After Iraq and Afghanistan, What Should Our Policy Be?

There was just a small chance at the end of 2008 that our effort in Iraq would work.  By extreme exertions we had mostly pacified the nation and with a bit of luck and more hard work, Iraq might have slowly developed into a pluralist democracy, thus providing a both a bulwark against extremism and a model for the rest of the long-suffering people of the Middle East.  It did not, however, work out like that.  Rather than keep a presence in Iraq, we withdrew all our forces and essentially left Iraq to its own devices.  Power does abhor a vacuum and as we weren’t there and the Iraqis weren’t quite up to the task, other powers started flowing into Iraq.  Now we see the result of that – a clash which is now really more between some people who want to create a Caliphate without reference to the existence of Iraq as a nation, and the Iranians who are bound and determined to keep control of as much Iraqi territory as possible, also without reference to the existence of Iraq as a nation.  Those in Iraq who would prefer neither Iranian nor Caliphate domination are squeezed between the two and will simply have to choose which evil they think is lesser.

At the end of 2008, Afghanistan was seeing an upsurge in trouble as the Islamist effort in Iraq was beaten back and Afghanistan became the only place an Islamist could fight the United States.  In the 2008 campaign, Obama told the American people that Iraq was the distraction, but that Afghanistan was the war we had to fight.  This is why we cut out of Iraq and then surged into Afghanistan.  Not with the number of troops recommended by senior military leaders and while giving a time frame for our withdrawal, thus allowing the enemy to know how long they had to endure before we quit – but, still, the effort was made in accordance with Obama’s oft-stated premise that we had to fight the war in Afghanistan.  In Afghanistan, it also didn’t work out.  The enemy knew we weren’t there forever and continual restrictions upon the ability of our forces to conduct the sort of brutal war necessary to defeat the Islamist forces made certain that victory wasn’t possible.  Meanwhile, the Afghan government descended into ever worse corruption and clearly started making arrangements for what would happen after the United States departed – mostly in terms of giving power to those who were fighting against us.

After all is said and done, whatever we were hoping to accomplish by going into Afghanistan and Iraq has proven a failure.  For you liberals out there who are of the opinion that killing bin Laden was key and winning in Afghanistan was right because Obama said so: you were wrong.  For us conservatives who believed that we could build a democratic, Muslim nation:  we were wrong.  For those on the left who want to harp upon circa-2004 BUSH LIED!!!!1!! memes; just shut up and go away.  Seriously – no one wants to hear that nonsense any longer.  However one felt about the efforts, they have clearly failed and now it is time to re-assess our policies.

First off, let’s look at some of the mistakes which were made – this is bi-partisan and so I’m not going to assign blame to any particular person.  These are American mistakes.

1.  Failure to actually declare war on Iraq and Afghanistan (and Syria and Iran).  We haven’t declared war since we advised Hitler we were at war with him in 1941.  Since that day, we have fought 6 major and minor wars.  We lost four of them (Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, War on Terrorism) and won two (Grenada and Panama) – with the two wins being of the nature of a police action, over so quick that no one had time to really rise in either favor of opposition to either of them.  Some might say that Korea and Gulf War were not losses, but I have the view that if you don’t absolutely win, then you have lost. The bottom line is that failure to actually treat war as war is a fundamental flaw.  There is something to be said for a people who, via their elected representatives, clearly state they are enemies of another people and are determined to crush them. And that leads to the next point.

2.  Failure to fight war with all our means.  In the basic mental toughness of war we have been found wanting.  War requires quite brutal actions to be carried out ruthlessly.  It is the only way to be merciful in war.  The longer the thing drags out, the more people will die.  As I noted in an earlier post, in World War Two when we caught some Germans fighting in an irregular manner we shot them 6 days after we captured them.  That is war.  That is how it is fought.  Not by being savages (that is counter-productive) but by letting your enemy know that your intentions are serious and you won’t be deterred by either losses or a false sentimentality.  The enemy knew they had our number when we got mad at our own boys and girls because they were a bit ill-disciplined regarding some Iraqi captives (yes, the troops shouldn’t have done that – but as no one was killed, it should have just been busting them in rank and calling it a day).  This was just confirmed when, later on, we brought up on charges some US soldiers who pissed on the corpses of dead enemies.  Who would fear an enemy which tut-tuts at such a thing?  Seriously, folks.  This is war; not bean bag.

3.  We took too long.  Celerity of movement is vital in war.  Caesar knew this, so did Napoleon.  All the great captains of war have this in common:  they move very quickly.  You have to – because it is the only way to keep an enemy off balance.  Doubly so if you move quickly in an unexpected direction.  Don’t telegraph your punches.  This means, among other things, never go to the United Nations – takes months, at the least, and just lets an enemy know where you’re heading.  Kabul, Afghanistan fell on November 12th, 2001.  If it was decided that the best next target was Iraq (and I did – and still do – believe it was), then we should have been there by, oh, December 12th, 2001. Baghdad by January – and then on to Syria by March, 2002.  Clean up Libya somewhere in between there.  See where I’m going with this?  If by, say, June of 2002 we were sitting in Baghdad, Damascus (and Beirut – because Lebanon goes along with Syria) and Tripoli then Iran is next – and what might have eventuated among the people of Iran if they saw such an avalanche coming?  We’ll never know.  It wasn’t tried.  We didn’t even get into Iraq until March of 2003, 18 months after the 9/11 attacks and right around 9 months after we telegraphed to Iraq that they were 2nd on the target list…thus giving Saddam time to (a) move the WMDs (they were there – intelligence agencies just don’t get it that wrong) and (b) prepare for the “Mogadishu” strategy in which Saddam’s forces would fade into the populace and launch terrorist-style attacks against US occupation forces.  In World War Two MacArthur went from Port Moresby to Manila, a distance of 2,400 miles as the crow flies, in two and a half years against fierce enemy resistance.  That is celerity of movement. Getting from Kuwait to Baghdad in 18 months is sluggish.

