Hey Iraq, Be Careful of What You Wish For

Let’s try to hold off the trolling comments from the start. I believe in hindsight, the US never should have gone into Iraq the second time, we went there with faulty information. Now, to the point of the post.
According to the NY Times, many Iraqis are a bit nervous about the recent information that the American drawdown will only leave about 3,000 troops in Iraq next year from the current 48,000 on the ground now. They loved to bluster and scream about the Americans being occupiers and they need to leave now. The US military was very much open to a request from Iraq’s government to have the troops stay. After multiple iterations of “are you sure?” went unanswered, the US is going to pull out. But now, there are feelings of their own country’s inadequacy:

  • “They bring a balance to Iraqi society,” [a Shiite tribe leader] said.
  • “Iraq is just not ready, and it’s necessary for the Americans to stay to prevent Iran from overrunning the country and helping to prevent violence. But we know 3,000 troops will not be enough.” said the Governor of the Anbar province
  • “If the Americans withdraw, there will be problems because there will be no great power in the country that everyone respects,” said Mateen Abdullah Karkukli
  • “The leading parties now in the government tend to act like dictators,” said Mr. Maamouri, the tribal leader. “I am afraid if the Americans withdraw from Iraq, these parties will act even more like dictators.
  • “After the Iraqi government was formed, I began to discover that the Americans were far better than the current officials,” said Raad Hamada, 51, an oil engineer from Basra. “I wish that the United States would stay longer because we need their culture, their assistance and their development. The American security forces keep the evil and militias away.”

Oh and there’s also this gem of “you broke it, you fix it”, even though they say they want our military out immediately:

But they created all of these problems, so they should stay and fix them.”

It’ll be a great day when those 45,000 troops get to come home. Hopefully they will all get to come back home and not be sent somewhere else.

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Sammy
Sammy
10 years ago

We killed a million of your people, destroyed most of your infrastructure, drove 4 million movers and shakers (anyone who had any money like businessmen, dentist, doctors, engineers, lawyers) out of the country, left 20% of your population handicapped, left spent uranium in the sand to generate a millennium of grotesque birth defects, and merged the Iraqi Government with Iran.
You’re welcome Iraq.
Please don’t give all your oil to China, like you’re doing and would you mind paying us back. We wasted three trillion dollars for nothing and we really need the money right now.
Signed…Your Friends on the Reight

Sammy
Sammy
10 years ago

Former chief U.N. nuclear inspector Doctor Mohamed ElBaradei suggests in a new memoir that the draft-dodging cowards, Bush and Cheney should face international criminal investigation for the needless war in Iraq.
Freer to speak now than he was as an international civil servant, the Nobel-winning Egyptian accuses U.S. leaders of “grotesque distortion” in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, when then-President George W. Bush and his lieutenants claimed Iraq possessed doomsday weapons despite contrary evidence collected by ElBaradei’s and other arms inspectors inside the country.
The Iraq war taught him that deliberate deception was not limited to small countries ruled by ruthless conservative dictators,

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Man, oh man. it’s like Sammy’s been waiting 3 years for an outlet for all of his BUSHCHENEYNOBLOODFOROIL hate to come pouring out. He doesn’t even know what to do with himself now that his guy is in office and things still suck.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

There is much to be admired in Sammy’s facility with the English language. I have always wondered why he chooses to sign himself in the diminutive. I note that Dan does not sign himself as Danny.
Sammy, a note of correction, Iraq does not “give” its oil to China.

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

That’s correct, Iraq doesn’t give it’s oil to China, but imagine if we had just stepped in and toppled Saddam…
Geographically, there would be Shi’a governance all the way from the oil fields in Iraq to the western border of China. In that case, the powers that be in Iraq and Iran would almost certainly prefer to sell oil directly to China without using the US Dollar as an intermediary. Iran has actually been trying to set up a non-dollar oil-trading market for a while now. China would likely build deep relationships with their new trading partners via industrial and military equipment exchanges.
So I think that while Bush probably had the ‘best intentions’ of spreading some freedom around and scoring points against a dictator, the situation quickly (and predictably) turned into an existential fight for Western Influence in the Middle East and the world’s energy markets.
It’s time we face an important fact: We have an expensive military who’s purpose is to win large wars, not build governments. Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan have goals by which we can call our job ‘done’ and leave. Basically, we have the wrong tools and no scope-of-work. Given those parameters, there’s no way things wouldn’t have gone the way they have.

