Chuck Hagel, Martin DempseyArmy Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke before the Senate Armed Services Committees on Tuesday, telling officials that if coalition partners don’t deal with the Islamic State group’s operations in Iraq, then he would not hesitate to say what President Obama doesn’t want to hear: “Send in the ground troops.”

“To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president,” the general told the committees, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. He added that his recommendation, “may include the use of ground forces.”

One only needs to look Syria to realize that reliable ground troops — by someone — will be necessary to deal with Islamic State.

Reuters reported Tuesday:

Islamic State has gone underground in its Syrian stronghold since President Barack Obama authorized U.S. air strikes on the group in Syria, disappearing from the streets, redeploying weapons and fighters, and cutting down its media exposure.

In the city of Raqqa, 450 km (280 miles) northeast of Damascus, residents say Islamic State has been moving equipment every day since Obama signaled on Sept. 11 that air attacks on its forces could be expanded from Iraq to Syria. …

Facing U.S. air strikes in Iraq, Islamic State fighters abandoned heavy weaponry that made them easy targets and tried to blend into civilian areas. In anticipation of similar raids in Syria, the group may already be doing the same.

In Raqqa, the group has evacuated buildings it was using as offices, redeployed its heavy weaponry, and moved fighters’ families out of the city.

“They are trying to keep on the move,” said one Raqqa resident, communicating via the Internet and speaking on condition of anonymity because of safety fears. “They have sleeper cells everywhere,” he added.

Anyone who peddles the idea that days of precision airstrikes on Islamic State convoys, parades and gathering places will “destroy” the terrorist group is a fool. For over three years the president did everything he could to ignore its rise by “leading from behind.” He tried to wash away his own “red line” in Syria and then allow others in the region to handle the civil war their own way. He opted to play a passive role when the world needed leadership, and contrary to the logic regularly espoused by Code Pink, the threat metastasized.

The men at the top of the Islamic State food chain are smart. Given that they have assets in Syria in Iraq — and Obama has ruled out using ground troops — the logical course of action for them is to go underground. Yes, it will slow their advance, but who cares? They already have access to millions of dollars in oil money a day, control main roadways and financial centers, and have suicide bombers at their disposal. Iraq does not have the political or military leadership at this time to go on the offensive without serious logistical support from western nations, and the U.S. has no one it can trust in Syria. If the U.S. was really serious about destroying Islamic State anytime soon, then Gen. Dempsey would publicly recommend ground troops immediately. He won’t do that because it is clear that the president is more concerned with finding a way to pass the buck onto a future U.S. president than he is with handing the threat now.

How can anyone know this? Easy. Simply read The New York Times, which reported Sept. 13 on the a meeting the president had with select journalists:

Mr. Obama had what guests on Wednesday afternoon described as a bereft look as he discussed the murders of Mr. Foley and Mr. Sotloff, particularly because two other Americans are still being held. Days later, ISIS would report beheading a British hostage with another video posted online Saturday.

But the president said he had already been headed toward a military response before the men’s deaths. He added that ISIS had made a major strategic error by killing them because the anger it generated resulted in the American public’s quickly backing military action.

If he had been “an adviser to ISIS,” Mr. Obama added, he would not have killed the hostages but released them and pinned notes on their chests saying, “Stay out of here; this is none of your business.” Such a move, he speculated, might have undercut support for military intervention.

What kind of president gives an Islamic terrorist group ideas on ways to undercut U.S. public support for military operations that simultaneously allow the caliphate’s continuous rise? Mr. Obama’s Times interview translates: “You know, if you play your cards right, you can turn the public against me and still achieve your objectives, right? Think it about, guys. Seriously.”

Mr. Obama’s unsolicited advice to Islamic State only further highlights his deep desire for all radical Islamic terrorism to be a  problem that is largely confined to the Middle East, with occasional “law enforcement matters” (e.g., car bombs) that affect western interests around the globe. His infamous “jayvee team” interview with The New Yorker once again comes back to haunt him:

“I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”

Mr. Obama’s interview with the Times essentially gives the terrorist group the “off ramp” elitist Beltway pundits always speak of any time an international thug starts invading countries or slaughtering his own people. The president is saying, “Guys, there’s still time. You can still make this ‘none of our business.'” What he doesn’t understand is that the end game for any group that seeks to create an Islamic caliphate requires the subjugation of free people.

