Hillary on Syria, ISIS and Obama's Foreign Policy

Here is the new interview with Hillary Clinton in the Atlantic on Syria, ISIS, Israel and Gaza, Libya and Obama's foreign policy.

Also, the New York Times has a new profile on ISIS leader al Baghdadi today, U.S. Actions in Iraq Fueled Rise of a Rebel. It claims Hillary has accused Obama of aiding the rise of ISIS by both withdrawing troops from Iraq and not intervening in Syria: [More...]

It's clear Hillary thinks the U.S. should have intervened a long time ago in Syria. Maybe I missed it in the Atlantic interview, but I don't see where she criticizes his decision to withdraw troops from Iraq. The Times writes:

As more moderate Syrian rebel groups were beaten down by the Syrian security forces and their allies, ISIS increasingly took control of the fight, in part on the strength of weapons and funding from its operations in Iraq and from jihadist supporters in the Arab world.

That fact has led American lawmakers and political figures, including former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to accuse President Obama of aiding ISIS’ rise in two ways: first by completely withdrawing American troops from Iraq in 2011, then by hesitating to arm more moderate Syrian opposition groups early in that conflict.

In 2011, Hillary defended the decision to withdraw troops from Iraq.

On a related note, the Times article casts doubt on the Pentagon's claim that ISIS leader al Baghdadi was only detained at Camp Bucca for a period of months in 2004 and then released. Its source is the work of an Iraqi scholar/researcher.

The Pentagon says that Mr. Baghdadi, after being arrested in Falluja in early 2004, was released that December with a large group of other prisoners deemed low level. But Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi scholar who has researched Mr. Baghdadi’s life, sometimes on behalf of Iraqi intelligence, said that Mr. Baghdadi had spent five years in an American detention facility where, like many ISIS fighters now on the battlefield, he became more radicalized.

The Times does not say which version is accurate, but it also doesn't note that the Pentagon has reportedly responded to a media request for clarification with this response:

"Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Al Badry, also known as ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’ was held as a ‘civilian internee’ by U.S. Forces-Iraq from early February 2004 until early December 2004, when he was released," the Pentagon said in a statement. "He was held at Camp Bucca. A Combined Review and Release Board recommended ‘unconditional release’ of this detainee and he was released from U.S. custody shortly thereafter. We have no record of him being held at any other time."

Why does the Times seemingly promote the position of the researcher over the Pentagon? Maybe the Iraqis detained him in a detention facility after his release by the U.S. from Camp Bucca in 2004 and held him until 2009, if he was in fact detained that period. Is it because the researcher's version fits the premise of its article, that U.S. actions in Iraq gave rise to Baghdadi?

In my non-expert opinion, I think there's a more relevant topic the media should address when trying to explain the rise of al Baghdadi, ISIS and similar groups, which is why do they have the ability to attract so many followers, at home and abroad? What is the allure? Why do so many people want to join a group where their lives will be dictated by rigid rules that existed so many centuries ago? I came across this frequently cited report on Syrian extremist groups by Syrian expert Aaron Lund the other day and was struck by this (on page 10.):

Roel Meijer has written [here, p. 13] that the basic attraction of salafism is its capacity to transform “the humiliated, the downtrodden, disgruntled young people, the discriminated migrant, or the politically repressed into a chosen sect (al firqa al-najiya) that immediately gains privileged access to the Truth.”

It is a common pattern across the globe, now clearly manifested in Syria. By growing their beards and observing salafism’s religious and social code, Syrian fighters can transform themselves from the victims and perpetrators of a chaotic sectarian war, into heroes straight out of the Quran – the mujahedin, Islam’s holy warriors. They no longer need to fear death, since they can be certain of their place in heaven. They no longer need to grapple with self-doubt and moral qualms, since salafism tells them that they are acting on God’s command. They are no longer embroiled in a confused and dirty war for their family, village, or sect, or for the warlord that pays them – they are fighting a righteous jihad to defend the Muslim Umma. There’s no overestimating the power of such an ideology in a conflict like Syria’s.

This is a common pattern across the globe and throughout history. It reminds me of what the Zapatistas in Mexico wrote when describing Subcomandante Marcos , after its uprising in Chiapas, Mexico's poorest state.

So Marcos is a human being, any human being, in this world. Marcos is all the exploited, marginalized oppressed minorities, resisting and saying, "Enough."

If the U.S. and other governments had responded to ISIS and its predecessor groups when they first came on the scene by asking what are their grievances, are they valid, and how do we fix them, instead of with military force, arrests, prolonged detention and torture, perhaps they could have been stopped or contained. It's too late now with respect to ISIS, but there will be more such extremist groups in the future, in countries besides Iraq and Syria.

When debate over how to respond to the threat posed by these groups is cast only in terms of how to crush them, whether by air strikes, boots on the ground, or massive surveillance, it's like putting a band-aid over a nail hole in a flat tire. Until the root cause is addressed, the problem will return. Just as addressing the root causes of crime is a more productive response to a crime epidemic than building more prisons, war is not the solution to reducing the threat of extremist groups like ISIS and those in Syria.

< Chaos in Baghdad: Maliki Locks Down City to Stay in Power | Monday Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Incredibly great post. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by lentinel on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 01:17:14 PM EST

    J (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by Politalkix on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 01:40:52 PM EST
    "That fact has led American lawmakers and political figures, including former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to accuse President Obama of aiding ISIS' rise in two ways: first by completely withdrawing American troops from Iraq in 2011, then by hesitating to arm more moderate Syrian opposition groups early in that conflict.

    Do you agree with HRC that ISIS' rise was partly created by BHO's decision to not intervene on behalf of Syrian opposition groups early in the conflict? I would like to know your opinion.

    I completely disagree with HRC in this matter. My reasons are as follows

    (1) Even if early military support of the rebels by the Obama administration could topple the Assad regime, there is no guarantee that  moderates in the opposition could retain power over the long term unless they were continuously propped up by American military power (which could by itself have ugly consequences). When the Shah of Iran was overthrown in Iran, the opposition consisted of Islamic clergies, students, communists, Iranian moderates and professionals, anti-colonialists, etc. However, within a couple of years after the overthrow of the Shah, the most extreme religious elements took over the country after killing, imprisoning and threatening other partners who had helped in the overthrow of the Shah. After the Arab Spring in Egypt, could the moderate elements that were partners in Mubarak's ouster retain power?

    (2)Why should ISIS' rise be blamed on non-intervention of BHO is Syria instead of intervention of Putin? The barrel bombs that the Assad regime keeps dropping on Syrians with Putin's support is creating more terrorists every day.

    Excellent summation... (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 01:51:40 PM EST
    could not agree more.  We could blow up every member of ISIS, and another extremist group will rise from the ashes.  I mean how many Iraqis did we kill already, and still ISIS came to be.    

    There is no military cure, at best the bombings are a treatment with nasty side effects...civilian casualties, recruitment tool, possible blowback, anti-American sentiment, etc.  


    In Jeffrey Goldberg's (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by KeysDan on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 02:23:56 PM EST
    article in Atlantic, his narrative appears to be a subtext to getting a scoop on Mrs. Clinton's announcement of presidential candidacy and finding headlines on differences in policy with President Obama.

     A read of the interview shows balanced and diplomatic responses that are, essentially, covered in her interesting, but bland, book--"Hard Choices."   The issue of arming the "good rebels" of Syria is well-known to have been a contentious debate among advisors, and the rise of ISIS supposedly, of late, because of it, even more so.  Mrs. Clinton reveals what has long been known, her advise to find, fund and help the"credible opposition" to fight.

