Archive for Iraq

Don’t Mention the War! [UPDATED] [TWICE!]

Just so everybody understands: we aim to “destroy” ISIS, not go to war with it.

Got it?

“What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation,” Kerry said on Thursday. “It’s going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it’s a major counter-terrorism operation that will have many different moving parts.”

In a separate interview with CBS News State Department Correspondent Margaret Brennan, Kerry said “war is the wrong terminology” to describe U.S. operations against ISIS.

“We’re engaged in a major counterterrorism operation, and it’s going to be a long-term counterterrorism operation. I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy but the fact is that we are engaged in a very significant global effort to curb terrorist activity,” Kerry said.

We can all agree that that is patently absurd, right? No need for further discussion? Good.

If I had to guess, such equivocation is in line with Obama’s left-foot-in-left-foot-out strategy:

Quoting two U.S. military officials, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said “that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants.”

In a nationally-televised speech on Wednesday evening, President Obama repeatedly emphasized that U.S. forces will not have a combat role in Iraq. “We will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq,” the president said. He specifically underscored that “this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” and will resemble U.S. counterterrorism campaigns in Yemen and Somalia.

Austin’s predecessor, Marine Gen. James Mattis, told the Washington Post that the president’s decision may place the mission at risk. “The American people will once again see us in a war that doesn’t seem to be making progress,” Mattis told the paper. “You’re giving the enemy the initiative for a longer period.”

You may understand war, General, but you’re a but you’re a buck private at politics. You can’t wrap yourself in the Not Bush Cloak for six years, and then slough it off to reveal yourself as the drawling Texan himself. Soldiers and American people be damned, he’d rather lose as Obama than win as Bush.

PS: Oh wait. There’s an even more obvious (and absurd) reason John Kerry won’t call it a war. They’d have to get Congress’s permisssion. Which is also what Bush did. Can’t have that.

UPDATE: To war! To war! Fredonia’s going to war!

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Friday during his daily press briefing that the battle against ISIS now mirrors the ongoing War on Terror closely enough to use the ‘W’ word.

‘The fact is ISIL has indicated that they’re ready to go to war against the world,’ Earnest said, ‘and this president – as is expected of American presidents – is stepping up to lead an international coalition to confront that threat and to deny ISIL a safe haven. And ultimately this international coalition will be responsible for degrading and destroying ISIL.’

‘So I think what you could conclude from this is the United States is at war with ISIL in the same way we are at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates all around the globe.’

Of course you know, this means war.

UPPERDATE

Or does it?

BLITZER: It sounds like a war to me. Is it fair to call it a war?

[SUSAN] RICE: Well, Wolf, I don’t know whether you want to call it a war or a sustained counterterrorism campaign or — I think, frankly, this is a counterterrorism operation that will take time. It will be sustained. We will not have American combat forces on the ground fighting, as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is what I think the American people think of when they think of a war.

So I think this is very different from that.

Be as Earnest as you like, Josh, you wouldn’t know war if it bit you in the ass. I just hope this isn’t literally the Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Sraight.

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My Strategy

If Obama’s “Strategy” against the ISLAMIC State is to be not-Bush, maybe I can articulate mine as being not-insane.

Like telling ISIS “Don’t worry about boots on the grounds, jihadis. Ain’t gonna happen.” I’d keep that to myself.

This fellow has his own objections:

The problem is that the strategy — to provide logistical support for Iraqi forces, limited air strikes, and a strong Free Syrian Army — is a foolish strategy that is unlikely to succeed.

The president’s strategy calls for U.S. air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria in support of Iraqi army forces and the Free Syrian Army rebels who are fighting the Islamic State on the ground. Obama made it clear that the U.S. military commitment will be limited to air strikes, as he will not order U.S. ground forces into either Iraq or Syria.

Instead of ground forces, however, the president said that the United States will increase training and logistical support for those armies on the ground, but herein lies a critical flaw: The Iraqis have not proven to be a reliable partner in the war on terrorism. And this, despite ten years of U.S. military training and equipment provided by the United States.

