Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Petraeus: U.S. is now losing in Iraq

original article: Petraeus: U.S. needs to reevaluate ISIS strategy
June 3, 2015 by CBS

NEW YORK — The U.S.-led coalition is keeping up air attacks on ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. Yet, the Islamic terror group still controls important territory and cities, including Palmyra in Syria and both Mosul and Ramadi in Iraq.

Former CIA Director and retired General David Petraeus, who has commanded U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, spoke with Charlie Rose on the “CBS Evening News” about the challenges the coalition faces in the fight against ISIS.

The situation on the ground in Iraq and Syria is “worrisome,” Petraeus said, calling the loss of Ramadi to ISIS “both an operational and a strategic setback, a significant one.”

“This is a moment, I think, when you sit back and say, ‘What do we need to do in the military arena? What also do we need to do in the political arena?'”

ISIS is “clearly a threat to the United States, to our allies and partners around the world, and of course, very much in the region, where it’s fomenting instability, violence and so forth — and indeed, far beyond Iraq and Syria,” Petraeus said. “It’s also into North Africa. It’s even trying to recruit in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

As far as the strategy to fight ISIS, Petraeus said the U.S. military needs to reevaluate its strategy.

“I don’t know that you need a whole new strategy. What you need to do is look at what you have, figure out where you need to augment,” Petraeus said.

Among the possible changes he outlined would be adding advisers at the brigade or battalion level, rather than the current division level, and deploying joint tactical air control teams on the ground — despite the risk of losing American lives.

“There is risk, but there is also risk of losing this fight,” he said.

Petraeus said allowing the participation of Iraqi Shiite militias with ties to Iran would be “a very last resort.”

“What we need to do is focus not just on the military,” Petraeus said. You can’t kill or capture your way out of an industrial strength insurgency like this, Charlie — really, an industrial strength conventional force, because that’s what ISIL has actually come to be. You need to have the political component, and without that, without that, you’re not going to solve the problem.”

Asked if the U.S.-led coalition is winning or losing against ISIS right now, Petraeus responded, “These are fights where if you’re not winning, you’re probably losing, because time is not on your side.”

He went on to say it’s “arguable now in Iraq, we’ll turn it around. We will win again in Iraq, I do think that Iraq can definitely be handled. I think that it can be kept intact.

However, “We’ve got to do a lot more in Syria,” according to Petraeus.

“This is already a long war, it’s become longer because of the advent of the Islamic State, and we have to recognize that. And we have to be in it.”

Democrats, foreign affairs, government, iraq, islam, military, terrorism, tragedy

Filed under: Democrats, foreign affairs, government, iraq, islam, military, terrorism, tragedy

Bob Woodward: Wrong, Bush Did Not Lie Us Into Iraq

original article: Bob Woodward: Wrong, Bush Did Not Lie Us Into Iraq
May 25, 2015 by Jack Coleman

Future commencement speech invitations for Beltway media eminence grise Bob Woodward effectively evaporated, at least in the Northeast, after his appearance yesterday on Fox News Sunday.

Woodward, who’ll be known in perpetuity as the stable half of the reporting duo who brought down Richard Nixon for a scandal that now appears paltry compared to the vast money-laundering scheme dignified under lofty title of Clinton Global Foundation, admirably did his part to puncture a sacred liberal myth — that Bush lied and people died. As Woodward sees it, only the latter half of that equation is correct.

http://www.mrctv.org/embed/135982

No matter, liberals will keep muttering it, usually when they’re awake, since clinging to their delusions is essential for maintaining what passes for sanity among them —

HOST CHRIS WALLACE: I want to turn to a different subject in the time we have left and that is the politics of Iraq which has gotten a lot of attention in the last couple of weeks with Jeb Bush, with Marco Rubio and with a bunch of other people and these questions of was it was a mistake to go in in 2003, was it a mistake to get out in 2011, and what impact this could have both in the Republican race and also the Democratic race. …

WOODWARD: Iraq is a symbol and you certainly can make a persuasive argument it was a mistake but there’s a kind of line going along that Bush and the other people lied about this. I spent 18 months looking at how Bush decided to invade Iraq and lots of mistakes, but it was Bush telling George Tenet, the CIA director, don’t let anyone stretch the case on WMD and he (Bush) was the one who was skeptical. And if you tried to summarize why we went into Iraq, it was momentum. The war plan kept getting better and easier and finally at that end people were saying, hey look, it’ll only take a week or two and early on it looked like it was going to take a year or 18 months and so Bush pulled the trigger.

