Gen. Petraeus' Views of ISIS, Iraq and Syria

General David Petraeus was back in Iraq last week at a conference. He said:

In fact, I would argue that the foremost threat to Iraq’s long-term stability and the broader regional equilibrium is not the Islamic State; rather, it is Shiite militias, many backed by — and some guided by — Iran.

Petraeus also talked about Syria: [More...]

Syria, which is a geopolitical Chernobyl. Until it is capped, it is going to continue to spew radioactive instability and extremist ideology over the entire region.

Any strategy to stabilize the region thus needs to take into account the challenges in both Iraq and Syria. It is not sufficient to say that we’ll figure them out later.

Petraeus was asked about Iran's Qasem Soleimani, who has been in recent photos in Tikrit helping the Iraqi militias in the battle to retake the Iraqi city.

Yes, "Hajji Qasem," our old friend. I have several thoughts when I see the pictures of him, but most of those thoughts probably aren't suitable for publication in a family newspaper like yours. What I will say is that he is very capable and resourceful individual, a worthy adversary. He has played his hand well. But this is a long game, so let’s see how events transpire.

He emphasized that Iran is not our friend in this fight.

The current Iranian regime is not our ally in the Middle East. It is ultimately part of the problem, not the solution. The more the Iranians are seen to be dominating the region, the more it is going to inflame Sunni radicalism and fuel the rise of groups like the Islamic State.

What's needed in Iraq right now:

Iraqis must, for example, provide the "boots on the ground," albeit enabled by advisers and U.S. air assets, with tactical air controllers if necessary.

If the Iraqis cannot provide such forces, we should increase efforts to develop them. Iraqis must also be the ones who pursue reconciliation with Sunni leaders and the Sunni Arab community. We may help in various ways, but again, sustainable results can only be achieved by Iraqis — who clearly have the ability to do so, even if the will is sometimes not fully evident.

Petraeus's remarks liberally use the word "Daesh" which the Islamic State finds very offensive. John Kerry also calls ISIS "Daesh." I don't use the word here, so please don't use it in comments. This is not out of respect for ISIS, it is because name-calling isn't allowed here and it does nothing to advance rational discussion.

(ISIS is also getting angry at mainstream media journalists who use ISIS instead of IS. Since that's not name-calling, and I'm not a mainstream media journalist, I still use ISIS.)

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    I think as to the second paragraph you quoted (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 01:36:41 PM EST
    You left out an important part:

    The proximate cause of Iraq's unraveling was the increasing authoritarian, sectarian and corrupt conduct of the Iraqi government and its leader after the departure of the last U.S. combat forces in 2011. The actions of the Iraqi prime minister undid the major accomplishment of the Surge.

    [They] alienated the Iraqi Sunnis and once again created in the Sunni areas fertile fields for the planting of the seeds of extremism, essentially opening the door to the takeover of the Islamic State. Some may contend that all of this was inevitable. Iraq was bound to fail, they will argue, because of the inherently sectarian character of the Iraqi people. I don't agree with that assessment.

    The tragedy is that political leaders failed so badly at delivering what Iraqis clearly wanted -- and for that, a great deal of responsibility lies with Prime Minister Maliki.

    He then addresses the issue of withdrawing troops. He's not saying the withdrawal of troops was a mistake or that keeping them would have made a difference. He doesn't know, although he would have kept some troops.  But he is unequivocal in his blame of Maliki and in criticism of the U.S. for not looking harder for an alternate leader.

    But certainly, a different personality at the top might have made a big difference, depending, of course, on who that individual might have been.

    Yes, that's what he said. (none / 0) (#4)
    by Green26 on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 01:49:37 PM EST
    My view is that, in a private conversation, Petraeus would say he believes it was a huge mistake for the US not have worked harder towards a solution to leave some troops in Iraq and for the US to have turned its back on Iraq after the withdrawal--as that allowed Maliki to go after the Sunnis. And he would also likely say that doing this 2 things the preferable way would probably have led to a better situation now.

    Not leaving troops in Iraq and trying to keep a close eye on Maliki, and not pushing to get rid of Maliki sooner, are two things that I have said a numerous occasions on TL. I came to my view after reading what numerous former government and military leaders, and others, have said over the years.


    It does look like (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 09:53:19 PM EST
    Iran will stop ISIS....You doubted that would ever happen.

    The root problem was the decision to invade Iraq and change the balance of power.


    Do you expect Iran to drive (none / 0) (#23)
    by Green26 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:21:38 AM EST
    ISIS out of Syria? How about Fallujah and Ramadi?

    Maybe not (none / 0) (#99)
    by MKS on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 10:28:38 PM EST
    But I don't consider it that important....

    It is not an all or nothing issue.   But rather a matter of having one balance and stop the other.



    You realize, of course (2.00 / 1) (#5)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 02:14:35 PM EST
    that your belief assigns blame to Obama and that is unacceptable.

    But whatever his belief we know that Obama did not want to leave troops in Iraq. A belief that has cost us, and thousands of people in the ME, greatly.


    not nearly as large a cost (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by CST on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 02:16:40 PM EST
    as sending them there in the first place.

    Forgetting stop loss (5.00 / 5) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 07:02:30 AM EST
    Forgetting that we couldn't make recruitment goals, forgetting that at one point the Pentagon determined in writing that the United States Army was now broken and that that fact was becoming a national security risk.

    Forgetting forgetting forgetting.

    You had nothing to stay there with.  A soldier standing in the Iraqi desert with a turd in each pocket does not equal three soldiers.


    So your claim is that (none / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 09:13:56 AM EST
    Obama withdrew because he didn't have an army.

    Really??? Look, we know what he said.

    "No," Obama said. "What I would not have done is left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down. That certainly would not help us in the Middle East."



    It is the responsibility of the CIC (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 10:51:14 AM EST
    To maintain their troops, their troop strength and morale. IMO George W Bush was derilict in this duty.  And Obama inherited a broken Army as well as a Marine Corp in some respects, the Marine Corp became so short handed they began to swipe medics from the Air Force and deploy them with Marine infantry because the Air Force had personnel.  They had medics to send until word got out that being an Air Force medic could get you deployed to Fallujah with Marine Corp infantry.

    Having an all volunteer force has its pluses. You  can't send them to war for lies. There are dark hours of the soul when people are in combat.  The majority of them ask themselves what the hell they are doing there. Family members back home receive letters detailing these thoughts.  Documentaries about Iraq were full of soldiers in uniform, on camera, asking themselves that question.  The Pentagon issued a report Jim.  It stated the Army was broken!

    When Obama fleshed out withdrawal plans the Army began to slowly recover troop strength.

    My husband and I are talking about this this morning, how this reality has been forgotten?  It is the drawback to having the all volunteer force.  It is too isolated from mainstream Americans.

    You can't believe the life sucking depression though that was an Army post in 2007. It was awful.  People looked and acted hopeless, helpless.


    And you have a load of troops (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 11:19:20 AM EST
    In Kuwait for emergency purposes.  They are safe there on a daily basis, no family or spouses or children intolerably upset about 12 month deployments there, and those troops will be placed in harms way only when it is absolutely necessary...as it always should be.  You speak as if soldier lives and sanity and the sanity of their children are nothing but toilet paper for you to wipe your dribbling butt with.

    Jim, I guess they're saying the army was (2.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Green26 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:00:38 PM EST
    so "broken" that the US didn't have 10,000 troops to be left in Iraq. What a crock. I know some general or someone make the mistake of saying the army was broken, and it was clearly strained, but it was never broken.

    OMG it was a study (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 07:16:12 PM EST
    You are out of your mind

    Your "study" was written by a former (none / 0) (#105)
    by Green26 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 12:32:21 AM EST
    military officer. It was widely denounced by senior Pentagon officials, the Secretary of Defense and the President.

    You are wrong, it was a Pentagon study (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 08:03:42 AM EST
    Also, the Pentagon has just announced that we are no longer at a military readiness that would allow the "Cheney" doctrine of being able to fight two wars simultaneously on two separate fronts.  We never had the money to maintain those sorts of forces to begin with.  Second, it has been noted that with those initial numbers some leaders then just want to go to war and threaten war, and that IS their foreign policy.  And once they get the nation into a war we can't maintain troop strength because nobody wants to go die for the bank accounts of old rich white guys.

    We are still committed in Afghanistan we must maintain readiness for the challenges of THAT conflict. Your whining is just bizarre old man whining.  Particularly since you are still at 22 veteran suicides a day and continue to fail to elect leaders that will repair the VA system or even care.


    The Pentagon study was written by (none / 0) (#164)
    by Green26 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 10:31:39 PM EST
    a former officer, and it was widely criticized. Jeez, look it up.

    "Widely criticized" - heh (none / 0) (#181)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 09:01:01 PM EST
    By the people who sold the Iraq War and degraded the military.



    Here 2008, Generals talking about (5.00 / 5) (#122)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 09:52:33 AM EST
    How Iraq was unsustainable.  I am very disturbed too that you and Jim would ditch 10,000 troops in Iraq as if the country was at peace and we weren't constantly attacked.  Obama has been very consistent about placing troops at risk, he makes sure they can fight their way back out.  I've seen him do it over and over again.  He sent trainers to Iraq, and also sent enough troops in with them to fight their way out if they have to, and those troops would be immune from combat restrictions in a new AUMF specifically for that reason.

    Reading you and Jim, it would seem you are both stuck in the wild west or something.  


    Uh, I made no (2.00 / 2) (#134)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:20:15 PM EST
    statement re numbers. That would have been up to the military.

    Now, see how easy it is to blow your house of cards away??