In Iraq, the Islamic State has swept Iraqi forces in a number of recent engagements, with many Iraqi units simply abandoning their posts and refusing to fight. This problem is not one that can be solved through additional training. Even with the added power and confidence-boost of air strikes, a root issue is sectarianism. On a number of occasions, the Iraqi army failed to fight the Islamic State not simply because of bad officers and cowardice: Sunni units simply did not want to fight fellow Sunnis, even if they were extremists.

Okay, so after Obama abandoned Iraq, their military resolve suffered a tad. But in Syria, they don’t care whom they fight as long as they fight. Surely, they can be counted on.

Don’t call me Shirley:

In Syria, our other alleged ally, the Free Syrian Army, is fighting not only the Islamic State, but the Syrian army. And here’s a problem with arming them: It is strictly against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s interest to allow the Free Syrian Army to become strong enough even to challenge the Islamic State, because that would also increase the risk to his regime.

Given the ruthlessness of his previous moves, it is likely that Assad will continue to order military attacks against the Free Syrian Army rebels at the same time that the United States is trying to build up the capacity of the Free Syrian Army to serve as the ground force component of the Syrian campaign of Obama’s new strategy. And under those conditions, it will be very difficult for the Free Syrian Army to succeed. This obstacle could require the United States to further expand its mission to include attacking the Syrian army in order to allow the Free Syrian Army to combat the Islamic State.

Well, that sounds like a cluster.

But let’s not be unnecessarily critical. Go ahead and blast ISIS from the sky, Mr. President. Light ‘em up. We’ll just hold you to what you said (unlike the press).

PS: The “no boots on the ground” promise was not meant to assure ISIS, but the Democrat moonbat base. If one can tell the difference.

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Hope and Change

Well, change anyway.

President Obama, September 3rd:

“We can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem.”

President Obama, September 5th:

“You can’t contain an organization that is running roughshod through that much territory, causing that much havoc, displacing that many people, killing that many innocents, enslaving that many women. The goal has to be to dismantle them.”

“Dismantle” is a little closer to “gates of hell” than “manageable” is, for which much thanks. But he needed David Cameron’s balls to get even that far.

I happened to hear the week-in-review roundtable on NPR’s On Point this morning. The Atlantic’s former editor, Jack Beatty, a five-star general among Obama apologists, first tried to paint Russia’s invasion as merely “exerting power on its border”. Tell that to Crimea. Tell that to Donetsk. David Ignatius chimed in that Putin’s territorial gain came at great cost: a hostile government in Kiev, a united Europe against him. He claimed Putin was playing a weak hand. Tell that to Putin. This sounds like the same tone deaf talk that appeased Hitler. Not one person mentioned Obama’s Chamberlain-esque pose.

When talk turned to the Middle East, Beatty got his second wind. He quoted an administration source as saying that “avoiding another Iraq is his guiding principle”. Beatty followed with “it seems to me that’s also the guiding principle of the American people…. We don’t want this.”

Don’t we? Of course we don’t, if you put it in those terms. Who wants “another Iraq”? But do we want our reporters getting their heads chopped off (other than the 75-80 we could all agree on)? Do we want to see their unrivaled savagery (too savage for Al Qaeda) rip asunder whole countries and regions? Do we want what’s happening over there to be happening over here?

No wonder Obama looks uncertain, Beatty declared, uncertainty is the reality. That’s one way of looking at it.

Another way is that you can’t run your affairs by trying to be different from the other guy. Avoiding “another Iraq” is a dog whistle for George Bush; so is “don’t do stupid stuff”. But the world Bush had to deal with, for better or worse, is five and a half years in the past, an eternity. Most of his big decisions are a decade old by now. Facing today’s realities with policies based on rejecting the previous president’s policies is almost too idiotic to write, let alone implement. And now that Obama is in Bush’s shoes (several sizes too big for him), he should have the decency and maturity to acknowledge that maybe he sees things a little differently.

Lastly, ISIS is not really “another Iraq”, but Iraq II:

On the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, a 36-year-old Jordanian who called himself “the Stranger” slipped into the suburbs of Baghdad armed with a few weapons, bags of cash and an audacious plan for starting a war he hoped would unite Sunni Muslims across the Middle East.