4.  Wars don’t end – they are won, or they are lost. What is victory?  It is the enemy surrendering and submitting to our will. There is no such thing as an “exit strategy”.  There is no “exit”.  We’ll fight until we win; however long that takes and however many of the enemy we have to kill. When they surrender and do as we desire, then the war is over.  In the case of this war, surrender would mean the turning over to us of all people who lead terrorist groups, all sources of funding for such groups held by enemy States, a solemn pledge never to aid, abet or in any way, shape or form support terrorist activities ever again, reparations to us for putting us through the trouble (ie, surrender of wealth and/or territory to the United States).

In light of these mistakes, I think our best policy should be, for now, to withdraw as far as possible from the entire Middle East area.  Keeping our pledges to defend Israel – and perhaps Jordan, as well – we should get our people out (as well as any locals who worked closely with us).  I’m talking pretty much an entire shut down – not just military personnel, but US government employees, contractors and a firm discouragement of any private Americans to travel into any Muslim-majority nation. Break off trade relations as far as possible, refuse entry visas to people from those nations, deport middle eastern nationals from the United States as swiftly as possible.  Still provide humanitarian assistance, but through third party actors.  Still provide asylum, but only for minority people of the middle east – this will of nature mean mostly Christians of the area, but can mean certain Muslim or quasi-Muslim sects which do suffer routine persecution.

Once we’re out, we announce of policy regarding acts of terror against the United States.  Should such a thing come to pass, we will lay the blame on all nations we have identified as sponsors of terrorist groups.  It does not matter which terrorist group actually does the attack – any such attack on the United States will result in our laying blame upon all the nations we identify as people State-sponsors of terrorism.  Our action then will be to declare war on all the offending nations and fight them until they surrender to us.

By being out we lessen the chances that a terrorist in that area will be able to do something to provoke US response.  By making it clear that only an attack upon the United States will lead to war, we make it clear that we’ll only fight a defensive war (by being out – and cutting trade – we become less and less interested, for instance, in what happens to middle eastern oil…if the Europeans and Japanese care about it, let them station troops in the area).  By insisting that any attack will result in war against all the State-sponsors, we’ll give them pause.  Maybe enough to ensure they don’t hit us at home.  Maybe not, of course; people who sponsor terrorist groups are (a) a bit insane and (b) never able to really fully control them…but them’s the breaks, as it were.  If you don’t want waves of US heavy bombers over your capital city in the by and by, then manifestly get out of the terror-sponsoring business.   Finally, by doing this we would ensure national unity in the event of a future war and thus the political will to act with the necessary brutality and ruthlessness against the enemy required to win a war, and win it swiftly.  We’ll never find ourselves again in a Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan situation again.

These are just my thoughts, of course.  Others can come up with other ideas.  But I believe I have distilled down to the essence of our mistakes and the best course out of the military morass we’ve been in since 1945.  There are those, of course, who say we shouldn’t fight, at all.  To such people I really have nothing to say: the absolute pacifist position is absurd and immoral.  There are other who only believe we should fight if the enemy presents himself upon American soil.  To that I say, you really don’t want a war on US soil.  Always better to fight “over there”.  There are those who say the whole thing is our fault and thus we go what we deserved.  To that I say that, if true, then my policy of nearly complete withdrawal from the area repairs that fault and thus any future attack upon us is out of perversity.

We’ll see now what sort of horrors are in store for Iraq and Afghanistan and what sort of fumbling, incompetent response Obama will give.  But however the mess sits as of January 20th, 2017, we will need to think then about how we want to go forward – and I hope we will think long and carefully about what we’ll do.

 

 

 

 

 

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47 thoughts on “After Iraq and Afghanistan, What Should Our Policy Be?

  1. tiredoflibbs June 14, 2014 / 10:10 am

    Since obame has set the precedence that we will trade Gitmo Terrorists for American Hostages, we need to be prepared for the next wave of hostage taking. Now that the terrorists who were “beheaded” and “on the ropes”, according to obame’s lies, have invaded Iraq, there are potential American hostages in Iraq.

    Our “policy” is non-existent with this pResident. Under this “leader” (snort, ROTHLMAO!), we have lost Egypt, Libya, Iraq, and coming soon, Afghanistan, terrorism has spread all over the ME. We need to get rid of these Democrats and START ALL OVER. Ground we gained has been lost under this pResident and the troops that have died doing so, have done so in vain.

    Obame’s hating of America is alive and strong. There is no excuse for this pathetic “foreign policy” under this pResident. This policy is either intentional or this obAMATEUR in the White House is completely incompetent. Biden who was taken on for is “foreign policy” experience is completely incompetent. He has been removed from any press conferences, releases or interviews. obame is a complete failure in all aspects of his pResidency.

    We cannot afford more of this crap.

