Jun 14th 2014

Only Two Words for Neo-Con Critics of Obama Iraq Policy: Brazen Chutzpah

by Robert Creamer

Robert Creamer is a long-time political organizer and strategist and author of the recent book: "Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win," available on amazon.com.
It takes completely brazen chutzpah for Neo-Con Republicans like John McCain to criticize President Obama’s policies in Iraq – especially as Iraq once again falls into sectarian civil war.
 
These are precisely the people who kicked open the sectarian hornets’ nest in 2003 when they invaded Iraq and unleashed years of civil war that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees.
 
Of course the current Iraqi government bears a great deal of the responsibility for the current breakdown in security. As Fareed Zakaria wrote in Friday’s Washington Post:
The prime minister and his ruling party have behaved like thugs, excluding the Sunnis from power, using the army, police forces and militias to terrorize their opponents.
The Sunni insurrection that began in 2003 was finally tamped down by General David Petraeus when he engineered power-sharing arrangements between the Shiites and key elements of the Sunni community. Prime Minister Maliki has systematically abrogated many of those deals, reneged on commitments and created the conditions where Sunni insurgents have real sympathy among many in the Sunni population.
 
That is why the Obama Administration has insisted that increases in U.S. military assistance be conditioned on major changes that help create a political system inclusive of all of the elements in Iraqi society.
 
Remember that Maliki came to power as a result of the decisions of the Neo-Cons in the Bush Administration who intentionally dismantled all vestiges of Sunni power – including the Iraqi Army and bureaucracy -- shortly after the invasion.  
 
And, most importantly, the invasion that unleashed the sectarian civil war was sold to the American people as a quest to eliminate Sadam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction – and as a means of destroying his non-existent links to Al Qaeda.
 
How ironic that the Neo-Con invasion itself created the conditions that allowed Al Qaeda-inspired organizations like Al Qaeda in Iraq – and now the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) -- to become viable forces in the country.
 
Now, Neo-Cons like McCain are calling on the President to “bring back” the Bush team “who knew how to win.”  Unbelievable.  The people who led us into the Iraq War have no business even commenting on foreign policy – much less managing it. In fact, any self-respecting television network should simply ignore anything they have to say, since they led us into the worst foreign policy disaster in half a century.
 
The Iraq War will ultimately cost the American taxpayers trillions of dollars.  It caused the collapse of our international reputation.  It costs hundreds of thousands of lives – including 4.500 American soldiers, and it wounded and maimed hundreds of thousands more.  And the Iraq War unleashed simmering sectarian conflicts that had existed for centuries throughout the Middle East.
 
Now those sectarian conflicts have spilled over into an awful civil war in Syria and are part and parcel of international tensions throughout the region.   And these “geniuses” should be brought back to manage Iraq policy?
 
Oh, they say, President Obama should have been a tougher negotiator when it came to maintaining a residual force of training personnel in Iraq.  But that ignores that the Maliki government refused to agree to conditions that every other country in the world provides for Americans who are stationed on their soil.  The fact is that Maliki did not want American troops to remain in Iraq because he is entirely beholden to the Iranians who did not want any residual American troops in Iraq.
 
But that, of course, is beside the point where most Americans are concerned.  The vast majority of Americans didn’t want to maintain a residual force of American troops in Iraq either.  They wanted to end America’s involvement in the Iraq War – and do not want American troops to be sent back to Iraq or any other war in the Middle East.
 
In fact, Republican attacks on President Obama because he “didn’t finish the job” in Iraq run head-long into the buzz saw of American public opinion.  It is completely out of touch with the views of ordinary Americans.  
 
The main reason why President Obama is now faced with having to do everything he can to help stabilize the situation in Iraq -- short of sending back American troops -- is that the Republican Neo-Con gang kicked over the sectarian hornets’ nest with their pointless invasion and macho military adventurism in the first place.
 
Remember President Bush’s “mission accomplished” on the carrier deck back on May 1, 2003.  That was over a decade ago. The mission was “accomplished” only if the goal was to destabilize the Middle East, cost America trillions of our treasure and kill and maim hundreds of thousands of human beings.  
 
The people who conceived and executed the invasion of Iraq don’t deserve to be given the authority to run a lemonade stand, much less U.S. foreign policy.