Before Mr. Obama was elected president in 2008, people joked about the number of times he voted “present” in the Illinois State Senate. It wasn’t a joke, because he adopted a “vote present” foreign policy upon assuming the role of commander in chief. In the vacuum created by a sudden absence of American leadership, it was never going to be picked up by the cultural cadaver that is Europe. Instead, it was filled by the world’s worst actors, acting like prisoners who just had their jail cells thrown open by the head warden.

“Peace at any cost” doesn’t bring peace — it brings war. Sadly, it appears as though the message hasn’t penetrated the minds of Code Pink’s most ardent supporters, the president or members of his inner circle.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

32 comments

  1. your narrow partisan criticism of foreign policy under Obama ignores the previous administrations two failed wars involving ground troops, one based on proven deceit. the Iraq war removed a Sunni dictator and dissolved the military, setting the stage for the sectarian violence. and remember it was Bush who established the SOFA timeline…then Bush left office and the mess his neocons created for the next guy, just as Obama’s worsening of the violence with his military-lite approach will be left for the next figurehead to be selected as cheerleader for US imperialism.

    I don’t think fighting ISIS is actually the top priority for the Obama regime, because doing so will strengthen Assad. the top priority is still regime change in Syria. that will create a failed state like Libya, where not even Tripoli is safe from the marauding militias.

    our military is overextended. how many tours should we expect our beleaguered troops to endure? our wars have created tens of thousands of broken soldiers, suicide rates are incredibly high, and health care and other services still poorly lacking. instead of fixing this crisis, our insane civilian leadership pushes on, toppling governments. why? resources. these are proxy wars with Russia.

    personally, I think it may be time to bring back the draft. the brunt of the fighting is disproportionately burdening the lower classes who have few other options for work. ironically that is a driving motivation for young men joining ISIS and other jihad groups—it pays in a region that doesn’t have a lot of other economic opportunity.

    1. You do know that SOFAs are regularly revisited, right? When the time comes, they’re renegotiated. Obama, the guy who billed himself as the diplomat-extraordinaire, couldn’t get it done because he didn’t want to get it done. Even The New York Times acknowledged that.

      As In Focus quarterly said in 2012:

      The New York Times’ Michael Gordon paints a more complicated picture of U.S. incompetence and disengagement. Most notably, the Obama administration’s insistence that any Status of Forces Agreement be ratified by Iraq’s parliament set the stage for the inevitable failure of any agreement.

      Simply put, while a number of Iraqi political leaders may have privately wished for continued American involvement to serve as a buffer and broker between both domestic rivals and neighboring regimes, far fewer were willing to support this position in a public, contentious debate. No one wants to be regarded as an American stooge in the prideful arena of Iraqi politics. Backing parliamentarians into a corner by demanding public ratification doomed a new SOFA to failure.

      The same reasons the Iraq SOFA was a delicate issue is the same reason why coalition partners in the Middle East don’t want to publicly acknowledge helping western allies. As I said yesterday, large swathes of the Middle East are rooting for the guys chopping off heads. How many troops are operating in Iraq now? I guess Obama got the assurances he needed. It’s weird how he can get them when he wants to and when he properly uses the leverage at his disposal.

      Obama was handed a very fragile — but workable — situation in Iraq when he entered office. Instead of taking the hard right and leaving enough troops in country, he took the easy wrong for political purposes. Now it’s blown up in his face. But it’s not just his face — it’s America’s face — because he’s the president.

      And please, don’t even talk about “resources.” The U.S. has all the resources it needs right here at home, but whenever U.S. policymakers try and tap them there are environmentalist nuts who go into overdrive. Remember when the oil boom in North Dakota came up and you swooped in with stories about how it’s really kind of a bad thing? I do. You say that the U.S. is in the Middle East for resources, and then when guys like me get excited about becoming energy independent you’re right there to throw a wet towel all over it. To acknowledge that maybe those greedy capitalists here at home can improve the standard of living for all Americans while simultaneously getting us off Middle East oil might be too much for you to bear. Instead, you’ll play the little game online (using all the luxuries fossil fuels provide you) where you rant and rave about economic opportunity while bashing the system that has a proven track record of lifting more people out of poverty than any other devised over the course of human history.