     In the interview, however, Mrs. Clinton states, "I can't sit here today and say that if we had done what I recommended, and what Robert Ford (US Ambassador to Syria) recommended, that we'd be in a demonstrably different place."

    The other big matter getting coverage is the out-of-context response on Obama's  "Don't do stupid sh$t" or (stupid stuff, in polite company.)  Mrs. Clinton, as part of an extended response to the "stuff", states that that is not an organizing principle."    However, there is more, an important more: ---"it may be a necessary brake on the actions you might take in order to promote a vision."   And, " the president is trying to communicate to the American people that he's not going to do something crazy."  " He is cautious because he knows what he inherited, so the two wars and the economic front, and he has expended a lot of capital and energy  to pull us out of the hole we're in.

    Sorry, Mr. Goldberg, no scoop for you.  No big fight with Obama.  But, you do get another public address announcement for 'clean-up needed in aisle Iraq."

    The only thing (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 03:24:46 PM EST
    I can say is things seem to have fallen apart since she left state. The advantage is that she had estabilished relationships with some of the players and according to her own words could yell at Bibi and tell him he was being stupid something that apparently either Kerry or Obama are not capable of doing.

    Yell at Bibi? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Politalkix on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 05:18:33 PM EST
    Reading the Atlantic interview leads one to believe that when Bibi says "Jump", HRC says "How high?".

    The Atlantic article's (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by KeysDan on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 05:40:57 PM EST
    narrative is at odds with the nuance of Mrs. Clinton's interview . He takes some leaps throughout.  Mr. Goldberg does report that there seems to be little light between her and Israel, at this point. However, Mrs. Clinton's "vociferous defense"  is standard  US policy  ...Israel has a right to defend itself,  Hamas has no moderates to work with, and, mistakes were made, and we make them too (apparently, a reference to collateral damage).   Goldberg finds all this noteworthy because as Secretary of State "she spent a lot of time yelling at Netanyahu on the administration's behalf over Israel's West Bank settlement policy."

    Firmly disagree (none / 0) (#18)
    by Politalkix on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 07:33:05 PM EST
    "as Secretary of State "she spent a lot of time yelling at Netanyahu on the administration's behalf over Israel's West Bank settlement policy.""

    As SoS, she was relaying the President's views. Will she be able to do that on her own? We shall see! I am not hopeful that she will have the courage to yell at Bibi either as a Presidential candidate or as a President, however outrageously Bibi behaves.

    Within "standard policy" relating to Israel, BHO and Kerry (or even GHWB and Baker) do nuances and HRC does not.


    Bibi (none / 0) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 07:37:23 PM EST
    seems to have a poor relationship with Obama. You can see the fruits of that since Hillary is no longer SOS.

    Bibi (3.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Politalkix on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 07:40:37 PM EST
    has a poor relationship with anyone who does not tow his line. BHO and Kerry do not and HRC does. You are parroting a Republican line.

    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:16:48 AM EST
    no, this is something that I gleaned for myself. And I would say that Obama does not seem to have a postive relationship with most foreign leaders. Mostly he does not seem to have a foreign policy compass much like he doesn't have a domestic policy compass.

    Yeah, what the heck (none / 0) (#37)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:20:44 AM EST
    was Obama thinking when he signed the ACA or the Lilly Ledbetter act?

    If you want to know why Obama hasn't been able to do much on the domestic front, you could look at the do-nothing Republicans in the H of R for your answer.


    The ACA (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:02:29 AM EST
    was handed off to Max Baucus and the lobbyists to write. All Obama did was sign it and keep begging the GOP to sign on and the GOP kept moving the goal posts and he kept moving the goal posts to try to get them to sign on and they would move the goal posts more until he finally just gave up.

    And as far as the GOP, Obama brought a lot of that stuff on himself by campaigning on working with the idiots. The amorphous PPUS hold hands and sing kumbaya with the GOP has come back to bite him. Back in 2008 many of us here yelled that was a HUGE mistake but the Obama people INSISTED that the reason the GOP was so crazy in the 1990's was Bill Clinton. They blamed Bill for the GOP being so intractable INSTEAD of realizing what the real problem is. The real problem is that the GOP is stinking crazy. It's an apocalyptic cult and you can't reason or even work with people that are that nutty. And then to top it off the GOP throws it back in his fact that he promised he would work with them. And then to boot Obama tries to community organize said crazy people. It's a recipe for disaster. And Lily Ledbetter was another thing that he had to just sign.


    A little history (2.00 / 0) (#57)
    by Slado on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 01:37:39 PM EST
    Bill and the HOR passed NAFTA, welfare reform etc...

    After the impeachment debacle Bill and the Republican House got quite a bit done.

    Obama is a terrible negotiator.   He has a my way or the highway type of attitude.   This narrative that he tried to work with congress is a fantasy.   He has consistently pushed his agenda and when he doesn't get his way he whines like a child and plays politics.    Also he didn't do anything but pass ACA during his first two years in office with a completely democratic congress.   If he really wanted to do immigration reform it'd be done by now.   He wants it as a campaign issue.

    I don't like Hillary but I'm pretty confident she will work with a republican house and possibly Senate just like her husband did.

    Obama is a terrible president in terms of getting things done.   it's his fault and this narrative of blaming 1/3 of government for his failings is just partisan excuse making because nobody wants to admit what a bad leader he is.


    I will agree (4.00 / 3) (#61)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 02:26:27 PM EST
    that he is a horrible negotiator. The thing Bill did that Obama never did is let the GOP know off the bat that is that he was not going to put up with their crackpottery and they needed to sit down and act like adults. It's not that Obama is intractable because he's not. He's offered up a ton of things that the GOP said they wanted until he offered it and then they said no, thanks. I mean they were crowing back in 2010 that they got everything they wanted. Obama's problem is that he lacks leadership skills due to the fact that he has no policy compass. He does not like policy and has even said it's not his thing. The only thing that Obama has held still on has been Obamacare. He was willing to deal on almost anything else but the GOP is crazy enough to demand that one thing. The one very thing that he's not going to undo. What happens is Obama starts in the center, unlike Bill who generally started from the left. Then the GOP moves the goal posts further and further right until the legislation is so far right it only appeals to the tea party radicals. Then Obama just flat gives up and nothing gets done. The GOP would get stuff from Bill but he would make them scream and thrash and whine about it and they would call him names. And then he would go out and make fun of them.

    Hillary knows how to twist arms and form relationships which is something Obama does not know how to do. Hillary is the type that will put it up for a vote and let the chips fall where they may. And she knows how radical the GOP has become and hopefully won't be talking about working with them but talking about issues and they can either go along or they can hang back.


    That's really good stuff Ga6...thanks (none / 0) (#86)
    by fishcamp on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 10:35:38 PM EST
    Facts point otherwise! (none / 0) (#87)
    by Politalkix on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 10:47:03 PM EST
    What do you mean? Which facts? (none / 0) (#88)
    by fishcamp on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 11:05:56 PM EST
    Whatever relationship Bill and Hillary (none / 0) (#90)
    by Politalkix on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 11:47:21 PM EST
    formed with Republicans somehow always ended with them giving Republicans the candy store (except in Bill's first year as President). It would have been better had they not tried forming those vaunted "relationships".

    Unfortunately, the tragedy is not even over. Just look at what is happening now. HRC has a good relationship with McCain. Has she been able to influence McCain to move even an iota to the left or is she tripping over herself to do an imitation of him (like she did when she voted to support the Iraq war, or talked about "obliterating Iran" in 2008). It is the same god*am" story over and over again.


    I wasn't (none / 0) (#95)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 04:02:55 AM EST
    talking about relationships with the GOP. You must have been asleep in the 90's if you think Bill and Hillary had any kind of friendly relationship with Republicans. I'm talking about forming relationships within your own party something Obama seems loathe to do but then I wonder if he really even likes his own party?

