Bomb Iraq? Why?

Filed in International by on June 16, 2014

Can anyone give me one rational reason why we would even consider launching a bombing/missile/drone attack on so called Iraq militants?  No, I mean a really rational reason?

Moving a carrier into position in the Gulf?  You can’t be serious.  That’s supposed to scare someone willing to blow themselves up for their “cause”?

What would be accomplished by launching those planes?  A few hundred dead?  Who exactly are they and how do we identify the culprits?  How do we sort out the good guys from the bad guys?  We have no intelligence on the ground.  Trust but verify?  You can’t be serious.

Maliki kicked us out and shrub signed on.  That was it.  Over.  Time to exit.  Billions poured into training and equipment.  All to be abandoned in a heap on the battlefield when faced with an opposition force of about 1,000.  Cut and run.

But, after exacting some revenge, what would we accomplish?  Is revenge a policy?  What is the result we would want?  Is that result really attainable?  Are our allies really reliable?

America, isn’t this one of those “no win” situations we read about?  Haven’t we been here before?

The only rational response here is to not respond with force.  Respond with talks.  Try and probably fail to bring these  actors together, but a peaceful try is worth some time and investment.  Diplomacy, America, not crazy talk and revenge.

Speaking of crazy talk, why is our press giving time and space to McCain?  He was a hapless, failed military student who then went on to non combat crashes a couple of planes costing millions each before his final crash into the Vietnam jungle.   You’re giving this damaged guy a national platform to rally his fellow crazies?   Media, please, please, just ask Why?



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  1. Aint's Taking it Any More says:

    Absolutely no rational argument to get involved in a civil war where the US and Iran could end up aligned. No involvement of any kind.

    Another question: why are we referring to ISIS as terrorists? Is it because they are crazed Muslims? When it looks like they might do something outside Iraq’s border, then maybe they’re terrorists. Right now it’s a civil war.

  2. Oh, I get it, John Kerry. Humanitarian killing. Check !

  3. Aint's Taking it Any More says:

    Who’s killing are you referring to?

  4. stan merriman says:

    Drone killing of Iraqi “militants”, insurgents, or whomever. This is Kerry’s latest contemplation which I cite here quite tongue in cheek.

  5. Dorian Gray says:

    @Ain’t Taking it… the secord S in ISIS is Syrian. ISIS already holds territory outside Iraq, That’s the problem. We have a crazed Islamofascist group executing thousands as they try to established a fascist state acrose northern Iraq and Syria (which is basically a failed state). I understand your aurgument. We need to be extremely careful what we do… But let me ask you this… if ISIS threatens Turkey. Driving refugees and threatening the border there. Then do we act?

  6. Dorian Gray says:

    So the question is how far does ISIS have to go until the US is compelled to act, Baghdad, Southern Turkey, Lebanon? I agree that it isn’t a civil war. It’s much worse. Now I don’t know if that’s means we team up with Iran and give the Shia and Kurds air support. That’s troubling to me. But don’t play don’t the severity of what’s going on. I’m anti-war, but I’m a reasonable/rational person.

  7. jason330 says:

    It is conceivable to me that ISIS forces a religious partition of Iraq. Turkey would probably have to let the Kurds go at some point. It would be their only hope for not getting dragged into something bigger.

  8. Eric Dondero says:

    Yes, we have been here before. 1977/78 southeast Asia. America so timid from recent experience in Vietnam, that we sat by and did nothing while Pol Pot and the socialist Khmer Rouge murdered 2 million Cambodians.

    The left back then was shouting: “Stay out of SE Asia.” And we did. Perhaps the most shameful moment in the entire history of the United States.

    2 millions slaughtered by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. If we had just done something, anything in SE Asia in ’77/’78, how many hundreds of thousands of lives might have been spared?

    (I joined the Navy out of Newark HS in 1979 disgusted with Jimmy Carter’s inaction in SE Asian and to get back our hostages in Iran. Carter – second worst president in all of U.S. history. Obama certainly the worst.)

  9. Geezer says:

    So John McCain can sing, “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iraq.”

  10. Jason330 says:

    Agreed. When will the Democrats actually clean up after Republican fuck-ups like they should?

  11. Geezer says:

    @Dorian Gray: By all means, do explain the severity of what’s going on.

    Last time we got involved in Iraq we managed to ensure that Iraq’s dead civilians would not be killed by Saddam Hussein anymore. Ensuring that civilians wouldn’t be killed by anyone else either was not part of the mission, or at any rate, is a mission that cannot be accomplished by military means.

    No doubt there’s a lot of misery in Iraq today. There’s a lot of misery at 22nd and Market, too, and I know which of the two we might be able to mitigate. Hint: You don’t need a boat or airplane to get there from here.

  12. Geezer says:

    “we sat by and did nothing while Pol Pot and the socialist Khmer Rouge murdered 2 million Cambodians.”

    Would you feel better if they had been killed by capitalists?