    You'll need to blow harder (5.00 / 2) (#146)
    by Yman on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 02:43:40 PM EST
    Considering you DID make a "statement re: the numbers" - 10,000, in fact - just as MT stated:

    The "option" was simple.  All Obama had to do was insist that we needed to leave 10,000 troops there for a while longer to insure stability. The Iraqi "government" would have protested but the troops would have remained.

    Memory - one of the first things to go, huh, Jim?

    Heh, heh, heh ...


    Keeping 10,000 troops in Iraq after 2011 (2.00 / 2) (#165)
    by Green26 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 10:37:15 PM EST
    would not have been ditching them. Don't be silly. It was supported the Secretarys of Defense Gates and Panetta and most senior members of the military. In my view, Iraq and the Middle East would be in much better shape now if Obama hadn't turned his back on Iraq at that time. Huge mistake on his part, and he went against most of his advisors with strong knowledge of the situation.

    I think we know that is your opinion (5.00 / 2) (#170)
    by MKS on Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 01:15:54 AM EST
    You say it every other post, as if someone here might really believe it.

    Your track records is a little less than stellar.  I told you months ago that Iran would never let ISIS take Baghdad, and you pooh-poohed the idea.

    You lack a big picture understanding of the basics, and thus miss the forest for the trees....


    Jim, at least you have some (none / 0) (#178)
    by fishcamp on Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 08:36:15 PM EST
    comrades to ride with you in the clown car...

    Indeed indeed (2.00 / 4) (#58)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:35:20 PM EST
    You may not know that MT has a husband in the airborne and she has been against the war since day 1. Understandable and it explains her bias.

    Yman is just being Yman. He loves to use the lie word. After awhile you learn to mostly ignore him.

    Mordiggian has become a close follower of me since I explained that, in my view, the problems that Mexico and other Central and South American are largely due to their culture.

    They all want to forget that as far back as '98 democrats were yelling how evil Saddam was. But maybe not the people here. They are farther Left than these:

    "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's [WMD] program." - Bill Clinton, 1998

    "Iraq is a long way from [America], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risk that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face." - Secretary of State Madeline Albright, 1998

    "[Saddam] will use those [WMD] again, as he has ten times since 1983." - Sandy Berger, Clinton's National Security Adviser, 1998


    As to the army being broken they forget that morale is a huge factor in any army and their constant demands that we get out of Iraq had to play a large part in the problem.

    In fact, that led to their excuse "I support the troops but oppose the war."

    A logical fallacy if there ever was one.


    That's not a logical fallacy (5.00 / 4) (#60)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:42:35 PM EST
    It's entirely consistent to support troops and oppose a war.  Not to mention that you are the last person who should attempt to give lessons in logic.

    BTW - I forget ... were those statement by Clinton and Albright before or after the UN inspections team made their inspections and issued their report where they pointed out there was no evidence to support their claims of an active WMD program?  The report was issued (and ignored by Bush) before the war.


    No Yman, you cannot (2.00 / 2) (#62)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:49:47 PM EST
    do something that improves the morale of the enemy and claim that you support the troops that are fighting the enemy.

    Q: Was the American antiwar movement important to Hanoi's victory?

    A:  It was essential to our strategy.  Support of the war from our rear was completely secure  while the American rear was vulnerable.  Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m.  to follow the growth of the American antiwar movement.  Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda, and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence  that we should hold on  in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and that she would struggle along with us.

    An example of how opposing a war hurts the troops.


    Yes - you CAN ... (5.00 / 3) (#69)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 01:29:45 PM EST
    ... oppose a war while supporting the troops.  Particularly a war cheered by armchair warriors and chickenhawks and based on lies.

    But your example of misusing logic (again) was very amusing.


    Well of course you can (1.50 / 2) (#76)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 03:26:09 PM EST
    You can claim anything.

    But that doesn't make it true.


    Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by Yman on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 11:11:48 AM EST
    As evidenced by any of your posts.

    Hey I opposed the VN war (5.00 / 6) (#73)
    by Repack Rider on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 02:32:23 PM EST

    I just wasn't allowed to say so.  Are you suggesting I wanted people I served with to die?

    The reason I opposed the war was because I supported the troops.


    The issue is (2.00 / 1) (#77)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 03:28:28 PM EST
    saying and actions. You say you didn't say anything.

    Your private thoughts are your own.

    But you can't publicly do something that gives aid and comfort to the enemy and claim to support the troops.


    Selling a war on lies ... (4.75 / 4) (#85)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 05:11:00 PM EST
    ... and wasting thousands of lives and trillions of dollars is "giving aid and comfort" to the enemy.

    Speaking out against a war is not.


    The link doesn't mention (none / 0) (#74)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 02:46:29 PM EST
    any effect on North Vietnam, and its allies, of Nixon's trip to China during the Vietnam War.

    And your point is???? (none / 0) (#80)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 03:39:18 PM EST
    North Vietnam's allies were (none / 0) (#89)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 07:46:38 PM EST
    the U.S.S.R. and China.  Maybe Nixon was a traitor going to China during the Vietnam War. Thanik Jane Fonda and Ramsey Clark.

    The sad part is (2.00 / 2) (#93)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 08:21:48 PM EST
    I think you actually believe that.

    Which? (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 10:18:14 PM EST
    Oh, I forgot about your (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by MKS on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 10:44:22 PM EST
    anti-Latino bigotry.

    You write:  

    Mordiggian has become a close follower of me since I explained that, in my view, the problems that Mexico and other Central and South American are largely due to their culture.

    I remember that.....

    And, I remember that you said you had visited Latin America when you went to the Virgin Islands or some such.   You revealed that you know nothing about Latin America....

    Bill Clinton did not make the strategic blunder of invading Iraq and empowering Iran.  Perhaps the greatest strategic blunder in U.S. military history.   It is hard to think of a greater blunder.  


    He was talking about being somewhere (5.00 / 2) (#102)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 11:02:17 PM EST
    that hadn't had any Spanish culture since even a century before the Spanish-American War as an example of where he'd been to see Hispanic culture at work.



    Ah yes, the culture that is so (2.00 / 3) (#133)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:18:33 PM EST
    strong and good that millions of people have fled and are fleeing it.

    Now that's a fact that your phony claims cannot dispute.


    Except for the ancestors of the (none / 0) (#142)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:51:15 PM EST
    Native Americans and African-Americans, the rest of our forebearers were fleeing something or we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place.

    The question is (none / 0) (#156)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 09:28:38 PM EST
    what did the various groups do after they were here??

    Work dirty jobs for low pay (none / 0) (#167)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 11:11:26 PM EST
    Deal with the prejudice of the English-speaking American who thought they came from an inferior culture........

    sound familiar?


    More Bigotry (none / 0) (#148)
    by MKS on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 03:35:58 PM EST
    You prove the opposition to immigration reform is rotted in bigotry.

    Pointing out that it is the failure of (none / 0) (#157)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 09:31:54 PM EST
    the countries, based on the cultures of them, that is sending millions fleeing into the US is bigotry??

    What's next, I don't like Obama and his policies so I'm a racist??

    Wait, that's already been claimed. Get in line.


    My son, a former Army Ranger who fought (none / 0) (#166)
    by Green26 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 10:43:43 PM EST
    in Iraq twice and his friends, believe that while the military was stretched at times in Iraq, that was mainly because higher-ups, especially Obama, were often trying to reduce the number of troops instead of providing the proper number of troops and strong support. My son would likely have been a career military guy had Obama not been elected president. Obama doesn't support the military like other presidents have and would.

    Wow - your son's opinion ... (none / 0) (#182)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 09:03:11 PM EST
    ... and yours along with $2 will get you each a cup of coffee at McDonalds.

    10K troops there against the (none / 0) (#37)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 09:18:12 AM EST
    will of the Iraqi people.  

    What could possibly go wrong?


    The Iraq people (none / 0) (#39)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 09:40:37 AM EST
    were happy that peace had broken out.

    Concentrate on what someone who has a proven successful history there said:

    "The proximate cause of Iraq's unraveling was the increasing authoritarian, sectarian and corrupt conduct of the Iraqi government and its leader after the departure of the last U.S. combat forces in 2011. The actions of the Iraqi prime minister undid the major accomplishment of the Surge."

    And we were legally required to leave ... (5.00 / 6) (#45)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 10:15:05 AM EST
    ... under the terms of Bush's SOFA.  Don't like it?  Take it up with him.

    Yman, perhaps you should (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by Zorba on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 10:23:49 AM EST
    explain to Jim what a "Status of Forces Agreement" is, and what the terms were between Iraq and the U.S.
    He may be thinking of a chintz-covered couch in Bush's living room.   ;-)

    Forget it, Yman. (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 10:33:02 AM EST
    It's Jimtown.

    This is not just not true. (2.00 / 3) (#54)
    by Green26 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:08:22 PM EST
    Obama and the US didn't negotiate very hard to get one. Obama wanted to get out of Iraq. He ignored many of the top US and military advisors. Virtually no one who was actually close to the action in terms of getting a new SOFA has said that the US had to withdraw because they couldn't get an agreement. In fact, a number of people have said the US could have gotten the agreement if they kept negotiating. My recollection is that Obama went about 6 months without even calling Maliki.

    Does the US even have a SOFA now with Iraq? I recall reading that the US didn't have a written agreement at the outset of the bombing in Iraq which started late last summer.


    Sorry - I deal in FACTS (5.00 / 5) (#56)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:21:03 PM EST
    Under the terms of Bush's SOFA, we were required to leave Iraq:

    Article 24

    All U.S. forces are to withdraw from all Iraqi territory, water and airspace no later than the 31st of December of 2011.