A mistake, certainly, can be argued and there’s an abundance of evidence but there was no lie in this that I could find.

WALLACE: And what about 2011 and Obama’s decision to pull all the troops out? There had been a status of forces agreement between Bush and the Iraqi government that provided for a follow-on force. The Pentagon was talking about somewhere between 10- and 20,000 (troops) and a lot of people think, although Obama says, well we tried to negotiate and we didn’t, a lot of people think he really didn’t want to keep any troops there.

WOODWARD: Well, I think he didn’t. Look, Obama does not like war, but as you look back on this the argument from the military was, let’s keep 10-, 15,000 troops there as an insurance policy and we all know insurance policies make sense. We have 30,000 troops or more in South Korea still 65 years or so after the war. When you’re superpower, you have to buy these insurance policies and he didn’t in this case. I don’t think you can say everything is because of that decision but clearly a factor.

Obama will never admit it, but he knows he was wrong to abandon Iraq in 2011 for the sole purpose of potentially embarrassing Bush by saddling him with its loss. He’s tacitly acknowledged this by delaying the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan, which Obama in 2008 deemed the good war to Bush’s doomed misadventure in Iraq.

What should haunt Obama now as a result of his callow folly is the specter of Baghdad going the way of Saigon in the spring of 1975, as vividly depicted in Rory Kennedy’s most recent documentary, Last Days in Vietnam. Should this come to pass and the death toll rises to the point where genocide and not mass killings is invoked to describe the scale of slaughter, fellow Democrats will agree with Obama that this too is Bush’s fault. But which is preferable — Iraq as it is ripped asunder after six years of Obama’s quixotic foreign policy, or its stability and prospects when Bush left office in 2009?

No Lie
May 26, 2015 b Peter Roff

Bob Woodward throws cold water on the left’s claim that Bush lied the nation into war with Iraq.

american, foreign affairs, history, iraq, military, national security, politics, president, saddam hussein, terrorism, troops, war, wmd

Filed under: american, foreign affairs, history, iraq, military, national security, politics, president, saddam hussein, terrorism, troops, war, wmd

Is it irresponsible to treat NK threats as just rhetoric?

After threats of war, warning diplomats to evacuate the area, and now declaring Nuclear War is unavoidable, what is an appropriate response to North Korea? This is, unfortunately, a silly question by any of us outside the global intelligence field. We are not privy to most of the pertinent information. And even if we were keeping close tabs on the news reports about Kim Jong-un, we would still be poorly informed of the particulars and still unqualified to make judgements about the situation. But that never seems to stop anyone else from commenting.

It may be standard diplomatic protocol to apply international pressure on North Korea, as the United States and China are doing. The two nations have agreed to push for the “peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” even if this is likely to have little if any positive impact on the situation. There is reason to question what qualifications Kim Jong-un has to lead a country. He is quite young, and has little experience in such matters. His boisterous threats of late are not what one should expect from a wise and seasoned leader. So the question is, are his threats merely empty rhetoric, or is he inexperienced and foolish enough to actually follow through?

Responsible leaders around the world should be acting as though North Korea intends on doing exactly as they have threatened. Formal diplomatic relations can sugar coat the situation and provide cover for military preparations. One concern some have is that diplomacy has a tendency to merely delay the inevitable, giving time for war mongers to build up forces, while peace lovers do nothing but talk (because preparing for military conflict would be seen as “provocative”). While fools may not be able to distinguish between war mongers and wise nations preparing to defend themselves against war mongers, we find ourselves in a situation with similar circumstances as one merely a generation ago.

Iraq’s Saddam Hussein made threats and actually invaded neighbors. The United Nations was called in to defend the invaded countries. The UN mandate was not to defeat Hussein, but merely to drive his forces out of the lands he invaded. Iraq refused to follow subsequent UN edicts and diplomatic efforts proved useless in the effort to contain Hussein. When Hussein failed to comply with UN sanctions, eventually then President Bush saw fit to finally deal with him. But suddenly, the vast array of intelligence and common knowledge about the threat posed by Iraq were no where to be found. We forgot about Hussein’s use of chemical weapons (weapons of mass destruction) against his own people and decided he never possessed WMDs in the first place. We forgot about previous administrations criticizing Republicans for “ignoring Iraq’s ties to terrorism“. The theory that Iraq’s WMDs were moved to Syria was dismissed (though new evidence once again supporting the theory has been found – apparently merely deciding a theory is debunked isn’t the same as actually debunking it). The immense collection of intelligence showing Iraq should be dealt with as a serious threat was forgotten. And dealing with Iraq and its terrorist allies was decried as an unnecessary war.