      The U.S. has more natural resources at its disposal than most people can even fathom. Where were you after my piece on liquid fluoride thorium reactors? Nowhere to be found. Interesting. That’s one more issue you can poo-poo while still managing to say with a straight face that the U.S. needs to have less to do with the Saudis.

    2. I don’t know why you are so obsessed with the SOFA. would keeping troops in Iraq stop Saudi Arabia and Qatar from funding extremists? would keeping troops in Iraq have changed the US funding those mythical “moderate” rebels in Syria?

      and here’s another question, was the Iraq war worth it? was spending over a trillion dollars on the national credit card worth it? I also see you qoute Michael Gordon, the guy who co-authored the propaganda piece with Judith Miller that helped pave the path to war in Iraq. I wouldn’t trust one thing a propagandist like that would say.

      with regards to energy independence, the US is producing more energy resources locally than ever before. yet prices haven’t come down. gee, I wonder if there is collusion in energy markets? can’t be, those folks are honest people just trying to better America. remember Enron? good people.

    3. Translation: Everyone lies except Lizard19. Conspiracies are everywhere, but thank goodness he is here to expose them.

      Gotcha.

      Yes, I know about ENRON. In fact, I got to know Chris Horner from CEI over the years and he had some interesting things to say about ENRON. He touches on some of them here in his interview with AIM.

      On my first or second day, I walked into a meeting where my boss was having a meeting with the Natural Resources Defense Council, and I was just viewing it as cats and dogs, that strange—but, of course, you can always try to find common ground. But it struck me as a little odd, because this is a fairly adamant group. The next day, I think, I sat in for, I think, Mr. Lay, who couldn’t make it, Ken Lay, at a meeting of something called the “Business Council for Sustainable”—I think they’ve changed the name a few times, let’s say “Environment” or “Energy.” There were industry groups; BP and Enron had created this Baptists and bootleggers coalition whereby industry which had invested—in the way that President [Barack] Obama uses the word “invested,” they had thrown money at things that are uneconomic—with an idea that they would then use the State to make them economic. And they were supporting Green pressure groups—there was the Union of Concerned Scientists and others on my left, and then BP and the American Gas Association, Niagara Mohawk Power, and all sorts of industry groups on my right—and they were figuring out, in 1997, How can we get a global warming treaty?—there was no Kyoto yet—and How do we get the U.S. involved? and How do we make sure it has what we want?

      I went back to my office and sent an E-mail. It wasn’t well received; it was along the lines of “When did we go from ‘Is this real, and a problem?’ to ‘How to make a buck off it?’” That began a very unpleasant three weeks or so—I wasn’t Enron material, it was clear, but that opened my eyes, and I ended up with the Competitive Enterprise Institute not long thereafter. Because I had found an energy company working for energy scarcity policies—and in the name of market economics and prosperity when, quite clearly, the opposite was involved here—that was an eye-opening moment. I had not realized about Baptists and bootleggers before, where they don’t generally have much to do with each other, but where they have a shared interest in Prohibition—in this case, Prohibition of energy sources that work—Enron and BP had gone and thrown a lot of money at losers, windmills and solar panels—Enron Wind is now called GE Wind, and so on—because they were cheap, uneconomic, and then they set about getting the Green groups to scare people into accepting streams of revenues transferred—robbing Peter to pay Paul, Paul being Enron and BP and so on, and the Greens whetting their beaks along the way. Very eye-opening to the concept of “rent-seeking,” which is pretty much what I just described—making your money the old-fashioned way…

  2. War is hell………..except when Obama is in charge. Then it’s just a few empty threats, a few “targeted strikes”, followed by some begging for others to fire off a round and then more golfing.

  3. “personally, I think it may be time to bring back the draft. the brunt of the fighting is disproportionately burdening the lower classes who have few other options for work”

    Lizard19, I disagree this is a volunteer army no one is forced to join based on economic reasons. The draft is used if we need more people than the ones that volunteer. If a person joins they know what they are getting into. There are other jobs available and there many options that statement is simply class warfare with no basis.