    Hopefully, Obama (none / 0) (#58)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 01:42:45 PM EST
    will totally bypass the House and issue a large flotilla of Executive Orders on immigraation reform.

    Let the Republicans squawk--the more they do, the more they forfeit the Latino vote.

    And, the current Senate Bill that the House refuses to vote on is a Bi-Partisan compromise.  

    And the health care bill was a Republican idea first implement by Mitt Romney...

    Obama has compromised enough.


    I see you subscribe to the (none / 0) (#41)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:12:53 AM EST
    Silly theory by Matthew Yglesias (1.00 / 0) (#42)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:22:20 AM EST
    I see you subscribe to the theory of "Nothing is Obama's Fault".

    It appears Hillary (none / 0) (#43)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:27:41 AM EST
    is going to run against Obama's foreign policy just as if this were the 2008 Primary all over again.

    No, Hillary, we do not want more aggression.

    I hereby formally rescind for all to see my prior support of Hillary in 2016in the Primary.  Brian Schweitzer may be the person for Progressives to support.  Or perhaps Elizabeth Warren--but we know little about her foreign policy.

    And, thanks, jb, for clarifying my thoughts on this--it really is about Hillary steering a different and more interventionist and militarily aggressive approach than Obama.   But I like Obama's foreign policy.


    "Hereby formally rescind"?!? (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Yman on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 07:42:19 PM EST


    BTW -

    And, thanks, jb, for clarifying my thoughts on this--it really is about Hillary steering a different and more interventionist and militarily aggressive approach than Obama.   But I like Obama's foreign policy.

    Really?  You like Obama's foreign policy, whereby he threatened to use direct, US military force in Syria - repeatedly, in fact - and threatening US military action (aka "enormous consequences") if Syria crossed a (shifting) "red line", but HC suggesting we should have helped the Syrian rebels is an issue?


    That is not remotely surprising.


    Hillary is moving right (none / 0) (#84)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 10:17:50 PM EST
    according to most accounts.  You can support that if you like.  It causes me concern.

    "Support that"? (none / 0) (#89)
    by Yman on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 11:11:41 PM EST
    I was comparing your claims to reality.

    A POTUS who makes repeated threats of direct military action and threatens "enormous consequences" if Syria "crosses a red line", versus a former SOS who thinks he should have helped Syrian rebels.  You like the former and call the latter a "more interventionist and militarily aggressive" policy.

    Interesting double standard.

    But if "most accounts" say Hillary is moving right, then the hypocrisy is just fine.  "Formally rescind" to your heart's content ...


    Is there an irony detector (none / 0) (#112)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:56:23 PM EST
    in your mindset?

    Hereby formally rescind.....By taking everything so literal in a micro sense you can lose perspective and miss a lot.....


    Don't jump to conclusions ... please, MKS (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:28:59 PM EST
    It seems to me that to do so--without more--suggests longstanding other issues.  Perhaps, there is something else going on here ... something other than a not-so-surprising positioning by the principal Democratic contender.  IMO, one doesn't jump so quickly unless already looking for a reason to jump, a reason to say "I don't like that paragraph or that sentence, etc.  At least, that is my take ... otherwise, wait and see how this plays out between the President and the former Secretary.

    You know (none / 0) (#48)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 10:11:16 AM EST
    most people don't vote on foreign policy. But in all honesty in a lot of ways even Schweitzer if he runs is going to have to roll Obama under the bus with his approval numbers.

    And Warren voted for the huge aid to Israel package so I'm not sure she'll pass your test either.


    Could be (none / 0) (#52)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 11:49:33 AM EST
    I think a challenge from the Left is apparently needed.  

    If Warren is a hawk, I would not support her either.

    Rand Paul is taking the Republicans to a less interventionist policy.   It would be highly ironic if Hillary ends up being the right of Rand Paul on foreign policy.

    I vote on foreign policy.   And many did in 2006, when the Democrats gained control of Congress.


    2006 was an off (none / 0) (#54)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 12:26:29 PM EST
    year election and I think that should have ended voting on foreign policy since they promised to end the War in Iraq yet did nothing of the sort even continuing to fund it. Using 2006 as a marker for foreign policy voters is like the tea party using 2010 as a marker and saying that tea party policies are popular since they had a big win in 2010.

    Look at 2004 and see how much foreign policy matters in a presidential election. I mean if it was that important and everybody knew that George W. Bush lied about there being WMDs in Iraq and yet he still got reelected.

    I'm not so sure Rand Paul is going to be able to get the nomination considering that the Bushies and almost all the GOP establishment has been taking aim at his "insolationism" and then if that isn't enough to take him out with most GOP voters you actually have him on tape saying that Jimmy Carter was better on the budget than St. Ronald.


    All that could be true (none / 0) (#59)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 01:52:24 PM EST
    But my point is beyond just horse race politics and is about the policies of war and peace.  It is a big issue--even if many do not care.

    I am not happy with this new aggressive stance in foreign policy that Hillary is taking.  And make no mistake, many on the Left have noticed.   Maybe she wants her Sister Soulah moment and will punch the hippies.  Not good.


    Nope, they talk about it a lot at LGM (none / 0) (#44)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:29:48 AM EST
    And given that literally from day One the Republicans decided that they were going to do nothing but block the Kenyan Usurper(Mitch McConnell saying his role as Senate Minority leader was to keep Obama to one term, that worked out well) to believe that if Obama tried harder he'd have gotten more done is to believe in fairy tales and the political equivalent of magic potions.

    Of course, (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by jbindc on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:36:18 AM EST
    That doesn't explain his first two years when Mitch McConnell and John Boehner had no power.....

    For somebody who lives close to D.C. (2.00 / 2) (#96)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 08:19:26 AM EST
    You're pretty uninformed, did you know that?

    I'll let Jennifer Granholm explain it to you.

    This timeline shows the facts.

    President Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009 with just 58 Senators to support his agenda.

    He should have had 59, but Republicans contested Al Franken's election in Minnesota and he didn't get seated for seven months.

    The President's cause was helped in April when Pennsylvania's Republican Senator Arlen Specter switched parties.

    That gave the President 59 votes -- still a vote shy of the super majority.

    But one month later, Democratic Senator Byrd of West Virginia was hospitalized and was basically out of commission.

    So while the President's number on paper was 59 Senators -- he was really working with just 58 Senators.

    Then in July, Minnesota Senator Al Franken was finally sworn in, giving President Obama the magic 60 -- but only in theory, because Senator Byrd was still out.

    In August, Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts died and the number went back down to 59 again until Paul Kirk temporarily filled Kennedy's seat in September.

    Any pretense of a supermajority ended on February 4, 2010 when Republican Scott Brown was sworn into the seat Senator Kennedy once held.Do you see a two-year supermajority?

    I didn't think so.

    Darn that whole super-majority thing! (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:24:15 AM EST
    Too bad they couldn't have done something about that, huh?...really, such a shame.

    Wonder how it was that Republicans managed to get so much of what they wanted without those same super-majorities when they had control of the Senate?  Democrats voting with Republicans?

    How come it so rarely ever works in the other direction, with Republicans crossing over to vote with Democrats?  Are Democrats like a herd of cats, unable to be corralled or controlled and prone to wandering off?  Or is it that, while there are conservative Democrats, there aren't any Republicans moderate enough to cross over?

    Such are the mysteries of life, I guess.


    Don't give up your day job, (none / 0) (#101)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:46:02 AM EST
    That's your answer? (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 10:27:53 AM EST
    Are you really so stumped you have no thoughts on why the Republicans have been able to get what they want, even when they didn't have a super-majority?