The tattooed ex-convict and high school dropout had few followers and scant ties to the local population. Yet, the Stranger — soon to be known widely as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — quickly rallied thousands of Iraqis and foreign fighters to his cause. He launched spectacular suicide bombings and gruesome executions targeting Americans, Shiites and others he saw as obstacles to his vision for a Sunni caliphate stretching from Syria to the Persian Gulf.

Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2006, but the organization he founded is again on the march. In just a week, his group — formerly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq and now called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS — has seized cities and towns across western and northern Iraq at a pace that might have astonished Zarqawi himself. Already in control of large swaths of eastern Syria, the group’s black-clad warriors appear to have taken a leap toward realizing Zarqawi’s dream of an extremist Sunni enclave across the region.

The mission is still not “accomplished”, President Obama. It’s been your responsibility since you took the oath of office.

No fair leaving it for the next guy:

“This, as the President has said, is going to have to be a sustained effort. … It’s going to take time, and it will probably go beyond even this administration to get to the point of defeat.”

Do your effing job.

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Michelle Says: PleaseStopBeheadingOurBoys#

Feeing safer now?

Don’t you remember all those get-togethers, circa 2008,2009,2010 when your friends droned on about how much safer they felt now that Obama is President and how much respect we have regained, worldwide? Where are all those guys? Discussing their gluten-free diets? Investing in a brew pub? In any case, they seem to have changed the subject.

ISIS has released a video that it claims shows the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff and says the murder is retaliation for the Obama administration’s continued airstrikes in Iraq.

Sotloff is the second American journalist to be killed by ISIS, and his death comes two weeks after James Foley was executed in a similar video.

In the video entitled ‘A Second Message to America,’ Sotloff appears in a similar jumpsuit before he is beheaded by an Islamic State fighter.

The executioner appears to be the same man who killed Foley – known as ‘Jihadi John’ and tells the camera: ‘I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State.”

Sotloff calmly read a statement moments before his murder: ‘I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing.

He tells the camera: ‘Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life?’

While he speaks, a militant calmly holds a knife at his side and stands next to Sotloff.
The man believed to be Jihadi John also says: ‘As your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike necks of your people.’
Prime Minister David Cameron said the Islamic State video showing an apparent beheading was an ‘absolutely disgusting, despicable act’, and he would be making a statement later.

Foley’s family released a statement after Sotloff’s execution, calling it ‘just horrific,’ according to WHDH-TV.
On Thursday, Sotloff’s mother Shirley Sotloff went on television to make a direct appeal for her son’s life. She addressed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-claimed caliph of ISIS.

At the link, you can watch a very sad video that his mother made last week, begging for his life, if you’re so inclined.

– Aggie

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Foley Murdered By Brit With London Accent

Because British culture produces the best butchers.

British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond says that the government is “urgently investigating” the identity of the apparently British executioner of US reporter James Foley, whose death was shown in a video released by members of the self-declared Islamic State in Syria. The IS member’s apparent ties to Britain highlight increasing concern in the West about the radicalization of European and American nationals by jihadi groups and the threat they pose if they return home.

The video published overnight on YouTube shows the hooded, black-clad IS member speaking extensively in both English and Arabic before killing an orange-jumpsuited man described as “James Wright Foley, an American citizen.” In what the Daily Telegraph describes as a London accent, the executioner says that the US has “been at the forefront of the aggression towards the Islamic State,” before killing Foley.

But at least David Cameron takes this seriously:

Over there: “U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer vacation to return to London and chair urgent meetings on the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, calling the video ‘shocking and depraved.’”

Over here:

President Obama went back to his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard Tuesday evening following less than 48 hours in Washington, leaving people puzzled over why he came back in the first place.

Obama’s two days in Washington were mostly quiet, and concluded with the president receiving his daily national security briefing in the morning, and joining Vice President Biden to huddle with members of his economic team in the afternoon.

