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Iraq war my biggest regret, Bush admits

Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room

oddmyth

TRIBE Member
BAd Luck said:
Do'es anyone remember iraq#1?...
at that time all the rah rah usa asked "why didn't we take baghdad?"
you know why, motherfuckingretards? Because Colin Powell said NO.
and the reason he said no, still holds true. At that time, it was his opinion
that COMPLETELY unearthing the power of balance in the mideast would
cause long term fucktardville.And survey says!? Ya it's fucked.Iraq is the
new iran. Sunni shiite controlled fuckville! usa! usa!

We get it you have tourettes.
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
BAd Luck said:
You know that was not his call. I remember seeing that press conference,
he seemed off. The guy is usually mr.confidence, announcing the WMD's
hey knew he was making a bullshit call, and he doesn't have the pokerface
to pull it off. Buddy looked like he wanted to cry and then shoot himself.

Right. And he toed the line knowing that what he was shovelling was shit. And now his integrity is shit as a result.

Ah military men, never thinking for yourselves.
 

Colm

TRIBE Member
oddmyth said:
We get it you have tourettes.

Pat Buchanan (yes, that Pat Buchanan) is the only 'conservative' I'm aware of who really argued against a toppling of the Saddam regime via military intervention.
 
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derek

TRIBE Member
Colm said:
I read that Bush has finally talked about the 'Mission Accomplished' banner and how it was for a celebration on the carrier that had nothing to do with the overall objectives of the Iraq War. He didn't tell them to take it down because he was worried about morale. And because he had the PR nous of an anal wart.

that's what we call backpedaling.

what mission was accomplished? did the navy chef have dinner ready on-time.
 

acheron

TRIBE Member
the carrier's specific mission at that time. IIRC the ship's crew/compliment were rotating out and their piece of the action was done, completed, etc. so they had the banner made as a morale booster. Then Bush decides to come there and make a speech, his people fucked up and left the banner up without considering the optics. It's not as if Bush brought the banner with him. It was incredibly unfortunate (and deliciously ironic) that no one caught it.
 
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deep

TRIBE Member
acheron said:
It was incredibly unfortunate (and deliciously ironic) that no one caught it.

Actually thousands of people dying unnecessarily is incredibly unfortunate. This is just deliciously ironic
 

derek

TRIBE Member
the one carrier bush happens to be delivering a speech has a mission accomplished poster for their own objective. i intrigued to know what this mission was.

it still makes him either a) a liar or b) stupid.
 

Rocky

TRIBE Member
Subsonic Chronic said:
That is also MY biggest regret of the past 8 years. That the intelligence was not different.
Hey everybody! Welcome to the Daily Show...
 

acheron

TRIBE Member
further detail on the Mission Accomplished fiasco
Dailyshowmission.JPG
 
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Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
derek said:
the one carrier bush happens to be delivering a speech has a mission accomplished poster for their own objective. i intrigued to know what this mission was.

it still makes him either a) a liar or b) stupid.


Total coincidence that it was perfectly framed for the shot too, I'm sure.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Colm said:
Pat Buchanan (yes, that Pat Buchanan) is the only 'conservative' I'm aware of who really argued against a toppling of the Saddam regime via military intervention.

We could add Scowcroft, Robert Novak, Scott McConnell, Eric Margolis, Chuck Hagel, Ron Paul, George Will.

But Buchanan was the most high-profile I grant... and as the initial euphoria of Mission Accomplished wore off they were able to add plenty more, and high profile ones too like Andrew Sullivan and William F Buckley.
 

oddmyth

TRIBE Member
Colm said:
Pat Buchanan (yes, that Pat Buchanan) is the only 'conservative' I'm aware of who really argued against a toppling of the Saddam regime via military intervention.

Playing Risk goes faster when you use more than 1d6 .. so what?

In other words, your comments have nothing to do with what I'm saying.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Don’t Blame Me, I’m Just the Viceroy
The Envoy: From Kabul to the White House, My Journey Through a Turbulent World, Zalmay Khalilzad, St. Martin's Press, 336 pages
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • July 18, 2016 • Link

Midway through this earnest but peculiarly lifeless memoir, Zalmay Khalilzad recalls with evident pride a moment in 2005 when President George W. Bush commended him for being “some kind of a magician.” Then serving as U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, Khalilzad had earned this accolade by nudging competing factions on the Iraqi political scene to ratify a draft constitution. Here, it seemed, was a signal achievement, evidence that U.S. efforts to transform Iraq into a stable liberal democracy were bearing fruit.

As with so many other milestones and turning points in recent U.S. policy, this one turned out to be illusory. As a magician, Khalilzad proved something of a flop.