    Your response is typical of people who can't or won't take their blinders off to consider that Democrats should be held  accountable for their actions - or lack of them.

    Not sure what is accomplished by avoiding the issue, other than enabling it to continue.  I guess you're okay with that.

    Thanks for sharing, though.


    The idiocy (none / 0) (#107)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:51:55 AM EST
    of the blind loyalists is stunning sometimes.

    Well M88 (none / 0) (#109)
    by sj on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 01:30:09 PM EST
    your contributions deteriorated quickly. You started out great but there you go.

    Thanks, SJ (none / 0) (#127)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 09:14:48 AM EST
    I'm sure you're quite the political expert in real life



    Ooh - the burn! (none / 0) (#98)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 08:50:24 AM EST
    Except that leaves out a few details, like the fact to break a filibuster, you need 3/5 of the Senators "duly chosen and sworn", which means, that the number to break a filibuster isn't always 60. So yes, I guess living near DC certainly does make me more educated than you.

    However, they somehow managed to pass Obamacare on Christmas Eve with 60 votes, so your mewling that it's always been the big bad Republicans fault is just ridiculous.

    (And of course, I note that you don't address the fact the Nancy Pelosi was the Speaker for two years - the chamber that controls spending etc.)

    Like I thought - you are of the school of thought that Obama is powerless and nothing is his fault or responsibility.


    Never said that, but (1.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:16:51 AM EST
    The fact that he only got the 60 after kowtowing to Baucus and the rest of the blue dog Democrats doesn't enter into your calculations, does it?

    But, please keep demonstrating your superior knowledge of the subject.

    I think after the first couple of years, Obama should've wised up and stopped trying to get the Republicans to cooperate, because no matter what he did, they would oppose it every time.

    So, please, don't try the mind-reading trick here, you're hardly a Jedi, unless you misheard your padwan and you're using the Farce again.


    Yes (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 10:14:08 AM EST
    they said that and should that surprise anyone? This is why people said PPUS was so stinking stupid in 2008 and Obama was either very naive about the GOP or not politically smart when it came to them.

    Obama did/does not understand how to handle these nuts. For a long time he begged them to go along. Now he just mainly ignores them while they scream into the microphone. He could have dispatched them long ago but chose to give them mouth to mouth instead.


    What on earth (1.00 / 0) (#47)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 10:09:03 AM EST
    are you talking about? I said nothing of the sort. I'm just saying that Obama should have never said some of the things that he has said. Nobody made him campaign on PPUS. You apparently did not read my post. Obama apparently is or was not politically astute enough to realize quite what he was dealing with. That is my main complaint not that Obama can't single handedly deliver utopia. I never bought into that theory though many did in the past. They seemed to think that Obama's "awesomeness" would just have everybody going along with whatever he did.

    Yes, Hillary is certainly letting (none / 0) (#29)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 12:39:28 AM EST
    her inner hawk fly free.....

    Again: you seem to be on a tear about this (none / 0) (#81)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:30:37 PM EST

    Reality. (none / 0) (#108)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:56:07 AM EST
    It's not just for breakfast anymore...

    Does it "lead one"? (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Yman on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 09:46:13 PM EST
    "One" meaning you?

    Well, I hope he is wrong (none / 0) (#30)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 12:40:44 AM EST
    but it certainly appears Hillary is carving out a place to the right of Obama on foreign policy.   Very disasppointing.

    Which is not what Politalkix said ... (none / 0) (#33)
    by Yman on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 06:20:22 AM EST
    ... it "lead one to believe".

    Which is funny, considering the amount of criticism and reported tension between Netanyahu and Clinton over the past decade+.


    Yes, you have said that repeatedly (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 12:33:15 AM EST
    I do not agree with the "aggressive" approach to foreign policy that you seem to favor.

    That is what got us in this mess in the first place.

    So you are calling HIllary a neocon? (2.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Green26 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 01:01:14 AM EST
    At some point, you need to focus on what the US should do now, instead of blaming everything on Bush, and the invasion of Iraq. That occurred in 2003. It's time to move on. You need to develop some ideas. You need use some independent thinking.

    Every US president in modern history has been more aggressive than Obama.


    I need to do what? (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 01:09:51 AM EST
    What b.s. from a newcomer here who just says the same thing over and over again.

    It is not about blaming Bush (and he does deserve blame) but about not repeating mistakes of the past....I could also cite Gulf of Tonkin and that occured long before 2003.

    You know, learing from history instead of blithely discarding history as "blaming Bush."

    I hope Hillary is not a neocon.  Is that your stock question?



    MKS: Hillary is not a neo-con (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 03:47:41 PM EST
    In what I have experienced and, probably, what you have experienced ... the fact that individuals may (and I say "may" very deliberately) disagree over a portion of a part of a chunk of a program/policy does not mean that one is all "A" and the other must needs be all "Z."  

    I suspect that--if anything--whatever differences may exist, they would seem to be part of a tactical or communication style difference.  For example:  One may start negotiating or presenting a position from the strongest or more muscular  standpoint whereas another individual with the same general approach may start from the middle in terms of projecting more reasonableness at the outset.  IMO, President Obama and former Secretary Clinton evidence similar political philosophy while also showing distinct (and differing) styles.  That may be why they worked so well during their four years in the first term ... a complementary fit can work well.

    Given Iraq and "bring it on" bravura-turned-tragic in the preceding Administration, it is understandable that anything--absolutely anything--that suggests overuse of military might is enough to set off alarm bells.  Both Obama and Clinton surely appreciate that.  


    Yup, I generally agree with you. (none / 0) (#66)
    by Green26 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 03:58:51 PM EST
    Obama's got one foot in the water now. And Maliki is going out and hopefully the new premier is more inclusive. Obama seemed to indicate that if Iraq got its leadership act together, he would provide more support. It will be interesting to see what he does now. (And to watch some of the left squirm.)

    Focus on the future (none / 0) (#78)
    by Jack203 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:18:33 PM EST
    Obama is doing what we should be doing.

    Protect our ally and friends the Kurds from a belligerent army that has invaded them.

    The Shiites are not our ally in Iraq or in Syria.  There is no "Democracy" in Iraq.  The war was a disaster with enough blame to go around between the Sunni, Shiite, and us.  

    Iran can help Shiite Iraq all they want.  We should take a neutral approach with ISIS and the Shiite regimes.  We should try to broker peace between them diplomatically and not by bombing the Shiites one year, and the Sunnis the next year and trying desperately to ally with the "moderate" Sunni and Shiite factions that do not exist.


    Goldman Sachs transported (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 10:27:45 AM EST
    her to the mountain top and told her, as they've done with many others, that with their help she could turn those stones into bread..

    I'm starting to wonder if law, economics, and business schools administer severe electric shocks to students every time they seem on the verge of saying something loud enough for everyone to hear about the corrupting power of money.

    Please Give Me an Example (5.00 / 0) (#69)
    by RickyJim on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 05:10:30 PM EST
    of anything HRC has said or done recently that indicates she isn't just trying to figure out what positions to take in order to get the most votes in the 2016 election. Of course she wants to  take what she can from Sheldon Adelson who I am sure would much rather support her than Rand Paul.  Peter Beinart really slams her inaccuracies with respect to Netanyahu in the Goldberg interview.

    I take Hillary's words at face value (none / 0) (#70)
    by Green26 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 05:54:40 PM EST
    I don't see evidence that she's searching for her positions to run on. What's your evidence to the contrary?

    Wow, Peter Beinart is a bit out there. Looks like an almost full-time Hillary and Netanyahu critic. I see that he was a vocal supporter of the Iraq invasion.