Administration officials have insisted for weeks that the president just wanted to return to the White House for a series of meetings, but the explanation was met with a healthy dose of skepticism, since Obama rarely interrupts his vacations.

Oh, Obama did make a statement about the beheading, before heading off to play a round of golf:

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the entire world is “appalled” by the brutal death of American journalist James Foley, who was shown in a video released by the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq being beheaded.
“No faith teaches people to massacre innocents,” Obama said in his statement. “No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day.”

“People like this ultimately fail because the future is won by those who build and not destroy,” Obama said.
Obama also called Foley’s parents to offer his condolences and told them that a nation was heartbroken for their loss.
According to a pool report obtained by Politico, Obama went to the Vineyard Golf Club following his statement.

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RIP James Foley, Rot in Hell ISLAMIC State

We offer our condolences to the family of James Foley, New Hampshire’s own:

When war reporter James Foley wasn’t writing for GlobalPost or recording video for AFP or appearing on the PBS “NewsHour,” he occasionally shared stories on his own blog, aptly titled “A World of Troubles.”

For a subtitle, he chose the famous Carl von Clausewitz sentence “War is fought by human beings.”

And that is exactly what Foley sought to show with his reporting: humanity amid the horror of war.

Foley was abducted while on a reporting trip in northern Syria in November 2012. He was never heard from again.

A video published Tuesday by the extremist group ISIS showed Foley being beheaded. It is not known when or where the video was recorded.

For Foley’s family and friends, the recording was the answer they hoped they’d never hear to their questions about his disappearance.

“We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people,” his mother, Diane, said Tuesday night,

She called him “an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person.”

Foley was the oldest child of Diane and John Foley of Rochester, New Hampshire. He had four siblings.

Someone doing what he did would have known that something like what happened to him was a real possibility. But I still salute him for trying. I wouldn’t do it, but if he saw himself as a reporter, and he didn’t put a wife or children through the agony of what happened, I won’t take anything away from his sacrifice.

What I did not need was his death to tell me how subhuman the ISLAMIC State is. They have made it abundantly clear. They make fellow Islamic savages, Boko Haram, look like the Marylebone Cricket Club. In fact, Foley’s death isn’t even the most grisly death of a reporter (though it’s a close second). Daniel Pearl’s live-from-Kabul decapitation will never be, uh, topped, by the mere fact that Khalid Sheik Muhammad (or whoever) acted just after Pearl proudly and fearlessly admitted to being a Jew.

ISIS may be the baddest mofos on the planet right now (they think they are), but they are hardly unique:

As Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria butcher thousands of “infidels” and carry off their women and children into slavery, many in the West are inclined to see this as an unique outcrop of Islamic fundamentalism. Yet after overrunning a Bosnian town on 11th July 1995, Bosnian Serb – ostensibly Christian – forces, cold-bloodedly massacred 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. Hutu genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda, Khmer Rouge mass-murder of Cambodian city-dwellers, Nazi genocide of Jews, Gypsies and the disabled…. the list of savagery is as long as it is profoundly depressing.

The Serbs may have been “ostensibly Christian”, and their victims were certainly Muslim, but was the massacre religiously motivated? Better put, was the primacy of one religion over the other the reason for the slaughter? It is so overwhelmingly among the ISLAMIC Staters and their ilk, but I don’t think Bosnia was a religious war. I am aware of no Serbs shouting “God is great!” as they committed their unspeakable atrocities.

Finally, people will do savage things if their leaders tell them it is acceptable to do so, particularly if they have given their selves to the group self. The Rwandan genocide was switched on by a series of radio broadcasts by a small group of leaders to a population who, by that instruction, were turned into savage murderers of former friends and neighbours who were in the out-group. The soldiers of the Soviet army committed mass rape as they invaded Germany in 1945 because senior commanders had advocated it. Islamic State fighters are slaughtering unarmed Christians and Yazidis because their leaders have told them that this is the right thing to do.

True, but only to a point. I believe that in all these cases the beasts would have behaved bestially or without exhortation.

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How Embarrassing!