    • M. Noonan June 14, 2014 / 1:57 pm

      Part of the reason I want us to get out of the area entirely is because Obama is President. The thought of Obama actually being Commander in Chief is a nightmare. And, of course, you’re right – our Taliban-for-Deserter deal now puts a price on the head of any American in the area…fewer Americans there means fewer opportunities for the terrorists (or, heck, just common criminals) to kidnap Americans.

  2. Amazona June 14, 2014 / 1:13 pm

    According to the former Secretary of State and presumably future presidential candidate, Hillary (“at this point does it really matter?”) Clinton, the released terrorist leaders pose absolutely no threat to America or Americans, being as they are in another country. As she so smugly declared, the only people put at risk by the Obama decision are those expendable Afghans and Pakistanis and Iraqis, those brown-skinned people whose lives are of no real importance.

    Except——-didn’t the infamous Osama Bin Laden reside outside the United States? And wasn’t he declared the most important person in the world, the source of every problem known to the United States, the biggest threat to our national security, etc.? Hmmmm. Anyone else considered a threat to people in this country who happens to live elsewhere?

    It is also interesting to see the top administration officials declare, either by words or actions and sometimes both, the disdain with which they view the lives of people in other countries. We now have official positions that the lives of Afghanis, Pakistanis, Iraqis and Mexicans are of no concern to us. (Don’t forget Fast and Furious, an official Obama policy that put the lives of so many Mexicans at risk, and which only stirred his administration to action when an American was killed.) Then there were the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of the Saddam Hussein family, a number which the Left was quite happy to see rise even higher if it would have meant leaving Saddam and his sons in power, and the hundreds of thousands of Christians butchered by Islamists, and the Sunnis being beheaded by Shiites, and of course the prospect of the entire nation of Israel being wiped off the face of the earth. And the Syrians killed by the WMD supplied to the country by Saddam while the Left tried to halt the invasion of Iraq. And…………

    Bloodthirsty beasts, ain’t they, the Left?

    As well as soooooo forgetful. Forgetting that they had identified a man isolated in a bunker in Pakistan, cut off from even electronic communications, as the biggest threat to this country. Forgetting that they celebrated his death as the end of terrorism and the advent of world peace and security. Why do they need to forget this? Because now that they have turned loose five men who are as dangerous as Bin Laden, who are even more committed to the destruction of this country, they HAVE to overlook the very real fact that murderous enemies do not have to live on American soil to be able to kill Americans.

    • M. Noonan June 14, 2014 / 2:04 pm

      Amazona,

      Spot on – I still come across people who believe that killing bin Laden was some sort of stupendous thing. To be sure, killing him was the thing to do, but he, as a person, was a trivial actor on the world stage. A bit of a symbol to Islamists, to be sure, but he’s as much a symbol dead as alive – and, heck, for the Islamists, he might even be a more potent symbol dead. The bottom line is that people of the left – from Obama on down – simply do not know how the world works. And I’m talking people on the left who have degrees in the subject.

      It appears that GOP nominee Brat for the VA-07 district has caused a bit of ruckus because he once opined that government has a monopoly on the use of force…this simple truism, believe it or not, has got the left in a snit. Of course, to them, government is just the one thing we all do together…but at bottom, they don’t know what government is for. They really do think it is a social services agency – not raw force, dressed up politely, for the protection of the polity from enemies, foreign and domestic. The don’t understand that we live in a world governed by force – and it will remain so until in God’s good time, the End is reached.

      You and I know that this is so, and must be so, because we know human nature – for me as a Catholic Christian, it is because Man is Fallen. He just can’t get it right – and so both must not be trusted with power, but also must have power around which will restrain him when he gets out of hand. Striking a balance between those two things is the whole issue of government – and our Founders neatly balanced them, only to have their work mucked up by leftists who simply don’t understand.

      What will happen in Iraq and the larger middle east remains to be seen – the only thing that we can be sure of (other than it will be the application of force which solves the problem) is that it won’t be to our advantage while Obama is President.

      • Amazona June 14, 2014 / 4:30 pm

        According to the Left Bin Laden in an isolated bunker in Pakistan was not only a threat but THE threat, yet five dedicated anti-American terrorist leaders and planners in Quatar, with full access to electronic communications, visitors and overall media are somehow not.

      • Cluster June 14, 2014 / 9:21 pm

        You’ll enjoy this comment from one of our more brain dead progressives in regards to Iraq:

        Hey, do you think liberals in this country will get a new found respect for being correct in predicting what turned out to be the biggest policy blunder in the last few decades? Nah, me neither. After all, if we had been running the show, the Middle East would be more stable, hundreds of thousands dead would still be alive, and we would have trillions of dollars to bolster our own economy. No big deal, right?

        I am not sure what he is insisting that he was right about. To leave Saddam in power? Are we to believe that a Saddam led Iraq would be stable? Would the rape rooms have disappeared? Dissenters welcome? The Kurds safe? But I find it hilariously ironic that he insists that had “we” been running the show the Middle East would be more stable. Is that not just amazingly ignorant? Does he not realize the “he” has been running the show the last 6 years and the Middle East is anything BUT stable. Has he peered in on Syria lately? Libya? How about what “his” withdrawal policies have done to Iraq?

        The other laugher is of course the trillion dollars to bolster the economy. Maybe he is unaware that Obama has spent about $6 trillion dollars to bolster the economy and we’re still going backwards.