    It surprises me Mrs. Clinton so strongly supports (4.50 / 2) (#9)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 05:03:26 PM EST
    Israel. She says "mistakes were made" re the recent civilian casualties and all countries make such mistakes. Must be going to run for Pres.

    Also, she credits U.S. policy with causing the collapse of the U.S.S.R.  Come on!!!

    I agree... (5.00 / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 05:21:30 PM EST
    The hawk spreads it's wings...she be running for sure.

    One of the highlights of Obama's terms has been the "don't do stupid s#t" foreign policy mantra...I like that. If anything it hasn't been adhered to enough.

    Hillary is distancing herself from that, and I guess that's smart politically if not policy wise...might get social liberal hawks like PPJ back on Brand D. And where the doves gonna go? Jill Stein? I wish but....


    The problem (none / 0) (#13)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 05:24:23 PM EST
    with Obama has been he can't seem to actually explain what his foreign policy stances are. Of course, the same goes for economic policy too.  He lets circumstances lead him it would seem.

    I am not happy with (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by MKS on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 10:45:50 PM EST
    this Back to the Future hawkishness of Hillary.

    I assumed she would distance herself from Obama on domestic policy and being more can-do and practical, etc.

    But on foreign policy I thought they were in sync.  Now more this hawkishness.  This brings to mind her vote for the Iraq war (AUMF) in the first place.  No, no, no.  McCain lite is not what is needed.

    A primary challenge from the Left may not be such a bad idea.


    On the whole, I am quite happy (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Politalkix on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 11:10:57 PM EST
    with BHO's presidency. I really like his foreign policy. The only issue where he can be legitimately criticized, IMO, is the issue of income disparity in America that has reached unhealthy levels at this time.

    I was hoping that HRC would focus on the domestic side, address the income disparity issuem strengthen SS/Medicare/Medicaid and work towards making the ACA better (eg: add the public option) while keeping BHO's foreign policy intact. If she decides to run as a neocon on foreign policy, she will be losing me.


    It was an eye opener to me (none / 0) (#28)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 12:36:05 AM EST
    how Hillary just viscerally is a hawk and wants more aggression.....

    She may not have learned, as I had hoped, from her vote on AUMF.


    Is this a prep for you to say (none / 0) (#82)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:37:13 PM EST
    who your candidate is?  My read of your comments overall to date suggests someone not so impulsive (and almost chomping at the bit?)  Certainly, it is obvious that there is not that much actual daylight between the President and the Secretary.  Did I miss something?  Since I have valued your comments heretofore, I am flummoxed about the almost-looking-for-a-justification-to-jump-ship aspect of this set of your comments.  

    Maybe a deep breath is in order for me ... and, maybe, for you too.


    Christinep (5.00 / 0) (#85)
    by Politalkix on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 10:22:03 PM EST
    "Certainly, it is obvious that there is not that much actual daylight between the President and the Secretary."

    If there is no daylight between the President and HRC on foreign policy, she should repeatedly say that and stoutly defend BHO's foreign policy. It should not be difficult to do that; after all, she was his SoS. BHO's foreign policy is one of the most progressive foreign policies practiced by any American President. I do not want a repeal of any part of it (none, whatsoever), I do not want any triangulation in that regard.

    There is plenty in the domestic arena that HRC can pivot to. I am providing a list
    (1) Focus on reducing income disparity
    (2) Bring back manufacturing jobs to America. The process has started during BHO's presidency, now is the time to hasten it.
    (3) Strengthen ACA by introducing a public option
    (4) Strengthen SS/Medicare/Medicaid
    (5) Strengthen labor organizations
    (6) Reduce our consumption of Middle east oil, promote solar, wind and other alternative sources of energy, electric cars.
    (7) Campaign on infrastructure spending and job creation.


    I can't speak for MKS (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by vicndabx on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 10:51:52 AM EST
    Nonetheless, the concerns raised are valid. I read the piece and was surprised by how strongly she supports Israel and her "d@mn right" re: West Bank security. Hardly an acknowledgement of the losses sustained by the Palestinians...., the comments about Islamists.

    We can't promote democracy and then complain about the outcome. Egypt should have taught us that (and others before) What is meant by her more robust FP? More tacit support for insurgents who will tow the US line? How much should we meddle in other nations affairs? I'm sure these are questions that will be asked. I can wait for her detailed answers, but these glimpses in light of 2008 were unexpected.

    I hear talk that this is merely a style difference. Strong support of your allies in public, but behind closed doors, a different story. I would prefer that to bellicosity. I understand also as a woman she must not appear weak lest she lose support she will undoubtedly need. However, if you talk about this style difference now, won't that edge be lost if/when it is needed? Further, is this were the country is at or will be in 2016?


    Unexpected? (none / 0) (#110)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 06:55:15 PM EST
    I can wait for her detailed answers, but these glimpses in light of 2008 were unexpected.

    It must have been that you drank the kool aid in 2008. There is no difference, she has always flexed her muscles when it came to the mid east.

    I voted for her, but with my eyes wide open.


    No kool-aid here (none / 0) (#114)
    by vicndabx on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:32:00 AM EST
    I had hoped she would reach different conclusions 6 years later.  I voted for her too.

    OH (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:51:20 AM EST
    You expected her to change?

    Well apart from her own convictions, she appears to reflect the voters. Hopefully that will change, the voters lust for military muscle and the police state, that is.


    No Surprise from Waldman Either (none / 0) (#111)
    by squeaky on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:31:56 PM EST
    "Hillary Clinton has always been a liberal on social and economic issues, but much more of a moderate (or even a conservative) when it comes to foreign policy," writes Paul Waldman on The Washington Post's left-leaning "Plum Line" blog.

    Hillary Clinton makes peace with President Obama. Genuine? (+video)


    Proably not going to happen (none / 0) (#113)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 08:41:49 AM EST
    A primary challenge from the Left may not be such a bad idea.

    She enjoys strong support from a broad swath of Democrats.

    And since only a small portion of Democrats are on the far left (and even a great majority of those support her), there's not really room for a credible candidate to come in.


    She Is Not Experienced Enough (none / 0) (#116)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:03:53 AM EST
    Substitute Obama for Hillary and Black for Woman and we see a repeat of history. Apparently "not enough experience" is a dog whistle, or euphemism.

    The No. 1 concern Americans have about an administration run by former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is that she is not qualified. This despite the fact that her resume would make her easily the best-qualified Oval Office holder on paper since George H.W. Bush. And before Bush, it's a long way back to anyone else on par: Nixon, perhaps? Eisenhower, though he had little domestic experience? FDR?

    Less surprising but more disheartening is that 4 percent of Americans are opposed on principle to the very idea of a female president, a dark corollary to the 18 percent who'd like to make history. It's hard to interpret the additional one percent who say the country isn't ready, whether they are or not. And who are the 1 percent who would disqualify a candidate simply because the media and her opponents would attack her harshly? (Well, besides Clinton's friends, apparently.)

    The Atlantic


    Actually, (none / 0) (#117)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:20:34 AM EST
    Only 6% say she is not experienced enough OR she wouldn't succeed. Barely a blip.

    Chances are, those people wouldn't vote for her if she gave every American $1 million anyways.


    Quite High Percentage Relatively Speaking (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:28:36 AM EST
    6% represents a high percentage considering the percentages of the poll.

    In any case my point is that lack of experience is a sexist or racist, or other bigoted reflex, imo.