  13. cassandra_m says:

    I *do* think that this is a civil war in Iraq. The strongman we supported has been systematically making life difficult for anyone in Iraq who is not Shiite, and those people are a major part of the ISIS coalition. Maliki has been a screw up all the way around and even his Parliament couldn’t show up to declare a state of emergency. One of the sources of the historical animosity between Iraq and Iran was how the Baathists treated Iraqi Shiites. Iran is a Shiite majority country. Frankly, I think that the neoconservatives who got their closeups in on the Sunday yack shows would have a collective stroke if Iran took the leadership and got Iraq calmed down.

  14. Aint's Taking it Any More says:

    The Bush administration deserves scorn for getting the US into Iraq. But simply because Bush hands Obama a bag of shit doesn’t mean that Obama gets a pass here. Obama screwed up the US withdraw from Iraq. Can you tell which one of those mistake sets account for Iraq’s current mess?

    This is a defining moment for Obama. What he does with Iraq now potentially defines the foreign policy chapter of the history book of his presidency.

  15. Dorian Gray says:

    I didn’t say the US should take any action necessarily. But when a band of murderous outlaws with a black flag and masked faces seize territory in two separate nations and start with the purging and the executing… I’d say that is pretty fucking severe.

    Look, the US can’t solve everybody’s problems and we’ve been down this road before and fucked it up royally. Just don’t let that idea of implementing a much higher standard of intervention cloud that fact that this is a very, very bad scene. I don’t think the US should invade North Korea, but I’d say the situation there is still severe.

  16. Aint's Taking it Any More says:


    Your lack of comfort and clarity with Iraq is palpable and understandable. Agree with much of what you argue except you seem to be chasing the “what if’s” and the genocide argument.

    The US chased “what if’s” and it got us into Iraq in the first place. Hoping against hope that someone on Washington learned from that mistake. If ISIS attacks Turkey, then the calculus changes – not if sure the US response does.

    Not buying the genocide rational: (a) it hasn’t happened; (b) no present evidence it will happen; and (c) the Iraqi army, such as it is, can deal with this unless they are too busy surrendering.

    There have been so many modern day genocides, that it ought to be clear by now that governments don’t give a shit: Ukrainia famine, Rwanda cleansing, Cambodia cleansing, the Jews and WWII, Bangladesh, Armenia and Nigeria – all since 1940.

    One observation: ISIS hasn’t (yet at least) moved against Iraq’s Northern Kurd or the Southern oil fields. Maybe coincidence, maybe not. Lots of ways to view this. I choose to see it as evidence that this is a civil war over ideology/religion – albeit involving to neighboring countries.

  17. cassandra_m says:

    There’s no screw up in getting combat forces out of Iraq. It was what he campaigned on and that was what happened. At some point the Iraqis have to be able to govern themselves and there’s limited utility in the US babysitting these people.

  18. Geezer says:

    Agreed, Cassandra. This is the end game of the observation that no matter how long we stayed, Iraqis would still be there when we left.

    I’m incredulous that one of the architects of this craphouse, Wolfowitz I think, cited South Korea as a country we’ve occupied for 60 years — as if that was an outcome we should be happy with. Consider how much the Pentagon budget would shrink if we could bring the troops home from Korea.

  19. cassandra_m says:

    Did he say “occupied”? Because that isn’t true. We provide training to the South Korean forces, but the 25K+- troop force there is meant to give the North Koreans pause. No one is going to think about S Korea as a failed state that we have to stabilize.

  20. cassandra_m says:

    Heard Leslie Gelb on NPR today reprising an idea that he and Senator Joe Biden floated back in 2007 — which was to create in Iraq a federation of states, rather than treat the whole as one state. Even though this passed the Senate as a resolution (no force of law), there was widespread vilification of Biden for this from the neoconservative camp. In retrospect, the Federation idea looks like it could have been a better approach.

  21. Steve Newton says:

    cassandra, while we are looking back at the federation approach (which, I agree, would have been a far better way to go except that Turkey was adamantly against creating a Kurdish state on its border), let’s look back even further to 1991 when Bush 41 encouraged the Shia around Basra to revolt and oust Saddam and then stood aside while he annihilated them. It’s arguable that we’d have a lot more credibility with Iraq’s Shia population (even after supporting Saddam in the Iran-Iraq War) if we’d intervened then to stop the slaughter.

  22. cassandra_m says:

    Yes, Iraq’s Shia population has much to resent us for and that points out one of the real failures of how this kind of thing gets discussed by either our leadership or our press. Just because we have the biggest hammer in the box doesn’t mean that we control much. Long term political change and maturity doesn’t happen because the biggest hammer in the box is standing over you. al-Maliki is a failure by all reports and while we spent who knows how many trillions of dollars to stabilize that country and to train and equip their army, if that army (if the people of Iraq) doesn’t have the heart to stand up to these (relatively) few , then there is nothing we can help them with.