    I couldn't care less about your specious opinion of whether  Obama tried hard enough to negotiate a new SOFA.  It's irrelevant - under the terms of Bush's SOFA, we had to leave.

    But I understand how facts can be a little confusing for those familiar with only opinions and theories.


    Agreements are negotiated, changed or (none / 0) (#63)
    by Green26 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:51:10 PM EST
    broken all the time. Virtually everyone who was close to the action believed that aspect of the agreement could be changed. In fact, when the US/Bush entered into it, Sec Gates, I believe, almost immediately said that he expected US troops to remain after that date and that he would push for that.

    Gates, Panetta, Patraeus, others favored (none / 0) (#66)
    by Green26 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 01:04:20 PM EST
    keeping troops in Iraq after 2011.

    "Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta writes about how he and other Pentagon officials tried to persuade the White House that it need to keep a U.S. residual force in Iraq after combat operations ended in 2011.

    "My fear, as I voiced to the President and others, was that if the country split apart or slid back into the violence that we'd seen in the years immediately following the U.S. invasion, it could become a new haven for terrorists to plot attacks against the U.S.," link.

    Panetta's quotes/view are fairly typical of many of the big players at the time. Obviously, they believed the US could and should keep troops in Iraq, notwithstanding the earlier withdrawal deadline and the SOFA.


    And "obviously" (5.00 / 4) (#68)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 01:27:07 PM EST
    ... the opinion of Panetta would be dependent on the Iraqi parliament agreeing to a new SOFA, something that was deeply unpopular among the Iraqi people and the parliament didn't want.  You can't force them to grant immunity to US soldiers and sign a new SOFA, and without it, we were obligated to leave Iraq, no matter what you were wishing would happen.



    And Antony said (2.00 / 1) (#79)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 03:38:17 PM EST
    I am the law and I have 10 Legions to make it legal.

    Obama left because he didn't want to stay.

    It is just that simple.


    Glad to see you being honest (5.00 / 3) (#83)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 04:00:02 PM EST
    You favored a U.S.Military dictatorship of Iraq over allowing Iraq to form its own government adhering to the wishes of its Parliament.  

    We invaded Iraq (2.00 / 3) (#91)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 08:19:03 PM EST
    because we thought it threatened the world with WMD's and needed to be changed.

    So yes, I favored a military dictatorship, such as we had in Japan and Germany, over running away and failing to complete the job.

    How many innocent people have died because of Obama's decision?? And how many more will die to stop the killing??

    None of you know or care. All you seem to want is to defend the actions of Obama.

    Partisanship on steroids defines you.


    Obama's decision? (5.00 / 3) (#95)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 09:23:52 PM EST
    Jesus H. Christ, jim, how many innocent people died because a bunch of war-hungry men - and a woman or two - decided we were going to war with Iraq come hell or high water, and if we had to manufacture evidence to do it, well, then that's what we'd do.

    It didn't start with Obama, jim - you keep forgetting that.  And if you thought there were WMD in Iraq, it was due to the massive and unrelenting propaganda campaign conducted with the full cooperation of the media and staged to a fare-thee-well.  

    And please don't pretend you give a rat's a$$ about the loss of innocent life.  Aren't you the guy willing to sacrifice the innocent in order to eradicate the evil?  

    It wasn't Obama who started all of this.  Bush willingly sent thousands of American troops into battle to be killed and grievously injured.  It was Bush who was responsible for stretching the bodies and minds of American troops to the breaking point. Sent into combat over and over and over again.  Families fell apart.  Marriages ended.  Too many still have not healed, and some never will.  We have vets living on the streets, vets who can't get the care they need, more or less abandoned by a government that abused the trust that's supposed to exist between those who go to war and those who send them there.

    That was Bush, not Obama.  Deal with that, take responsibility for that.

    Jesus God, the money that was spent making contractors and defense lobbyists wealthy beyond all reason while members of Congress made arguments about cutting social safety net programs.  

    They say that karma is a b!tch.  If that's true, maybe one of these days karma will see to it that you finally choke trying to gak up one more fact-challenged, intellectually empty, soul-shriveling hairball of anti-Obama rants, and we can finally stop having to clean them up.


    We invaded Iraq (5.00 / 3) (#103)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 11:49:18 PM EST
    Based on a lie.

    It was very clear before the invasion that there was no WMD in Iraq and they were never a world threat.  

    Thousands of Americans and hundred of thousands Iraqis died because of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

    We know and we care but we didn't buy Bush's lies before the invasion and we sure and the hell are not going to buy your delusions and distortion of the facts now.


    And (none / 0) (#127)
    by Politalkix on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 12:30:41 PM EST
    Thousands of Americans and hundred of thousands Iraqis died because of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

    and Hillary Clinton and other Democrats also.

    Democrats could have also stopped the war if they wanted to or forced Bush and Cheney to take the country to war with Republican votes only.
    "At the time she cast that vote, she was among the Senate's most outspoken Democrats warning of Saddam Hussein's dangerous arsenal. Unlike nearly all of her fellow Democrats, she even went so far as to argue that Saddam Hussein gave assistance to Al Qaeda members.

    And yet even as she has backed away from her original vote to allow the war, she has also resisted pressure from within her party to apologize for it.

    Of course, Clinton was tough. And she was experienced. But according to aides and strategists, her insecurity about her public image and her nascent national-security credentials made it difficult, if not impossible, for her to vote no.

    She could have done the reading herself. Senators were able to access the N.I.E. at two secure locations in the Capitol complex. Nonetheless, only six senators personally read the report, according to a 2005 television interview with Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia and then the vice chairman of the intelligence panel. Earlier this year, on the presidential campaign trail in New Hampshire, Clinton was confronted by a woman who had traveled from New York to ask her if she had read the intelligence report. According to Eloise Harper of ABC News, Clinton responded that she had been briefed on it.

    "Did you read it?" the woman screamed.
    The question of whether Clinton took the time to read the N.I.E. report is critically important. Indeed, one of Clinton's Democratic colleagues, Bob Graham, the Florida senator who was then the chairman of the intelligence committee, said he voted against the resolution on the war, in part, because he had read the complete N.I.E. report. Graham said he found that it did not persuade him that Iraq possessed W.M.D.

    For all the scrutiny of Clinton's vote, an important moment has been lost. It came several hours earlier, on Oct. 10, 2002, the same day Clinton spoke about why she would support the Iraq-war authorization. In her remarks on the Senate floor, she stressed the need for diplomacy with Iraq on the part of the Bush administration and insisted she wasn't voting for "any new doctrine of pre-emption, or for unilateralism." Yet just a few hours after her speech, Clinton voted against an amendment to the war resolution that would have required the diplomatic emphasis that Clinton had gone on record as supporting -- and that she now says she had favored all along.
    The long-overlooked vote was on an amendment introduced by Carl Levin and several other Senate Democrats who hoped to rein in President Bush by requiring a two-step process before Congress would actually authorize the use of force. Senators knew full well the wide latitude that they were handing to Bush, which is why some tried to put the brakes on the march to war


    Hillary's vote on the AUMF (5.00 / 3) (#131)
    by MO Blue on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:13:38 PM EST
    and what she said at the time is a very legitimate issue to be debated. I dislike that vote as much as you do. If you stuck to legitimate issues and were consistent in applying the same standards to all politicians on those issues, you would get more agreement and have a whole lot more creditability.

    Instances where you demand Hillary pledge to avoid war in the M.E. under all circumstances and putting forth someone who voted for every Bush Iraq funding bill, voted against every attempt to shorten the occupation of Iraq and has stated that the last president who showed any leadership on foreign policy was Ronald Reagan as anti war and good on foreign policy are are just a few examples of why you are viewed as obsessed rather than creditable. Also, your need to deal with insults and troll ratings rather than facts further hurts rather than helps your mission.

    Researching O'Malley and other possible candidates and presenting fact based (actual votes and actions rather than rhetoric) reasons to vote for them would IMO help you achieve your objective better than many of your current tactics.  


    Really?? (none / 0) (#155)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 09:25:50 PM EST
    Of course, Clinton was tough. And she was experienced.

    And in 1998 what was her experience and where did she get this "toughness."

    I guess it was for landing in an aircraft that was under fire.



    Hey (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 09:36:24 PM EST
    it's better than any of the clowns in the GOP who can't stand up to the crazies.

    You wouldn't know a lie if it hit you in the face. You still can't handle the fact that Bush lied to the entire country. Lies that cost thousands of soliders their lives. Why do you hate the military so much Jim?


    The American Conservative (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by MO Blue on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 02:55:48 PM EST
    The Bush administration did attempt to make Hussein seem uniquely deserving of regime change by dwelling obsessively on his past crimes in an effort to make the entirely unnecessary and unjustified invasion of Iraq seem like the right thing to do. Despite having done exactly what Chiapelas claims they didn't do, the administration's case for war was flimsy and riddled with holes.

    Even more strange is the assumption Chiapelas makes that confrontation with Iraq was "inevitable," when it was anything but that. Iraq war hawks hate the phrase "war of choice" when it is applied to Iraq because it reminds everyone that the war was easily avoidable and didn't have to happen. The Bush administration was not alone in wanting the war to happen, or at least it far from alone in supporting the decision to go to war, but had it not been for the administration's determination to invade Iraq the war wouldn't have happened. Naturally, those that continue to defend the indefensible decision to invade want to cling to the idea that the war was "inevitable" and something "forced" on the U.S. by Hussein, since this relieves the previous administration and supporters of the invasion of their responsibility for one of the greatest and most destructive blunders in the history of modern U.S. foreign policy. It's completely untrue, and a Republican Party that clings to this falsehood is one that shouldn't and won't be trusted on foreign policy and national security anytime soon. Source: The American Conservative

    I can understand why you want to continue to use any and all false information to justify the fact that you bought the administration's lies hook line and sinker. To accept that you were so obviously wrong, you would have to acknowledge that on this issue you were stupid and gullible. Evidently you have too much of your self worth invested in those lies that you continue to ignore all the available evidence and accept and promote theories that have been proven continuously wrong.


