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Enter Ken Pollack and Tom Friedman– the Iraq experts!

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Kenneth Pollack

Kenneth Pollack

As the sectarian US-backed central government in Iraq loses up to half its territory to jihadist forces, the country is entering its biggest crisis in years. So far the Obama administration is resisting pressure to intervene with air strikes or drones.

This would be a useful time for the US intellectual cheerleaders of the disastrous 2003 invasion to gaze upon their handiwork and consider how high that achievement ranks in their CVs.  Certainly they bear some responsibility for today’s events. They acted to destabilize the country in the first place, uprooting a secular dictatorship.

But no, yesterday’s Tom Friedman column about religious extremism in Iraq ignores the shooting war there and spins off into a discussion of environmental issues in the region. How soon we forget that he sold the Iraq invasion as a radical-liberal liberation! As he wrote in 2003 (thanks to Belen Fernandez):

this is the most radical-liberal revolutionary war the U.S. has ever launched — a war of choice to install some democracy in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world.

Most of the troubles we have encountered in Iraq (and will in the future) are not because of ”occupation” but because of ”empowerment.” The U.S. invasion has overturned a whole set of vested interests, particularly those of Iraq’s Sunni Baathist establishment, and begun to empower instead a whole new set of actors: Shiites, Kurds, non-Baathist Sunnis, women and locally elected officials and police. The Qaeda nihilists, the Saddamists, and all the Europeans and the Arab autocrats who had a vested interest in the old status quo are threatened by this.

Many liberals oppose this war because they can’t believe that someone as radically conservative as George W. Bush could be mounting such a radically liberal war.

Today, an analytical piece in the New York Times (co-authored by Michael Gordon, another instrument of the late war) quotes Kenneth M. Pollack, author of The Threatening Storm, the book that did more than just about anything, except Pollack’s numerous op-eds in the Times, to convince liberals to support the 2003 invasion. If the Times wants to keep quoting Pollack, fine, but tell us what he said before. Nowhere in the article is Pollack identified as having been terribly wrong about Iraq when it mattered most. Pollack wrote in 2002 that the Iraqis would welcome us as a liberating force and soon be on their feet after our army toppled the regime:

In purely economic terms, Iraq itself, with its vast oil wealth, would pay for most of its reconstruction. It might take some time to bring the oil back online.. but it is hard to imagine that it would take more than two to three years to have Iraq back to 2000 to 2001 production levels… Consequently, in purely economic terms, it is unimaginable that the United States would have to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars and highly unlikely that we would have to contribute even tens of billions of dollars [to rebuild the country]. The United States probably would have to provide $5 to $10 billion over the first three years to help get Iraq’s oil industry back on its feet, initiate the reconstrution of Iraq’s economy, and support the Iraqi people in the meantime… redeveloping infrastructure and other basic costs. However, the need for direct U.S. aid should decline steeply thereafter.

Those who argue that the United States would inevitably become the target of unhappy Iraqis generally also assume that the Iraqi population would be hostile to U.S. forces from the outset. However, the best evidence we have suggests that the Iraqi people would be pleased to be liberated, and over the longer term, their acceptance of U.S. forces would likely be determined by the efforts the United States undertook….

When you’re fighting a fire, why would you turn to the arsonists who set it for advice? Whatever the U.S. should do — or not do — we should certainly put a giant asterisk next to the people who got us and Iraq into this terrible mess in the first place and pay more attention to those who were right all along.


James North
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132 Responses

  1. Katie Miranda
    Katie Miranda on June 12, 2014, 2:34 pm

    …said with the detachment of a teenager playing World of Warcraft.

  2. Walid
    Walid on June 12, 2014, 2:46 pm

    NYT is preoccupied with oil while the religious weirdos have taken over half of Iraq. What the West is not realizing is that the area already occupied by the ISIS forces are the very areas that hold the most non-Sunni people in Iraq such as Christians, Shia, Kurs and so on that are on ISIS’s torture or death list. At one hospital, a doctor had gone outside for a smoke and was caught at it by ISIS forces and condemned to lose the 2 fingers of his right hand with which he had held the forbidden cigarette. After he pleaded with them that he needed his 2 fingers for the surgeries he was conducting to save lives, they compromised by cutting off his 2 fingers from his left hand.

