Category Archives: War

Back Into The SAME Shiite-Sunni Cesspool

Iran, Iraq, Neoconservatism, War

On “Fighting in Iraq Until Hell Freezes Over,” courtesy of Peter Van Buren @ The Unz Review:

… The staggering costs of [Iraq] — $25 billion to train the Iraqi Army, $60 billion for the reconstruction-that-wasn’t, $2 trillion for the overall war, almost 4,500 Americans dead and more than 32,000 wounded, and an Iraqi death toll of more than 190,000 (though some estimates go as high as a million) — can now be measured against the results. The nine-year attempt to create an American client state in Iraq failed, tragically and completely. The proof of that is on today’s front pages.

According to the crudest possible calculation, … America’s war of terror resulted in the dissolution of a Middle Eastern post-Cold War stasis that, curiously enough, had been held together by Iraq’s previous autocratic ruler Saddam Hussein. We released a hornet’s nest of Islamic fervor, sectarianism, fundamentalism, and pan-nationalism. Islamic terror groups grew stronger and more diffuse by the year. That horrible lightning over the Middle East that’s left American foreign policy in such an ugly glare will last into our grandchildren’s days. There should have been so many futures. Now, there will be so few as the dead accumulate in the ruins of our hubris. That is all that we won.

… And then came the Islamic State (IS) and the new “caliphate,” the child born of a neglectful occupation and an autocratic Shia government out to put the Sunnis in their place once and for all. And suddenly we were heading back into Iraq. …

… The truth on the ground these days is tragically familiar: an Iraq even more divided into feuding state-lets; a Baghdad government kleptocracy about to be reinvigorated by free-flowing American money; and a new Shia prime minister being issued the same 2003-2011 to-do list by Washington: mollify the Sunnis, unify Iraq, and make it snappy. The State Department still stays hidden behind the walls of that billion-dollar embassy. More money will be spent to train the collapsed Iraqi military. Iran remains the foreign power with the most influence over events.

One odd difference should be noted, however: in the last Iraq war, the Iranians sponsored and directed attacks by Shia militias against American occupation forces (and me); now, its special operatives and combat advisors fight side-by-side with those same Shia militias under the cover of American air power. You want real boots on the ground? Iranian forces are already there. It’s certainly an example of how politics makes strange bedfellows, but also of what happens when you assemble your “strategy” on the run.

Obama hardly can be blamed for all of this, but he’s done his part to make it worse — and worse it will surely get as his administration once again assumes ownership of the Sunni-Shia fight. The “new” unity plan that will fail follows the pattern of the one that did fail in 2007: use American military force to create a political space for “reconciliation” between once-burned, twice-shy Sunnis and a compromise Shia government that American money tries to nudge into an agreement against Iran’s wishes. …

Here we go again.


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Why The Warring About War: What The Moron Media Don’t Explain

Constitution, Just War, libertarianism, War

This past Friday, CNN was festooned with the usual bobbing heads kibitzing about whether or not the administration had committed the country to war or not. The quarreling parties did not explain to the viewers whose brains they addle daily, why this distinction mattered. I doubt they know. I mean, if the president indeed possesses all the powers CNN journos often claim for him—why must their Almighty Mulatto bother to seek consent for his actions? Republicans are pretty much on board when it comes to executive overreach, although they’d prefer their guy to be doing the overreaching.

Here is a typical exchange, times 10 a day:

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Is the United States at war with ISIS. It sure sounds from the president’s speech that we are.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I think that is the wrong terminology.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make no mistake. We know we are at war with ISIL.

BURNETT: Is this war?

MCCHRYSTAL: Well, I mean, you can trip over and argue about whether it’s a war for congressional purposes. If you are on the ground and people are getting killed, to a soldier it feels like war and to the population it feels like war. So it’s a struggle.

[SNIP]

And here’s the logical extension of the “to war or not to war” debate, which the Moron Media seems incapable of deducing: It matters whether the president has committed the country to war or not, because:

1) While the power to declare war under various statutes like the War Powers Act, the Iraq Resolution, and the Use of Force Act was shifted to the Executive, to comport with a trend toward centralization of power in this branch—according to these statutes, the War Powers Act, in particular, “he cannot lawfully pursue any military action whatsoever after 180 days.”

2) War declared by executive order may be legal, but it is still unconstitutional. It flouts the obligation to get “the consent of the governed,” to quote the Declaration of Independence.

The libertarian’s duty is to reject the law of the state when it is at odds with natural justice. The process adopted so far by the Bush and Obama executive flouts both the U.S Constitution and the natural law. But Just War principles are for another debate, another time.

As for the Constitution, over to James Madison: “‘Those who are to conduct a war cannot in the nature of things, be proper or safe judges, whether a war ought to be commenced, continued, or concluded.’ Thus it is Congress that declares a war. The U.S. government is beholden to the Constitution, which prohibits the president from declaring war.

Explains Louis Fisher, senior specialist in separation of powers at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress: ‘Keeping the power to commit the country to war—and to all the costs of war—in separate hands from the power to wage war once declared was a bedrock principle for the framers.'”