As a historical figure, however, he is not without interest. Born and raised in Afghanistan, educated in Beirut and Chicago, Khalilzad became something like the Zelig of America’s post-Cold War era. Time and again, whenever a Republican occupies the White House, Khalilzad appears at the center of the action.

In 1987, there he is in the Oval Office, whispering in Ronald Reagan’s ear as the Gipper entertains a leader of the Afghan mujahedin. The putatively great victory of Operation Desert Storm in 1991 finds Khalilzad in the Pentagon, crafting a grand strategy intended to perpetuate a unipolar order guaranteed by American military supremacy. On September 11, 2001, he is holding a senior post on the National Security Council staff, directly responsible for U.S. policy in Iraq, Afghanistan, and points in between. George W. Bush soon has him on the road. Zal, as he is universally known, serves successively as our man in Kabul and Baghdad, and then at the United Nations.

Quite a résumé! The reader yearns to share in the insights gleaned over the course of Khalilzad’s self-described “journey through a turbulent world.” Alas, either he has few insights to offer or he chooses to pull his punches. While the relative brevity of The Envoy counts as a plus, the contents tend to be bland and the judgments circumspect. The overall result must rank as a disappointment. Given his genuinely extraordinary career, the author owes himself a better book than he has produced.

Perhaps understandably, Khalilzad devotes the preponderance of his attention to his tenure as U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan and then Iraq. Chapter titles summarize the overall interpretation that the narrative advances. After “Accelerating Success in Afghanistan,” Khalilzad sets about claiming the “Fruits of Democracy” there. Then upon moving to his next post, he devotes himself to “Repairing Iraq,” before “Forging a National Unity Government” in Baghdad.

On his watch, thanks to his savvy as a diplomat, things got better. Once he left, they inexplicably fell apart. Khalilzad’s bottom line would seem to be this: if you’re not happy with the way things turned out, don’t blame me.

But then who or what are we to blame? Since 9/11, in the region of the world that became Khalilzad’s principal beat, U.S. policy has been profoundly unsuccessful. (Granted, even prior to 9/11, it wasn’t all that much better.) Who better than Khalilzad, the Afghan outsider turned Washington insider, to elucidate the mix of factors that caused things to go wrong?

After all, as a student, Khalilzad had immersed himself in the milieu of U.S. national-security policy, tutored as a graduate student by the neoconservative guru Albert Wohlstetter while rotating in and out of jobs with RAND when not in government. Following the Cold War, Paul Wolfowitz, another Wohlstetter disciple, recruited him to join his staff in the Pentagon. After 9/11, Khalilzad worked with or for all of the key American players, from the president and Dick Cheney to Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and L. Paul Bremer, along with various three- and four-star military commanders. In both Afghanistan and Iraq, he won the confidence of politicians, clerics, warlords, and other powerbrokers. Like Henry and Zbig, he became one of those figures whose last name became redundant. Everyone knew Zal.

Yet while offering a detailed account of various conferences and tête-à-têtes with foreign leaders, Khalilzad has remarkably little to say about matters likely to interest most readers. Regarding personalities encountered along the way, he offers only cursory sketches. Yes, Bush was given to adolescent tomfoolery, Rumsfeld was difficult and turf-conscious, and, apart from her loyalty to the president, Rice was ill-suited to the role of national security adviser: none of this comes as news.

Meanwhile, on controversies ranging from the Bush administration’s weird infatuation with Ahmad Chalabi to its preoccupation with Iraq’s putative—but nonexistent—stock of weapons of mass destruction, he has little to say. Bush’s discovery of an “Axis of Evil”? His conviction that waging a “global war on terrorism” sounded like a good idea? His embrace of preventive war? His expectations of Iraq making a seamless transition from police state to pro-Western democracy? Khalilzad skims past each of these. As for the ill-fated decision to disband the Iraqi army once U.S. forces had overthrown Saddam, Khalilzad lays the blame squarely on Bremer. Apparently, no one in Washington or anywhere else had a clue.

Khalilzad rightly fingers Pakistan for its double-dealing in Afghanistan but doesn’t explain why the Bush administration ignored that country’s blatant lies and deceptions. He offers tantalizing hints of Iranian willingness after 9/11 to engage with the United States on issues of mutual concern. Yet he has little to say about why the Bush administration rejected such offers.

Referring repeatedly to what he calls an ongoing “crisis of Islamic civilization,” Khalilzad clings to the view that it is somehow incumbent upon the United States to resolve that crisis. Indeed, he concludes, it remains America’s job to “shape the world,” even if the shaping efforts to which he himself contributed produced few positive results. Khalilzad’s prescription: try harder, which implies doubling down on the application of American military might. “As difficult as the world is today,” he writes, “it could get much worse if the United States retreats.”

