarian divides need not lead to conflict. In Iraq, we see the promise of a multiethnic, multisectarian democracy. The Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence in favor of a democratic process, even as they’ve taken full responsibility for their own security. Of course, like all new democracies, they will face setbacks. But Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress. And as they do, we will be proud to stand with them as a steadfast partner.

    In the same vein, the welcome statement on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad website anticipated “Iraq emerge as a strategic partner in a tumultuous region … that can act as a force for moderation … in the national security interests of the United States”:

    After a long and difficult conflict, we now have the opportunity to see Iraq emerge as a strategic partner in a tumultuous region. A sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq that can act as a force for moderation is profoundly in the national security interests of the United States and will ensure that Iraq can realize its full potential as a democratic society. Our civilian-led presence is helping us strengthen the strong strategic partnership that has developed up to this point.

    President Bush was right to enforce the Gulf War ceasefire and then stay in Iraq to secure the peace the same way the US stayed to secure the peace in Europe and Asia after World War 2. When Bush left office, the Iraq mission was a success.

    President Obama was wrong to leave Iraq prematurely. America’s protection was needed for the continued progression of Iraq’s pluralistic liberal reform and constructive role in the Middle East and the welfare of the Iraqi people. Instead, the feared danger of Obama’s feckless ‘lead from behind’ approach to the Arab Spring and irresponsible exit from Iraq is being realized.

  9. Mike Says:

    “Politically motivated”? Really? He’s an evil man. Politics serves the evil; evil does not serve the politics.

    “Short-sighted”? I hope you are not serious. Clear-sighted is the reality. He is very clear-sighted. He is in the Zen “Now” almost all the time. He knows, and he loves, everything he is doing. He bathes in the suffering he is causing. He adores it. It gives him a rush of importance, power, potency.

    You very much excuse this so-called president with as a routine matter of course. Even when you criticize him you never dare tell the truth of how bad it really is.

    Hitler: such a short-sighted and politically motivated man he was!

  10. Old Rebel Says:

    Bush in 2003: “Our mission in Iraq and Afghanistan is clear to our service members — and clear to our enemies. Our men and women are fighting to secure the freedom of more than 50 million people who recently lived under two of the cruelest dictatorships on earth. Our men and women are fighting to help democracy and peace and justice rise in a troubled and violent region.”

    Iraq is now a hell hole. The notion of fostering Western-style political institutions in a culture hostile to such institutions was lunatic.

    Funny how the Neocon argument parallels Liberal talking points whenever critics point out the failures of their other-worldly programs — it’s always someone else’s fault. We haven’t spent enough money. We just need more dedication.

    Neither Neocons nor Liberals can grasp that their schemes can never work in the real world.

  11. Eric Says:

    Old Rebel,

    See again President Obama’s May 2011 assessment of the rising Iraq that was then still under American protection, quoted in my comment at August 2nd, 2014 at 7:06 pm.

    The proximate causes of the current crisis in Iraq are the degeneration of the Arab Spring, especially in Syria, which is related to Obama’s feckless ‘lead from behind’ approach to the Arab Spring, and more importantly, the premature removal of American protection from Iraq when America’s protection was needed for the continued progression of Iraq’s pluralistic liberal reform and constructive role in the Middle East, as described by Obama, and the welfare of the Iraqi people.

    Iraq wasn’t the first time we successfully shepherded an autocrat-to-liberal conversion. But as always, the fundamental difference in a nation-building project is whether there is sufficient US military engagement on the ground. Our soldiers didn’t abandon the other nation-building projects after only 8 years, really only 5 years if you count from the transformational Counterinsurgency “Surge”.

  12. Old Rebel Says:

    When has a “liberal conversion” ever been imposed on a nation by force? Free institutions must be organic to survive – they cannot be forced upon a people.

    The staggering debt, the loss of life, and the escalating chaos in Iraq are the reasons almost 3 of 4 Americans now see the Neocon Wars as failures.

  13. NeoConScum Says:

    President Bush handed The Boy King a VAST Victory in Iraq. Period. Hard fought. Costly lessons. But a Massive Success. And a fledgling republic that was gaining steam with our help. All that was required was continuing American follow-through, resolve, character, strength, muscle and not folding to defeatist-moral cowards in America. Everything that that the Booosh-Cheney Cabal had in abundance and His Infantile Majesty possesses in the amount of Not One Atom.

    Thank you Eric for clearly pointing out some really easy to understand FACTS to OldReb.

  14. J.J. Says:

    Old Rebel: “When has a “liberal conversion” ever been imposed on a nation by force?”