    As for another statement you made “one based on proven deceit”
    That has not been proven that is only one sided speculation and talking points.

  4. uh, yeah, the case for war was based on lies. I’m not sure how you can argue otherwise. yellow cake uranium, aluminum tubes, ties to the attack of 9/11.

    if you are really interested in truth, maybe you should consider why 28 pages were removed from teh 9/11 commission report. those pages detail the relationship between the Bush family and the House of Saud.

    1. Yes, The 9/11 Commission Report is rather interesting. You should actually read it. I’d lend you my copy, but I need it for those rare times when bloggers from Montana start using redacted portions to back up conspiracy theories.

      “In mid-1998, the situation reversed; it was Iraq that reportedly took the initiative [to reach out to Bin Laden]. In March 1998, after Bin Laden’s public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with Bin Laden. Sources reported that one, or perhaps both, of these meetings was apparently arranged through Bin Laden’s Egyptian deputy, Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis. […]

      Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and Bin Laden or his aides may have occurred in 1999 during a period of some reported strains with the Taliban. According to the reporting, Iraqi officials offered Bin Laden a safe haven in Iraq. BinLaden declined, apparently judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan remained more favorable than the Iraqi alternative. The reports describe friendly contacts and indicate some common themes in both sides’ hatred of the United States,” (The 9/11 Commission Report, Page 66).

  5. One could turn that phrase around easily and say how can you argue it was a war based on lies, you are being very subjective. Most of the “facts’ you use for that argument are far from facts and they are at best speculation. If you really are interested in the truth you need to consider other perspectives as well than the ones you want to believe in.
    With that said I am not saying we did everything right or that we did not make any mistakes.

    1. here is a little truth for you:

      Colin Powell, the US secretary of state at the time of the Iraq invasion, has called on the CIA and Pentagon to explain why they failed to alert him to the unreliability of a key source behind claims of Saddam Hussein’s bio-weapons capability.

      Responding to the Guardian’s revelation that the source, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi or “Curveball” as his US and German handlers called him, admitted fabricating evidence of Iraq’s secret biological weapons programme, Powell said that questions should be put to the US agencies involved in compiling the case for war.

      In particular he singled out the CIA and the Defence Intelligence Agency – the Pentagon’s military intelligence arm. Janabi, an Iraqi defector, was used as the primary source by the Bush administration to justify invading Iraq in March 2003. Doubts about his credibility circulated before the war and have been confirmed by his admission this week that he lied.

      Powell said that the CIA and DIA should face questions about why they failed to sound the alarm about Janabi. He demanded to know why it had not been made clear to him that Curveball was totally unreliable before false information was put into the key intelligence assessment, or NIE, put before Congress, into the president’s state of the union address two months before the war and into his own speech to the UN.

      note, this is not some subjective opinion. these are FACTS.

    2. “Truth” from the Guardian, an anti-American, anti-Semitic British newspaper. Uh-huh. What’s next? Bush and pretty much every famous person throughout history is a lizard demon from Alpha Centauri that have controlled mankind since the Dawn of Time? 9-11 was an “inside job?” Gimme a break. That’s about the biggest pile of anti-American garbage I’ve ever heard, and I’m not surprised you back your insane conspiracy theories up with a link to one of the rabidly anti-American newspapers in existence.

  6. Carl, you can bash the messenger all you want. the reality is Curve ball ADMITTED FABRICATING EVIDENCE. he admitted it. they were lies. the lies were presented by Powell at the UN to justify war. hence, the war was based on lies.

    also, the sky is blue and the ocean is wet.

    1. Translation: No one knows the truth but Lizard and the Guardian. Anything else is a lie.

      Also, grow up and dispense with the “Bush lied” nonsense. That’s been disproven time and time again, but conspiracy mongers such as yourself repeat it as though it’s fact.

      And I disregard anything the Guardian has to say about America, because of their anti-American stance. To this day I question why, of all places, Snowden went to them with the info he had. They’re also anti-Semitic, too and anti-Israel, so it’s probably no surprise that you regard them as a valid source.