        This progressive, whose name isn’t worth the typeset, has a lot in common with GMB. Their self superiority complexes are off the charts.

      • Cluster June 14, 2014 / 9:57 pm

        And it should be pointed out that have been more American deaths in Afghanistan under Obama’s management and surge than there was under Bush. Another reminder would be that Democrats thought the Afghanistan war was the “real war” worth fighting. So should we attribute the deaths and chaos in Afghanistan to a more “stable middle east” under his policies?

      • Amazona June 14, 2014 / 10:44 pm

        “…hundreds of thousands dead would still be alive…”

        Really? HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS ?? Oh, right—the Left loves to claim hundreds of thousands of “civilian” deaths.

        “… and we would have trillions of dollars to bolster our own economy….”

        Trillions and trillions, no doubt. Of course in the mind of a Lefty all this loot would have been stripped out of the real economy through taxation to support various social engineering schemes, so it’s hard to see how it could have “bolstered” any economy. Certainly the trillions of dollars already thrown down that rathole haven’t done anything but line a lot of crony pockets, such as Michelle’s good buddies the web design frauds and the various “alternative energy” grifters such as Solyndra.

        The fact is, that ugly fact the Left tries so hard to deny, that we do know what happens when they are “running the show”. We have seen it in country after country, and we are seeing it here and now—-tyranny, oppression, loss of individual liberty, and economic misery. True, in our own here and now they have not yet started to slaughter tens of millions to gain or preserve their power, but some have declared their belief that those of us who disagree with them politically should be “eliminated” and their leaders have declared us enemies of the state, domestic terrorists, and people to be feared, while buying up billions of rounds of ammunition by agencies such as Social Security—-all precursors to this kind of action. Their chosen One They Have All Been Waiting For has appointed a head of law enforcement who has refused to prosecute the crime of offering to pay for murder, and they have been fomenting racial disharmony to the point of making some of us wonder if their real agenda includes full-fledged race riots.

        Yeah, they have been “running the show” as much as they can for the last few years, and we have the proofs of their incompetence and agendas, domestically as well as in their bizarre foreign policies.

      • Amazona June 14, 2014 / 10:49 pm

        Cluster, you have to remember that we first have to define “stable”. After all, Nazi Germany was stable, and so was Stalin’s Russia. I get the feeling that Obama is a lot more comfortable with a Middle East run by militant radical Islam that he would have been if we had been allowed to provide the protection we promised to allow Iraq to mature in its progress toward self government. He’s done everything he could to make it more “stable” by helping remove its opposition—-what more do the kneepadders want?

        They screeched that we had to had to had to “get out of Iraq” because, according to them, our very presence was inciting violence. So we planted tails between legs and slunk off in shame, and the violence escalated, with innocent civilians being butchered left and right by their own countrymen and imported thugs. You notice that they never want to mention this.

      • Cluster June 15, 2014 / 8:35 am

        Exactly. And according to recent comments, Saddam’s Iraq was a remarkably stable country. That is if you ignore the invasion of Kuwait, the gas attack on the Kurds, the deaths of dissenters, the attempted assassination of a US President, and the constant saber rattling.

      • tiredoflibbs June 15, 2014 / 7:40 am

        Cluster, these mindless drones, who praised obame when he arbitrarily pulled forces out of Iraq, are now, predictably, blaming Bush for the second terrorist invasion of Iraq. They gave obame credit claiming “he did what Bush could not”. We pointed out that it was Bush’s plan and that conditions had to be met for the pulling out of the troops. Iraq had to be able to protect itself (just like Afghanistan but that is another story). Iraq was not ready – obame pulled them out anyway.

        Now that Iraq is imploding, crusty, one of the ever ready defenders of obame, is blaming Bush. Are we to believe that since it was Bush’s plan (it wasn’t his plan when obame was taking credit) that he is solely to blame for this invasion? Even though his plan had benchmarks that had to be met, that were not? obame gave the terrorists ample warning when troops would be withdrawn. Now American contractors who are still there are now in danger. They will be used as hostages to demand more terrorists to be released from GITMO and obame will be happy to comply.

        Again, obame takes credit for the actions of others and places blame on others when his actions blow up in his face. Typical. And mind-numbed, useful idiots like crusty are there regurgitating the propaganda. Next up, Afghanistan… and it will be Bush’s fault too no doubt.

        obame’s Chamberlain-like foreign policy is a disaster and has made America more vulnerable to attack – and crusty will be there to mindlessly blame Bush also. obame is the weakest pResident in the history of this nation. Apparently, he powerless to change anything that prior administrations have set up (even though his signature is on subsequent spending bills) – but they call Bush the “Hapless One”.

      • Cluster June 15, 2014 / 8:40 am

        The disconnect is mind numbing, and Obama is the King of disconnects. He is always “surprised” to learn of the disastrous results his decisions bring about and acts as though he is still some outsider determined to find out what went wrong and make it right. Iraq was doing pretty well until Obama made it a campaign promise to pull our troops out regardless of conditions on the ground. He even let the jihadists know when that date would be – so these are his policies, and these are his results. He owns this, as do all liberals.