    How about Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan?

  15. Old Rebel Says:

    J.J.,

    No comparison.

    Germany and Japan were organic nations. Iraq, on the other hand, was cobble together by the French and British out of three disparate ethnic groups so they could be more easily controlled.

    Plus, both Germany and Japan had representative legislative bodies for several generations.

    Try again.

  16. J.J. Says:

    Old Rebel: “Plus, both Germany and Japan had representative legislative bodies for several generations.”

    When did Hitler take orders from the representative legislative body? Imperial Japan’s form of government was based on the divinity of their emperor. Representative legislative bodies in such governments are window dressing.

    I’ll grant that Japan, in particular was an ethnically organic nation.

    Germany – not so much. As with most nations in Western Europe, it was a remnant of the older Austro-Hungarian Empire. Few countries in Europe are ethnically/religiously homogenous. Their histories, going back to 400 AD, are much more complex than the Middle East. Most European countries had royalty and emperors as their heads of state. Real representative governments prior to WWII were all concentrated in the Anglosphere. The idea that conquest was a normal way of acquiring territory or resources was still generally accepted. Otherwise why would Japan have attacked China? Why did Germany conquer, for a time, most of Western Europe? Both countries intended to establish tyrannies in their part of the world through conquest.

    At the end of WWII the victors (USA and allies) could have acquired Germany, Japan and other countries as colonies. They were ruined by war, had no economies worth speaking of, and we were the only power with the atom bomb and a means to deliver it. Instead, we helped them reform their dictatorship forms of government as democracies and helped them rebuild their economies. Bad idea? Not in my book.

    In trying to combat Islamic terrorism, there were two choices. One would be to retreat to “Fortress America” or at least try to isolate the Muslim countries in the ME. The other would be to try, as recommended by that infamous neocon, Thomas P.M Barnett in his book, “THE PENTAGON’S NEW MAP,” to bring reform to the Middle East.

    Bush chose to try to bring some form of democracy to the ME. Of all the countries in the ME, Iraq seemed the most likely to be a candidate. They had a decent infrastructure, an education system, and were governed by a tyrant who was also an enemy of the USA. Saddam had been defying the Gulf War cease fire agreements all during the Clinton administration. As Eric points out the cassus belli was there and Bush decided to try to bring a small part of the Gap into the Core. Unfortunately, we don’t know if it would have worked. When Obama took over, the job was maybe 35% complete. Many more years of coaching and guidance were required. Maybe, even then, it would have failed. But now we’ll never know.

    What we have now is a much, much worse situation than we had in 2009. Five years of feckless leadership and disengagement have allowed the embers of Islamic terrorism left in 2009 to blow up into a raging fire that no one (especially not the most powerful nation in the world) is making any effort to stop.

    Maybe you see it as a harmless fire that will consume only the ME and leave the rest of the world untouched. Were there no oil in the area, I would agree with you. The oil is what makes all the difference.

  17. Old Rebel Says:

    “Germany – not so much. As with most nations in Western Europe, it was a remnant of the older Austro-Hungarian Empire.”

    No – Germany wasn’t part of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was part of the German Empire.

    “When did Hitler take orders from the representative legislative body?”

    Hitler’s unfortunate rise resulted from the wounded national pride the Germans suffered after WWI and the unfair Versailles treaty. But before ol’ Crazy Eyes rose to power, both Bavaria and Prussia had legislative assemblies for several generations. My point was that Germany had representative legislative bodies with real power – a vital feature Iraq lacked. That’s why W’s war aims were doomed from the beginning.

    “Few countries in Europe are ethnically/religiously homogenous.” Well, that’s just silly. While there are minorities in almost every European nation, they are NATIONS in the original sense of the word, composed of peoples speaking the same language and sharing a common history.

    Iraq, on the other hand, was cobbled together from disparate groups by the Allies after WWI.

    “Otherwise why would Japan have attacked China?”

    They were trying to catch up with the European powers that had colonized much of Asia and Africa.

    “Maybe you see it as a harmless fire that will consume only the ME and leave the rest of the world untouched.”

    No, I see the rise of ISIS as a catastrophe, one that would never have arisen if W the Conqueror hadn’t interfered in the first place. More meddling will only make things worse.

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    Old Rebel:

    And yet Iraq was doing relatively well when the Bush administration ended. Obama’s abandonment caused the precipitous decline in the situation. And ISIS arose in Syria, as a result (in part) of Obama’s policies.

    What’s more, you’re comparing Iraq now with an imaginary Iraq, an Iraq where sanctions were not lifted on Saddam (the opposite of what was actually about to happen) and where Saddam never resumed making MWDs after sanctions were removed (although according to the Duelfer Report he almost certainly was poised to resume them).