In the ongoing Competition for Carnage™ between ISIS and Boko Haram, Boko takes a huge blow:

Chadian troops have rescued 85 Nigerians kidnapped last week by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram, security and human rights sources in Nigeria said Saturday.

Dozens of Boko Haram insurgents stormed the Doron Baga fishing and farming village on the shores of Lake Chad late Sunday through Monday and took away 97 young men and boys plus several women, residents said. The raiders killed 28 residents and burned scores of homes, according to residents.

It’s all well and good to murder and pillage, but if you’re going to kidnap people, they damn well ought to stay kidnapped:

Chadian security officials reported intercepting a convoy of buses carrying 85 Nigerians” believed to have been kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists from Baga,” a Nigerian security source said.

“The convoy being led by six Boko Haram gunmen was stopped on the Chadian part of the border along Lake Chad for routine checks and the huge number in the convoy raised suspicion,” said the source, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the issue.

An official of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Maiduguri confirmed the rescue of the 63 male and 22 female hostages.

The source, who asked that his name not be used, said more than 30 hostages were still being held by Boko Haram. He said their captors sped off with them in motorboats when they spotted the convoy being questioned by Chadian soldiers.

Run away!

What a pack of nancy-boys. You don’t see ISIS losing their captured, or running from Chadian troops (Chadian troops!) at the first sign of trouble. Those they don’t kill, they convert; those they don’t convert, they rape—to take the blond hair and blue eyes out of their lineage. That’s how you terrorize a population.

Yadda-yadda-yadda. Get your act together, Boko.

PS: As I wrote above, this is how you terrorize a population.

In yet another harrowing chapter in the tragic plight of Iraq’s Kurdish Yazidi population, eyewitnesses have described how girls raped by Muslim fighters from the Islamic State” (formerly ISIS) committed suicide en-masse after returning to their families, as evidence of systematic rape by Islamists against non-Muslims continue to surface.

Among the tens of thousands of Yazidi refugees trapped in the Shingal mountains while fleeing IS’s deadly advance through Iraq, several survivors told Kurdish Rudaw TV how a group of three girls were returned after being abducted and raped – only to hurl themselves off a cliff after being traumatized by their ordeal.

A Kurdish reporter said the mother of one of the girls had given an interview in front of the camera, but claimed Kurdish fighters from the YPG militia had seized the camera and erased the interview – possibly in an attempt to avoid sowing panic.

The mother reportedly told of how in their desperation the girls begged other refugees to kill them, but when no one would comply they killed themselves.

Game, set, match, ISLAMIC State.

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#bringbackourblondes

The ISLAMIC State just kidnapped 100 Yazidi women.

Or doesn’t anybody care?

Extremist fighters swept into a Yazidi village in northern Iraq on Friday, killing at least 80 men and taking more than 100 women captive, officials told CNN.

The report of the brutal attack on the village of Kojo comes a day after U.S. President Barack Obama — citing the success of targeted American airstrikes — declared an end to an ISIS siege that had trapped tens of thousands of Yazidis in mountains.

That’s the secret of comedy, Mr. President: timing.

I don’t want to ruin anyone’s weekend, but you know why Boko North wants the women, don’t you?

They’re blonde:

Fears are growing for the 300 Yazidi women reportedly kidnapped by Islamic State fighters last week amid claims they would be used to bear children to break up the ancient sect’s bloodline.

The minority group is originally Aryan and has retained a fairer complexion, blonde hair and blue eyes by only marrying within the community.

But in a furious bid to convert all non-Muslims, ISIS jihadists have vowed to impregnate the hostages.

But President Obama says mission accomplished, our work is done. Sorry, ladies, but you might as well lie back and think of Mosul. You may get a Twitter campaign out of the deal, as well as a half-terrorist baby.

PS: Say hi to the Nigerian #girls if you see them.

PPS: Beyond desperately sad, this is fascinating. What do we do when confronted by cold, dark evil? Very little, if you’re President Obama. Any results from our troops in Nigeria looking for the #girls? Not that I’ve heard of. And ISIS will rape and pillage until somebody stops them. Evidently that somebody is not going to be us. Oh well, ISLAMIC State happens.