Modern statutes like the War Powers Resolution, the Iraq Resolution, and the Use of Force Act do not displace the constitutional text and the framers’ intent. (From “UNNATURAL LAWLESSNESS”)


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

He Doesn’t Have a Strategy. OMG!

Barack Obama, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Middle East, Neoconservatism, War

Hussein doesn’t have a strategy to police the world. Good. I have one for him: First do no harm. The chicken hawks at Fox News, however, are hot for war. The headlines there practically scream:

Obama on Syria: ‘We don’t have a strategy yet’
Krauthammer: Obama’s strategy ‘is to do absolutely nothing’

What precisely did Obama say that has chicken hawk Chucky so cross with the president: He “told reporters Thursday that ‘we don’t have a strategy yet’ for confronting ISIS on a regional level.”

Megyn Kelly, whose show has degenerated into a rah-rah, flag-waving, hour-long session, bemoaning outrages over diminished US world hegemony, shook her head in dismay at Mike Huckabee’s excellent suggestion: Let the Arab League deal with ISIS.

Yeah, the neighborhood, Israel included, doesn’t seem particularly concerned about ISIS. Or perhaps the US has enabled inertia and apathy with its interventions.

The illogic I don’t get is this: How can media members worry about ISIS in the Levant, when America’s southern border is utterly open? Can they be that stupid? Why not challenge the president about the real danger of failing to defend the homeland’s borders?

Related: “How U.S. Interventionists Abetted the Rise of ISIS.”


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

GOP Should Grow A Brain, Join The Peace Train

Foreign Policy, Iraq, Left-Liberalism, Military, Neoconservatism, Old Right, Republicans, War

“GOP Should Grow A Brain, Join The Peace Train” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

… Texas Gov. Rick Perry was not the only Republican warbot to pile on Sen. Rand Paul. “In the past three days alone, recapitulated Politico, Perry used a Washington Post op-ed to warn about the dangers of ‘isolationism’ and describe Paul as ‘curiously blind’ to growing threats in Iraq. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) accused the Kentucky senator on CNN of wanting a ‘withdrawal to fortress America.’ And former Vice President Dick Cheney declared … that ‘isolationism is crazy,’ while his daughter, Liz Cheney, said Paul ‘leaves something to be desired, in terms of national security policy.’

Like McMussolini, the vampiric father and daughter duo are a spent force, easily dismissed by a young turk. But can Rand stand up to the Joint Chiefs? Military movers and shakers are heavily vested in the sunk-cost fallacy—the irrational notion that more resources must be committed forthwith in Iraq (and elsewhere), so as to “redeem” the original misguided commitment of men, money and materiel to the mission. To that end, repeated ad nauseam is the refrain about our “brave men and women of the military,” whose sacrifice for Iraqi “freedoms” will be squandered unless more such sacrifices are made. The Skeptic’s Dictionary dispels this illogic: “To continue to invest in a hopeless project is irrational. Such behavior may be a pathetic attempt to delay having to face the consequences of one’s poor judgment. The irrationality is a way to save face, to appear to be knowledgeable, when in fact one is acting like an idiot.” Besides, it’s time the military heed its paymasters, The American People, a majority of whom “don’t want to send U.S. soldiers back into Iraq.”

Read the complete column. “GOP Should Grow A Brain, Join The Peace Train” is now on WND.

Our German readers can now follow this column and other worthy writers in the JUNGE FREIHEIT, a weekly newspaper of excellence.

Editors wishing to feature the “Return to Reason” column in their publications, pixel or paper, please contact Bookings@ilanamercer.com. Or, ilana@ilanamercer.com


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

Bill Clinton Correct About Cheney

Foreign Policy, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, Neoconservatism, War

Just as I was beginning to harbor some hope that Mark Levin would ditch neoconservatism, the broadcaster galvanized rhetorical firepower to defend Dick Cheney, this week, from Bill Clinton’s coruscating attack. Levin went so far as to scold Genghis Bush for not helping Cheney out. After all, said Levin, Cheney was a sickly man battling the administration all alone over Iraq.

Hopeless.

Admittedly, Bill Clinton has given voice to the truth late in the day, but everything he said about Cheney is correct.

Meet the Press’s David Gregory had asked “Bill Clinton about the current crisis in Iraq and whether Dick Cheney is a ‘credible critic’ in going after the Obama administration for ISIS taking over major cities there. Clinton chuckled and said, ‘I believe if they hadn’t gone to war in Iraq, none of this would be happening.’”

A no-brainer.

How, however, will Bill cover for wife Hill, who has “refused to atone for her role in the prosecution of an unjust war.” As detailed in “Confess, Clinton; Say You’re Sorry, Sullivan”:

During the Democratic presidential candidates’ debate in New Hampshire, Clinton was asked whether she regretted “voting to authorize the president’s use of force against Saddam Hussein in Iraq without actually reading the national intelligence estimate, the classified document laying out the best U.S. intelligence at that time.” Her reply: “I feel like I was totally briefed. [Expect the “I-feel-like” locution to proliferate if a woman is ensconced in the White House.] I knew all the arguments. I knew all of what the Defense Department, the CIA, the State Department were all saying. And I sought dissenting opinions, as well as talking to people in previous administrations and outside experts.”

