Friday, June 27, 2014
Thursday, June 26, 2014
The Real History of the American Strategy for Iraq and the Middle East
Neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz planned regime change in Iraq more than 20 years ago … in 1991.
But the goal wasn’t just regime change (or oil). The goal was to break up the country, and to do away with the sovereignty of Iraq as a separate nation.
The Guardian noted in 2003:
Friday, June 20, 2014
Don’t look now, but the latest installment in the decades-old neocon saga is currently taking place. Reviled as serial bunglers and amateurs after the Iraq war went south, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and a host of other neoconservatives are seizing the spotlight to conduct their own very personal war of liberation. They want to free themselves from the rap that they got it all wrong. And so they are going into overdrive to pin the blame for the collapse of Iraq on anyone other than themselves. Only this time, the American people, unlike in 2003, seem primed to ignore them.
Take L. Paul Bremer III, whose move to disband the Iraqi army led to the rise of the insurgency. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he lays all blame for the chaos in Iraq at Obama’s feet, claiming that he squandered the fruits of victory by refusing to keep U.S. troops in Iraq in perpetuity. “The crisis,” Bremer writes, “unfolding in Iraq is heartbreaking especially for those families who lost loved ones there. They gave so much; it is all at risk. It did not need to be this way.” Nor is this all. Echoing Bremer, Max Boot declared in the Weekly Standard that in pulling troops out from Iraq “Obama has helped restart the war.” Even Dick Cheney, emerging from his undisclosed location, teamed up with his daughter Liz to write, with an admirable lack of self-awareness, “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.” Yes, that Dick Cheney, the vice-president who predicted in August 2002 that after Saddam’s ouster, “the streets in Basra and Baghdad are sure to erupt in joy in the same way throngs in Kabul greeted the Americans.” Of course, in their utopian quest to put “an end to evil,” to quote the ridiculous title of a ridiculous book by David Frum and Richard Perle, the neocons have ended up emboldening the very country they saw as the main threat to America—Iran.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Invading Iraq was insane from the point of view of American interests. The best Iraq could hope for is a rational dictator like Hussein who is tough enough to keep everybody from murdering each other, and who is secular enough to keep the clergy in their place. And, as far as U.S. interests are concerned, that's the best situation we could hope for in Iraq. Nevertheless, American interests don't seem to have been prioritized by our neocon/liberal decision-makers. We destroyed that stability by invading and overthrowing Hussein. Who benefits from an unstable Iraq? Only one I can think of is Israel, which seems to promote unrest and chaos all over the Muslim world, in order to keep any country from getting organized enough to threaten Israel. If so, the mess in Iraq is a feature, not a bug.
Read the entire article
Read the entire article
“America must always lead,” President Barack Obama told West Point graduates during his May 28 commencement speech.
It would seem those four words should not prompt much criticism from the president’s conservative critics, who argue his stance on American foreign policy is weakening the country. Essentially, Republican lawmakers have made the same argument: the United States must take a leadership role on the world stage. But congressional Republicans and the Obama administration disagree over the form that leadership should take. “Our allies are looking to America for leadership, but rather than acting boldly and speaking with moral clarity this president’s tenure has been marked more by obfuscation and weakness,” stated Speaker of the House John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, in a response to the defense of his approach to foreign policy Obama gave at West Point.
Read the entire article
How would you like to spend a week in an exotic locale with “The Boss”?
No, not that “Boss,” the other “Boss” – as in the Bruce Springsteen of Neo-Con crooners, the silver-tongued frontman of the rockin’-shockin’-awe-inspiring band that gave America and the world some of the greatest hits on Iraq. Folks, put your hands together for Bill “The Boss” Kristol.
That’s right, America. If you’re planning early for the upcoming holiday season, the travel bugs over at the Weekly Standard invite you to “…study with the boss in Jerusalem this winter at a weeklong seminar” appealingly titled “The Case for Nationalism.”
There is a saying, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” The only problem with the Iraq War dogs is that they never went to sleep.
Even after the disastrous consequences of their ill conceived — conceived on a lie is a better term — ill planned, ill executed invasion and occupation of what once was the sovereign country of Iraq, they have continued to yelp for the United States to attack other sovereign nations or “militarily intervene” in several instances, among them Iran, Libya, Ukraine, Nigeria and now, Iraq, again.
David Atkins, The Brutal Neoconservative Legacy in Iraq, pretty much says the same stuff I wrote here. Very basically, Atkins points out that the neocons have continued to justify the invasion of Iraq by claiming that getting rid of Saddam Hussein would be good for America in the long run.