If efforts, both diplomatic and military, to deal with North Korea result in merely delaying all out war until the next president, and if that president happens to be a Republican, will we forget the threat we now acknowledge North Korea poses to the world? Will we call that conflict unnecessary? Or worse, will treating Kim Jong-un like a dumb kid actually encourage him to unleash nuclear war, just as he said he would?

diplomacy, foreign affairs, history, iraq, politics, saddam hussein, terrorism, war

Filed under: diplomacy, foreign affairs, history, iraq, politics, saddam hussein, terrorism, war

Is Obama showing cowboy diplomacy?

On April Fools day, the Christian Science monitor published a serious piece by Howard LaFranchi on the Obama Administration’s diplomatic approach to recent North Korean rhetoric. The point of the story is essentially that the US is showing strength to the international community by not saying much. LaFranchi points out that American military exercises with South Korea continue despite Kim Jong-un’s provocative statements, and that “nuclear-capable B-52s in US-South Korea military exercises and a reinforcing of missile defense batteries in Alaska” are American actions made as a reminder to North Korea that the US does have the military might to defend itself against the sensational attacks North Korea has threatened. And I point out this is exactly the sort of thing the Obama Administration should be doing. The last thing the international community should be doing is placating a bully like Kim Jong-un.

However, there is no reason to believe these actions would be interpreted as “showing strength” were they done by the previous US president George W. Bush. Since Bush is still being blamed for problems in the United States, even four years after leaving office, and reporters find it worth their time to do stories on this fact, there should be no problem in comparing this contemporary situation to a Bush scenario.

While in office, Bush’s approach to diplomacy was largely characterized with derogatory terms like “cowboy” and “unilateral” and such. Criticisms like this, and worse, were intended to portray Bush as simple-minded, unprepared, a bully president, who didn’t understand how diplomacy is supposed to work. Were president Bush to respond to North Korea the way president Obama is now, it is far more likely the actions taken would not be spoken of in terms of “showing strength” but instead criticized as foolishly and needlessly escalating a potentially tense situation.

But the reality is, Obama’s actions are the right thing to do and they are escalating a potentially tense situation. The American response to North Korea is provocative. It is also necessary. But where Bush’s actions against Iraq were both provocative and necessary, we instead got nearly 8 years of criticism, selective history, and outright distortion of the facts by his critics to make the case that military action against Iraq and against terrorism were unnecessary. Lies and misrepresentations about Bush and his administration’s arguments were turned into relentless accusations that it was Bush and his administration who lied.

Is a lie still a lie if it’s years old and perpetuated by willful ignorance?
Reasons for War: things you might have forgotten about Iraq
Why Did We Invade Iraq?
The subsequent acrimony derives from the general amnesia over why we invaded.

culture, foreign affairs, government, history, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, iraq, lies, politics, president, propaganda, saddam hussein, terrorism, wmd

Filed under: culture, foreign affairs, government, history, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, iraq, lies, politics, president, propaganda, saddam hussein, terrorism, wmd

Is a lie still a lie if it’s years old and perpetuated by willful ignorance?

The ‘No WMD’ Lie (with LINKED Proof)
November 2, 2005 by BizzyBlog

April 2, 2007: Well, Isn’t This Special? Munitions Found Last Year Were Officially WMDs

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August 14, 2006: “The ‘No WMD’ Lie (with Linked Proof)” The Sequel

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June 22, 2006: MORE WMD Findings Revealed (Adding to Richard Miniter’s October 2005 List)
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November 2: This post was moved to the top for the remainder of the business day to show that full sourcing of claims made has been done, and because I’m sick and bleeping tired of the absurdity of the “no WMD” argument, the failure of the Mainstream Media to read their own news reports over the past two-plus years our forces have been in Iraq (and the 7-plus years since The Clinton Administration made the same WMD claims–See Updates 4 and 5 below), and the failure of this administration and the congressional majority to defend itself on the topic.
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I really don’t like to repeat posts after 5 days, but the Democrat leadership’s temporary hijacking of The United States Senate, unprecedented in my memory of at least in my 35 or so years of following the news, makes it necessary.
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The “No WMD” Lie