    You keep quoting this ... (5.00 / 3) (#86)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 05:13:16 PM EST
    ... in an attempt to justify an illegal occupation based on "might makes right".  The world has evolved beyond the days of the Roman Empire.

    Well, ... some of us.


    I think you are very aware of how (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 07:15:08 PM EST
    Unethical and murderous you are appearing.  I think you just want to rile others.

    Read what I wrote about (2.00 / 3) (#92)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 08:20:06 PM EST

    -minded (none / 0) (#82)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 03:51:04 PM EST
    Was Iraq a sovereign country in 2011 (5.00 / 4) (#65)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 01:00:33 PM EST
    that had the right to determine whether or not foreign troops could remain in their country and the conditions under which they could remain? Or is it your contention that Iraq remained an occupied country under the boots of the U.S. Military?

    But ending the U.S. troop presence in Iraq was an overwhelmingly popular demand among Iraqis, and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki appears to have been unwilling to take the political risk of extending it. While he wfas inclined to see a small number of American soldiers stay behind to continue mentoring Iraqi forces, the likes of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, on whose support Maliki's ruling coalition depends, were having none of it. Even the Obama Administration's plan to keep some 3,000 trainers behind failed because the Iraqis were unwilling to grant them the legal immunity from local prosecution that is common to SOF agreements in most countries where U.S. forces are based. [Time, 10/21/11]

    With the exception of England and the U.S., all other members of the coalition had withdrawn by the end of 2009. The United Kindom withdrew its forces in May, 2011. Troops remaining after 2011 would no longer have legal immunity from local prosecution.

    The Iraqi Parliament has passed a US-backed security agreement and a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which calls for the removal of all US troops from Iraq by December 31, 2011. The agreement also calls for the removal of US Forces from all Iraqi cities, towns, and villages no later than this June. [linkhttp://usmilitary.about.com/od/terrorism/a/i

    The above U.S backed security agreement was negotiated by the Bush administration and signed by President George W. Bush in December, 2008.


    Lets see (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by FlJoe on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 08:40:57 PM EST
    Bush signed the withdrawal agreement, Obama campaigned on it, large majorities of Americans and Iraqis wanted it, the Iraqi government wanted it, ranks and file military and quite few brass wanted it. That's quite a list.

    Who you got? Lets see, dead-ender neo-cons, chicken hawks, war pigs and assorted arm chair warriors, all willing to spend America's treasure and blood (not theirs) trying one more frigging time to impose our will on some other people.

    Everyone criticizing the withdrawal is doing nothing short of advocating for a long term military occupation of a foreign land (with probable hostilities). Now, more then ever, this never works, matter of fact it is a downright stupid and dangerous policy far more likely hurt us rather then help anybody in the long run



    Germany (none / 0) (#96)
    by thomas rogan on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 10:07:46 PM EST
    We imposed rule by four victors on Germany after world war II and have troops in that country to that day.  We have troops in South Korea and Bosnia.  
    The problem was that we didn't properly do nation building after the war.  Iraq should have been split in three, Biden correctly said, with stable leaders gradually assuming more power over time.  Kurdistan is already stable, as people here forget.  THAT, at least, is a good of the military action in Iraq.

    The occupation (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by FlJoe on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 07:37:00 AM EST
    of Germany was a geopolitical necessity which quickly turned into turned into a mutually acceptable defensive force. After the Korean  war wound down we likewise kept some defensive troops there. Bosnia is probably the closest to the Iraqi situation, in that we are garrisoning the country to stop them from killing each other, However it is a tiny country and it is a 100% Nato operation.

    Most importantly, in all three of these cases our troops have seen virtually zero hostile attacks. Our troops would be unwelcome by a large majority of Iraqis and  hated by assorted small but deadly factions, they would most certainly face casualties, all in the vain hope that we will eventually do "nation building" correctly and centuries of sectarian hatred will disappear. Sounds like a fools game to me, leaving troops in Iraq would have been throwing good money after bad.


    We did what we needed to do to (2.00 / 2) (#117)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 08:40:55 AM EST
    establish a democracy in Germany and Japan. And yes, we stayed.

    The result is two strong allies with democratic governments.

    We left Iraq because Obama wanted to leave Iraq. He doesn't see America as a model. His view is based on Leftist teachings. "America bad."


    Both those (5.00 / 3) (#123)
    by FlJoe on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 10:24:27 AM EST
    had thriving democracies within 5 years with no serious internal strife, we have stayed for decades by invitation. After 8 years in Iraq we had a democracy in name only and no end in sight to the sectarian divide.

    Of course Obama wanted to leave, he campaigned on it, the American people wanted it, the Iraqi government and people wanted it. America is "bad" when we start trying to "model" other nations to our specs by force of arms. This has been true for all nations for all times, with only a few notable exceptions.



    That was tin the aftermath (none / 0) (#118)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 08:59:20 AM EST
    Of Germany and Japan being aggressors during WW II, Jim.

    Complete analogy FAIL!


    It doesn't matter who started (2.00 / 2) (#132)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:14:33 PM EST
    the war. What matters is who won.

    Now, I think it good that the US won.

    You disagree.

    I think we should have stated and finished the job.

    You are glad we left while crying that we caused the current conflict that is killing thousands.

    Okie Dokie


    Where did I say the (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:43:11 PM EST
    Post-WW-II occupations were unjustified?

    You are getting as crazy as a loon in this discussion, Jim.

    Good luck with the rest of the Far Lefties and Hillarybots here.


    It is up to the country in question (none / 0) (#124)
    by Politalkix on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 10:41:25 AM EST
    to tell us whether they would like US troops to remain there or not. What you wrote indicates a colonial era mindset that allows for dictating to counties regarding occupation of their land.

    The President is not an ideologue. He did not pull out US troops from Iraq for ideological reasons. He will be keeping some US troops in Afghanistan longer than he promised because the Afghan government wants US troops to remain there for more time. link

    The Iraqi government wanted US troops out of the country.


    No, it is not up to the country (2.00 / 2) (#135)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:21:28 PM EST
    we invaded to accomplish something. We left before it was done.

    We invaded to stop (5.00 / 2) (#144)
    by Yman on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 02:26:29 PM EST
    ... an imaginary threat of WMDs.

    It was "done" before we invaded.


    Part of that was regime change (2.00 / 2) (#159)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 09:37:06 PM EST
    which we accomplished.

    But we left before the region was stable and ISIS ha rushed in to fill a bloody gap.


    "Regime change" ... (5.00 / 3) (#160)
    by Yman on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 09:43:44 PM EST
    .. because of the non-existent threat by that regime with their imaginary WMDs.

    And that bloody gap was created by that "regime change".


    Yes, regime change is a Republican (5.00 / 2) (#161)
    by MO Blue on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 09:55:03 PM EST

    The letter was spearheaded by first-term Senator Tom Cotton, who has called for "regime change" in Iran, not negotiations. Signers included all of the Senate's Republican leaders, and possible 2016 presidential contenders Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.

    The past is prologue. (5.00 / 7) (#7)
    by KeysDan on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 02:49:50 PM EST
    As much as critics would like to ignore the tale of TheTempest. The foremost threat is not ISIS, but the Shiite militias, backed by or guided by Iran,  says Petraeus. And why is that?   Actually, the foremost threat is that there is no pluralistic order as a counter to Iranian influence.  Distinct yet interrelated threats emerged. And, why is that?  The invasion of Iraq, toppling of Saddam (and execution in the midst of war),  botched occupation with the disbandment of the Iraq army and exclusion of Baathists from any, but the lowest, governmental office, resulted in a power imbalance. An inflamed coalescent of Sunni religious fanatics, disenfranchised Baathists, international misfits and mis-adventurists lured by illusions and delusions emerged as a predictable threat.  

    Petraeus will, understandably, cling to his seeming success of "The Surge."   After all, it is his raison d'etre.  However, the surge is controversial.  A myth, or at best, one and maybe not the most important factor in the declining violence noted in 2007.  During Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearings for Sec of Defense, he demurred in attributing distinct value to the surge despite harping by McCain and neocons like Michael O'Hanlon.  About a thousand more US military killed and no sustainable outcome.

    But then, the surge was not expected to have sustainable outcomes; it was intended to buy time for Iraq to become a real country. To work out distribution of oil profits between Sunni and Shia factions

    The decrease in violence pre-dated Petraeus, with the efforts of Generals Casey and Abizaid, particularly with the killing of al Zarqawi, a leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, with whom the Sunnis had a falling out.

    Perhaps the most effective parts of the "surge"  in decreasing violence was not the surge itself, but its companions: buying off Sunni militants, the US help in partitioning Sunni and Shia in separate enclaves, al-Sadr's cease-fire, and hopes by both Sunni and Shia that these actions would speed up the planned US withdrawal.

    Petraeus and other advisers do not seem to learn from experience.  The "success" of the surge in Iraq, was applied to Afghan, will equal "success."  And, now, once again, he is advising, and fortunately, for him, not from jail.

    But, we can only hope that someone, somewhere will recall the words of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who said that any future defense secretary who advises the president to again sent  a big US land army into the Middle east "should have his head examined."   Now that is good advise, but, it is more likely that there will be some very busy military psychiatrists.  