Wohlstetter, he writes, taught his students to “identify and question [their] assumptions.” This is the one thing that Khalilzad and other members of the foreign-policy establishment adamantly refuse to do. Assumptions have long since become dogma. There is no direction except onward, regardless of the costs.

Andrew Bacevich is professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. His most recent book is America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
^^ More evidence for the "No, they really were that stupid" file.

Shocker people! The emperor has no clothes.

The idea America has been failing on purpose is like REALLY generous to their capacities, its the only way you could explain away all the failure after strategic failure.

I dont buy it.

They stumbled into EVERYTHING of their own accord. Why should we think them so smart anyway?
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
The Emperor Has No Clothes people, another one for the "incompetence" file:

Is a Rational American Foreign Policy Even Possible?

Geoffrey Wheatcroft | The National Interest | August 1, 2016 | Link

“Eight years in Washington left me with considerable pessimism about the capability of the U.S. policy elites—Democrat as well as Republican—to carry out radical changes in policy if these required real civic courage and challenges to powerful domestic constituencies or dominant national myths.” Anatol Lieven wrote those words in The National Interest just as Barack Obama was about to be inaugurated.

Nearly eight years on, can anyone doubt that Lieven’s pessimism was justified, or claim that the international outlook for the United States is any rosier now than it was then?

If anything, Obama has done more to challenge constituencies and myths than might have been expected, certainly too much for the liking of his critics, and yet these past years can scarcely be called a success for him in foreign affairs. Might it not be time to ask whether it’s possible for the United States even to have a rational foreign policy?

Under Obama, the United States has suffered too many setbacks to count. A hoped-for “reset” with Russia has not come to pass, China is militarily as well as economically more aggressive than for years past. And the latest woe comes by way of my country. A needless and foolish referendum called by David Cameron produced a “Brexit" vote which ended his career, but which was also a grave blow to Washington.

One of the bleaker, if more amusing, ironies of this story is that the fanatical Europhobes on the right wing of the British Tory party who were so passionate for Brexit, are at the same time grovelingly devoted to the United States. They are even ready to subordinate the British national interest to American interest, as patently happened in Iraq. But they don't seem have noticed that the White House and State Department were praying for the British to vote Remain.

For many years now, British membership of the Common Market, then the European Community, then the European Union has been a central aim of American policy. If American leaders were interested in Great Britain, and if the so-called “special relationship” concerned them, it was because British support was sometimes useful in American military venture, but far more because British membership of the EU gave Washington a voice in Europe.

It might sound a little reductive or insulting to suggest that Washington was mainly interested in London as route to Berlin, but Theresa May and Boris Johnson, her simply unbelievable appointment as Foreign Secretary, are about to find out the underlying truth. That was Charles de Gaulle’s real objection to British membership of the Common Market, which he vetoed twice: he believed that Great Britain would be a Trojan horse for American influence. De Gaulle has certainly been vindicated, in many ways.

But above all it’s “what is called, somewhat oddly, the Middle East,” as Churchill put it in the course of a famous speech in 1940, that has exposed the limitations of American policy, with the upheaval in Turkey only the latest case where things never seem to go right for Washington. Turkey was long a lynchpin of American geopolitical strategy but it is now drifting out of the American and Western orbit.

When Lieven wrote the words quoted, eight dramatic years had come to an end, and with them a great experiment in unilateral intervention, founded on a doctrine the neoconservatives espoused and may have seriously believed. “I think there is a potential civic culture in Arab countries that can lead to democratic institutions,” Richard Perle said in 2001, “and I think that Iraq is probably the best place to put that proposition to the test.”

Well, fifteen years on he can’t complain! His proposition was put to the test, all right, and tested to destruction. It seems genuinely not to have occurred to Perle and his gang that, even if “democratic institutions” had been established in Iraq—or Iran or Lebanon or any other Arab or Muslim country—then elections held under them would produce outcomes highly unpalatable to Washington. Politicians, parties and governments strongly hostile to the United States, Israel and the West would be elected, since that would express the sentiment of the people, or “demos” as in “democracy”.

Don’t take this from an English commentator, take it from two eminent Americans. In his time at the State Department, Aaron David Miller was much concerned with the peace process, as it is forlornly known, and after leaving State he wrote an excellent book, with a painfully apt title. The Much Too Promised Land: America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace is worth its price for two asides. He says that the Americans are stuck in the Middle East, a region they can't quit but cannot fix, and where, as Miller says, the United States “is not liked, not respected, and not feared.”