Did you know this? From Atlas Shrugs (scroll to end of post), based on member-only information at Human Events Online (external links added in response to Comment 1 below):

Did you know WMDs have been found in Iraq?
1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium (Aug. 1, 2006 Note: link has moved; updated with saved text from original)
* 1,500 gallons of chemical weapons agents (also updated with saved text from original)
17 chemical warheads containing cyclosarin (a nerve agent five times more deadly than sarin gas) (May 7, 2006 Note: link has moved; will update with saved text shortly; May 8 – fixed)
Over 1,000 radioactive materials in powdered form meant for dispersal over populated areas
* Roadside bombs loaded with mustard and “conventional” sarin gas, assembled in binary chemical projectiles for maximum potency

This is only a PARTIAL LIST of the horrific weapons verified to have been recovered in Iraq to date. Yet, Americans overwhelmingly believe U.S. and coalition forces found NO weapons of mass destruction.

The question is… WHY do they believe this (“No WMD”) lie?

Hmm. Maybe The New York Times should be nominating Judith Miller for a Pulitzer instead of considering firing her.

read full article with lots of links

Where Are the Cries of ‘Obama Lied, Jobs Died’?
May 21, 2009 by TOM BLUMER

His and his administration’s whoppers are super-sized, yet the press still focuses on Bush.

If you look at what the Left continues to insist are Bush’s five biggest “lies,” you’ll realize that he and his administration never even got to Step 1, let alone the rest of the Three Steps of Super-Sized Lying:

  • Most crucially, there is the assertion that there were weapons of mass destruction in pre-war Iraq. Critically, the Left’s claim has been and still is that “there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.” Please note that the critics’ claim was not “no stockpiles,” “no large caches,” or “only a few.” Their claim, frequently stated to great applause, was that there were none, with no exceptions, no qualifications, and no redefinitions. But the truth is that there were WMDs in Iraq … (This brief pause has been provided so lefties can pick their brainwashed jaws off the floor.) … Heck, I knew that in 2005. Later evidence proved that WMDs were really, officially there. What’s more, in November 2006, aNew York Times article acknowledged the existence of a report showing that “[Saddam] Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.” As Ed Morrissey described it at the time, “Saddam [was] far ahead of Iran in the nuclear pursuit, … [making] it much more urgent to take some definitive action against Saddam before he could build and deploy it.” Oh, and I almost forgot about the 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium found in Iraq after Saddam was overthrown, specifically “the stuff that can be refined into nuclear weapons or nuclear fuel.” History will have to tell us why the hapless Bush crew didn’t defend itself against the Left’s long-since-refuted lie.
  • The supposedly infamous “sixteen words” (“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”) that made Joe Wilson a temporary media darling were and still are not only true, but doubly so.
  • The worst that can validly be said about the “Mission Accomplished” celebration in May 2003 is that it was overconfident; it doesn’t change the fact Saddam’s ouster had indeed been achieved.
  • Finally, the hope expressed by Dick Cheney in 2002 that “my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators” was just that — a hopeful prediction.

None of the above items from the Bush era qualifies as a “lie” as any normal person who recognizes that intent is the key would define the word.

government, history, iraq, politics, saddam hussein, scandal, war, wmd

Filed under: government, history, iraq, politics, saddam hussein, scandal, war, wmd

As Obama Affirms End to Combat in Iraq, Only ABC Credits Troop Surge that Obama Opposed

As Obama Affirms End to Combat in Iraq, Only ABC Credits Troop Surge that Obama Opposed
August 3, 2010 by Rich Noyes

All three broadcast evening newscasts on Monday ran full reports on President Obama’s declaration that all combat troops would leave Iraq by the end of this month, leaving behind 50,000 troops designated for training and support. But only ABC’s World News bothered to point out how the end of American combat involvement in Iraq can be credited “in large part, because of the final actions of the last administration.”

Correspondent Yunji de Nies uniquely pointed out: “Just before leaving office, President Bush sent an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq and extended the tours of many more — a move then-Senator Obama opposed.”

ABC even showed a clip of Obama on the Senate floor in 2007 predicting the surge would fail: “I cannot in good conscience support this escalation. It is a policy that has already been tried and a policy that has failed.”