    2. Lizard, one would think that after having been banned twice — I believe over one year’s worth of time, if I’m not mistaken — that you would alter your approach to my regular readers. Like I said, my blog did just fine without you. Unlike Carl, you have zero credibility with me. My patience with you is almost nonexistent. If you don’t want to be banned again, I suggest biting your tongue for awhile when you get the urge to make jokes about who should and shouldn’t procreate, who lives in a bubble, etc.

    3. “Don’t ever let anyone burst that hermetically sealed bubble you live in, Carl.”

      I don’t live in a bubble, Reptile Boy. I live in the real world, not the world of conspiracy theories that are so insane they wouldn’t even be considered as a plot for “The X-Files,” like you do.

    4. Congratulations, you just identified one of the problems with trying to figure out what’s really going on inside a notoriously lethal police state. Regardless, saying “Curveball lied” is quite a bit different than “George W. Bush knowingly lied to the American people.”

      Given that German intelligence, Israeli intelligence, Russian intelligence, British intelligence, French intelligence, allies in the Middle East, and every other major intelligence agency on the planet believed that all odds were on Saddam still having WMD, I don’t think most fair-minded people are going to hold Curveball’s curveball against Bush until the end of time.

      Also, since Iraq has now started worrying about Islamic State taking the chemical weapons that were apparently never there, that also might change a few perceptions moving forward.

      Reuters reported July 9:

      Iraq’s government has lost control of a former chemical weapons facility to “armed terrorist groups” and is unable to fulfill its international obligations to destroy toxins kept there, the country’s U.N. envoy told the United Nations.

      In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, made public on Tuesday, Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said the Muthanna facility north of Baghdad was seized on June 11. He said remnants of a former chemical weapons program are kept in two bunkers there.

      “The project management spotted at dawn on Thursday, 12 June 2014, through the camera surveillance system, the looting of some of the project equipment and appliances, before the terrorists disabled the surveillance system,” Alhakim wrote in the letter dated June 30. …

      “The Government of Iraq requests the States Members of the United Nations to understand the current inability of Iraq, owing to the deterioration of the security situation, to fulfill its obligations to destroy chemical weapons,” he said.

  7. As I said before “If you really are interested in the truth you need to consider other perspectives as well than the ones you want to believe in.”

    The Guardian is hardly what a logical person would consider a reliable source but it does align with what you WISH to believe (when you use caps it does not make you right).

    I must say Lizard that you use the word “fact” very loosely. Next time you want to say something is a fact I would recommend that you use something more credible than the guardian.

    1. ok, how about Fox news:

      Janabi, codenamed Curveball by German and American intelligence officials, told the BND, Germany’s secret service, that Iraq had mobile bio-weapons trucks and had built clandestine factories.

      Even after he went back on his story after being confronted with denials from another source, his former boss, the BND continued to take him seriously, he said.

      The BND confronted Janabi with a statement from Bassil Latif, his former boss at the Military Industries Commission in Iraq, who said there were no trucks or factories.

      “OK, when [Latif says] there no trucks then [there are none],” the paper reported Janabi telling the BND.

      Despite his admission, Janabi said security officials continued to take his claims seriously. They told him in 2002 that his pregnant wife might not be allowed to join him in Germany if he refused to cooperate.

      The faulty information Janabi provided helped form the cornerstone of former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell’s key address to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003.

      is Fox news anti-American?

  8. Please notice this part:
    “KARLSRUHE, Germany — A defector whose claims that Iraq had biological weapons were used in justifying the 2003 U.S. invasion has admitted that he lied to help get rid of Saddam Hussein, The Guardian newspaper said Tuesday.”
    Notice it does not say Bush lied you are making a leap…a big leap.
    Also notice the source of the document again.

    1. I have said the war was based on lies, I didn’t say Bush lied.

      and when it comes to evaluating news sources, I actually do consider a variety of sources. I’ve been criticized at my blog for using right-wing sources when it comes to digging into Hillary Clinton’s past. I take into consideration other state media, like RT and Press TV, when it comes to looking at the MH17 shoot down, for example (I think the Kiev government was behind that one). there is a German blogger I follow who has an interesting perspective. there are some libertarian sources I look at as well.

      what I don’t do is just automatically dismiss something because it comes from a source that has some lean I don’t agree with. every source has bias. no source should be trusted completely. I even find blogs like Doug’s interesting, even though he seems to want to cultivate an echo chamber, requiring the use of double standards for commenters who don’t conform to his world view.

      so, Truth, do you practice what you preach?