    I say KeysDan for President... (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by fishcamp on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 05:08:46 PM EST
    Given the option, (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 05:14:14 PM EST
    I would definitely vote for KeysDan.

    Heck I would even donate money and work for his election.


    Oh my goodness, (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by KeysDan on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 09:47:03 AM EST
    I feel a draft.   I'd better get my shawl.    On second thought, I defer to much better contenders among TL colleagues-- you and Blue for sure.

    No way, my friend (none / 0) (#70)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 01:42:09 PM EST
    You or fish understand tact and diplomacy. I'd fail diplomacy the first 2 minutes on the job. Love facts and figures and hate the type BS that permeates our government. I'd need those waist high waders to walk around the corridors of Congress and they are just not my style.



    Just in case keysdan declines to run, (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 05:45:48 PM EST
    I would like to mention that HRC cogently challenged Gen. Patreaus during the Senate committee hrg. when he tesified to the predicted positive outcome of the proposed surge.

    HRC? (2.00 / 2) (#97)
    by thomas rogan on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 10:09:49 PM EST
    If she opposed the surge and would have cut loose and run in 2007, then her foreign incompetence was scary indeed.

    You think that demonstrates ... (5.00 / 3) (#112)
    by Yman on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 08:17:50 AM EST
    ... "Incompetence"?


    I'm sure she's be very upset to hear that you think so ...


    It is interesting the Washington Post (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by oculus on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 03:04:03 PM EST
    interviewer makes no mention in this article of Petraeus' recent misemeanor conviction re disclosing confidential information.

    I'm struggling to understand how (5.00 / 6) (#14)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 05:57:43 PM EST
    someone who broke laws that others have gone to prison for breaking can be treated with such deference and credibility.

    I understand that he has knowledge, but he also got a lot of things colossally wrong, and yet he's being treated as if none of that ever happened.

    It bothers me.


    AND... (5.00 / 2) (#173)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 09:11:37 AM EST
    ...the belief that the general in charge in Iraq has the ability to assess the situation w/o prejudice.

    He's a general, which means there is no situation in which troops aren't the solution and he was running the show, which means any criticism would essentially be criticizing him performance.

    Let's not forget the whole debacle with Petraeus and the failed surge.  When he was basically changed the rules of accounting for violence to make it appear that the surge was a success when it was not.

    He is not credible for so many reasons, but hot damn if the media isn't acting like he is the Jesus redux.  And for months republicans have been telling how the sucks, how it's nothing but an instigator, that is has magical abilities to make people do things, but not when it agrees with them, then it's the fricken bible, every word taken literally w/o question.

    I guess any source, even a disgraced and fired general, is okey dokey when Iraq is involved.  I wonder who paid for him to go over there and make his revelation ?  


    Who did the same thing as Petraeus and (2.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Green26 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:28:44 AM EST
    didn't go to prison? Just curious. By recollection, Petraeus gave his notebooks, which contained, among other things, some classified information, to his biographer and girlfriend for several days, and no classified information was included in the book or otherwise disclosed by her. Charged as a misdemeanor.

    Also, can you explain why this act and misdemeanor means that no one should listen to what he says now regarding Iraq?


    What the black books contained (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 01:00:28 AM EST
    All eight books "collectively contained classified information regarding the identifies of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings... and discussions with the president of the United States."

    The books also contained "national defense information, including top secret/SCI and code word information," according to the court papers. In other words: These weren't just ordinary secrets. This was highly, highly classified material.


    On Oct. 26, 2012, Petraeus was interviewed by FBI agents in CIA headquarters while he was still director. Petraeus told them he had never provided any classified information to Broadwell or facilitated her provision of the information.

    "These statements were false. Defendant David Howell Petraeus then and there knew that he previously shared the black books with his biographer."


    Knowledge that he shared highly classified information with his mistress and that he lied to the FBI to cover up his action might (as oculus has stated) aid the reader in assessing the General's credibility.


    "Just curious"? (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 06:55:16 AM EST
    Actually - no one.

    Any other silly "questions"?


    I would say credibility vs. ego (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 06:56:46 AM EST
    And I still think the man is a decent leader.  I don't think he's an Einstein..  He is a person like many individuals out there who had a different concept, and who lived to see the day that his phone rang and someone in power out of desperation needed to try this concept out.

    He got lucky.  He lived to have his time in the sun.

    And then he lied.  He told those who are tasked with securing classified data that he had done as he was supposed to and turned anything of that nature over to them as he exited the CIA.

    And when an investigation revealed that there was classified material on Paula Broadwell's computer, he lied again to FBI agents about having retained and kept in his possession extremely classified....mind blowing classified material.

    I'm going to make an assumption.  Based on how the FBI came bearing a search warrant and seemed to know they were looking for some kind of diaries, I'm going to assume that Broadwell electronically scanned pages of his black books.

    Scares the hell out of me.  Code names written in David Petraeus' hand just hanging around in duffel bags....crazy, absolutely crazy


    My point wasn't that others did what (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by Anne on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 09:40:09 AM EST
    Petraeus did and got away with it, my point was that others did things that weren't nearly as serious, the government came after them with a vengeance, and they ended up in prison.

    See: Stephen Kim:

    From The Intercept:

    Petraeus avoided prison time for disclosing a trove of classified information to his lover and lying to the FBI about it. Kim, meanwhile, was sentenced to 13 months in prison for violating the Espionage Act by talking to a Fox News reporter about a single classified report on North Korea. Kim pleaded guilty after a five-year legal battle that depleted his finances and sent him to the brink of suicide. Petraeus, in the wake of his plea arrangement, is expected to continue his lucrative career working for an investment bank and giving speeches.

    John Kiriakou:
    John Kiriakou is the only CIA employee to go to prison in connection with the agency's torture program. Not because he tortured anyone, but because he revealed information on torture to a reporter.

    But if you want to have a discussion about people who committed crimes and got slaps on the wrist - or less - consider these familiar names:

    Lowell was referring to former CIA director Leon Panetta, who was not punished even though, according to a report by the Defense Department's inspector general, he leaked the name of the SEAL commando who led the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Other senior officials who have avoided jail time for offenses related to classified information include former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who was "admonished but not charged" for keeping classified information at his house; John Deutch, the former CIA director who resigned and lost his security clearance but was not charged for storing classified documents on a home computer; former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, who was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor after he surreptitiously removed classified documents from the National Archives, and former Gen. James Cartwright, who reportedly has been investigated as the source for a New York Times story on Stuxnet but has not been charged. Scooter Libby, who was Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, was convicted in 2007 of obstructing an investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name, but his sentence was later commuted by President George W. Bush.

    And I think your trivializing of the materials Petraeus shared with his mistress is telling; makes it quite clear you know exactly how serious a violation of the law it was.

    It is beyond me why anyone would promote or give a platform to someone who failed in the field and then failed to secure highly sensitive and classified information, as some kind of credible, trustworthy, authority on what we need to do now.

    Do you get it now?  Or will you just continue to give Petraeus a pass?


    One of the big differences is that (none / 0) (#106)
    by Green26 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 12:39:38 AM EST
    none of Petraeus' classified information was published in any article, put in a book, or provided to the enemy. It was part of the materials in notebooks shown to his girlfriend and biographer for several days.

    While I haven't studied the situations you sited, I think that information in those situations got publicized and/or given to the enemy.

    A significant qualitative difference.


    This was funny (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by Yman on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 08:20:13 AM EST
    Another difference is that there is zero evidence that Clinton:

    1.  broke any law, and
    2. emailed ANY classified information to anyone.


    So there are degrees of lawbreaking now? (none / 0) (#107)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 06:59:33 AM EST
    You must be one of those liberals who has excuses for everything  these days that they talk about on Fox News these days.

    Of course there are degrees of lawbreaking (none / 0) (#137)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:24:55 PM EST
    Motive is irrelevant in a criminal case (none / 0) (#139)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:41:04 PM EST
    as to the finding of guilt or innocence.

    In this one it is beyond a shadow of a doubt that he had the mens rea, the intention to commit a criminal act, and whether or not he thought the material would see the light of day beyond his girlfriend is irrelevant to that fact.

    Strict liability: the actor engaged in conduct and his mental state is irrelevant. Under Model Penal Code Section 2.05, this mens rea may only be applied where the forbidden conduct is a mere violation, i.e. a civil infraction.

    Negligently: a "reasonable person" would be aware of a "substantial and unjustifiable risk" that his conduct is of a prohibited nature, will lead to a prohibited result, and/or is under prohibited attendant circumstances, and the human-individual was not so aware but should have been.

    Recklessly: the human-individual consciously disregards a "substantial and unjustifiable risk" that his conduct is of a prohibited nature, will lead to a prohibited result, and/or is of a prohibited nature.

    Knowingly: the human-individual is practically certain that his conduct will lead to the result, or is aware to a high probability that his conduct is of a prohibited nature, or is aware to a high probability that the attendant circumstances exist.

    Purposefully: the human-individual has the "conscious object" of engaging in conduct and believes or hopes that the attendant circumstances exist.

    Except for strict liability, these classes of mens rea are defined in Section 2.02(2) of the MPC.

    Are you a lawyer?? (2.00 / 1) (#153)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 09:10:36 PM EST
    Or did you stay in a HI Express last night??



    Just trying to educate you Jim (none / 0) (#168)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 11:13:14 PM EST
    Unless you think you know it all anyway.  ;-)

    Yes, well, (none / 0) (#9)
    by Zorba on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 04:22:15 PM EST
    that is interesting, indeed.

    You(g)* want some cooperation (none / 0) (#15)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 07:04:10 PM EST
    from the subject, you don't bring up past unpleasantries, not if you or some other fine reporter from the WP wants to have him as a source on or off the record at some point in the future.

