We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Saturday, October 22. 2011
Normally I'd leave this link for the morning compendium, but this is too important to be mixed in with others.
After 9-years of US sacrifices, President Obama's rush for the exits in Iraq and the incompetence of his administration is seen again, with very probable bad consequences for Iraq's ability to withstand internal discord and external influence from Iran. The US is left with little but a likely buffer protecting Iranian interests and a sanctions evasion route that allows Iran greater freedom from Western pressure. Once again, each time over and over, Obama blows US interests into the crapper.
Read it and weep. How the Obama administration bungled the Iraq withdrawal negotiations. Also, read Obama abandons Iraq.
Morning Postscript: Carl Cannon makes the case that "The Obama Doctrine, Made Plain at Last in Libya, Iraq": The administration "They preferred to frame the events of the week in ways that play into a domestic, election-season narrative: Namely, Barack Obama made promises regarding foreign policy, and kept them....Distilled to its essence, this approach envisioned an American foreign policy that was less militaristic, less confrontational, and less-unilateral than that of his predecessor."
Fred and Kimberly Kagan, however, call it "Retreat With Our Heads Held High", as the Obama administration's veil for failure to meet even newly President Obama's criteria for US goals in Iraq, citing his speech of February 2009. I'll quote them at length to see how Obama or his defenders should hang their heads in shame:
If there's any multilateralism buried in the manure, it is that of widespread burying heads in it to avoid facing the reality of a contra-Western interests Middle East that we will see in Iraq and Libya, as we've seen in Egypt, while Iran and its proxies are encouraged as was al-Quaeda by prior US weaknesses and excuses.
Tracked: Oct 24, 10:21
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
With all due respect, do you neocons realize how tiny your little warbloggery bubble has become? Nobody is listening to you but you.
Lefties, Greens, social democrats, Democrats, centrists, moderates, independents, libertarians, paleocons and country club Republicans are all with Obama on this. Yeah, we're reading it and weeping--for joy.
And do you realize that if you want negotiations to fail, you ask for something you know your interlocutor cannot accept?
Given that obama has backed ONLY hard-line islamists, this comes as no surprise. And given that obama seems to only make decisions that are detrimental to the country he detests and now rules, no surprise. Most of the comments on the original site posting obama abandons, are filled with hatred....directed at white people and Americans (even one showing up here, on your site)is really not eye-opening but disgusting nevertheless.
This is treasonous. The notion that Iraq is in any position to "reject" a "request" is a farce. This is Brakabama willfully creating instability in the region. The guy is an animal. God help us all if he isn't removed from office.
jfxgillis ... Without resorting to name-calling as you do above, let me point out that the sacrifice of the now-voiceless, brave American military soldiers who died at the behest of our government over there are having their ultimate sacrifice negated by this incredibly stupid and cowardly move by President Obama, who does not seem to be able to do the statesman-like thing. Ever.
I have watched all of our Presidents since Dwight Eisenhower, whom I voted for when I was in my youth, and I have never seen a more disgraceful performance, or one which betrayed more completely the presidential oath to protect American citizens. The only thing which seems real to Mr. Obama at present is his desperate effort to retain the Presidency in 2012.
I don't know how to get you to get this, but I'm going to try. A majority of the public is glad for this outcome. A supermajority. In fact, I'd wager a majority of REPUBLICANS approve (or would do so privately or if they could do so without it benefiting Obama politically).
And, I don't know how I can get you to understand this: Domestic public opinion is an input to foreign policy, but public opinion is not only transitory, fickle and mutates but it does not take into account adequately the deeper security or longer range regional or global order implications. No analogy meant, but look at the millions slaughtered in the area in the wake of our Vietnam bugout and the encouragement to foes worldwide, state in the case of the Soviet Union going into Afghanistan, terrorist in the case of al-Quaeda. -- The Iraqis, others in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world will rue Obama's mishandling of Iraq.
Ha. Afghanistan actually had a pro-Soviet regime in the 1970s and the Soviets invaded in 1979 because that regime fell. Solidarity erupted in Poland in 1981. The Cold War was over less than a decade later.
It turned out, all, and I mean ALL the "deeper security or longer range regional or global order implications" of Vietnam spouted then by folks similar to you now were WRONG.
More importantly, you may contemptuously dismiss public opinion if you like, but the bottom line is that we live in a democracy. Ultimately, if you can't convince the public of the necessity of your policy, you lose.
Fact is, you can't convince them. You had every opportunity to and you failed. Nobody cares what Fred Kagen thinks except those who already agree with him. His persuaive abilities are ZERO. In fact, I'd say less than zero. In other words, Fred Kagen would persuade more people if he just shut the hell up for once.
Most of us want the war over. Period. If you want it to continue, renounce your U.S. citizenship and go enlist in the Iraqi army. I'm sure they'd love to have you.
It was precisely the Soviet lesson from our Vietnam bugout, US would not intervene, that encouraged it to invade Afghanistan in 1979.
It was precisely, as Osama bin Laden's own statements made clear, the paper tiger image of the US that encouraged him.
Lastly, I never gainsayed domestic public opinion, but by contrast you seem to raise it to predominent above other considerations, which it is not.
Now, if you don't want to engage in civil dialogue, and instead be insulting and ad hominem, go elsewhere that such mouthing off is welcome. Not here.
"It was precisely the Soviet lesson from our Vietnam bugout..."
No. It wasn't. You're wrong. But even if you were correct, so what??
We have to keep burying American soldiers in some Middle East shithole today because the Russians buried a bunch of their soldiers in some other SW Asian shithole thirty years ago?