    The "woman issue" (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by christinep on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 11:46:10 AM EST
    IMO, the Repubs have only just started their attacks on Hillary as woman.  A friend of mine recently remarked that she believed there still resides intense opposition to HRC because she is female.  While my response was couched in the "oh, we are beyond all that now etc." tone, the more I perk up my ears and listen, the more that the friend's observation about concealed sexism may be more accurate than we would like to see.

    What concerns me isn't simply the expected Repub(w/Fox' aid) attack based on dress, hair, weight, wife of Bill, "is she strong enough-is she too weak," "is she too womanly or not womanly enough," and more.  That form of attack is something she is accustomed to ... and the "experience" in that area could add to her credibility as she may well handle it with aplomb, openness, and confidence.  It is the more subtle type of fracturing attack that should be expected also--and, foremost in that vein, we should expect the famous "catfight"/"women wrestling" routine in a political variation.  The latter-day "woman against woman" approach always has been a favorite of those who fear or dislike the effect of the strong woman.  All I can say is: Watch for a twist on the classic divide & conquer campaign trick from the Repubs as the campaign picks up steam.  


    I disagree (none / 0) (#119)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:55:19 AM EST
    Lack of experience is a perfectly valid reason to reject a candidate. Employers for every level of job in the private (and public) sector reject candidates for lack of experience. It's not sexist or racist, except to those who want to see invisible boogey-men. But why our highest office should be above that is beyond me.

    Where I disagree is that, IMO, HRC has probably the most extensive experience we've ever had in a presidential candidate - a fact that has been bolstered by her time at State.  Other recent candidates have not had nearly as much.


    For someone with such vast experience (none / 0) (#120)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 11:28:17 AM EST
    Which I agree she has, she sure has done and said a lot of dumb things recently.  

    Yep (none / 0) (#122)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 11:47:01 AM EST
    Although, despite the media hand wringing, I don't think her foreign policy comments were all necessarily wrong or stupid - if someone takes the time to look at the whole comment and not just the headlines.

    For example: "Don't do stupid sh!T" isn't a foreign policy - she's right about that.


    And, Mrs. Clinton (none / 0) (#10)
    by KeysDan on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 05:15:36 PM EST
    has no regrets on Libya. An Obama  policy she was behind and is a success--they have a democracy, but can't control all those different tribal democracies.  On this one, I disagree.

    Crediting policy (none / 0) (#15)
    by christinep on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 05:28:12 PM EST
    I'm guessing that Clinton allows a significant measure of credit to underscore the worth of the then-dominant containment policy.  (She seem to allude to that in referencing certain crisis situations in the mid-east these days.)  In any event, far better than the Balance of Terror and First Strike Capacity flirtation way back when--those Haig and Kissinger forerunners to the pragmatic containment approach.

    Without more, tho: I think that there is a lot to be said for clear, concise, direct "organizing principles."  Most successful operations use something similar ... because it is helpful to know where one is going (or thinks one is going.) Right now, I think that we are still going through a necessary foreign policy transition from the all-too-ready-to-intervene approach in the first decade of this century; and, in that context, President Obama is acting intelligently by working his way through the foreign policy mine-field ... until we are ready to synthesize the learning of the past mis-adventures with the desired direction in this new age.  That next step of defining "organizing principles"--as Hillary Clinton has stressed--has a logical progression to it.  <Scusi.  'Just thought that I would pontificate a bit.>


    re American Foreign Policy... (none / 0) (#17)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 07:15:52 PM EST
    If you can explain it, you don't understand it.

    I did not say that I could explain it (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by christinep on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 07:51:18 PM EST
    What I said referred to the transition from Bush to Obama and into the next Administration.  That is, I believe that the progression logically leads to a synthesis of what we have learned in the first decade during a period(s) of ill-begotten military actions with the transition to what will be the new American doctrine.  I tend to think that the "organizing principles" of which Hillary Clinton spoke will be the basis of that progression.

    Why does American foreign (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by MKS on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:11:16 AM EST
    policy need to be bumber-sticker simplistic?

    Why does there need to be an overarching theme that is easy to understand.  Some grand scheme?  

    I am very happy with a cautious use of force approach, ad hoc though it may be, to the grand pronouncements that can get us in so much trouble.


    My friend, Susan (5.00 / 0) (#60)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 02:12:58 PM EST
    uses the same words (almost) that you do in your comment here, MKS.  I agree that it shouldn't be sloganeering; and yet, I believe that--in such a large, expansive, pluralistic society as the one in which we live--it is very important to communicate as clearly as possible the direction of the country in certain central matters.  A most central matter, often times, is foreign policy.  That focus is especially enhanced during times of challenging international events ... a context that confronts us today.

    Given the dire mess that preceded President Obama's administration and considering the resultant explosive situations confronting the US after the disastrous Iraq invasion, the step-by-step redefinition away from the aggressive mentality of W has been the best and most intelligent approach possible.  IMO.  I believe that President Obama has done a superb job in a thoughtful, mostly methodical way to set a case-by-case direction in protecting the US while also moving away from the siren call of premature warlike responses.

    I also believe that--for the very reason that we have set on a new course compared to what preceded--we need a clear, concise definition or short prospective statement of what America's role will be in this century.  It could not have been expected in this transitional time; but, in looking forward, I think that (and here goes) something in the nature of organizing or operational principles makes a lot of sense.  BTW, that the citizenry might want to understand what our role should be has everything to do with the art of communication and accurate expectations.


    This opinion piece sums up my views (1.00 / 0) (#51)
    by Green26 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 11:35:31 AM EST
    on Obama's foreign policy failures in the Middle East.

    "So ends a foreign policy experiment that began with two choices in 2011. In that hinge year, President Obama decided to stay out of the Syrian conflict and to passively accept the withdrawal of all U.S. ground forces from Iraq (which he later claimed as a personal achievement during his reelection campaign). "

    "Those failures are now massive, undeniable and unfolding: Atrocities in Syria (including the death of more than 10,000 children); an endless Syrian civil war in which the threat of the Islamic State gathered strength; the victory of the Islamic State against a hollowed-out Iraqi military; the massacre of religious minorities; the establishment of a terrorist safe haven the size of New England, controlled by well-armed, expansionist, messianic militants; the attraction of more than 10,000 global jihadists to the conflict, including thousands with Western passports; and now the forced return of U.S. attention to the region under dramatically less-favorable circumstances. "

    Wow - Michael Gerson (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by Yman on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 06:23:35 PM EST
    You agree with the opinion of a conservative Heritage Foundation/Bush policy advisor who came up with the "smoking gun/mushroom cloud" metaphor to try to sell the Iraq War?

    No way.


    Yup, Hillary (the likely democratic nominee), (none / 0) (#77)
    by Green26 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:18:10 PM EST
    Gerson and me. Below long quote from the Gerson opinion Mugged by Reality of the Middle East. What's to disagree with? And what has Obama been doing the last 5.5 years? Hillary says Obama's "policy" was: Don't do stupid sh_t." I would like more out of our US president.

    "Those failures are now massive, undeniable and unfolding: Atrocities in Syria (including the death of more than 10,000 children); an endless Syrian civil war in which the threat of the Islamic State gathered strength; the victory of the Islamic State against a hollowed-out Iraqi military; the massacre of religious minorities; the establishment of a terrorist safe haven the size of New England, controlled by well-armed, expansionist, messianic militants; the attraction of more than 10,000 global jihadists to the conflict, including thousands with Western passports; and now the forced return of U.S. attention to the region under dramatically less-favorable circumstances."

    Let's have some substantive discussion of the points. I would like to know why some of you believe the US shouldn't have done anything about these items in the past 5.5 years. I'm serious. I like to learn from discussion among knowledgeable people.