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Meanwhile, Our Brave And Brilliant President Refuses Help To Families Trapped On A Mountain

You thought we were helping those poor people, didn’t you? Mission Accomplished!

The United States military has concluded that there are too few Yazidi refugees still trapped in the mountains of northern Iraq to warrant mounting a potentially risky rescue, the Pentagon said late Wednesday.

Military advisers who earlier in the day visited the Sinjar mountains, where as many as 30,000 people were thought to still be trapped, said that they found “far fewer” Yazidis than expected and that those who were there were in better condition than anticipated. Food and water dropped in recent days have reached those who remain, the Pentagon statement said.

The Pentagon said the visit proved that the actions the United States had taken in recent days had succeeded in preventing the Islamic State from capturing and executing the Yazidis, members of a religious sect that Sunni extremists view as heretics. It said the assessment team encountered no hostile forces during its visit and “did not engage in combat operations.”

Brett McGurk, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for Near East Affairs, said the assessment team had spent 24 hours in the mountains. He declared via Twitter that the U.S. actions had “broken the siege,” a sentiment repeated by State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf: “President said we’re going to break the siege of this mountain, and we broke that siege.”

Well, aren’t we special? We broke the siege. Phew. The people who are still on that mountain are just fine, don’t you worry your pretty little head.

And what exactly was happening on that mountain anyway? There are reports that children are so thirsty, their parents are cutting their own hands so that their kids can drink the blood of the parents. Sounds sort of religious, doesn’t it? Only as I understand it, ordinary parents are not supposed to be offering their blood up to their children.

So I don’t know, and I don’t suppose that any of us really do. If it is ok for more than 170,000 civilians to die in Syria, why are we obsessing about this group on the mountain? On the other hand, how can we be so cruel as to ignore this? What is the matter with us?

Here’s the real question: If we’d had competent leadership in the White House, would we be talking about any of this?

– Aggie

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“Preemptive Retreat”

Well said, Col. Peters:

LT. COL. RALPH PETERS: [T]he president and all the president’s men and women look at everything politically and domestically. What’s the effect on the base, etc? As a result, they blithely fled from Iraq after we won a hard fought victory that at times I didn’t think we could pull off. Amazing, amazing triumph, and he runs away. Not only do we have a mess in Iraq, but I truly believe it triggered so much else, Syria as a minimum, the mess in Egypt, Libya. He is the one that opened Pandora’s box, not George W. Bush. Barack Obama, with his philosophy of preemptive retreat, is responsible for the blood bath in the Middle East today.

Retreat? He’s looking fore-ward!

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How to Lie

Not that I’m an expert (more than any other blogger), but one of the first rules of lying is to commit to one lie at a time.

Isn’t that right, Mr. President?

At a Saturday press conference, a reporter asked President Obama a question that’s been on our mind since Obama announced a new U.S. military intervention in Iraq: “Mr. President, do you have any second thoughts about pulling all ground troops out of Iraq? And does it give you pause as the U.S.–is it doing the same thing in Afghanistan?”

“What I just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up, as if this was my decision,” Obama replied. “Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government.”

So, he’s going to blame Bush. Five and a half years into his administration, almost a lame duck himself. Very well, if that’s his plan.

Why then, pray tell, this?

“We needed assurances that our personnel would be immune from prosecution if, for example, they were protecting themselves and ended up getting in a firefight with Iraqis, that they wouldn’t be hauled before an Iraqi judicial system,” the president said. The Iraqis rejected that demand. “So let’s just be clear: The reason that we did not have a follow-on force in Iraq was because . . . a majority of Iraqis did not want U.S. troops there, and politically they could not pass the kind of laws that would be required to protect our troops in Iraq.”

What do you mean “we”, Kimosabe? Don’t you mean “they”, the previous administration? Or is there more to this “we” than we thought?