Neither CBS nor NBC pointed out how Obama was capitalizing on a policy he opposed, but all of the networks were skeptical of Obama’s claim that Iraq was a healed nation:

Dem Leaders Avoid Thanking Bush For US Victory In Iraq Today
June 30, 2009 by Gateway Pundit

foreign affairs, government, iraq, military, national security, politics, terrorism, troops, war

Filed under: foreign affairs, government, iraq, military, national security, politics, terrorism, troops, war

Judge weighs misconduct finding in Blackwater case

Judge weighs misconduct finding in Blackwater case
January 4, 2010 by MATT APUZZO

WASHINGTON (AP) – Prosecutors who mishandled the investigation into a deadly 2007 Blackwater Worldwide shooting face a possible misconduct citation from a judge who says they withheld evidence and violated the guards’ constitutional rights.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina admonished the Justice Department last week for its “reckless” handling of the investigation into a shooting that left 17 Iraqis dead. He threw out manslaughter and weapons charges against five security guards and, in a footnote, said he was also considering whether the repeated government missteps amounted to misconduct.

Such a ruling would be an embarrassing cap to a politically sensitive investigation and a black eye to a department that is still dealing with the fallout from last year’s botched corruption case against former Sen. Ted Stevens. In that case, a judge wiped away the senator’s conviction and appointed a lawyer to investigate prosecutors for withholding evidence from defense attorneys.

abuse, criminal, foreign affairs, government, iraq, judiciary, military, news, scandal, terrorism, war

Filed under: abuse, criminal, foreign affairs, government, iraq, judiciary, military, news, scandal, terrorism, war

Unrest in Iran: The Vindication of George W. Bush

Unrest in Iran: The Vindication of George W. Bush
January 5, 2010 by Larry Elder (hat tip to Bob Parks)

Did Saddam Hussein’s fall and the formation of a fledging democracy in Iraq encourage and embolden regime-threatening dissent in Iran?

The anti-Iraq War crowd, many of whom suffer from Give-George-W.-Bush-No Credit-for-Anything Disease, says, “No, of course not.” How dare anyone even suggest that the former President was correct, if not about the rightfulness of the war itself, then about his argument that a “free and peaceful” Iraq would provide a “dramatic and inspiring example” to the Middle East and the Muslim world. Good Lord!

The Iraq War-achieved-zero crowd begrudged Bush nothing even after the democratic Cedar Revolution in Lebanon. Never mind that Walid Jumblatt, a Lebanese Druze Muslim leader, said: “It’s strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting (in 2005), 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world.”

foreign affairs, freedom, government, iraq, national security, news, politics, terrorism, war

Filed under: foreign affairs, freedom, government, iraq, national security, news, politics, terrorism, war

Staggered Blasts Kill At Least 23 In Western Iraq

Staggered Blasts Kill At Least 23 In Western Iraq
December 30, 2009 by AP

Staggered explosions killed 23 people – 13 of them policemen – and injured the governor of Anbar on Wednesday, Iraqi officials said, the worst violence in months to hit the western province as it struggles to stamp out the remnants of the al-Qaida insurgency.

Anbar is strategically important because it was once the heartland of support for al-Qaida linked militants before American officials paid Iraqi fighters to join a pro-government force. The governor is the most senior Sunni leader to be attacked since then.

extremism, foreign affairs, iraq, islam, news, terrorism, war

Filed under: extremism, foreign affairs, iraq, islam, news, terrorism, war

Tony Blair: Iraq invasion was right despite no WMDs

AP forgets about Saddam Hussein’s funding and material support of terrorist organizations

Tony Blair: Iraq invasion was right despite no WMDs
December 12, 2009

LONDON (AP) — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says he believes it would have been right to invade Iraq even if it was known that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction.

Blair says in a BBC interview being broadcast on Saturday that different arguments could have been made to support the U.S.-led invasion.

Blair said: “I can’t really think we’d be better with him and his two sons still in charge.”

The former prime minister has advanced similar arguments since the invasion force found no weapons of mass destruction, which had been the leading argument for military action.

bias, foreign affairs, history, indoctrination, iraq, left wing, liberalism, news media, pandering, politics, propaganda, terrorism, war

Filed under: bias, foreign affairs, history, indoctrination, iraq, left wing, liberalism, news media, pandering, politics, propaganda, terrorism, war

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