And personally, the only thing I want to hear from any of them is an apology.
 

Browse articles by author

More Current Affairs

Apr 11th 2021
EXTRACT: "Some presidents indulge in the “Mount Rushmore syndrome” making an obvious effort to achieve greatness. Normally soft-spoken and apparently modest Biden is making his own bid for immortality."
Apr 9th 2021
EXTRACT: "New ways of thinking about the role of government are as important as new priorities. Many commentators have framed Biden’s infrastructure plan as a return to big government. But the package is spread over eight years, will raise public spending by only one percentage point of GDP, and is projected to pay for itself eventually. A boost in public investment in infrastructure, the green transition, and job creation is long overdue."
Apr 7th 2021
EXTRACT: " One can, and perhaps should, take the optimistic view that moral panics in the US blow over; reason will once again prevail. It could be that the Biden era will take the sting out of Trumpism, and the tolerance for which American intellectual life has often been admired will be reinvigorated. This might even happen while the noxious effects of American influence still rage in other countries. For the sake of America and the world, one can only hope it happens soon.  "
Mar 28th 2021
EXTRACT: "By refusing (despite having some good reasons) to end electoral gerrymandering, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., has directly enabled the paralyzing hyper-partisanship that reached its nadir during Donald Trump’s presidency. By striking down all limits on corporate spending on political campaigns in the infamous 2010 Citizens United decision, he has helped to entrench dark money in US politics. And by gutting the 1965 Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, Roberts has facilitated the racist voter-suppression tactics now being pursued in many Republican-controlled states."
Mar 24th 2021
EXTRACT: "the UK’s tough choices accumulate, and the problems lurking around the corner look menacing. Britain will have to make the best of Brexit. But it will be a long, hard struggle, all the more so with an evasive fabulist in charge."
Mar 15th 2021
EXTRACT: "Over the years, the approach of most American policymakers toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been Israel-centric with near total disregard for the suffering endured by the Palestinian people. The architects of policy in successive US administrations have discussed the conflict as if the fate of only one party (Israel) really mattered. Israelis were treated as full human beings with hopes and fears, while Palestinians were reduced to a problem that needed to be solved so that Israelis could live in peace and security.  ..... It is not just that Israelis and Palestinians haven’t been viewed with an equal measure of concern. It’s worse than that. It appears that Palestinians were judged as less ​human than Israelis, and were, therefore, not entitled to make demands to have their rights recognized and protected."
Mar 8th 2021
EXTRACTS: "XThere’s a global shortage in semiconductors, and it’s becoming increasingly serious." ...... "The automotive sector has been worst affected by the drought, in an era where microchips now form the backbone of most cars. Ford is predicting a 20% slump in production and Tesla shut down its model 3 assembly line for two weeks. In the UK, Honda was forced to temporarily shut its plant as well." ..... " As much as 70% of the world’s semiconductors are manufactured by just two companies, Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) and Samsung."
Mar 5th 2021
EXTRACT: "Back in 1992, Lawrence H. Summers, then the chief economist at the World Bank, and I warned that pushing the US Federal Reserve’s annual inflation target down from 4% to 2% risked causing big problems. Not only was the 4% target not producing any discontent, but a 2% target would increase the risk of the Fed’s interest-rate policy hitting the zero lower bound. Our objections went unheeded. Fed Chair Alan Greenspan reduced the inflation target to 2%, and we have been paying for it ever since. I have long thought that many of our economic problems would go away if we could rejigger asset markets in such a way as to make a 5% federal funds rate consistent with full employment in the late stage of a business cycle."
Mar 2nd 2021
EXTRACT: "Under these conditions, the Fed is probably worried that markets will instantly crash if it takes away the punch bowl. And with the increase in public and private debt preventing the eventual monetary normalization, the likelihood of stagflation in the medium term – and a hard landing for asset markets and economies – continues to increase."
Mar 1st 2021
EXTRACT: "Massive fiscal and monetary stimulus programs in the United States and other advanced economies are fueling a raging debate about whether higher inflation could be just around the corner. Ten-year US Treasury yields and mortgage rates are already climbing in anticipation that the US Federal Reserve – the de facto global central bank – will be forced to hike rates, potentially bursting asset-price bubbles around the world. But while markets are probably overstating short-term inflation risks for 2021, they do not yet fully appreciate the longer-term dangers."