In an April story for The New Yorker, Dexter Filkins painted a more complicated picture. U.S. military commanders told Filkins that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki “said that he wanted to keep [U.S.] troops in Iraq,” but that “parliament would forbid the troops to stay unless they were subject to local law.” But “President Obama, too, was ambivalent about retaining even a small force in Iraq”:

For several months, American officials told me, they were unable to answer basic questions in meetings with Iraqis–like how many troops they wanted to leave behind–because the Administration had not decided. “We got no guidance from the White House,” [James] Jeffrey [the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad in 2011] told me. “We didn’t know where the President was. Maliki kept saying, ‘I don’t know what I have to sell.’ ” At one meeting, Maliki said that he was willing to sign an executive agreement granting the soldiers permission to stay, if he didn’t have to persuade the parliament to accept immunity. The Obama Administration quickly rejected the idea. “The American attitude was: Let’s get out of here as quickly as possible,” Sami al-Askari, [an] Iraqi member of parliament, said.

How many different euphemisms for the First Prevaricator did you count? And how many ways does he sound responsible for the decision?

Obama himself said as much, during the third 2012 presidential debate with Mitt Romney:

Romney: With regards to Iraq, you and I agreed, I believe, that there should have been a status-of-forces agreement. Did you–

Obama: That’s not true.

Romney: Oh, you didn’t–you didn’t want a status of forces agreement?

Obama: No, but what I–what I would not have done is left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down.

So, somewhere between 0 and 9,999 troops, sir? Or are you saying you would have stationed more than 10,000? It’s so hard to tell with you.

It’s hard to take responsibility for your hopeless eff-ups in politics, I get that. But it’s easier than this game of solitaire Twister.

Speaking of hopeless eff-ups:

In a wide-ranging interview with the New Yorker, President Barack Obama compared Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Iraq and Syria to junior varsity basketball players, downplaying their threat as small-league. He also shared what he thought were the chances of reaching Middle East peace agreements.

New Yorker editor David Remnick pointed out to the president that the Al Qaeda flag is now seen flying in Falluja in Iraq and in certain locations in Syria, and thus the terrorist group has not been “decimated” as Obama had said during his 2012 reelection campaign.

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama told Remnick. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”

Remnick characterized Obama’s analogy as “uncharacteristically flip.”

Yeah, I’d say so. But don’t say that to Obama or he’ll call “horse[bleep]“.

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Romney Got It Right – All Of It.

Iraq, Russia, the economy, health care…

Almost every day, it seems, brings a headline demonstrating how right 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was, and how wrong President Barack Obama was, on the critical issues facing America.

In 2012, Romney warned that Obama’s failure to secure an agreement to keep a residual military force in Iraq would threaten the U.S. gains made at such a high cost in American lives and treasure. “America’s ability to influence events for the better in Iraq has been undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence,” Romney asserted.

The chaos in Iraq today supports Romney’s view. With no U.S. military presence to constrain Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Shiite politician persecuted Sunni leaders and gutted Sunni participation in government and the military. Worse, it set the stage for Sunni sympathies to turn to the fanatical Islamic State in Syria and Iraq that has conquered a significant part of the country and waged genocide against religious minorities. Obama has had to order U.S. air strikes to protect U.S. personnel in the Kurdish region and to support Kurdish militia to keep ISIS from capturing all of northern Iraq.

In the 2012 debates, Obama mocked Romney for calling Russia America’s top geopolitical foe. Today, Russia has stolen Crimea from Ukraine, funds and provides weapons and men to Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and even threatens an invasion of the country. President Vladimir Putin meddles in the Mideast, seeks to expand Moscow’s clout in Latin America, and harbors renegade Edward Snowden.

On domestic issues, Romney in 2011 advanced the idea of giving veterans a voucher to obtain medical care they could not get at a Veterans Administration hospital. This year saw the VA scandal reveal that long waiting lists for hospital treatment were hidden. Legislation Obama signed this week allows vets to seek help outside the VA system.

Romney understood that the nation’s outdated, complex tax code encourages U.S. corporations to park assets overseas and invest in other countries. He recommended tax reform to keep that money and business in America and boost the economy. Obama does nothing about reform but demagogues as “unpatriotic” corporations pressured by the tax code to seek profits and better returns for shareholders overseas.

More at the link. Read it and weep.

– Aggie

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