    Some people cell it log-rolling, I prefer to think of it as realistic  journalism.



    It is not unusual for a reporter (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by oculus on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 09:31:55 PM EST
    to insert a clause describing the subject of the interview that includes negative info.  I am really surprised the Washington Post omitted this pertinent information, which may aid the reader in assessing the General's credibility.

    The next thing you'll be telling me (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:34:53 AM EST
    that you're shocked to find gambling going on at Rick's Place.

    If you had paid attention (2.00 / 1) (#59)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:41:17 PM EST
    to the movie you would know that Rick had the  croupier let the young man win his money back...

    Proof positive that, like we see with Hillary, that there was no gambling going on.


    I was quoting Captain Renault: (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 02:11:51 PM EST

    Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?

    Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
    [a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]

    Croupier: Your winnings, sir.

    Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.

    Captain Renault: Everybody out at once!

    Do try and keep up, Jim. (none / 0) (#108)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 07:02:02 AM EST
    No, you were trying to snark (2.00 / 1) (#138)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:26:36 PM EST
    on Green's comment. I pointed out that you were inaccurate.

    Nope, I was snarking to oculus. (none / 0) (#141)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:45:45 PM EST
    When she didn't get my point about log-rolling.

    Oh, and glad to clear up that misconception for you.  Green26 seems to be able to handle him/herself, but no doubt they welcome you being on their side.


    It's also not unusual for someone (2.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Green26 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:16:51 AM EST
    to refuse an interview or refuse to provide responses, if not done under the someone's rules.

    I truly don't understand why it's so important to some of you to include something that I believe is irrelevant to the information being provided.

    Just don't understand why some of you believe discussion of a misdemeanor would be important to information like this. Feel free to provide your explanations.


    The credibility of former (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:24:22 AM EST
    Gen. Petraeus is in issue.  

    Please explain how it is an issue (3.50 / 2) (#26)
    by Green26 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:30:47 AM EST
    due to his misdemeanor or otherwise. Your views or conclusions are not good enough for me. Be specific. Thanks.

    It is called (none / 0) (#34)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 08:59:47 AM EST
    attacking the messenger when you have no facts.

    Not unique to TalkLeft but certainly practiced here with great vigor.


    From (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 09:02:58 AM EST
    the kind of the fact free analyst at TL. Yes, that is going to carry you very far. LOL

    I'm Not Convinced (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by RickyJim on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 04:32:37 PM EST
    that the US should do anything at all.  So what if Iran increases it influence in the Middle East?  The same for ISIS.  Let them all fight it out.  History shows our ability to even decide what is best for our interests, let alone cause it, is minimal.  I don't think that who ever emerges on top won't sell what they have to infidels of the West .  

    I keep hearing this repeated (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Yman on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 08:05:22 PM EST
    ... as an after-the-fact attempt to justify the war sold on WMD lies.

    1.  Where's the evidence of this?

    2.  Were you outraged about this back in the 1980s when the Reagan administration was supporting Saddam and providing him with biological weapons materials?

    What is "after-the-fac"t is people (2.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Green26 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:19:48 AM EST
    like you claiming, after the fact, that the WMD premises were lies. The bulk of the world believed Iraq had WMD. Sure, there were a few people who had contrary views, and they were proven to be right, but that does't mean the bulk of the world was lying.

    Who was talking about ... (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 06:53:59 AM EST
    ... the "bulk of the world"?  I'm talking about the Bush administration's attempts to mold the intelligence to convince the American people and the rest of the world that Iraq had a running WMD program that presented a threat in order to sell their case for war.  Not to mention the wingers (like Jim) who insist - to this day - that Iraq actually had WMDs.

    But I guess if you can't address the point of my post with evidence to back up the claims of "rape rooms" and children's heads being bashed against walls, you might as well try that ...


    Organizing one's information to make (2.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Green26 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 11:57:26 AM EST
    a case is commonly done and ought to be done. That is not "lying". You used the term "lying", and now we see that you can't support what you said. The reason that it's important to know what the bulk of the world was thinking is because it shows that what the US was thinking and presenting was the prevailing view and not a "lie".

    The royal "we" - heh (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:11:42 PM EST
    They weren't just "organizing" the information about WMDs - that would also be a lie.  But you're right - the Bush administration was successful in dismissing contrary evidence while pressuring intelligence officials/agencies to reach the conclusions they were after and convinced many their lies were credible.

    Any evidence for the rape rooms or bashed children?


    That's what I thought.


    Nope, marshalling facts and arguments (2.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Green26 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:47:14 PM EST
    is perfectly okay. Leaving out things that are considered to be outliers is neither lying nor cherry-picking. Virtually every country in the West and with decent intelligence thought Iraq had WMD's. And they turned out to be wrong. Yes, a relatively small minority of people were correct.

    Falsifying evidence is not (5.00 / 5) (#64)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:58:16 PM EST
    Marshaling facts and arguments. Most people call it lying

    Yes, or if (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by KeysDan on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 02:13:59 PM EST
    you care to soften it, call it fraud.

    Soften? (none / 0) (#152)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 06:40:51 PM EST
    1. Why would we want to soften it?
    2. Fraud is serious in y book.

    Well, soften in that (5.00 / 2) (#176)
    by KeysDan on Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 10:40:36 AM EST
    the word "lying"  seems too harsh to wingers, who are still in denial.--to be read with snark.  Whereas, fraud (which I prefer) is actually more apt , in that fraud is both a civil and criminal wrong (goes beyond political/lying when not under oath).  Deliberate deception, false representation, whether by words or conduct,  by false or misleading allegations or by concealment of what should have been revealed.   And, lies were fundamental to the fraud.   WMD was used because it was what all Bush advisers could agree upon that would work.

    Oh please, MB (none / 0) (#162)
    by Green26 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 10:25:52 PM EST
    Marshalling facts and arguments is what people, companies and governments do every day. Anyone who doesn't organize and prepare for a presentation is doing their job. It is certainly not lying in the least. Don't be silly.

    Dont be obtuse (5.00 / 4) (#171)
    by Molly Bloom on Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 08:28:38 AM EST
    I dont deny
    Marshalling facts and arguments is what people, companies and governments do every day.

    The Bush administration lied regarding evidence in the Iraq war. That is not marshalling fact and arguments.


    Oh, they prepared. (5.00 / 3) (#175)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 09:14:56 AM EST
    And they organized. Boy, did they.  I don't know anyone who doesn't remember Colin Powell's highly organized presentation to the UN.

    Too bad it was organized misinformation and outright lies.  And old information, already debunked.  It was prepared for the express purpose of making a case for war.  The media was fully cooperative and on board.  Whatever dire, alarming lies the administration fed them, they dutifully, and breathlessly, reported to the American people.  For the most part, they never questioned it, never challenged it.  

    "Marshalling facts and arguments," my a$$.  What an insulting, obscene way to characterize one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated on the American people.  And one that has been used over and over again to slowly chip away at our rights, invade our privacy, militarize our society.

    "Don't be silly?"  

    Give me a break.


    Distorting, exagerrating ... (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 08:56:21 PM EST
    The Bush Administration "repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.

    There is no question we all relied on flawed intelligence, but, there is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberately painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully accurate.

    ... and making up "facts" is not "marshalling" them.

    It's lying.


    "Marshalling facts" - heh (5.00 / 4) (#67)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 01:21:37 PM EST
    "Leaving out outliers" (irony)

    That's not what they did, and there is plenty of evidence to document it.  Start with Phase II of the Intelligence Committee Report:

    The Bush Administration "repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed." These included President Bush's statements of a partnership between Iraq and Al Qa'ida, that Saddam Hussein was preparing to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups, and Iraq's capability to produce chemical weapons.

    Even those inside the administration pointed out that the Bush administration was distorting the intelligence to match their agenda of invading Iraq and getting rid of Saddam:

    Tyler Drumheller (highest ranked CIA officer in Europe) - "[The source] told us that there were no active weapons of mass destruction programs," Drumheller is quoted as saying. "The [White House] group that was dealing with preparation for the Iraq war came back and said they were no longer interested. And we said 'Well, what about the intel?' And they said 'Well, this isn't about intel anymore. This is about regime change.' "

    Richard Clarke (National Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism) - when directed by Bush to try to find links between Saddam and 9-11.

    In response he wrote a report stating there was no evidence of Iraqi involvement and got it signed by all relevant agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the CIA. The paper was quickly returned by a deputy with a note saying "Please update and resubmit."

    The picked the intelligence that fit their narrative no matter how weak or non-existent and ignored the rest.

    Yes - they lied.


    Cherry-picking (none / 0) (#104)
    by Green26 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 12:29:46 AM EST
    You're just cherry-picking. Not saying what the bulk of the world was saying.

    Hans Blix, Feb. 2003:

    "We are fully aware that many governmental intelligence organizations are convinced and assert that proscribed weapons, items and programmes continue to exist. The US Secretary of State presented material in support of this conclusion. Governments have many sources of information that are not available to inspectors." Link.

    March 2003 Blix conversation with Tony Blair: "I said there could be weapons of mass deduction." That doesn't seem to support you "lie" theory.

    "Dr Blix said he spoke to Mr Blair in February 2003, ahead of the March invasion, about his team's findings.

    ''I said to Mr Blair 'Yes, I also thought there could be weapons of mass destruction', but I said 'Are you so sure? Would it not be paradoxical if you were to invade Iraq with 200,000 men and found there were no weapons of mass destruction?'.

    ''His response was 'No, no', he was quite convinced, the intelligence services were convinced, and even the Egyptians were convinced, so I had no reason to doubt his good faith at the time. But I was doubtful.''  