And Philip Gordon, who formerly worked for the Obama White House as Special Assistant and Coordinator for the Middle East, succinctly summed up recent American experience: “In Iraq, the U.S. intervened and occupied, and the result was a costly disaster. In Libya, the U.S. intervened and did not occupy, and the result was a costly disaster. In Syria, the U.S. neither intervened nor occupied, and the result is a costly disaster.”

Now the obvious conclusion from that would appear to be that nothing the United States does in those parts will work, and that Washington has no good way of dealing with the Middle East, no good options, and no good likely outcomes. The cynical Rooseveltian principle “He’s a son of a bitch but he’s our son of a bitch” just doesn’t work in a region where they’re all sons of bitches.

Not the ordinary peoples of Iraq, Syria and Egypt, of course, men and women and children, most of whom just want to be left alone to lead their lives. But in American terms, there are no benevolent political actors, no true friends—or even predictable foes. As an Israeli politician has said, “In these parts, my enemy’s enemy is still my enemy.”

Is there are larger conclusion to be drawn? If the unilateral intervention of the previous administration was a total failure, and if the alternative policies followed under Obama have met with very limited success, might it not be time fundamentally to reassess the American role as a would-be but not very successful global superpower? Maybe that’s what’s at the back of the minds of some of those who have rallied to the improbable figure of Donald Trump.

This is the second in a series of essays on the future of American primacy. You can read the first essay, “The Future of U.S. Primacy: Power to Lead, But No Longer to Command” by Leslie H. Gelb, here.
 

Jeffsus

TRIBE Member
Praktik, you need to learn how to summarize your posts.

I still read them anyway and appreciate your findings.

-jM
A&D
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
The U.S. Hasn’t ‘Pulled Back’ from the Middle East At All
By DANIEL LARISON • August 8, 2016, 12:00 AM • Link

Richard Haass issues a very tired warning:

The consequences of a lasting American retreat from the world would be dire. The Middle East is arguably the most salient example of what happens when the U.S. pulls back [bold mine-DL]. Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. has mostly stayed out of Syria, failed to follow up on its intervention in Libya, largely left Iraq and committed to leave Afghanistan. We have since returned to Iraq, and our withdrawal from Afghanistan was never complete, but the substance and signal of a diminished U.S. role have contributed greatly to instability in the region. Not acting can be every bit as consequential as acting [bold mine-DL].​

Haass’ argument isn’t the least bit persuasive, but it is useful in displaying the shoddy assumptions so many advocates of activist U.S. foreign policy embrace. He points to the Middle East as possibly the “most salient example of what happens when the U.S. pulls back,” yet this is the region of the world where the U.S. has been incessantly interfering more often and more violently than in any other region for the last fifteen years. One can argue about the extent of U.S. responsibility for disorder and upheaval in each case, but the U.S. has been intervening in these countries in one form or another for a quarter-century. It is absolutely the last region one would choose to illustrate what happens when the U.S. “pulls back” because the U.S. has been doing just the opposite there for a generation.

It is only by misleading the audience into thinking that a reduction in the U.S. military presence from its extremely intrusive and abnormally high level in the 2000s represents “retreat” that Haass’ argument has any chance of making any sense at all. The extent of U.S. meddling there may ebb and flow from year to year, but it is undeniably much greater now than it was fifteen years ago, and it was much greater then that it was fifteen years before that. The U.S. has either been maintaining or steadily increasing its extensive involvement in the region. The idea that the U.S. has “pulled back” from a place that it has been constantly trying to “shape” through direct and indirect military means for twenty-five years is risible, and yet it is widely accepted and recycled as a piece of conventional wisdom that foreign policy establishment leaders recite without thinking.

The last line about consequences is another common assertion that doesn’t hold up very well. For one, a state bears more responsibility for its own actions and their consequences than it ever does for the actions of others that it “fails” to “stop.” Our government can’t be expected to answer for the actions of other states and groups that it isn’t supporting, but it should be held accountable for what it does or helps others to do. When the U.S. directly and deliberately inflicts harm on other countries, or helps its clients to do the same, it owns the consequences of those actions in a way that it simply cannot own the consequences of “failing” to prevent the acts of others.

One might also ask: consequential for whom? The invasion and occupation of Iraq had far greater, more enduring costs for the U.S. and its allies and for the people of Iraq than any other policy decision in the region since then, and both Iraq and Syria are living with the aftershocks of that horrible decision. There is simply no comparison between the enormous damage done by “acting” in 2003 and the years that followed and any subsequent decision not to “act” (i.e., inflict more death and destruction on other countries). Even if the costs were remotely comparable, the responsibility that our government bears would be much greater for the former than the latter.