      • Cluster June 15, 2014 / 8:52 am

        Speaking of disconnect – read this column:

        http://thehill.com/opinion/brent-budowsky/209074-brent-budowsky-harry-reid-fights-back

        It is a disturbing tribute to Harry that is as disconnected from reality as it could possibly be, starting from the first paragraph:

        With the fighting spirit of Harry Truman in 1948, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is fighting in 2014 to save the Democratic Senate from ultra-conservative Republican oligarchs and special interests who pour oceans of money into negative campaigns attacking Democratic senators, from a super-partisan Republican House of Representatives that abuses taxpayer trust by staging kangaroo court hearings attacking Democrats, and from a partisan majority of five Republican Supreme Court justices who rule that wealthy interests should have the power to buy elections, but citizens should lose protections to vote in them.

      • M. Noonan June 15, 2014 / 5:55 pm

        But that is how they really, honestly view the world – Harry Reid, who just sold his home in Searchlight, Nevada, for $1.6 million to mining interests who Reid excuses from paying royalties to the United States government, is not controlled by wealthy interests…Mitt Romney, who never made a dishonest dollar in his life, is (as an aside, I’ve been in Searchlight – I don’t care if the home is on 100 acres and is 10,000 square feet with an olympic sized swimming pool…no on in their right might is going to pay more than $150,000 for a house in Searchlight).

      • tiredoflibbs June 15, 2014 / 9:59 am

        Let’s not forget:
        http://www.wnd.com/2014/06/biden-iraq-stability-among-obamas-great-achievements/
        Biden comments that obame’s stabilizing of Iraq is one of his greatest achievements.

        But somehow, the present situation in Iraq is Bush’s fault…..

        …. the “logic” of the progressives is mind-numbing! Despite the facts, the useful idiots as “left is right” blog are predictably regurgitating the lies and excuses of this incompetent administration.

        Egypt…lost.
        Libya…lost.
        Terrorism and terrorist groups expand.
        Unprecedented prisoner exchange … 5 dangerous leaders for a traitor/deserter.
        Afghanistan….is next.
        9/11 repeat?

      • Cluster June 15, 2014 / 10:18 am

        Much like their der leader Obama, many progressives have never been in positions of accountability or responsibility and they simply do not understand it, nor know how to accept it. They also can not fathom the idea that their self perceived altruistic ideals would result in such chaos, thus they need to place blame somewhere else. And this is the type of person that was elected President in 2008 and 2012, and of whom is the perfect example of someone who should never hold power.

      • Amazona June 15, 2014 / 10:18 am

        Brent Budowsky’s fawning ass-kissing tribute to Harry Reid is no surprise. Budowsky has never met a rabidly radical Progressive he didn’t fall in love with, and his seething hatred of any Opposition oozes from his pores like toxic slime.

        What we notice, when and if we choose to wade through the fecal matter that he emits on such a regular basis, is the total lack of anything even pretending to be political thought or analysis. It is always, all the time, nothing but spewing of a visceral loathing of a demographic based solely on the fact that it does not fall in line with his assessment of the absolute wonderfulness of the Left.

        Just like the trolls who used to infest this blog, and who are still obsessed with attacking anyone who is not one of them, none of this, not a whit, is based on an objective analysis of Leftist doctrine as the best way to govern a nation. When I speak of the Left’s appeal to pathology and its validation of conditions ranging from simple personality disorders to outright insanity, it is people like Budowsky who prove my point.

        The mere fact of disagreeing with one of his heroes is all it takes to become the target of one of his vitriolic personal attacks. He has set himself up as the guard dog of the worst of the Left in this country, and lurches to the end of his chain snarling and snapping, frothing at the mouth, with frantic defenses such as this one, at the slightest provocation.

        I think he and Harry are a match made in heaven, though it is pretty funny to see him invoke Harry Truman, who would not have let Harry Reid on his property to clean his septic tank, as some kind of inspiration and fellow traveler. The RRL are desperate to find someone, anyone, with a name and a story that resonates positively with the American public, to adopt as their own and try to link, in the minds of the public, with their list of losers, crooks and grifters.

      • Cluster June 15, 2014 / 12:35 pm

        LOL. Great summary.

    • Cluster June 15, 2014 / 3:54 pm

      The political divide is wider now than at any other time in my life without a doubt.

      • tiredoflibbs June 15, 2014 / 5:37 pm

        Well, cluster, this is what happens when you have a pResident that encourages his minions and followers: “…whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face,”

        Hardly suggests cooperation and bipartisanship. Remember, as ONE of many examples, obame shut down the government when he did not get his way. The sequester cuts were his idea. Yet he blames Republicans for them. He made promises in his campaign that suckered huge numbers to his side. Then he pulled the old bait and switch routine. His rhetoric has been the most divisive seen by any pResident.

      • Amazona June 15, 2014 / 6:24 pm

        “The political divide is wider now than at any other time in my life without a doubt.”

        I might agree with you if I had any reason to think the divide is the result of differing political points of view. However, as it has nothing at all to do with politics and everything to do with demagoguery and demonization, I refuse to consider it a “political” divide.

        Find me a Lefty who will talk about politics, about defending his or her allegiance to a political system based on a massively powerful Central Authority and diminished or eliminated state sovereignty and I will concede a political divide.

        But as long as this “political divide” is created by, fed by, defined by and promoted by bottom feeders like Brent Budowsky and his ilk, identified by its sheer nastiness and vitriol, and absent any discussion of how best to govern the nation, I reject the term. This is not a war of political beliefs, it is a jihad against infidels, in this case wild-eyed hair-on-fire haters against those who simply object to Leftist governance, and it is wholly based on identity and not at all on actual politics.