    They had almost taken over Syria until Hizbullah jumped in and saved the day. Now they are promising to return to Syria properly equipped with all the hardware picked up from the fleeing Iraqi army.

    As to the Iraqi army itself, other than the billions’worth of useless Hummers, tanks and other equipment provided by the Americans, all they got were 4 F16s and 3 Cessna’s that can fire Hellfire missiles.. The rest of Iraq is about to fall to these head-choppers in a few days and the NYT is worried about the oil.

  3. Citizen
    Citizen on June 12, 2014, 2:48 pm

    LOL. The very group of Arabs the US fought in Iraq (for, what a decade, plus?) are now being armed by Obama in Syria. The press refers to these interventionists as “moderates.”

    Not to mention the US also armed the Taliban to fight the Russians in Afghanistan, and then on the heels of Russia leaving that area, the US commenced to fighting the Taliban.

    How does this differ from rival street gangster activity? Just how many proxy wars is the US involved in right now?

    • lysias
      lysias on June 12, 2014, 3:07 pm

      Assad’s government in Syria is just the kind of secular Ba’athist Arab government that we overthrew in Iraq, with terrible results for the Iraqis. Now we are attempting to do the same in Syria, and that attempt has resulted in the metastasis of the ISIS jihadists into a force that threatens all of Iraq, and already holds a substantial part of Syria.

      You’d think people would learn from their mistakes. But maybe all these results are intended.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr on June 12, 2014, 4:11 pm

        you shouldn’t forget that it was ordinary Syrians that started this war to overthrow Assad-not the US and totally unlike Iraq.

      • Nevada Ned
        Nevada Ned on June 12, 2014, 7:28 pm

        Not so fast about Syria:

        In the “Arab Spring”, the governments of Tunisia and Egypt were overthrown in a popular uprising that showed how little support the regimes of Tunisia and Egypt had. The regimes fell quickly.

        Syria is a very different story. It’s a civil war that has lasted several years, because lots of Syrians think that if the rebels wins, they’ll be even worse off than they are now under Assad. Dozens of Saudi princes – and the U S – are funding religious fundamentalist forces, taking on the secular Assad regime.

        This is the dumbest thing the US has done since…..funding the anti-USSR forces in Afghanistan, which led to the Taliban taking power, with help from Osama Bin Laden.

        Once religious extremists get power, they can be a real problem. Whether it’s Christian extremists (in the US), Moslem extremists (whose growth we are fostering), or Jewish extremists (see Max Blumenthal’s book, Goliath).
        They can be a real problem!!

      • jimby
        jimby on June 12, 2014, 8:25 pm

        @DaBakr…. SO WHAT? Your statement is a non sequitur and has nothing to do with what the points of the essay or any of the comments so far.

      • annie
        annie on June 12, 2014, 9:04 pm

        ordinary Syrians that started this war to overthrow Assad

        oh pleeeease! you mean like the “ordinary Syrians” we “empowered“?

        U.S. State Dept. Document Confirms Regime Change Agenda in Middle East

        The Obama Administration has been pursuing a policy of covert support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other insurgent movements in the Middle East since 2010. MEB has obtained a just-released U.S. State Department document through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that confirms the Obama Administration’s pro-active campaign for regime change throughout the Middle East and North Africa region.
        The October 22, 2010 document, titled “Middle East Partnership Initiative: Over[throw]view,” spells out an elaborate structure of State Department programs aimed at directly building “civil society” organizations, particularly non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to alter the internal politics of the targeted countries in favor of U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives.
        The five-page document, while using diplomatic language, makes clear that the goal is promoting and steering political change in the targeted countries: “The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is a regional program that empowers citizens in the Middle East and North Africa to develop more pluralistic, participatory, and prosperous societies. As the figures in this overview illustrate, MEPI has evolved from its origins in 2002 into a flexible, region-wide tool for direct support to indigenous civil society that mainstreams that support into the daily business of USG diplomacy in the region. MEPI engages all the countries of the NEA region except Iran. In the seven of NEA’s eighteen countries and territories with USAID missions, country-level discussions and communication between MEPI and USAID in Washington ensure that programming efforts are integrated and complementary.”

        meanwhile “Protests began on 28 January 2011.”