Monique
Editor
10 years ago

“when then-President George W. Bush and his lieutenants claimed Iraq possessed doomsday weapons despite contrary evidence collected by ElBaradei’s and other arms inspectors inside the country.”
As to the specific point of whether Iraq had WMD.
Let’s see now, who am I going to believe? Hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Iranians (and the attendant corpses and pictures and videos) upon whom Saddam Hussein dropped WMD? Or an inspector who came to Iraq over ten years later, by which time Saddam Hussein had had plenty of time to hide or destroy or remove all traces of same?
Now who would I believe? H’mmm, let me think about that …

Monique
Editor
10 years ago

… still thinking …

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
10 years ago

I believe Saddam told his FBI handler that he himself was promoting the WMDs rumors in a ploy to keep the Iranians off his back.

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

“Hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Iranians (and the attendant corpses and pictures and videos) upon whom Saddam Hussein dropped WMD?”
So we were going after the folks who were responsible for what happened a full decade before the re-invasion? There weren’t any WMDs worth bothering over in Iraq in the timeframe leading up to the invasion.
Also, I am having trouble finding references to it, but wasn’t the USA involved with handing over targeting info to Saddam during that war, as part of our hedge against Iran? Maybe we should have ‘invaded’ the pentagon’s archives first to get the story straight.

Monique
Editor
10 years ago

… um, Mangeek, there were no “folks” involved. There had been no change of government. This was not visiting the sins of the Ford administration upon the Clinton admin. The country was run by a dictator – the same dictator – for that whole period. Unilateral action by any member of his gov’t got you instantly dead (if you were lucky). The person in charge when we invaded was the same person who ordered the dropping of WMD upon civilians.
Max, even stipulating the source (Saddam Hussein) of that rumor, that was after the fact. All we knew at the time was that:
1.) SH had repeatedly dropped WMD on Kurdish and Iranian civilians;
2.) He was energetically resisting the efforts of weapons inspectors. (Mohamed ElBaradei and other inspectors were not met by SH at Baghdad International Airport with jovial words of welcome and the keys to the country – quite the opposite.)

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

“The country was run by a dictator… got you instantly dead (if you were lucky). The person in charge when we invaded was the same person who ordered the dropping of WMD upon civilians.”
That wasn’t how it was presented to the world at the time, nor was that considered ‘actionable’ as a reason for war at the time. I actually support the idea of America benevolently toppling dictators who run countries like Saddam or Gaddhafi did, but only in the context of ‘helping along’ an active rebellion with democratic interests at heart. It was presented that Saddam Hussein was an immediate threat -to us-, a notion which I and many others found ridiculous.
I recall that Saddam was well-contained with almost no military to his no-fly zone. His ‘WMDs’ consisted of a few cans of stale nerve and mustard gas left over from the proxy wars we’d had in the region over a decade earlier; nothing that presented a threat to his own people or us.
At the time that Saddam did commit the atrocities that we retroactively decided to hold him accountable for, we were a close ally of his regime. It would be like going after former Mujahideen in Afghanistan not for Sept 11th involvement, but for their actions during the Soviet campaign decades earlier.

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

Monique, some reading for you:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_support_for_Iraq_during_the_Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_war#Support
We were at least tacitly involved with Saddam’s gassing of Kurds. The documents haven’t been declassified yet, but what is public is enough where we can’t really use that argument as a reason to go after Saddam.