      • Cluster June 15, 2014 / 9:22 pm

        Agreed

    • Amazona June 15, 2014 / 6:18 pm

      casper, we know you love to cite “studies”—-what do YOU get from this study?

      And how much of it focuses on the political divide between people who, on one side, favor a federal government severely restricted as to size, scope and power with most authority reserved for the states or the people, vs a large and expandable Central Authority with most if not all power concentrated in the federal government?

      That is, how much of this “political polarization” has anything to do with actual politics, and how much is the result of intense demagoguery in which one side focuses massive efforts on disparaging, demeaning, and demonizing the other? How much is a real divide based on reasoned analysis of the two political models in conflict here, and how much is what you get when one side constantly refers to its political opposition as “domestic terrorists”, “crooks”, and dangers to the public and the nation?

      This whole Lefty whine about how sad too sad so very very sad this “polarization” is would be a little less disgusting if this divide was not the goal of their efforts and proof of their success.

      So don’t just pull that smirky little “this is soooo interesting, tee hee” routine to try to get others to do the heavy lifting, the reading and analysis and discussion. YOU tell us what YOU think of this article.

      Or shut up and go away because you are annoying.

      • 02casper June 15, 2014 / 9:22 pm

        “casper, we know you love to cite “studies”—-what do YOU get from this study?”

        It pretty much confirms what I had already observed. You and the other conservatives here have moved further to the right while I and many other liberals have moved to the left. As for the reasons, lets just say that I disagree with with you on just about every point as to why.

      • Amazona June 15, 2014 / 10:05 pm

        “…I and many other liberals have moved to the left. As for the reasons, lets just say that I disagree with with you on just about every point as to why.”

        You say you have “moved to the left” but seem to be heading off any explanation of why this has happened. As I have never discussed any reason for you moving to the left, it is hard to understand why or how you could “disagree” with me “on just about every point as to why.”

        Perhaps you could tell us just where you used to be, on the left-right spectrum, and then explain what has moved you farther to the left end of it.

        As for your observation that those on the right have moved farther to the right, I don’t understand that either—–at least not in the context of actual political philosophy. It is my understanding that the American Right, for the past 200 years or so at least, has been quite consistent in its dedication to the Constitution as the only proper and legal form of government for this nation—-that includes commitment to keeping the federal government severely restricted as to size, scope and power, and keeping most of the governing authority in this country in the hands of the states, or the people.

        I can understand how one can move farther to the left, however. If you define “left” in the context of American politics of the last century or so, as the political philosophy that includes belief that it is the responsibility of the federal government to provide for the various needs of the people and that therefore the federal government must be allowed the ability to grow and expand to take on previously undefined, undelegated and unenumerated powers, I can understand how this would allow for movement ever farther to the left, to acceptance of more and more federal authority over more and more of the lives of the people.

        So I can grasp the idea of moving farther to the left, though it seems to me that if you are speaking in purely political terms there is no “farther” to the right, any more than there is anything that is “more unique”.

        As a teacher, surely you can explain this movement to the left, and its reasons.

        I also notice that you did not address my question of whether or not the article addressed actual political philosophy in its determination of increasing “political polarization” or if it is really about the increasing divide between political IDENTITIES, without reference to differences in opinion about how best to govern the nation.

      • tiredoflibbs June 16, 2014 / 11:58 am

        “As for your observation that those on the right have moved farther to the right, I don’t understand that either—–at least not in the context of actual political philosophy.”

        Ama, mindless drones like cappy, believe (or more accurately TOLD to believe) that to uphold the Constitution is an extreme right view.

        I know, time and again, you try to get explanations and details from cappy. He has failed to deliver on specifics but just repeats generalities that we could get from any other mindless drone. It is a lost cause to get specifics from the likes of cappy. Just look at the country after Reagan, even during Clinton and just after 9/11 (the left reluctantly moved closer to the center – before they were hell bent on not recognizing Bush as President and the Democrat Senate thwarted him at every turn – just like Ried is now), the country was closer together.

        As I said, this pResident is the most divisive we have seen. The demonizing and demagoguery is unprecedented and does not come close to fostering an atmosphere of bi-partisanship. He has shown that his idea of bipartisanship is for the right to move completely left and give him what he wants.

  3. tiredoflibbs June 15, 2014 / 2:57 pm

    An even more interesting read:

    From WhiteHouse.gov:
    American troops served in Iraq with honor and distinction from March 19, 2003 until December 2011. The end of our mission in Iraq marks the fulfillment of a promise Barack Obama made to the American people even before he became President. Now, President Obama is acting on another promise to the troops and their families: We will fight as hard for them as they return home as they fought for us.

    January 21, 2009
    “On President Obama’s first full day in office, he directed his national security team to undertake a comprehensive review of our strategy in Iraq to determine the best way to strengthen that foundation, while strengthening America’s national security.”