    You're the one "cherry picking" (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by Yman on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 08:13:30 AM EST
    Blix is a diplomat.  He's not going to call them out for lying - no matter how accurate the term.  Drumheller, Clarke and others within the administration and the CIA at the time called out the Bush administration for doing exactly what it wanted - manipulating, distorting and cherry-picking evidence even when it was unsubstantiated or non-existent.

    But keep trying to ignore the most comprehensive report on the subject (the Senate Committee Intelligence Report) and the numerous people within the administration who acknowledged they manipulated the intelligence to reach the conclusions they wanted and to sell the war.

    AKA - Lied.


    So your cherry picked perception is reality? (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 12:22:43 PM EST
    A lot of the world disagreed with the Bush Administration.  There was no coalition going into Iraq. And when Obama took on Afghanistan the WORLD went with him. It is a reality that many on the left are not comfortable with, but it's true.

    Re-writing history to justify stupidity (5.00 / 5) (#72)
    by Repack Rider on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 02:27:19 PM EST
    The bulk of the world believed Iraq had WMD. Sure, there were a few people who had contrary views, and they were proven to be right, but that does't mean the bulk of the world was lying.

    I sure didn't, since the lies about WMD were being exposed on a daily basis for months before the invasion.  I served in the US Army during the '60s, and I was hearing the same sorts of lies about Iraq that led us into Vietnam.  I can only be fooled once, YMMV.

    I only know what I read in the papers, but even though the media were in the tank for war, there was enough information to know that Bush et al were liars.

    My question to all those who bought the lies is this: Why didn't you pay attention, and why didn't the fact that the principals were all exposed as LIARS before the conflict set off an alarm bell?

    The media were complicit with the lies.  The only media person who tried to question the rationale was Phil Donahue, who was FIRED from his MSNBC show for inviting anti-war guests, even though Donahue had the highest ratings of any show on that network.

    Perhaps you remember that tens of millions of people, every one of whom was smarter than you are, marched in the streets in protest of the war before it began, and got less attention in the media than a dozen Tea Partiers in silly hats.

    You think war is cool?  Ever worn a uniform, marched in formation?


    No, Hans Blix had published (5.00 / 4) (#100)
    by MKS on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 10:32:59 PM EST
    two reports pre-invasion that found no WMD in Iraq.   He said that his inspections were unfettered, and that the Iraqis had stopped giving inspectors the runaround.

    Blix said he would need some more time to confirm his initial findings of no WMD.

    It was not a matter of opinion, but fact--there was no WMD, and the UN Inspectors had pretty much confirmed that pre-invasion.


    David Kay said (2.00 / 1) (#114)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 08:29:21 AM EST
    Asked if Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States at the time of the invasion, Kay said, "Based on the intelligence that existed, I think it was reasonable to reach the conclusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat."

    Although his team concluded that Iraq did not possess large amounts of weapons of mass destruction ready for use, that does not necessarily mean it posed no imminent threat, he said. "That is a political judgment, not a technical judgment."


    Despite not finding any WMD, Kay said his team found that the Iraqi senior leadership "had an intention to continue to pursue their WMD activities. That they, in fact, had a large number of WMD-related activities."


    Seems to be a but of tongue twisting there.


    Except that's not what his report said (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 09:15:52 AM EST

    Kay's team established that the Iraqi regime had the production capacity and know-how to produce chemical and biological weaponry if international economic sanctions were lifted, a policy change which was actively being sought by a number of United Nations member states. Kay also believed some components of the former Iraqi regime's WMD program had been moved to Syria shortly before the 2003 invasion,[3] though the Duelfer Report Addenda (see below) later reported there was no evidence of this.

    Or maybe he didn't know what he was talking about.

    And as long as the U.S. had the veto in the U.N Security Council, there was going to be no lifting of the sancitions.

    Glad to remind you about the truth of the matter, Jim, including the fact that Kay resigned from the ISG before it was finished with its' report.


    Blix did not say Iraq did not have WMD. (none / 0) (#163)
    by Green26 on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 10:28:16 PM EST
    He said only that he hadn't found any. Huge difference. He specifically told Tony Blair, right before the invasion, that he couldn't say that Iraq did not have WMD.

    Of course he didn't say that (none / 0) (#180)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 08:59:33 PM EST
    No one said he did, and it would be impossible for him to make such a silly claim.

    But keep building those arguments from straw - so much easier to deal with.

    BTW - Blix said much more than "they didn't find any", but it didn't matter because - as former administration officials have acknowledge,  it wasn't about WMDs.  They were just an excuse and a sales pitch.


    I was speaking of ISIS (2.00 / 1) (#78)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 03:35:59 PM EST
    Last Updated Feb 5, 2015 3:45 PM EST

    BERLIN -- The United Nations says the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is systematically killing, torturing and raping children and families of minority groups in Iraq, and it is calling on government forces there to do more to protect them.

    In a report issued Wednesday in Geneva, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child said it has received reports of "several cases of mass executions of boys, as well as reports of beheadings, crucifixions of children and burying children alive."

    Which you seem to want to ignore.

    But, since you brought the subject up.

    Iraq's era under President Saddam Hussein was notorious for its severe violations of human rights. Secret police, torture, mass murder, rape, deportations, forced disappearances, assassinations, chemical warfare, and the destruction of southern Iraq's marshes were some of the methods the country's Ba'athist government used to maintain control. The total number of deaths related to torture and murder during this period are unknown. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued regular reports of widespread imprisonment and torture.

    And yet...we were so chummy with (5.00 / 2) (#119)
    by Anne on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 09:12:18 AM EST
    ol' Saddam, shaking his hand, smiling and laughing with him.  Not to mention supplying them with those nasty chemicals.  Tsk, tsk.

    I'll see your wiki recitation of human rights violations and raise you this:

    A review of thousands of declassified government documents and interviews with former U.S. policymakers shows that U.S. provided intelligence and logistical support, which played a role in arming Iraq in its war with Iran. Under the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, the U.S. authorized the sale to Iraq of numerous dual-use technology (items with both military and civilian applications), including chemicals which can be used in manufacturing of pesticides or chemical weapons and live viruses and bacteria, such as anthrax and bubonic plague used in medicine and the manufacture of vaccines or weaponized for use in biological weapons.

    A report of the U.S. Senate's Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs concluded that the U.S. under the successive presidential administrations sold materials including anthrax, and botulism to Iraq right up until March 1992. The chairman of the Senate committee, Don Riegle, said: "The executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licenses for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq. I think it's a devastating record."[10] According to several former officials, the State and Commerce departments promoted trade in such items as a way to boost U.S. exports and acquire political leverage over Hussein.[11]

    The U.S. provided critical battle planning assistance at a time when U.S. intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the war, according to senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program. The U.S. carried out this covert program at a time when Secretary of State George P. Shultz, United States Secretary of Defense Frank C. Carlucci and National Security Adviser General Colin L. Powell were publicly condemning Iraq for its use of poison gas, especially after Iraq attacked Kurdish villagers in Halabja in March 1988. U.S. officials publicly condemned Iraq's employment of mustard gas, sarin, VX and other poisonous agents, but sixty Defense Intelligence Agency officers were secretly providing detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for airstrikes and bomb-damage assessments for Iraq. It has long been known that the U.S. provided intelligence assistance, such as satellite photography, to Saddam's regime. Carlucci said: "My understanding is that what was provided" to Iraq "was general order of battle information, not operational intelligence." "I certainly have no knowledge of U.S. participation in preparing battle and strike packages," he said, "and doubt strongly that that occurred." "I did agree that Iraq should not lose the war, but I certainly had no foreknowledge of their use of chemical weapons." Secretary of State Powell, through a spokesman, said the officers' description of the program was "dead wrong," but declined to discuss it. His deputy, Richard L. Armitage, a senior defense official at the time, used an expletive relayed through a spokesman to indicate his denial that the United States acquiesced in the use of chemical weapons.[12]

    So, you know, just stick a sock in it, jim; we're not a bunch of Fox News-watching morons who didn't and don't do our homework.

    Just stop.


    Anne, in case you forget it (2.00 / 3) (#128)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:07:19 PM EST
    Iraq was attacking Iran, the country that invaded our embassy and taken our people hostage.

    An enemy of our enemy was our friend.

    Too bad we didn't help them more.


    jim, you are so lost in the convoluted (5.00 / 3) (#136)
    by Anne on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:23:13 PM EST
    logic you have set up in order to justify and defend the indefensible that you have completely lost touch with reality.

    No Jim, Anne is correct (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by Politalkix on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 04:29:03 PM EST
    You wrote..."Iraq was attacking Iran, the country that invaded our embassy and taken our people hostage.An enemy of our enemy was our friend. Too bad we didn't help them more."

    Cheney and Rumsfield were shaking Saddam Hussein's hands and the Reagan administration was making Iran-Contra deals with "the country that invaded our embassy and taken our people hostage". Not only that! The Iranians were involved in blowing up the Beirut military barracks after which Reagan turned tail and invaded Grenada.

    Admit it Jim, the Republicans were pitiful. And your posts are pathetic too.


    Ahhhhh ... (none / 0) (#84)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 05:08:07 PM EST
    So you don't have any evidence of "rape rooms" and bashing children's heads against walls.

    Glad we cleared that up.


    I believe he mis-spoke (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by CoralGables on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 09:35:52 PM EST
    should have said...

    "In fact, I would argue that the foremost threat to Iraq's long-term stability was George W Bush."

    In my opinion just a political pressure speech (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 07:14:49 AM EST
    And Petraeus' abilities and working connections in the region probably kept him out of prison.  He is in it for the long game though.  Stoking Iraqi nationalism because the roots are there.  He is using ISIS as the reason why Iraqis need to define themselves.  If that is accomplished, Iraq will slay ISIS itself easily.