    2. When the Iraq Survey Group came out, all the headlines were about “No WMD in Iraq!” but few people actually read the report or listened to what David Kay actually said. Here’s an excerpt of his testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2004.

      Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here.

      Sen. [Edward] Kennedy knows very directly. Senator Kennedy and I talked on several occasions prior to the war that my view was that the best evidence that I had seen was that Iraq indeed had weapons of mass destruction.

      I would also point out that many governments that chose not to support this war — certainly, the French president, [Jacques] Chirac, as I recall in April of last year, referred to Iraq’s possession of WMD.

      The Germans certainly — the intelligence service believed that there were WMD. It turns out that we were all wrong, probably in my judgment, and that is most disturbing.

      We’re also in a period in which we’ve had intelligence surprises in the proliferation area that go the other way. The case of Iran, a nuclear program that the Iranians admit was 18 years on, that we underestimated. And, in fact, we didn’t discover it. It was discovered by a group of Iranian dissidents outside the country who pointed the international community at the location.

      The Libyan program recently discovered was far more extensive than was assessed prior to that.

      There’s a long record here of being wrong. There’s a good reason for it. There are probably multiple reasons. Certainly proliferation is a hard thing to track, particularly in countries that deny easy and free access and don’t have free and open societies.

      In my judgment, based on the work that has been done to this point of the Iraq Survey Group, and in fact, that I reported to you in October, Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of [U.N.] Resolution 1441.

      Resolution 1441 required that Iraq report all of its activities — one last chance to come clean about what it had.

      We have discovered hundreds of cases, based on both documents, physical evidence and the testimony of Iraqis, of activities that were prohibited under the initial U.N. Resolution 687 and that should have been reported under 1441, with Iraqi testimony that not only did they not tell the U.N. about this, they were instructed not to do it and they hid material.

      I think the aim — and certainly the aim of what I’ve tried to do since leaving — is not political and certainly not a witch hunt at individuals. It’s to try to direct our attention at what I believe is a fundamental fault analysis that we must now examine.

      And let me take one of the explanations most commonly given: Analysts were pressured to reach conclusions that would fit the political agenda of one or another administration. I deeply think that is a wrong explanation.

      As leader of the effort of the Iraqi Survey Group, I spent most of my days not out in the field leading inspections. It’s typically what you do at that level. I was trying to motivate, direct, find strategies.

      In the course of doing that, I had innumerable analysts who came to me in apology that the world that we were finding was not the world that they had thought existed and that they had estimated. Reality on the ground differed in advance.

      And never — not in a single case — was the explanation, “I was pressured to do this.” The explanation was very often, “The limited data we had led one to reasonably conclude this. I now see that there’s another explanation for it.”

      And each case was different, but the conversations were sufficiently in depth and our relationship was sufficiently frank that I’m convinced that, at least to the analysts I dealt with, I did not come across a single one that felt it had been, in the military term, “inappropriate command influence” that led them to take that position.

      It was not that. It was the honest difficulty based on the intelligence that had — the information that had been collected that led the analysts to that conclusion.

      And you know, almost in a perverse way, I wish it had been undue influence because we know how to correct that.

      We get rid of the people who, in fact, were exercising that.

      The fact of the matter is that intelligence work by its very nature is not going to be 100% fool-proof. Even the raid for Bin Laden was conducted without the intelligence community being 100% he was actually in there. When you deal with shadowy terrorist organizations and police states, you will often have to go with the best information you have — knowing that you might be wrong. But you have to weigh the risks of being wrong against the potential future outcome if you do nothing…and the danger was real.

      Lizard19’s conspiracy theories make a mockery out of the countless individuals who work around the clock to keep the country safe. I know some of them, and they take their work very seriously. They’re good people with a job that would give 99% of the population ulcers before they even lasted six months. That’s why there’s a part of me that doesn’t mind engaging him. It’s because I know that the vast majority of people, Republican and Democrat, can see that all he has are criticisms and complaints, but no solutions.