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
10 years ago

“Max, even stipulating the source (Saddam Hussein) of that rumor, that was after the fact.”
Monique,
I’m not sure how to interpret that. Of course Saddam’s admission was developed after the fact but don’t you think if prior to the war he wanted Iran to believe he had WMDs, our intelligence would have picked that up too?

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“Now who would I believe?”
Ooh, ooh, I know. As with everything else for Monique, Rush Limbaugh. Look no further.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

Take up the White Man’s burden–
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard–
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
“Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?”

Monique
Editor
10 years ago

“don’t you think if prior to the war he wanted Iran to believe he had WMDs, our intelligence would have picked that up too?”
Gee, I didn’t think I was attempting to convey a difficult concept, Max.
We didn’t have to wonder whether Iraq had WMD or take anyone’s word for it (not even Saddam Hussein’s). The world knew that Iraq had them because they had used them on Iranian and Kurdish civilians. Any subsequent attempt by SH’s to exaggerate his WMD program would not in any way alter that immutable fact.
“At the time that Saddam did commit the atrocities that we retroactively decided to hold him accountable for, we were a close ally of his regime”
The point here, Mangeek, has not been whether we should have held him accountable after we stopped being his ally. It has been the more narrow question of whether Iraq had WMD. You seem to have tacitly acknowledged that they did by attempting to broaden out the responsibility for their use.

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

But Monique, Iraq didn’t have any significant WMDs in the run-up to the second Gulf War. Like I said, all they found was a few canisters of mustard and nerve gas, not enough to subdue a small hamlet from ten miles away. The reason we went to war was because we were sold the idea that Saddam Hussein was pursuing nuclear weapons and long-range delivery systems. Some things aren’t up to opinion; this is one of them. UN and US inspectors have concluded that Iraq was not pursuing WMDs in the lead-up to the war; President Bush even said that the ‘intelligence failure’ surrounding this was his biggest regret as president. (reference summary: Third paragraph of this – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction ). Did SH use ‘WMDs’ on ‘his own people’ back in the 1980s? Yes, he used poison gas (that he obtained with help from the CIA) on Iranian and Kurdish civilians (the targeting info was likely also given by US forces). It’s up to some debate if artillery loaded with sarin/mustard gas is considered ‘WMD’, since it’s not particularly more devastating than conventional weaponry. To most, a ‘WMD’ is something that can take out more than a city block at a range of more than a few miles. In any case, the premise for the war was total bunk. If Bush had said ‘we messed up the first time, and I’m going to finish the job of toppling Saddam once and for all and forking over the government to the people’ or ‘it’s imperative that we protect our interests in the middle east by preventing a Shia Iraq (after an Arab-spring event) from establishing a second Iran next to our allies’ I would have been sort of OK with it. Unfortunately, that’s NOT what happened, what happened was that we were… Read more »

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Monique-the Rush Limbaugh remark comimg from someone who proabbly gets all hot and bothered over Paul Krugman’s thoughts is a joke(a bad one)-FWIW I think Limbaugh is a gasbag,sorta like Tim Mackay.

Monique
Editor
10 years ago

Hey, Joe. Ditto – while I respect that he does his homework, I’m afraid that I am not a huge fan of Rush.

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

“I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile. All of this reporting about hijacking was about traditional hijacking.” – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice
“There is already a mountain of evidence that Saddam Husseion is gathering WMDs for the purpose of using them. And adding additional information is like adding a foot to Mount Everest.”
–White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer, Sept. 6, 2002
“There’s no deate in the world as to whether they have these weapons. We all know that. A trained ape knows that.”
–Donald Rumsfeld, Sept. 13, 2002
“We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
–Condoleezza Rice, Sept. 8, 2002
“Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof–the smoking gun–that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”
–George W. Bush, Oct. 7, 2002
“We know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”
–Dick Cheney, March 16, 2003
“I don’t believe anyone that I know in the administration ever said that Iraq had nuclear weapons.”
–Donald Rumsfeld, May 14, 2003
… still thinking …
Start Thinking.

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