There is also the problem that the U.S. has not been “inactive” in any of the region’s conflicts, but only less-active-than-warmongers-would-like. The U.S. has not been inactive in Syria, but has opted to help stoke a civil war in collusion with its despicable regional clients. The fact that it has done so haphazardly and less enthusiastically than many Syria hawks want is beside the point–it is another form of destructive “action” that has had deleterious consequences for people in Syria and the surrounding region. We don’t hear much about the negative consequences of that policy, but we hear all the time that the U.S. is somehow to blame for what the Syrian government and its allies are doing because the U.S. doesn’t start a war against them.

Anyone tempted to claim that the U.S. has “pulled back” from the region also has to account for the U.S. role in the appalling war on Yemen. If the U.S. really were withdrawing and writing the region off, it would not be aiding the Saudis and their allies in pummeling and starving Yemen, and it would not be going out of its way to help them cover up the crimes they have committed there with our help. An America that was truly withdrawing from this part of the world would have nothing to do with backing a coalition of despotic regimes as they create near-famine conditions in one of the world’s poorest countries, but of course the U.S. has been fully backing the Saudi-led coalition from day one in an effort to “reassure” the Saudis and others of Washington’s commitment to them.

This is one of the most abhorrent U.S. policies in the region, and one of the worst things the U.S. has helped other governments do in my lifetime, and it is happening precisely because the U.S. isn’t “pulling back” and has no intention of doing so. The question I would ask Haass is this: how does it serve any American interest to enable the Saudis’ atrocities against their neighbors, and how can that possibly be better than a policy of noninterference and non-intervention? I suspect he doesn’t have a good answer, especially when he can’t even be bothered to acknowledge the war on Yemen or the U.S. role in it.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
The Iraq War Was a Crime, So Why Don’t We Treat It As One?
By DANIEL LARISONMarch 19, 2018, 11:50 PM

Sinan Antoon wrote a powerful op-ed about the effects of the Iraq war for The New York Times. Here is his conclusion:

No one knows for certain how many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago. Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again. The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in the United States as a “blunder,” or even a “colossal mistake.” It was a crime. Those who perpetrated it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the horrors of Trumpism and a mostly amnesiac citizenry. (A year ago, I watched Mr. Bush on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” dancing and talking about his paintings.) The pundits and “experts” who sold us the war still go on doing what they do. I never thought that Iraq could ever be worse than it was during Saddam’s reign, but that is what America’s war achieved and bequeathed to Iraqis.​

U.S. foreign policy debates rarely pay attention to the views of the people from the countries harmed by our interventions. Interventionists frequently pretend to speak on behalf of the inhabitants of other countries, but this is almost always projection of their preferences on people who want nothing to do with the policies they support. Opponents of intervention often focus on the risks and dangers to the U.S. instead of emphasizing the harm that will be done to the people in the targeted country. We tend to focus only on the costs that our wars of choice inflict on our country, and that usually means that the damage done to the countries we have supposedly “helped” gets pushed to the side or ignored all together. Antoon’s op-ed is a valuable corrective to our bad habits, and our debates would benefit from including more perspectives like this one. It is often taken for granted in Washington that U.S. interventions leave the affected country better off than it was before, and that is why it is so crucial that we pay attention to witnesses from the country in question when they say that it isn’t so.

I have often called the Iraq war a blunder, and I have sometimes called it an enormous crime, and it was both. It was a crime against international law and the people of Iraq, and it was a grievous blunder for American interests. Antoon is absolutely right that describing the war as a crime is almost never been used in arguments about the war here in the U.S. over the last fifteen years, and that is simply a failure to grapple with what our government did in our name. We don’t call the Iraq war a crime because we don’t like to think that our government does things like that, but when we fail to confront it once it is more likely to keep happening. If preventive war against Iraq had been more thoroughly discredited years ago, perhaps there might not be as much support for preventive wars against Iran and North Korea today.

Iraq war opponents often complain that there is no accountability for supporters of the war, and this complaint is a legitimate one. It is frustrating that the pundits, analysts, and politicians that backed the worst foreign policy decision of the last generation have paid almost no price for getting the biggest question in decades completely wrong. The bigger problem is that the architects of an illegal war have been allowed to get away with it without any penalty. The failure to define the invasion of Iraq as the crime that it was not only lets the people responsible for it off the hook for what they did, but it makes it easier for later administrations to do likewise without having to fear any consequences.
 
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