    Heh (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by Yman on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:22:21 PM EST
    Hillary isn't saying what you or Gerson are saying.  You may like the fact that she disagrees with Obama on arming the Syrian rebels or is mildly criticizing him, but citing Gerson - a conservative "mushroom cloud"/Iraq War salesman - is laughable.

    But it's interesting that your starting point for "these items" is suddenly 5.5 years ago ...


    Your link (none / 0) (#53)
    by KeysDan on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 12:18:23 PM EST
    comes up with nothing (at least Safari can't locate it).

    Okay, I'll try again (none / 0) (#55)
    by Green26 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 01:25:47 PM EST
    It's Michel Gerson of the Washington Post: "Mugged by reality in the Middle East".  I see that he's a neocon. Maybe Talkleft doesn't accept links to neocons.



    Doubt if there is a problem (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by KeysDan on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 03:41:35 PM EST
    in Talk Left accepting any link of relevance.  However, in my view, most neocons have the credibility credentials of Bernie Madoff.  Prior to Michael Gerson landing his job at the WaPo, he was George W. Bush's chief speech writer and senior policy advisor (200l to 2006).

    He was also a member of the Bush/Cheney Iraq group.   The infamous line used to help dupe the Americans and sell the Iraq war, " smoking gun/mushroom cloud," was his handiwork.    Prior to Gerson providing his brand of sagacious advise to Bush, he was a senior policy staffer at the right wing Heritage Foundation.  A graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, Gerson is considered a leader of the Evangelical Intelligensia.  


    Well, at least Gerson got everything right (1.00 / 0) (#65)
    by Green26 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 03:54:27 PM EST
    in his recent opinion piece. Ha. I must have read something by Kagan recently, as I pretty much liked it and was surprised that it was written by someone at the Brookings Institution. Thanks.

    By the way, without using the Bush caused it argument, what don't you agree with in the Gerson piece? Alot of people seem to agreeing with much of what he said, and many of those people aren't neocons.

    Just read another WA Post opinion piece, entitled something like "Obama vacations while the world burns". One line was that after stinging criticism from Hillary and all the stuff going on in the world, Obama responded with not one, but two, rounds of golf. Made me chuckle.


    Well, I think (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by KeysDan on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 04:45:48 PM EST
    you have answered the question you raised (what don't you agree with in the Gerson piece?--assuming you are referring to the "Mugged by Reality" column--"..at least Gerson got everything right in his recent opinion piece. ha."  Yes, the "ha" describes it and is the operational word.

    It understand why you (and Gerson) would not want to use the 'Bush caused it argument,' but intelligent discussion does not permit it.  The invasion, occupation and installation of Maliki are not ancient history. Something that started  way back in 2003 and can be ignored.

    The credibility of Gerson on an evaluation of Bush's successor is a major question. A man of some shame would be more circumspect. As it reads, it is a collection of disingenuous opinions organized as a polemic.  It has no foreign policy gravitas.    Unless you feel that his opinion that Obama foreign policies are a failure, followed by his "options are few." is heavy lifting.  

     He is very concerned about all those children being killed and all those Christians lost---but, apparently, just collateral damage for his former Boss's favorite war--about half of the Christian population prior to the 2003 invasion were killed or fled the country.  And, of course, there were many Iraqi kids killed.  

     In an earlier comment on this thread you indicated that you fault Obama for many foreign policy mistakes, but not arming so called moderates in Syria is not one of them.  I think Gerson and you may be at odds on that one, as am I.  Gerson's article, you say, sums up your position. So that's it, you and Gerson--of one mind.



    Just as I thought (none / 0) (#68)
    by Green26 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 05:10:08 PM EST
    you are unable or unwilling to answer the question, or won't answer with anything other than Bush caused. Where's the discourse? Where's the debate? Pretend that I wrote the Gerson piece, except for the Syria moderate portion (so no Gerson baggage), and then tell us what you don't agree with. I've been saying much of what's in the Gerson piece all along. By the way, I fault Obama on Syria for other reasons, and perhaps I should on the moderate rebel thing too. I think some of the left is stuck and speechless now, less able to criticize republicans and independents like myself, now Obama has taken these recent actions and people like HIllary have criticized some of Obama's prior inaction. Only muffled protests by some now.

    You're an independent? (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by Jack203 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 10:01:12 PM EST
    Is Dick Cheney an independent too?

    I wasted my time and read Gerson's drivel. Nothing new or even remotely interesting.  It's 100% blame game. Is it any wonder he is trying to deflect the blame for the Sunni/Shiite civil war from Bush to Obama?  You don't get very much more neocon than original PNAC founder Gerson.

    How often do these a$$holes have to be wrong before you stop believing them?  They have all come crawling out from under their rocks when Sunni ISIS took over the Sunni Iraqi lands from a corrupt Shiite government that was trying to suppress them.  But Ahh Democracy!  We could stay in Iraq for another 10 years, trillion dollars and 4k American soldier lives lost. And as soon as we leave the same thing will happen.  The Sunnis and Shiites have been fighting for a thousand years.  Another ten years is a drop in a bucket for them.


    And, (none / 0) (#73)
    by KeysDan on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 06:50:38 PM EST
    you are unable or unwilling to get it.  Just stick with Gerson, and his ilk.

    Why are you unwilling or afraid (1.00 / 2) (#75)
    by Green26 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:02:40 PM EST
    to discuss the issues. We can take them one by one, if you want.

    keysdan, please don't rate (none / 0) (#93)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 12:58:03 AM EST
    people a "1" because you disagree with their point of view. A "1" is reserved for spam and trolls. I cannot delete individual comment ratings, only all the ratings made by a particular commenter. I'd hate to undo all your ratings, but I'll have to if keep doing it. Thanks.

    Jeralyn, (5.00 / 3) (#102)
    by KeysDan on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:48:37 AM EST
    The "l" rating was not because I disagree with the commenter.  Indeed, I have been reading and responding to many of his comments in a civil and courteous manner, as I try to do on all occasions and with all commenters.    The rating was precisely in accord with your rules, as I understand them---trolling.  If you read Green26 comment that earned my "l" it sure appears that he is baiting a response for purposes of an argument. : "I am afraid to comment"  etc.  It struck me as sort of 'My father can beat your father"   And, I believe your comment is unfair and inaccurate, in that I do not regularly give :l" ratings just because I do not agree with them.  Please re-think your admonition.  Thanks.

    If you're not careful (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 09:56:36 AM EST
    Jeralyn will record this on your permanent record that will follow you wherever you go the rest of your life.

    Thanks for the warning. (5.00 / 2) (#106)
    by KeysDan on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 11:21:49 AM EST
    i am, generally, cautious.  An attribute I like a lot in President Obama's foreign policy (tying this comment to the thread).  But, I believe that Jeralyn did not follow the entire discourse between me and this particular commenter which I chose to end as being futile. It was only  his curious response that earned my rating approbation.

    Certainly, if my criterion for  a "1" rating was disagreement, that number would have flooded his component of this thread.  Indeed, I recommended a more interesting neocon to him than the hackery of Michael Gerson,  if neocon was to be  his preference. And helped him with a stinky linky he offered up.  I remain confident that my appeal to Jeralyn for reconsideration will be successful.  We will see, otherwise, it looks like I am headed to "timeout."  Thanks, again.


    Kagan and Gerson?? (none / 0) (#94)
    by MKS on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 01:30:29 AM EST
    Two Neocons....Great.  They have no credibility.

    Kagan is King Neocon.....


    Don't think link is right now either (none / 0) (#56)
    by Green26 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 01:29:07 PM EST
    Probably user error. Sorry about that.