  4. Walid
    Walid on June 12, 2014, 3:05 pm

    Citizen, you have to look beyond the US for who is actually backing these ISIS takfiri Salafists-on-steroids forces that are fighting the apostate Shia leader al-Maliki in Iraq and the apostate Alawite leader Assad in Syria and against the heretical Shia leader of Iran.

    • seafoid
      seafoid on June 12, 2014, 3:33 pm


      As far as I am concerned ISIS are up there with Kiryat Arba but they do have a point in that from Basra to the Syrian coast the land is controlled by the Shia.
      There has to be something for the Sunnis there. The Iraqi army ran away from Mosul because they have no mandate amongst the Sunni population.

      The Israelis are apparently worried about a Sunni link up that would eventually involve Jordan.

      • lysias
        lysias on June 12, 2014, 3:44 pm

        Not just from Basra. Shiites are also in control of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on June 12, 2014, 3:47 pm

        True, but Iran is something like 90% Shia. The combined Iraq and Syria is not.

      • lysias
        lysias on June 13, 2014, 5:48 pm

        Speaking of Basra, the Baghdad International Airport has already been coming under fire from the ISIS folks. Any evacuation of Western personnel now in Baghdad’s Green Zone may have to be out of Basra Airport.

      • Walid
        Walid on June 12, 2014, 3:44 pm

        The Kurdish Peshmerga has moved into and taken over Kirkuk this afternoon after the Iraqi army abandoned the city and is ready to defend it against an attack by ISIS. It’s only a matter of time before the ISIS guys arrive in Jordan and then on to Israel as they have been promising.

      • seafoid
        seafoid on June 12, 2014, 3:53 pm

        “Israel has to do all it can to continue to bolster Jordan. The survival of the Hashemite kingdom is an Israeli interest of the highest order. The strategic coordination and economic ties between the two countries surged forward during the years of the Arab Spring, and it seems now that Amman needs Jerusalem more than it did in the past.
        Secondly, new developments in the Middle East are occurring at such a dizzying pace, it is very difficult to predict changes and processes. Israel, too, needs to take into account similar surprises – including, among other things, the ambitious Al-Qaida attacks in the Golan Heights, even though at the moment it would seem the organization is more preoccupied with its war on Assad and Hezbollah”

      • Shingo
        Shingo on June 12, 2014, 5:08 pm

        It’s only a matter of time before the ISIS guys arrive in Jordan and then on to Israel as they have been promising.

        Wouldn’t that be the ultimate Karma? The Jordanian leadership suffering the fruits if their own stupidity and implicity, seeing as Jordan has offered itself as the training ground and supporters for Sunni jihadists to create chais in Syria and Lebanon.

        Couldn’t happen to a nicer dictatorship.

      • lysias
        lysias on June 12, 2014, 5:15 pm

        If they never go to Jordan or Israel, that will suggest that they are as much the cat’s paws of Western capitalism as the old Al Qaeda was.

      • Walid
        Walid on June 13, 2014, 4:48 am

        Unless the jihadists’ sponsors decide to pass on Jordan and Israel, Shingo. These two countries have important people in high places to look out for them.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on June 13, 2014, 5:57 am

        Unless the jihadists’ sponsors decide to pass on Jordan and Israel, Shingo. These two countries have important people in high places to look out for them.

        That’s assuming the jihadists can be controlled or do as they are told. ISIS is not likely on the payroll of the Saudis, given the animosity between them an Al Qaeda. It seems that ISIS has become self sufficient after having captured the oil wells in Syria. Even Assad, the target of their violence, has been buying oil off them.

        What is happening in Iraq is clearly not in Washington’s interests and it’s hard to believe that these jihadists’ sponsors are that untouchable that they can get away with embarrassing Washington, who might want to back them in Syria.