  23. Dana says:

    The Geezer wrote:

    “we sat by and did nothing while Pol Pot and the socialist Khmer Rouge murdered 2 million Cambodians.”

    Would you feel better if they had been killed by capitalists?

    To capitalists, people are customers, and capitalists don’t normally slaughter their customers.

  24. Dana says:

    Mr Gray wrote:

    Look, the US can’t solve everybody’s problems and we’ve been down this road before and fucked it up royally. Just don’t let that idea of implementing a much higher standard of intervention cloud that fact that this is a very, very bad scene.

    In Syria, we really didn’t care too awfully much when something on the order of 100,000 people were killed with bombs and bullets, but when about 1,600 were killed by a chemical weapon, why then we had to act!

  25. Frank says:

    I have scheduled a post about this link to pop tomorrow at my own site, but it seems to fit here. I’m not saying I agree with his “solutions,” but his diagnosis is on point.

    Americans make themselves aggressively ignorant of the real world.

  26. Dave says:

    Once again we debate whether to involve ourselves in a disagreement that has existed for thousands of years over which Caliph was the rightful successor of Muhammad in a country whose borders were arbitrarily drawn by a British spy who disregarded 2,000 years of tribal, sectarian, and nomadic existence in an arrogant and vain attempt to institutionalize the meme of “Can’t we all just get along” knowing that the outcome (been there done that) will waste billions of dollars and expend the lives of thousands of Americans as well as the maiming of thousands more young men and women.

    The travesty exists in even having this debate. If the neo left and right were able to agree on anything, it ought to be No More. We aspire to be our brother’s keeper, but America cannot solve man’s inhumanity to man, especially when tribalism creates societies where those “not like me” are met with prejudice, violence, and slaughter. Let the Sunnis and Shia sort out their own tribes, lives, and societies.

  27. Jason330 says:

    We are on the brink once again because the American right-wing is kindred spirits with those who view everything through the lens of tribalism.

    American right-wing extremists have killed 40 people in this country since Sept. 11, 2001. The left has not been responsible for a single death in that time.

    Brian Beutler of the New Republic points out:

    I’m inclined to believe the answer is written into the DNA of conservative extremism—that deeply conservative people are more politically tribal than others, and more inclined to confront cognitive dissonance by entertaining conspiracy theories and cocooning themselves in communities with like-minded true believers.

  28. fightingbluehen says:

    “So John McCain can sing, “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iraq.”

    There is only one person doing the bombing these days, and it ain’t John McCain.

    So, yeah. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iraq, and Afghanistan, Algeria,Iran Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, and probably more.

    Yes, Obama bombed these countries, and there was collateral damage, and that probably created more enemies.

    Great foreign policy we have going on over there.

  29. Aint's Taking it Any More says:


    Nailed it. Good start to the day. Well done.

  30. Dorian Gray says:

    You’ve swayed me. Also, I read this…

    Fact is that I am just uncomfortable with the seeming disregard for the slaughter of people. Just throwing up our hands and saying, “well, that’s that’s.” But yeah, there’s really nothing to be done. Until the utter sadness and emptiness of warfare for nothing (in this case the diffence between Shia and Sunni – which in reality means absolutely zero) weights heavy enough for enough people there really is nothing to be done.

  31. Geezer says:

    If both teams wear the same uniform, how do we know which side to root for?

  32. Jason330 says:

    The one thing we could do to help Sunnis and Shia sort out their own lives is the one thing we will never do – decide to use less hydrocarbons.

  33. stan merriman says:

    Just as I thought, after 24 hours of debate, not one, not one single good reason why we should bomb/drone the Iraq “militants”. But, by all means, keep on trying. Now if our Administration would draw the same rational conclusion…….

  34. Geezer says:

    Well, Stan, those bombs aren’t going to blow up by themselves, and if we don’t blow up some of them, we won’t need to buy more, and then you can kiss those sweet drone-building jobs goodbye.

  35. Keith Phillips says:

    Did anyone watch the execution of captured Iraqi soldiers by ISIS? Did anyone listen to what those nut-jobs want? Grow up. There is a real politik apart from Coldplay. ISIS is a threat to the stability of the Middle East. Negotiate with them? What planet are you from? As to ISIS, we need an international Orkin to eradicate the vermin. If that includes the crazy S’hia from Iran, so be it. Their boots on the ground is better than ours. We can and should bomb the living poop out of ISIS. A few hundred here, a few hundred there – first thing you know you’re talking real impact.

  36. SussexAnon says:

    “ISIS is a threat to the stability of the Middle East.”

    (Insert name of the new hotness in angry Muslims declaring a fatwa here} is a threat to the stability of the Middle East. Yep. And we don’t live in the Middle East.

    Just add a threat of a mushroom cloud and we are back in like flint.

  37. tim says:

    Why bomb Iraq? To kill as many people as possible. Stupid question.