    February 27, 2009
    The President delivers his first speech on Iraq
    “By any measure, this has already been a long war. For the men and women of America’s armed forces – and for your families – this war has been one of the most extraordinary chapters of service in the history of our nation. You have endured tour after tour after tour of duty. You have known the dangers of combat and the lonely distance of loved ones. You have fought against tyranny and disorder. You have bled for your best friends and for unknown Iraqis. And you have borne an enormous burden for your fellow citizens, while extending a precious opportunity to the people of Iraq. Under tough circumstances, the men and women of the United States military have served with honor, and succeeded beyond any expectation.” – PRESIDENT OBAMA

    April 7, 2009
    President Obama makes his first visit to Iraq as Commander in Chief
    “It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis. They need to take responsibility for their country and for their sovereignty.”

    Supporting the Troops
    “We have a solemn responsibility to provide our veterans and wounded warriors with the care and benefits they’ve earned when they come home. That is our sacred trust with all who serve – and it doesn’t end when their tour of duty does.” – PRESIDENT OBAMA
    AUGUST 3, 2009
    The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing. In 2012, over 500,000 participants are expected to receive almost $8.5 billion in tuition, fees, housing, and stipend benefits.
    OCTOBER 22, 2009
    The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act reformed how we fund health care for our veterans.
    JULY 9, 2010
    New Regulations on PTSD claims make it easier for men and women who served in the armed forces to receive benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder.
    APRIL 12, 2011
    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces to support and honor America’s service members and their families

    August 31, 2010
    President Obama announces the end of the combat mission in Iraq and discusses the future of the U.S. commitment to helping build a stable Iraq in an address to the nation from the Oval Office.
    “Last February, I announced a plan that would bring our combat brigades out of Iraq, while redoubling our efforts to strengthen Iraq’s Security Forces and support its government and people. That is what we have done. We have removed nearly 100,000 U.S. troops from Iraq. We have closed or transferred hundreds of bases to the Iraqis. And we have moved millions of pieces of equipment out of Iraq. This completes a transition to Iraqi responsibility for their own security.” – PRESIDENT OBAMA

    December 21, 2011
    “As your commander in chief, and on behalf of a grateful nation, I’m proud to finally say these two words: Welcome home.”
    – PRESIDENT OBAMA
    President Obama travels to Fort Bragg to mark the exit of the last American troops from Iraq, officially ending nearly nine years of war there and leaving Iraq future in the hands of its people.

    Continuing Support
    “As Commander-in-Chief, I want all our veterans to know that we are forever grateful for your service and for your sacrifice. And just as you fought for us, we’re going to keep fighting for you –- for more jobs, for more security, for the opportunity to keep your families strong and to keep America competitive in the 21st century.”
    – PRESIDENT OBAMA
    On August 5, 2011 President Obama announced new commitments to servicemembers and veterans that will provide a comprehensive plan to lower veteran unemployment and ensure that servicemembers leave the military career-ready through hiring tax credits, private sector commitments, and reforms that improve the way we prepare, train, and educate servicemembers for life after the military.
    On November 7, 2011 President Obama introduces new resources to help connect veterans with jobs when they transition back to civilian life.
    On November 21, 2011 the President signs into law two tax credits that encourage businesses to hire veterans.
    On August 22, 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that private sector companies hired more than 125,000 veterans and military spouses in the past year, and committed to hiring 125,000 more by 2014.

    Honoring Their Sacrifice
    “They gave their all, their last full measure of devotion, in Khandahar, in Korengal, in Helmand, in the battles for Bahgdad and Fallujah and Ramadi. Now they lay at rest in quiet corners of America, but they live on in the families who loved them and in a nation that is safer because of their service. And today we pay humble tribute to the more than 6200 Americans in uniform who gave their lives in this hard decade of war. We honor them all.”
    -President Barack Obama August 30, 2011
    ————-
    A failure all the way around, from pulling out of Iraq when clearly their security was as inept as our pResident to the failures of his administration to address the quality of care these veterans received at home. In a few short weeks, these soldiers sacrifice was nullified by the incompetence of this administration. The pResident claimed the plan, the victory and the returning of troops.

    You own it liberal progressive Democrats . You should be proud!!!

  4. Retired Spook June 16, 2014 / 7:43 am

    Max Boot, writing at “The Weekly Standard”, has the best analysis of the situation in Iraq that I’ve seen.

  5. Amazona June 16, 2014 / 12:40 pm

    Here is an example of the outcome of Obama policies and support of terrorists and terrorism.

    From The Blaze, regarding the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers: (emphasis mine)

    “Uzi Landau, the Israeli tourism minister, appeared to lay some of the blame for the kidnapping with the Obama administration, which earlier this month announced that it would work with and fund the Hamas-backed Palestinian unity government, a move decried strongly by top Israeli officials and members of U.S. Congress from both sides of the aisle.

    “Unfortunately, with the establishment of the Abbas-Hamas government, we warned of the harm the Israeli public may suffer, and unfortunately our predictions were confirmed,” Landau said in a statement Monday. “The willingness of the US administration to effectively recognize the Abbas-Hamas government causes damage to the security of Israel’s citizens and encourages terror.”

    WORK WITH AND FUND THE HAMAS-BACKED GOVERNMENT Yes, this does refer to an action of the United States government.

    And this was before Obama sent five of the most dangerous anti-American terrorist leaders and planners back to their old lives of plotting against America and Americans, though he did get a drunken anti-American deserter in return, one who (according to extensive evidence) probably gave important information to the Taliban he went looking for, resulting in additional and more focused attacks on Americans.