"you seem to raise it to predominent above other considerations"
Important point: Yes, I do, EVENTUALLY. Democracies cannot prosecute wars indefinitely without public opinion in support. Governing elites can carry on a war in the beginning based on their own agenda, "deeper considerations," strategic doctrines, propaganda and all that blah-dee-blah simply by virtue of the typical structure of democratic polities.
But in the end, the people decide. Or, they don't, in which case, we're not a democracy. The public has ruled on Iraq. You lose. There is literally nothing you or Fred Kagen can do or say to alter that judgment.
You say "even if you were correct, so what??"
Just what I'd expect from your arguments.
Well, if you want to go that road, I'm game.
You claim that the USA withdrawing from Vietnam was at least a factor in causing the USSR to invade Afghanistan.
I'll accept that claim arguendo.
So. The USSR invades a country because they thought we were pussies. Then they LOSE that war and Soviet communism collapses with that as a causal factor.
Ergo, the USA withdrawing from Vietnam caused the collapse of the Soviet Union. The hippies won the Cold War.
Heh! With a little help from Reagan! Hippies accomplished nothing but getting several million murdered in IndoChina.
You can't insist on a causal link between VN and Afghan when it suits your argument, then deny that link when it doesn't.
Well, you can, actually. It's your blog, you can do what you want. But it's a cheap, dirty, dishonest rhetorical trick.
So, according to you, your joke of a link is worthwhile while my factual one isn't! It won't work here.
Um. No. I specifically said there was NOT a link. You said there was.
Then when I said that even "if you were correct" about a link, you mocked me for using a conditional. So I continued the link as a joke so as to address your concern about my using a conditional.
So. To recap. I do not think the USSR invaded Afghanistan because the USA withdrew from Vietnam. You do think that.
But if you think that, then you can't stop there because the Soviet invasion didn't stop there. It led to a war the Soviets LOST that contributed to the downfall of Soviet communism.
Your use of spurious connections ranks with George Carlin's "Mother's milk leads to marijuana use."
Are you not getting this? I make no connection. YOU make the connection.
All I'm saying is that if you make that connection, it's all connected. You can't separete the cause of the invasion of Afghanistan from the effect of it.
But of course, since this your blog, you can in fact do that. It's dishonest, but you can do it.
Mr. Gillis, [Dobie or whatever your name is] you seem to be unable to discuss any problem without designating those with whom you discuss it as a member of one or another group ... country club Republicans, 'greens', libertarians, social Democrats, paleocons, etc., etc., etc. blah blah blah. All of which marks you as unwilling to consider any ideas as coming from individuals, but only from group-think. Maggiesfarm is a very interesting site just because those who comment here have the courage to do so as individuals, not group-think members. We stand by our ideas and most of us sign our real names to them, as I do. None of us fit into little pre-labeled boxes which so many of your ilk use to protect themselves and distance themselves from the uniqueness and humanity of each person's thoughts.
Got a suggestion for you. When you decide that you want a serious discussion with one of us, try dropping those many designations you list above, and ask us politely what we think and why we think it.
You can start with me, if you will be polite about it. To begin with, I'm not a Christian evangelical, whatever that might be in your lexicon of designations. I'm a lapsed Episcopalian. I'm 83 years old. I graduated from Columbia University in 1951. I wrote words for money all of my working life.
Now it's your turn. Or is this too tough for you?
Dead soldiers are dead. It makes no sense whatsoever to add to the number of dead soldiers simply to protect the feelings of the already dead soldiers who can't feel anything anyway because they're already dead.
If they died in vain, they did so two, five, eight years ago, whenever they died, not December 31 next when they all of sudden will have died in vain.
If you want to blame somebody for a needless sacrifice of American troops for no reason, blame your buddy George W. Bush.
Just so we're clear with the facts, the troops are being withdrawn because of the Status of Forces Agreement that Bush and the Iraqi parliament agreed to back in 2008. Obama is simply fulfilling Bush's pledge.
Also, Obama DIDN'T want this outcome and neither did the Iraqi parliament. Both parties in fact wanted troops to stay beyond the 2011 deadline. The dispute then was over the issue of whether US troops should be granted 'immunity' from Iraqi law; something the Iraqis weren't willing to grant.
Just so we're clear: It's all Obama's fault that this bad thing happened because of Bush to whom all credit is due for this good thing happening.
Mr. or Ms Gillis ...Are you folks still trying to pass off Mr. Obama's constant mistakes as 'the fault' of President Bush? Jeez Louise, Gillis, Mr. Bush hasn't been President of the US since Obama took over, and that was in 2008. It's time Mr. Obama manned up and took responsibility for his own mistakes. And boy have there been some doozies.
By the way. The brave soldiers who died in the Mid-East are dead, yes. And their families will always miss them.
They were the best of our youth today. The selfish little trouble makers in the Occupy Wall Street are not admirable. Like so many folks today, they don't take responsibility for their own mistakes.
I guess you don't either.
Moi? Not at all. I admit I think it's tragicomic that Obama is going to get public credit for a policy set in stone by Bush, but I personally have no problem crediting Bush.
Since you do seem to be sincere and civil, let me run something by you. I was texting back-and-forth with a right-wing pal earlier today and we came up with the following approach that we think both pro-Iraq-War Republicans and anti-Iraq-War Democrats should SHARE so that everyone's ass is covered but no one takes partisan advantage. In other words, both John Bolton and Howard Dean could and should say this:
"We credit Bush for doing his best for Iraq with the earlier agreement and we credit Obama for doing his best with that agreement, but the Iraqi people will surely regret this short-sighted decision they made to force us out too early."
Read it twice. Took a lot of work to come up with.