    Since you are (5.00 / 0) (#62)
    by KeysDan on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 03:15:30 PM EST
    a fan of neocons, check-out the self-promoting Robert Kagan an  up and coming neocon.  Kagan is a legend in his own mind who cranks out so called  magisterial works from the study of his suburban D.C. home. But Kagan is no Wolfie, he is the new and improved model.  He  does get high marks from the neocon oldies, such as William Kristol--a guy who is to be admired in that he has been proved wrong on about everything and, yet, still gets attention.  

    Kagan is trying to weasel his ideas back from the well-deserved wilderness.  His strategy is to glom onto Mrs. Clinton, which may be having some success, I fear.   His wife is Victoria Nuland, a State Department diplomat infamous for her intercepted diplomatically-challenged conversation about Ukraine (i.e., f$$k the EU).  


    very good sir... (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by fishcamp on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 11:55:42 PM EST
    Second That! (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 01:29:39 PM EST
    Great post Jeralyn!

    NYT on HRC's worldview (none / 0) (#5)
    by Politalkix on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 01:59:20 PM EST
    Wives (none / 0) (#8)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 04:26:34 PM EST
    Why do so many people want to join a group where their lives will be dictated by rigid rules that existed so many centuries ago?

    Perhaps it appeals to those who like kidnapping women to become wives (aka sex slaves).  In a society that supports polygamy, that may be quite attractive to young men who have little prospect of a more normal marriage.

    OTOH, lopping off heads may appeal to some as well.  Conquering looting armies are seldom short of people who want to share in the loot.

    Lastly, those enforcing those rigid rules seem to relish the power.

    Hmm (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 05:26:19 PM EST
    your last sentence explains the GOP and their desire to go back to the 1950's--they would relish all the control caucasian men would have over everybody else in the country.

    Like (none / 0) (#34)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:05:56 AM EST
    Like the ones that mandate you buy Obamacare no doubt.  

    Or the bozos that want to lock up Link for driving on the wrong side of the state line.


    I guess (5.00 / 0) (#39)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:05:31 AM EST
    you must have forgotten that the ACA came out of a conservative policy tank. It's the Big Daddy government program type thing that the GOP just loves. The only reason they are whining about it now is because the GOP does not stand for anything these days other than a knee jerk whatever Obama does I'm against it.

    And the law and order stuff is another Big Daddy thing that Republicans used to love. You're really just proving my point.


    "For driving one the ... (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Yman on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 06:12:19 PM EST
    ... wrong side of the state line".

    AKA - Violating state gun laws.

    Funny how the law-and-order, states rights crowd flips when it comes to gun laws.


    This is Off-topic (none / 0) (#97)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 08:49:50 AM EST
    but I believe the point is that the judge who gave a domestic abuser a light sentence is going to bring the hammer down on someone whose offense didn't end up harming anyone else.

    So you're one of those Leftists (none / 0) (#35)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:12:14 AM EST
    who believe a single-payer program would've been better?

    Good to have you on-board.


    Like the V.A. (none / 0) (#123)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 11:11:00 AM EST

    Yeah that system is a peach. Vets died while being denied service so government workers could fraudulently rake in bonuses.

    Even worse, so far no one in jail, no one indicted, no one even fired.  Accountability for the single payer?  Zero.



    Shinseki (none / 0) (#124)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 11:29:26 AM EST
    resigned, or does that not count in your world.

    Not fired, not indicted, not in the slammer (none / 0) (#128)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 11:59:15 AM EST

    Not one of the fraudsters had paid a price.

    Like the private healthcare system ... (none / 0) (#125)
    by Yman on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 12:02:49 PM EST
    ... in the US where 45,000 died every year due to lack of health coverage so insurance company workers could rake in bonuses.

    That system is a peach.


    BTW - If this is your claim ... (none / 0) (#126)
    by Yman on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 12:07:35 PM EST
    Even worse, so far no one in jail, no one indicted, no one even fired

    ... you haven't been paying attention.


    I'm skeptical (none / 0) (#23)
    by Jack203 on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 09:49:59 PM EST
    of the neocon criticism that all would be great if we only armed and cashed up the "moderate" Sunni tribes in Syria. I doubt things would be any better now if Assad and the Shiites in Syria were soundly destroyed.   In fact they would probably be worse as the Sunnis could concentrate entirely on the Kurds in Iraq now.

    We're well known for being meddlers in the past, and most of the time it ends up being a mistake.  I'm not thrilled with Hillary advocating and legitimizing neocon strategy.

    So far I've agreed with the vast majority of Obama's foreign policy as he tries to entangle us from the mess left by his predecessors.  I've also whole heartedly agree with our aerial assistance with the Kurds, who I highly respect and consider a staunch ally.  Apparently Hillary thinks we should tie ourselves back up with the Sunnis and Shiites and take turns being allies/enemies with them.  I don't like it.

    Are you calling HIllary a neocon? (none / 0) (#26)
    by Green26 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 12:02:41 AM EST
    Just curious. I fault Obama for many foreign policy mistakes, but not arming moderates in Syria isn't one of them. Perhaps because I wasn't following closely enough to know, one way or another.

    Obama drew the line in the sand in Syria and then didn't back it up. I think Obama is perceived my world leaders are being too cautious, timid and weak. Both the bad guys and our allies. He's been slow and timid with Iraq too. Is making a bit of a comeback now. He show be more aggressive and show more leadership, instead of tip toeing, but I'm fine with what he's done the last week. Now that he's put one US foot in the door, it will be interesting to see what he does.

    Seems to be letting Putin get his way too. Has little or no respect from Israel. The US seems to have been pushed to the sideline in the recent Gaza stuff.


    No I don't think Hillary is a neocon (none / 0) (#76)
    by Jack203 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:05:02 PM EST
    I don't like her legitimizing neocon horseshit though.   She's obviously doing it because of presidential aspirations.  So it can be partly, but not fully forgiven.

    When things are a mess as they are in the Middle East between Sunni/Shiites, many Americans feel we can magically fix things if only do this of if only did that.  The truth is we cannot.  It's pure arrogance to think we can.



    Corporate Dems (none / 0) (#46)
    by Dadler on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:39:15 AM EST
    Phuck them all. Hillary is nothing but another one, and she lacks ENTIRELY, jut like the rest of the party, anything marginally resembling a political imagination. And it is THAT imagination which is the ONLY thing that can save this nation's future. And she ain't got it. Obama didn't. Bill didn't. I am going to respectfully suggest their has not been a truly imaginative American president EVER.

    Hillary will be more of the same, and much less of what we actually need.

    What a dead political nation we are.

    Dead, in the coffin, dirt being shoveled onto us.

    Pitiful and inexcusable.

    Hoping this link will work (none / 0) (#92)
    by Green26 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 12:46:51 AM EST
    If not, squeaky, you need to rescue me. I've been using a printout of your instructions, but not necessarily getting the job done.

    Former Iraqi prime minister provides information.

    "I am hopeful. The country is facing an existential threat by the jihadists and ISIS. President Obama has taken a courageous decision to turn the tide -- to order airstrikes and stop the progress of ISIS in the north. Otherwise, believe me, it could have been disastrous."

    "Have the airstrikes worked?

    They have brought back the confidence of the [Kurdish] pesh merga forces and the people that we are not alone in this fight. The U.S. has come to our aid, with the mighty U.S. Air Force deployed against these savage groups of people, the ISIS. Immediately after the strikes, the pesh merga took their fight to ISIS, they pushed them back south of Irbil.

    How long did it take before you got the aid?

    It didn't take long, because the case was very clear. They were definitely threatening Irbil, and people started fleeing Irbil -- running to the mountains. It would have created a massive exodus. . . . If U.S. airstrikes had been delayed for a couple of hours, it would have gone the other way."