    ISIS fighters last week were bargaining with hostile Sunnis to please allow them to peacefully pass through Northwestern Iraq on their way back to Syria.  Seems that some of them came to live in a Caliphate...not fight.  They thought the Caliphate had been established and when they discovered it really wasn't and it was all just war, they wanted to go home.

    ISIS has been having a really bad day in Iraq lately. All over Iraq, not just Tikrit, and not just being hunted by Shiites.

    This is the point at which commenters (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by oculus on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 07:50:03 PM EST
    Tell you to get your own blog!

    Or my comment (none / 0) (#115)
    by Reconstructionist on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 08:30:48 AM EST
     is disappeared by the unseen hand.

    Nobody defends ISIS (5.00 / 3) (#120)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 09:13:24 AM EST
    The Rise Of ISIS has to do with Shiite marginalization of Sunni though.  It's a religious war.

    As was pointed out Friday on Bill Maher, when we insert ourselves into the conflict we give Shia and Sunni a common enemy to focus on instead of them reaching resolution.

    I'm fine intervening in some possible genocides and that's it.  If we stay out of it, they have to resolve it before they can focus on anything else.

    No, they don't have to resolve anything (2.00 / 2) (#130)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:10:52 PM EST
    before they decide to cooperate on attacking the West.

    That's just wishful thinking.


    We were allies with Stalin for Pete sake (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by MKS on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 03:43:09 PM EST
    We can understand that Iran will block ISIS....

    This simplistic thinking that all Muslims are evil would make Dr. Strangelove proud.


    I have never said that all Muslims are evil (2.00 / 1) (#154)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 09:22:01 PM EST
    But if you think radical islamists won't cooperate to kill Jews you are naive.

    Could be (5.00 / 1) (#169)
    by MKS on Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 01:09:45 AM EST
    But they aren't doing that now, and haven't cooperated yet....

    I see no reason to accept your speculation here.


    And Nixon opened up China (none / 0) (#150)
    by Politalkix on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 04:08:17 PM EST
    to fight the Soviet Union though China and the Soviet Union were both Communist countries, after he sensed a division between China and the Soviet Union.

    Even Nixon would throw up his hands in despair looking at the simpletons that would form his boisterous minority, were he alive today.  


    No one is "defending ISIS" (5.00 / 2) (#125)
    by Yman on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 11:07:01 AM EST
    Just pointing out that your silly, after-the-fact justifications for cheering the country into the Iraq War from your armchair are completely evidence-free ...

    ... as usual.

    So the picture is not evidence?? (2.00 / 2) (#129)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 01:08:41 PM EST
    And my comment was about ISIS.

    Your actions speak.


    Thought it wa s the silly winger myths... (none / 0) (#145)
    by Yman on Sun Mar 22, 2015 at 02:35:59 PM EST
    ... about Saddam Hussein.

    Turns out it's just silly, winger, crocodile tears for people they couldn't care less about in an attempt to point the finger at Obama.  Too bad - they need to look at GWB ...

    ... and a mirror.


    They might (5.00 / 2) (#172)
    by CST on Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 09:11:22 AM EST
    But I seriously doubt it.

    If we had never gone to Iraq, ISIS would not exist.  There is no getting around that.

    Maybe Jim... (5.00 / 2) (#174)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 09:13:11 AM EST
    ...those children were being used as shields which you have taught us would make killing them justified.

    Some additional quotes from the article (none / 0) (#1)
    by Green26 on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 12:54:49 PM EST
    "What has happened in Iraq is a tragedy -- for the Iraqi people, for the region and for the entire world. It is tragic foremost because it didn't have to turn out this way. The hard-earned progress of the Surge was sustained for over three years.  What transpired after that, starting in late 2011, came about as a result of mistakes and misjudgments whose consequences were predictable. And there is plenty of blame to go around for that."

    "The proximate cause of Iraq's unraveling was the increasing authoritarian, sectarian and corrupt conduct of the Iraqi government and its leader after the departure of the last U.S. combat forces in 2011. The actions of the Iraqi prime minister undid the major accomplishment of the Surge."

    "As for the U.S. role, could all of this have been averted if we had kept 10,000 troops here? I honestly don't know. I certainly wish we could have tested the proposition and kept a substantial force on the ground.

    For that matter, should we have pushed harder for an alternative to PM Maliki during government formation in 2010?"

    "Whether fair or not, those in the region will also offer that our withdrawal from Iraq in late 2011 contributed to a perception that the U.S. was pulling back from the Middle East. This perception has complicated our ability to shape developments in the region and thus to further our interests. These perceptions have also shaken many of our allies and, for a period at least, made it harder to persuade them to support our approaches."

    one more quote (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 01:48:29 PM EST
    to show his focus is not U.S. troops in Iraq, but the need to prevent Iran-back militias from winning. He points out the atrocities they have committed:

    I am deeply concerned by reports of sectarian atrocities -- in particular by the Shiite militias as they move into Sunni areas previously held by the Islamic State. Kidnappings and reprisal killings, mass evictions of civilians from their homes -- these kinds of abuses are corrosive to what needs to be accomplished. Indeed, they constitute [ISIS's] best hope for survival -- pushing Sunnis to feel once again the need to reject the Iraqi forces in their areas.

    The bottom line is that [ISIS'] defeat requires not just hammering them on the battlefield, but simultaneously, revived political reconciliation with Sunnis. Iraq's Sunnis need to be brought back into the fold. They need to feel as though they have a stake in the success of Iraq, rather than a stake in its failure.

    He repeats that the biggest threat is Iran, not the Islamic State.

    The most significant long term threat is that posed by the Iranian-backed Shiite militias. If [ISIS] is driven from Iraq and the consequence is that Iranian-backed militias emerge as the most powerful force in the country -- eclipsing the Iraqi Security Forces, much as Hezbollah does in Lebanon -- that would be a very harmful outcome for Iraqi stability and sovereignty, not to mention our own national interests in the region.

    In my view, he's telling people to get past the issue of troop withdrawal, it's unknown if leaving them would have made a difference, other than perhaps in the perception it created, and that's not what led to the growth of ISIS. What led to the growth of ISIS is the Malaki government and oppression of Sunnis.


    Embarrassing (none / 0) (#44)
    by Jack203 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 10:13:42 AM EST
    Gen Petraeus is still living off his past success with (The Surge) of "pacifying" the Sunni tribes by combination of buying them out and more American combat soldiers and firepower.  The Sunni's took our money and then bided their time until we left.  Not much of a success.  (And yes, I know Green, all would have been peachy if we just left American soldiers to police the Sunni lands for the next 20-50 years).  Brilliant!

    Petraeus needs to just shut up and be glad he's not in prison.  Any success Petraeus had with the surge was due to the boots on the ground risking their lives not him.

    We need to stay out of the Shiite/Sunni battle as much as possible. If anything we should try to broker peace between them.  A peace should obvious (to me) include Sunni autonomy in the parts of Iraq and Syria where they are the majority of the population.
    The Kurds, our only friends in the region, complicate matters, but not by that much.

    The daily carnage ISIS is unleashing with terrorist attacks around the world is problem #1.
    ISIS needs to disavow terrorist attacks and killing of civilian and humanitarian prisoners immediately.  However, we need to give them an incentive to stop the carnage.  Why is nobody talking about Sunni government.  Is it important for us that Iran and Assad control the Sunni/Syria Sunni lands.  It shouldn't be!!

    Now Petraeus apparently thinks we should pick another fight with Iran again and make sure things don't improve diplomatically between us.

    WTF is wrong with us??  Can we stop antagonizing everyone over there, and just let things heal. I know many Iranian people, and they are all great people.  These are millions of smart, rational young people in Iran right now, who would like nothing more than to live in peace and make peace with the West.  There is very little doubt in my mind, if we didn't inflame the Middle East with the Iraq war, that the young in Iran would have already overthrown the Mullahs.  Things were falling into place in the late nineties until  the Iraq war blew up our hand throughout the entire Middle East.  

    And now that we're building a tenuous peace with Iran, General Petraeus comes along and says.  Oh no, we shouldn't be fighting ISIS, we should be fighting ISIS and IRAN.  I give up.  Seriously, WTF is wrong with this world.

    The people of Iran voted overwhelmingly (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by MO Blue on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 10:59:04 AM EST
    To elect a moderate president in 2013.

    Hassan Rowhani won a commanding 50.7 percent of the vote in a six-way race. He advocated greater personal freedoms and a more conciliatory approach to the world.

    People who have traveled to Tehran in the last couple of years will confirm that the young people continue to push against the dictates of the Mullahs in various subtle and not so subtle ways.


    do you realize (none / 0) (#51)
    by Reconstructionist on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 11:27:49 AM EST
      that many Arabs  and other adherents of Islam prefer to call it "Daesh" as well?

      They consider it offensive to use the term "Islamic" (or the acronyms incorporating it) to refer to the group because it suggests the group represents Islam.

      Your writings on this topic have consistently been baffling, if not disturbing, but I am curious as to why you are more concerned about "offending" IS than the much larger cohort of adherents of Islam that oppose it.

    Here's a thought on that subject, Recon... (none / 0) (#75)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 03:21:20 PM EST
    You're anonymous.

    J. is not.

    The history of those being discussed, vis a vis their behavior toward their enemies, real and imaginary, is brutal.


    Jim you have more than 30 comments (none / 0) (#177)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Mar 23, 2015 at 11:47:45 AM EST
    in this thread. You are blogclogging. Please refrain from posting more comments in this thread.