        That sounds like a bridge too far Walid.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 13, 2014, 5:18 pm

        Al-Qaeda wants to overthrow the Saudi monarchy. ISIS is even more extreme than al-Qaeda in its programme.

    • just
      just on June 12, 2014, 3:52 pm

      Yes, but the US, the UK, and the “coalition of the willing” made this possible/inevitable.

      Our hands are filthy with the blood of too many– what was it that Tommy Franks said wrt Afghan deaths?

      “We don’t do body counts”.

      Rumsfeld said it too wrt Iraq:

      “RUMSFELD: Well, we don’t do body counts on other people. And we have certain rules on people we capture, in terms of exposing them to the public, Geneva Conventions and the like.”

      More of his caca here:

      As for Pollack and Friedman and any of the other warmonger armchair goons, I was sick of them then and won’t listen to them now. I knew the war(s) were wrong and protested them. I am no genius. If I knew, how come these ‘learned’ fools didn’t?

  5. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger on June 12, 2014, 3:49 pm

    It is about time for some courageous film director to produce a Dr. Strangelovian black comedy about these people who were so fucking wrong about Iraq, yet somehow are still employed mansplaining all this to us. This alone should disqualify Pollack from being given public platforms on anything having to do with Iraq, Syria or Iran:

    Consequently, in purely economic terms, it is unimaginable that the United States would have to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars and highly unlikely that we would have to contribute even tens of billions of dollars [to rebuild the country]. The United States probably would have to provide $5 to $10 billion over the first three years to help get Iraq’s oil industry back on its feet, initiate the reconstrution of Iraq’s economy, and support the Iraqi people in the meantime… redeveloping infrastructure and other basic costs. However, the need for direct U.S. aid should decline steeply thereafter.

    • seafoid
      seafoid on June 12, 2014, 3:55 pm

      Pollock and Friedman on Iraq redux remind me of this Flannery O’Connor quote

      “Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to was never there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it.”

  6. Kay24
    Kay24 on June 12, 2014, 4:28 pm

    Where are Bush/Cheney and the zionist neocons? This is their “brilliant” war, and it has become a nightmare and a disaster. Is this the democracy and liberation they promised Iraqis? It opened the gates for terrorism, sectarian wars, and civil unrest.
    The violence over there is terrible, and as usual, the civilians end up the victims.
    Iraq was better under Saddam Hussein, and we should not have taken a bad situation and made it worse. At least during his time, civilians were able to walk around their cities, do their jobs, and go to the market, without being killed by suicide bombers.
    We broke it, and it is ours. It will be hard to ignore what is going on, and all those who pushed for this unnecessary war seems to be MIA. I guess the responsibility now goes to Obama, and he will get the blame for everything that goes wrong in Iraq.
    Bush, Cheney, and the warmongers, deserve to be tried in the ICC and face the consequences of killing innocent civilians by the hundreds and thousands.

    • Nevada Ned
      Nevada Ned on June 12, 2014, 7:37 pm

      Yes, believe it or not, lots of Iraqis are even worse off now than they were under Saddam Hussein. Michael Moore says, “How badly do you have to suck to be more unpopular than Saddam Husssein???”.

      I saw a survey of Iraqi opinion a few years ago, on Al Jazzera.
      The question posed as “Why is the US in Iraq?”
      Popular answers were:
      to control the oil,
      to build military bases, or
      to help Israel.

      How many people in the survey responded
      “to being democracy”?

      A grand total of 2%
      Iraqis know the score!!

      • Kay24
        Kay24 on June 12, 2014, 9:34 pm

        I am sure the majority in the world, if asked the same questions, will answer the same way too. Apart from naive Americans who believed the Bush administration, their false propaganda and fake intelligence, the rest of the world knew, this war was not to bring democracy, nor save the Iraqi people. It was sheer greed for oil, and toppling of a dictator they once sided with, and armed, against the Iranians. Perhaps he stood between their energy companies, and the oil.
        Look at the “democracy” going on right now in Iraq. Thousands are going to be homeless once again, and there is going to be a humanitarian disaster very soon, as civilians are fleeing the violence. A far cry from the “we shall be greeted as liberators” lie narrated by Donald Rumsfeld. Again, I regret that those responsible for this endless war, will never be prosecuted for war crimes, as a deterrent to future American war mongers, who might decide to wage wars on nations who did not harm us, in the future.