Back to the humdrum truth Bill uttered to Gregory about Cheney:

Gregory brought up Syria, which Clinton didn’t deny is a problem all on its own, but “what happened in Syria wouldn’t have happened in Iraq” if the Bush administration hadn’t taken the country to war and Iraq wouldn’t have been so “drastically altered.”
Clinton also found it “unseemly” that a former vice president is “attacking the administration for not doing an adequate job for not cleaning up the mess that he made,”


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint

UPDATED: Don’t Know Shiite From Shinola (From Figurative Crucifixion to Cookies)

Bush, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Islam, Terrorism, War

“Don’t know Shiite From Shinola” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

Almost unanimous on the right is the mystifying notion that a reduced American footprint in the world, President Barack Obama’s doing, has brought about the “sudden” eruption across Iraq of a particularly savage faction of Sunni fundamentalists called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This small band of zealots has conquered a third of Iraq, including the metropolis of Mosul, from which 500,000 residents have fled. Tikrit too is under ISIS control. Fallujah fell in January.

Odd too is the idea that ISIS, currently barreling toward the capital, Baghdad, is somehow a new killer on the block. While the gang, led by newcomer Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is not as ancient as the Egyptian goddess by the same name—ISIS was previously known as Al Qaida in Iraq (A.Q.I.), reflecting its earlier, more modest mission. A.Q.I. was the brainchild of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, described aptly in the New Yorker as, “A Jordanian who had been a convicted thief and sex criminal before turning to radical Islam.” Commensurate with its morphing, expansive ambitions, A.Q.I. changed its name to ISIS. Whereas “Al Qaida was originally envisioned as a kind of Sunni foreign legion, which would defend Muslim lands from Western occupation,” writes New Yorker staffer Lawrence Wright, “Zarqawi had a different goal in mind. He hoped to provoke an Islamic civil war.” George W. Bush’s invasion primed Iraq for Zarqawi’s purposes. “There was no better venue than the fractured state of Iraq, which sits astride the Sunni-Shiite fault line.”

So savage and extreme is ISIS, always has been, that it had been “booted out of the Al Qaida consortium,” attests Wright. Remember the “Dear Al (Zarqawi)” letter penned by Ayman al-Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in 2005? In it, Bin Laden’s Capo Bastone (Zawahiri) had asked the lieutenant (Zarqawi) to reconsider the wisdom of slaughtering so many Shia civilians in Iraq. Al-Z no. 1 broached the topic by counseling Al-Z no. 2 about the wisdom of bringing “the Muslim masses to the mujahed movement.” To that end, killing so many of them was probably unhelpful. Yes, the Shia are a handful—theologically problematic—conceded Zawahiri. Suspect too was the Shia’s history of “connivance with the Crusaders.” But while Zawahiri didn’t give a dried camel’s hump about his Shia brethren, he thought better of slaughtering them, preferring to forgive their “ignorance.” Besides, added Zawahiri as an afterthought, it’s impossible for the mujahedeen to kill all Iraq’s Shia.

While Zarqawi rejected Zawahiri’s soft approach, his personal odyssey has a happy ending. Zarqawi died, killed by Americans in 2006. But his legacy, like that of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, lives on in ISIS. Shia Iran, once a bitter enemy of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, now has pride-of-place in the Iraq that Bush built. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been galvanized to the aid of the Iraqi army. But it is not the 930,000 members of the Iraqi security forces that the Revolutionary Guard aims to rouse. Despite the princely sums ($25 billion) Americans spent to train and prepare it, in Mosul, this inorganic, artificial creation of the Bush brigades fled before 1,300 ISIS fighters. To fight the marauding Sunnis, the Revolutionary Guard will likely corral well-motivated, tribal Shia militias. (In Iraq, Shiites make up about sixty percent of the population. Sunnis comprise less than twenty percent.)

It is this cauldron of sectarian strife that Saddam Hussein kept from bubbling over. …

… Read the complete column. “Don’t know Shiite From Shinola” is now on WND.

Our German readers can now follow this column and other worthy writers in the JUNGE FREIHEIT, a weekly newspaper of excellence.

Editors wishing to feature the “Return to Reason” column in their publications, pixel or paper, please contact Bookings@ilanamercer.com.

UPDATE (6/20): From (Figurative) Crucifixion to Cookies. One-Upon-A-Time They Crucified Me for what I would write about Iraq. Now I get a cookie. I’ll take the cookie. This reader calls his comments, “Thoughts while shaving.” His are regular quips at “Comments.” Funny. He writes:

ramblindon • 5 hours ago “Thoughts while shaving: While some contributors to WND are tedious at best, Ilana Mercer is not to be counted among them. With first cup of coffee in hand it just about jumped out of hand when reading the ‘Don’t know Shiite from Shinola.’ You get a ‘cookie’ Ilana Mercer! Period! End Report!”


like tweet google+ recommend Print Friendlyprint