But over a decade after the invasion and with Iraq seemingly entering a disastrous sectarian civil war, it seems abundantly clear that whatever the long-term effects of the invasion may be, the near to mid-term result has been to empower Shi’ite theocrats in Iran, and to radicalize Sunni factions in Iraq. As of this writing, Sunni extremist groups expressly intent on establishing a global caliphate are threatening to overrun Baghdad. The corrupt Shi’ite government of Nouri Al-Maliki is counting on and receiving support from the Ayatollahs in Iran.Neither of these developments have even a silver lining behind them.
It wasn’t just the invasion, but the gross mismanagement of the occupation/nation building phase that came after pretty much guaranteed that the invasion of Iraq will always be counted as one of the greatest foreign policy bleep-ups of all time. I’d say it’s got Napoleon’s invasion of Russia beat by a mile.
The eight-years-long bloody disaster that was the Iraq War did nothing – absolutely nothing – to persuade its architects, promoters and defenders that military intervention in the region is perhaps not the best idea. With Iraq now falling to pieces as it struggles to contain the advance of the Islamic extremist group ISIS, the same public officials who made the spurious case for war in 2003 and the media outlets that aggressively backed it are once again agitating for armed conflict.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board was one of the Iraq War’s most fervent supporters. (“It will be the nasty weapons and the cheering Iraqis the coalition finds when it liberates the country,” they predicted in February 2003, wrongly.) Now they want the U.S. to go back to war, and they’ve even done the courtesy of drawing up their own battle plans.
What is commonly referred to as “the right” by the so-called “mainstream media” is actually what I prefer to call “the Deputized Right”—a faux right-wing that takes its marching orders from the left.
More specifically, the Deputized Right is actually nothing other than the neoconservative left that the recognizable left permits to exist.
Anyone with any doubts on this score should consider that neither domestically nor internationally do the recognizable left and the Deputized Right fundamentally disagree on a single issue. Rhetorical nods to “limited government” and the like aside, its positions on immigration, the NSA’s massive surveillance apparatus, military adventurism, “gay rights,” “anti-discrimination” laws, government-run health care, government-run education, and every other conceivable topic differ—when they differ—from those of the recognizable left only in degree, never in kind.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Monday, June 09, 2014
Amid much hysteria, the notion has been widely peddled in the United States that President Obama's "new" foreign policy doctrine, announced last week at West Point, rejects neo-cons and neo-liberals and is, essentially, post-imperialist and a demonstration of realpolitik.
Not so fast. Although stepping back from the excesses of the Cheney regime - as in bombing whole nations into "democracy" - the "desire to lead" still crystallizes might is right.
Moreover, "exceptionalism" remains the norm. Now not so blatant, but still implemented via a nasty set of tools, from financial warfare to cyber-war, from National Endowment for Democracy-style promotion of "democracy" to Joint Special Operations Command-driven counter-terrorism, drone war and all shades of shadow wars.
While the center-right is now associated with endless wars, runaway defense spending, decreased civil liberties in the name of national security, and moral hypocrisy, this is an anomaly.
Once upon a time, our nation’s conservatives stood for non-interventionism, supported a military-industrial complex that served practical goals, emphasized constitutional rights, and were not susceptible to allegations of hypocrisy because they didn’t claim moral superiority.
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A former Conservative prisons minister has accused Michael Gove of using Britain's national security council to promote "neocon" ideas that could encourage moderates to move towards Islamist extremism.
Crispin Blunt spoke out after an extraordinary cabinet row broke out between Gove and Theresa May over how to tackle extremism.
The home secretary went public with direct criticisms of the education secretary's handling of the Trojan horse affair – suggesting an internal cabinet tussle over who can be toughest on threats of extremism.
The article reads so much like a neocon hit piece that it may well have been authored by Cheney, Rumsfeld, or any of the cast of characters that plunged America into decade-and-a-half-long wars with no planning to bring any war to an end. The Post's editorial uses the right wing neocon language and accusations with such ease that it would be funny if it weren't so tragic. Terming President Obama's foreign policy - specifically his nagging habit of actually ending wars - a failure, the Post's editorial board skips the president's crowning foreign policy achievements such as the end of Osama bin Laden, reducing the world's nuclear arsenal, and disarming a country of chemical weapons without firing a shot.
So what is their focus? Like I said, that nagging insistence of the President Obama that wars and military actions have a definitive end date is really bugging newspapers that make money covering shock-and-awe entertainment style bombing and selling it as "news." As if to quote George W. Bush and his administration's chickenhawks, the Post editors have termed President Obama's focus on bringing our troops home "cut and run."
Speaking with Dan, a self-described young libertarian– Mark Levin insisted that he’s no neocon, and bristled at being so often mistaken for one…
I support a liberty-based ideology…I’m condemned as a neocon. I despise the neocons! I am not a neocon. I am not an interventionist.
You may recall that in February 2013, noted non-interventionist Mark Levin strongly defended Obama’s “right” to execute American citizens without trial…