  9. I’m always late for the fun parties 🙂

    Whether Doug, Lizard, Truth or Carl is correct on the past; it doesn’t erase the fact we have a sticky situation in the present. I’m inclined to agree with Doug that the SOFA was important, it’s more eyes on the ground and probably would have blunted ISIS’ advance into Iraq.

    My other two cents is energy independence doesn’t mean energy is free. Oil and especially natural gas is cheaper now than a few years ago, especially if you factor in inflation. if we were more self sustaining, maybe we wouldn’t always be in a middle east muck.

    1. Whether Doug, Lizard, Truth or Carl is correct on the past; it doesn’t erase the fact we have a sticky situation in the present.

      Exactly. Lizard19 unfortunately admits that his only plan is “diplomacy.” What does that mean, exactly, within the context of dealing with the threat Islamic State poses to American national security? No one knows. And when you push him on it he disappears and then reappears a day later talking about George W. Bush.

      Twenty-five years from now there will be a Democrat in the White House, and he’ll still get away with blaming Bush for some sort of foreign policy crisis that he doesn’t have a strategy for handling.

    2. I wish there were better options. 13 years after 9/11, America has tried wars of occupation, we’ve tried bombing people with drones in countries we’re not at war with, we’ve tried “humanitarian” interventions, we’ve tried arming opposition groups, and the end result has been chaos and destruction, everywhere we go. continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

      refusing to acknowledge past failures dooms us to repeating those failures. failing to acknowledge our political leadership, from both parties, manipulate events for their own short-term political gain ensures we will keep fighting each other as the real enemy—the .001%—consolidate their power as they play a geopolitical game of RISK.

      I do have solutions when it comes to some critical local issues in the community where I work. I do not have any viable solutions when it comes to addressing foreign policy. most people in this country are so terribly misinformed, just establishing that a war was waged based on lies, as exemplified by this comment thread, is next to impossible.

      oh well. tomorrow is another day.

    3. I agree the past has to be acknowledged, but it gets counterproductive when we attack each others opinion, then dismiss every source but our own, etc etc. This seems to happen everywhere, I’m not trying to single anyone out here. I do my best to try and see where everyone is coming from, but I think we all tend to find a source(s) that we either agree with, or come to agree with; and continue to gravitate towards them. I’m sure I’m guilty of that too.

      Regardless, there is a situation at hand; I think to truely stop terrorism we need to somehow engage Russia, China, and India and form a plan….Yalta style if you will. Battling terrorism is costly for all, China in its western provinces, Russia literally had to send an army to ring the Olympics, India in its northern regions, and our ongoing issues. Until we speak with some sort of unity it’ll affect us all. Unfortunately that cooperation seems impossible.

  10. Lizard, You did not say you blame Bush in this post but based on your blog and other posts here I think it is a good conclusion that you were, can you honestly say that you do not think he lied?

    Overall, I tend to have views more similar to Patrick about this topic and I think it shows in my posts. Even if something was off in the past it does not mean that we should not do something about the present. You then talk about evaluating sources yet you do not act that way at all. You use a particular source as “fact” even as many other sources contradict that “fact”. For example, you were so bent on proving a point that you used a Fox news article, you expected everyone to be shocked, did you expect that they would be forced into some form of hypocrisy because of the source, this was very telling. You were so fixed on the gotcha with the Fox name that you neglected the root source of the article.

    You say, “what I don’t do is just automatically dismiss something because it comes from a source that has some lean I don’t agree with”
    Yet you continually do just that.

    You then ask” Truth, do you practice what you preach?”

    The answer is easily yes. If you have read my posts or my blog you will see that I do not often take hard stances. I believe in evaluating sources (something I do in my job) and one of my flaws is taking hard stances. I am a very analytical person and I have a mentality that tends to make it very hard to have a 100% judgment of certainty. With that said you look at something in a different way than I do, you seem to look at something trying to find a conspiracy rather than finding a conspiracy in the information. What I mean by this is that you seem to look past the facts in order to find something that may not even be there. I believe that you unintentionally do this in order to make a narrative that you want to see, by doing that you look past facts and give certain details less weight because it does not support what you want to see while you give extra value on what supports your stance. For example, one or two people make a statement so it must be true even if 20+people have a statement that is different. I also believe people would give your views more weight if you would discuss things in a civil way (we have discussed this before).