    You are arbitrarily choosing a Bush point of entry into the chain and comparing that to an imaginary alternative.

  19. Old Rebel Says:

    neoneocon,

    But DC couldn’t afford to baby-sit the Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites forever. At some point, US troops would have to leave, and Iraq would STILL have fractured. That’s not an imaginary scenario; Iraq has never possessed inherent stability.

    As for Iraq doing “relatively well” at the beginning of the Obama regime is a flight of fantasy. Three million refugees, and continual terror bombings? I’ll pass on that standard of doing well.

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    Old Rebel:

    We could afford to babysit them at least as long as we did Japan, Germany, and Korea. There’s some amount of time between what Obama did and “forever.” You’re setting up a false, penny-wise pound-foolish dichotomy and a straw man.

    And if ISIS does what ISIS intends, we’ll pay a lot more than an ounce of prevention would have cost.

    Everyone, including Obama, evaluated Iraq as doing relatively well by 2011. You are again adopting a false and unrealistic standard.

  21. NeoConScum Says:

    How to say this… Far, FAR fewer American men were being slain in Iraq when Mister Testicular Concavity took office than were(and are)being killed in his adopted hometown of Chicago.

    Peace had settled in, along with a good deal of stability. ‘Fraid OldReb needs to catch up on some reading.

  22. J.J. Says:

    NeoConScum: “Far, FAR fewer American men were being slain in Iraq when Mister Testicular Concavity took office than were(and are)being killed in his adopted hometown of Chicago.”

    Yep. I would guess that Old Rebel thinks that Chicago is not worth saving either. After all it’s a false city constructed by the dictator Richard J. Daley. It cannot be reformed. Too many different ethnicities and languages there.

  23. J.J. Says:

    Old Rebel, I misspoke. Thanks for pointing it out. It was the Holy Roman Empire not the Austro-Hungarian Empire. (which came later) The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in central Europe that developed during the Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806. It consisted of many political/ethnic/religious groups that had allegiance to the Emperor, but were relatively sovereign. After it broke up in 1806 the following nations eventually formed out of it:
    Germany
    Austria
    Poland
    Czech Republic
    France
    Netherlands
    Belgium
    Luxembourg
    Croatia
    Monaco
    Italy
    Slovenia
    Switzerland
    San Marino
    Liechtenstein
    Here’s a link to a map showing the various fragments of ethnic, religious, and political groups in 1806.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederation_of_the_Rhine#mediaviewer/File:Rheinbund_1808,_political_map.png

    Hitler and Mussolini showed that tyranny is relatively easy to establish but difficult to reform. Humans still have an instinct to follow the “Big Man” from our tribal ancestry. That’s why freedom and individuality are still so scarce on the planet. Unconditional victory over the dictator seems to provide the most fertile field for reform of tyrannical government. We didn’t provide that in Iraq. We tried to be magnanimous. IMO, that was a mistake. In spite of that, it was working out pretty well in 2009. But, as I said, we’ll never know now if it would be ultimately successful because Obama didn’t follow through.

    Maybe it’s possible that Islam will never reform. If so, it is a problem. They have oil money and a desire to take over as much territory as possible. They still accept the validity of conquest as a way to procure land and resources. That, in my book, is setting up an eventual war for survival between the West and Islam. Do you wait as they become more powerful or do you try to cut them down to size before they become much more powerful? Obviously, our President has opted for waiting. It may not be the best strategy.

  24. Old Rebel Says:

    “We could afford to babysit them at least as long as we did Japan, Germany, and Korea”

    No. The US was the world’s largest CREDITOR nation back then. Now it’s the largest DEBTOR nation. We can’t afford to fix Detroit, much less Baghdad.

  25. neo-neocon Says:

    Old Rebel:

    We can’t afford not to. And it wouldn’t have cost much at all, comparatively speaking, to have left a small residual force there. We maintain a military presence in plenty of countries, and give foreign aid to plenty of countries.

  26. NeoConScum Says:

    N-Neocon… As I recall the Joint Chiefs and GWB had figured a force of 25-30,000 for the first few years. Muscular and serious. When The Leader From Waaaay Behind put a 3,000 limit on SOFA—ie. token & useless—the Iraqis rejected it.

    J.J.(5:47pm)…LOL Chicago!! Ain’t it pathetic the way Lib-Lefties were horrified by our presence in Iraq and averted their eyes(and voices) from the (mostly black on black)deaths in Liberal Showpiece Chicago?!

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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