    None of this even takes into account the total destabilization of Iraq thanks to the utter stupidity of Obama—-though, come to think of, one has to look at his actual agenda before attributing his actions to “stupidity”. They might very well be quite focused and well executed, which does tie in very well with the results of his other Middle Eastern policies.

  6. bozo June 18, 2014 / 5:06 am

    Trying to figure out what you mean by liberals thinking that killing OBL was “key.” Key to what? Justice, sure. Some kind of harbinger of world peace? The love and adoration of the Islamic world? A Cumbayah moment for Republicans and Democrats? No, pretty much just justice served, albeit a bit delayed. Kinda like this new Benghazi arrest.

    We shouldn’t go back in, but we probably will go in somewhere if there’s a profit to be had. Iraq and Afghanistan unleashed trillion of taxpayer dollars into the IMC’s coffers. They’ll get hungry again, and when the warhawks resume power, we will do it all again and again. If history teaches us anything, it’s that history indeed teaches, but nobody ever learns.

    How’s the weather in Vegas, Mark? Working there next week. Gonna be working in Tel Aviv later this summer. That should be interesting.

    • Retired Spook June 18, 2014 / 6:03 am

      Bozo,

      One of the few comments you’ve made that I could actually decipher. I don’t disagree with much of what you said, particularly about learning from history. Depending on whether war breaks out between Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs, and, if so, the extent of it, this next year or so could be an historical turning point. Sadly, we are still a world governed by the measured use of force. It’ll be interesting to see if and how we and the rest of the civilized world respond. If I were in charge, I’d let the Muslims kill each other down to the last man, but I’m betting Barry will figure out a way to muck it up, spend a lot of money and waste a lot of lives. Obama has an opportunity afforded by very few in history to do the right thing. I have zero confidence that he will.

    • Cluster June 18, 2014 / 8:42 am

      Good post Bozo, and sadly you are right – we don’t learn very well from history. Obama desperately was trying to paint the picture that UBL was dead and that Al Qaeda was “decimated and on the run”, giving him legitimate reason to pull out of Iraq which was his campaign promise. Upon our exit from Iraq, Obama declared that Iraq was now a secure and sovereign country – we had won the peace. Well, speaking about short term memory and not learning, here is the narrative being pushed by progressives – this from Ezra Klein:

      And it’s not simply that [the Bush administration] failed to find the weapons of mass destruction that they worried could one day be passed onto terrorists. It’s that a terrorist organization now controls a territory about the size of Belgium, raising the possibility that America’s invasion and occupation inadvertently trained the fighters and created the vacuum that will lead to al Qaeda’s successor organization.

      It’s as if Obama has not been President for the last 6 years. How do you begin to “learn from history” when your counterpart is so steeped in ignorance?

      • tiredoflibbs June 18, 2014 / 3:08 pm

        oh watty, was it Bush’s decision to pull troops out of Iraq? Nope.

        I have shown that obame outlined a plan (from the White House web site no less) for pulling out of Iraq. There were definite benchmarks by Iraq to be met. They did not meet them. It was his decision to pull out prematurely. He did. He took credit for it. You mindless drones praised him for it. And now we find the consequences of that decision. And we also find that you brainless proggies are predictable as ever “It’s Bush;s fault!”.

        Your proggy pResident made that poor decision to pull out prematurely. You have to live with it. You and your pResident have wasted 6200 sacrifices by our troops. But we already know how you feel about the military. Your party’s inaction and treatment of the veterans at the VA hospitals and medical facilities shows us.

        Obame now owns the disaster in Iraq and it was completely his making. Bush did not make the decision to pull out.

      • tiredoflibbs June 18, 2014 / 6:49 pm

        Ah, so obame LIED when he said it was his plan to end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home. Too easy to trap you into that one.

        As you said, Iraq did not want us there, so Bush can’t be held responsible for this invasion of terrorists. Obame’s weak stance on terrorism is the reason for their growth and now we are seeing the consequences of his non-existent foreign policy.

        So, as we said in 2011, it wasn’t HIS PLAN as he claimed, praised himself for it and you mindless drones regurgitated the dumbed down talking points. Again, he took credit for something that wasn’t his.

        What happened to “redoubling our efforts to strengthen Iraq’s Security Forces”, as obame claimed? Another failure there as well.

      • tiredoflibbs June 18, 2014 / 9:21 pm

        Twisted logic watty? No just facts… obame took credit for removing troops from Iraq. Biden said it was obame’s greatest accomplishment. You drones praised him for it. And it wasn’t his doing..you now admit it.

        watty, I’m the reason we “can’t have a conversation”? Oh, please!

        You constantly cherry pick information. You don’t read the whole story. Now for the whole story…. (and not the proggy version you read from proggy rags and wkipedia):

        The US Security Training forces could have stayed in Iraq to continue the training of Iraq’s Security Forces. Obame pulled them out. They would have been subject to Iraqi laws. GASP! That was the demand by the Iraqi government. GASP! He could have negotiated with Iraq. It truly was not cut and dry and you believe. Read the actual document, Iraq wanted EXCLUSIVE jurisdiction over the troops while Iraq and US shared jurisdiction over private contractors. obame said no.

        Obame wanted ALL Americans out of Iraq. He pulled them out for the feather in his cap.

        He will do the same in Afghanistan.

    • M. Noonan June 18, 2014 / 2:41 pm

      Bozo,

      I’m referring to the “bin Laden is dead and GM is alive”; you liberals lapped that nonsense up in 2012.

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