    1. Truth, I empathize with taking hard stances. I rarely see black and white, usually gray. It’s a blessing and a curse! I’ll take the stance, but I spend a lot of time pondering different views to get there. In this sound byte, quick headline, polarizing age; it’s good to analyze things.

  11. Lizard, Please be aware that my post in response to you was not intended to be harsh. I do appreciate your views but you need to clean up your presentation. I do challenge you to look at things from a different angle. I would also take more care in considering the motives of your sources for example I tend not to put much stock in the Guardian just as I also tend to steer away from Hannity.

    1. like most people I’m susceptible to confirmation bias. that said, I really can’t understand how anyone can look at how the Iraq war was sold to the American public and conclude the justifications for invading and occupying Iraq were accurate.

      and then there’s the long, sordid history of US intelligence working with terrorists when it furthers the cause of US imperial ambitions. when I start getting into this territory, though, I am usually derided and ridiculed as a conspiracy theorist, which is fine, I have thick skin, but that dismissal, which Doug likes to do when he doesn’t have much else to throw at me, is an indication of continued willful ignorance regarding covert support of tyrannical monsters. here is an opinion piece I ran across with a cursory search. the platform is ABC newspapers. here’s an excerpt:

      Most people do not know that Osama bin Laden was once employed by the U.S. government, as were several other high-profile Middle Easterners. He was working for our Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) against the Russian occupiers of Afghanistan in the late ‘70s and ‘80s.

      Some of the others who were once on our CIA payroll were Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gadaffi and Anwar Sadat. They all eventually went on to become oppressive dictators.

      Most of us remember Saddam Hussein who was the Iraqi dictator who invaded Kuwait in 1990. He was then driven back from Kuwait. A coalition of countries led by the U.S. and United Kingdom eventually invaded Iraq to depose him in March of 2003. He was captured on Dec. 13, 2003 and tried by the Iraqi government for the killing of 148 Shiites. He was executed on Dec. 30, 2006.

      Saddam Hussein was on the payroll of the CIA Covert Operations in 1959. Hussein was a key U.S. ally in the Middle East at one time. He invaded Iran in 1980 as the U.S. supplied military advice and intelligence on Iran. The U.S. and British helped Iraq develop its chemical and biological weapons capabilities for this.

      Our CIA was making payments to Muammar Gadaffi of Libya in the early ‘60s and Anwar Sadat of Egypt in the early ‘70s. Both eventually became brutal dictators. BBC News reported that Libya’s former justice minister claimed that Gadaffi had personally ordered the Lockerbie Scotland bombing of Pan Am flight 103. That attack killed 270 people in 1988.

    2. I suggest you read Taliban, by Ahmed Rashid. While he doesn’t gloss over America’s involvement in supporting the mujahideen against the Soviet Union, he also makes it clear that U.S. support was a tiny fraction of the aid given to them by Pakistan. Regardless, Rashid — unlike yourself — has the ability to break down complex moving parts in ways that are pretty fair all things considered, because he’s not invested in trying to find ways to make the U.S. and the CIA the world’s boogeyman.

      For you it’s always the U.S. that is to blame for the world’s problems. You act as if America didn’t exist that the world would be a much better place. Do you believe that, Lizard? Seriously. I’d really like to know.

      What would the world look like if the U.S. didn’t actively work to undermine the Soviet Union in the 80s and ultimately win the Cold War? Good question. I’m inclined to think it would be a far worse place to live.

      I really can’t understand how anyone can look at how the Iraq war was sold to the American public and conclude the justifications for invading and occupying Iraq were accurate.

      I guess I’ll let David Kay explain it again:

      In my judgment, based on the work that has been done to this point of the Iraq Survey Group, and in fact, that I reported to you in October, Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of [U.N.] Resolution 1441.

      Resolution 1441 required that Iraq report all of its activities — one last chance to come clean about what it had.

      We have discovered hundreds of cases, based on both documents, physical evidence and the testimony of Iraqis, of activities that were prohibited under the initial U.N. Resolution 687 and that should have been reported under 1441, with Iraqi testimony that not only did they not tell the U.N. about this, they were instructed not to do it and they hid material.

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