Feb 28th 2021
EXTRACT: "To be sure, calls to “build back better” from the pandemic imply some awareness of the need for systemic change. But the transformation we need extends beyond constructing modern infrastructure or unlocking private investment in any one country. We need to re-orient – indeed, re-invent – global politics, so that countries can cooperate far more effectively in creating a better world."
Feb 23rd 2021
EXTRACT: "So, notwithstanding the predictable release of pent-up demand for consumer durables, face-to-face services show clear evidence – in terms of both consumer demand and employment – of permanent scarring. Consequently, with the snapback of pent-up demand for durables nearing its point of exhaustion, the recovery of the post-pandemic US economy is likely to fall well short of vaccine development’s “warp speed.” "
Feb 20th 2021
EXTRACT: "Human rights abuses under Erdogan are beyond the pale of inhumanity and moral decadence. The list of Erdogan’s violations and cruelty is too long to numerate. The detention and horrifying torture of thousands of innocent people for months and at times for years, without being charged, is hard to fathom. Many prisoners are left languishing in dark cells, often in solitary confinement. The detention of tens of thousands of men and hundreds of women, many with their children, especially following the 2016 failed coup, has become common. It is calculated to inflict horrendous pain and suffering to bring the prisoners to the breaking point, so that they confess to crimes they have never committed."
Feb 20th 2021
Courtyard of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, circa 1670, (Job Adriaenszoon Berckheyde).
Feb 12th 2021
EXTRACT: "Global regulators will no doubt be concerned about a potential volatility spillover from digital asset prices into traditional capital markets. They may not permit what could quickly amount to effective proxy approval by the back door for companies holding large proportions of a volatile asset on their balance sheets."
Feb 11th 2021
EXTRACT: "Since Russians began protesting opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s imprisonment, the security forces have apparently had carte blanche to arrest demonstrators – and they have done so by the thousands. If Russians so much as honk their car horns in solidarity with the protesters, they risk personal repercussions. The official response to the protests goes beyond the Kremlin’s past repression. It is war."
Feb 6th 2021
EXTRACT: ".......like Biden, Roosevelt was certainly no revolutionary. His task was to save American capitalism. He was a repairer, a fixer. The New Deal was achieved not because of Roosevelt’s genius or heroism, but because enough people trusted him to act in good faith. That is precisely what people are expecting from Biden, too. He must save US democracy from the ravages of a political crisis. To do so, he must reestablish trust in the system. He has promised to make his country less polarized, and to restore civility and truth to political discourse. In this endeavor, his lack of charisma may turn out to be his greatest strength. For all that he lacks in grandeur, he makes up for by exuding an air of decency."
Feb 2nd 2021
EXTRACT: "Europe must not lose sight of the long game, which inevitably will center on China, not Russia or relations with post-Brexit Britain. China is already establishing a presence in Iran, and demonstrating that it has the capital, know-how, and technology to project power and influence beyond its borders. Should it succeed in turning the Belt and Road Initiative into a line of geopolitical stepping-stones, it might soon emerge at Europe’s southeastern border in a form that no one in the EU foresaw."
Jan 29th 2021
EXTRACT: "One sign of this change is that, unlike all recent Democratic administrations, Biden’s hasn’t paid obeisance to Wall Street by giving bankers top jobs. The new Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, is a former Federal Reserve chair and academic who has made it clear that she understands the country’s pressing social needs. Moreover, Biden consulted Warren on her economic views, and has named a former Warren adviser as Yellen’s deputy. Yellen’s appointment demonstrates that Biden shares the insight that enabled Trump’s rise: that too many Americans feel that they cannot get a fair share. "
Jan 24th 2021
EXTRACT: "Barack Obama cautioned in his final speech as president that, “Our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted.” Yet isn’t that exactly what America has been doing? In a decade punctuated by the global financial crisis, the COVID-19 crisis, a racial-justice crisis, an inequality crisis, and now a political crisis, we have only paid lip service to lofty democratic ideals. ... Sadly, this complacency has come at a time of growing fragility for the American experiment. Internet-enabled connectivity is dangerously amplifying an increasingly polarized national discourse in an era of mounting social and political instability. The resulting vulnerability was brought into painfully sharp focus on January 6. The stewardship of democracy is at grave risk. "