      • Walid
        Walid on June 12, 2014, 11:56 pm

        “Perhaps he stood between their energy companies, and the oil.” (Kay)

        Worse, Saddam had moved away from the dollar for the oil. Same happened with Chavez and Gaddafi who were about to do it. Today, the Iranians are talking about it and so are the Russians. Maybe regime change is in the cards for Russia.

        … On September 24, 2000, Saddam Hussein allegedly “emerged from a meeting of his government and proclaimed that Iraq would soon transition its oil export transactions to the euro currency.”

        Not long after this meeting, Saddam Hussein began preparing to make the switch from pricing his country’s oil exports in greenbacks to euros. As renegade and newsworthy this action was on the part of Iraq, it was sparsely reported in the corporate-controlled media.

        Clark comments on the limited media coverage on page 31 of his book:
        “CNN ran a very short article on its website on October 30, 2000, but after this one-day news cycle, the issue of Iraq’s switch to a petroeuro essentially disappeared from all five of the corporate-owned media outlets.”

        By 2002, Saddam had fully converted to a petroeuro – in essence, dumping the dollar.

        On March 19, 2003, George W. Bush announced the commencement of a full scale invasion of Iraq.

        … The Most Damning Evidence of a Petrodollar Motive in the Iraq War

        On June 5, 2003, the corrupt U.S. media missed one of the most important and revealing stories about the Iraq war. However, Carol Hoyas and Kevin Morrison from the London-based Financial Times reported on the story in a piece entitled: Iraq returns to international oil market. Here’s an excerpt of the story:

        “Iraq on Thursday stepped back into the international oil market for the first time since the war, offering 10m barrels of oil from its storage tanks for sale to the highest bidder. For some international companies it will be the first time in more than a year that they will do business directly with Iraq…

        The tender, for which bids are due by June 10, switches the transaction back to dollars – the international currency of oil sales – despite the greenback’s recent fall in value. Saddam Hussein in 2000 insisted Iraq’s oil be sold for euros, a political move, but one that improved Iraq’s recent earnings thanks to the rise in the value of the euro against the dollar.”

      • Shingo
        Shingo on June 13, 2014, 6:12 am

        Worse, Saddam had moved away from the dollar for the oil. Same happened with Chavez and Gaddafi who were about to do it. Today, the Iranians are talking about it and so are the Russians. Maybe regime change is in the cards for Russia.

        That might be one of the reasons, but I think it’s a mistake to believe it’s the only reason.

        One thing that astounds me about the neocons is who they can flop 180 degrees when it suits them. Many have probably forgotten that one of the biggest sales pitches for going into Iraq offered by the neocons was that it would be a way to break the back of OPEC and unseat the Saudis. They were proposing that this could be done by privatising Iraq’s oil.

        Come 2013, the same neocons are arguing that Washington has proven itself to be an unreliable partner for the Saudis because of Obama’s refusal to bomb Syria and willingness to negotiate with Iran over the nuclear program.

        So in 2002, they wanted to overthrow the Saudis, in 2013, they decided the Saudis had to be placated at all costs.

        So yes, oil was indeed one of the reasons for the Iraq war in 2003, so was the petro dollar, so was Israel, so was the goal to weaken any potential rival to American hegemony.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 13, 2014, 5:17 pm

        Some neocons were sufficiently delusional as to think Iraq would sell its oil below market prices, etc etc etc. I think most knew this nonsense was simply part of the programme of lies used to set up the idiotic invasion of Iraq.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on June 13, 2014, 8:18 pm

        Some neocons were sufficiently delusional as to think Iraq would sell its oil below market prices, etc etc etc. I think most knew this nonsense was simply part of the programme of lies used to set up the idiotic invasion of Iraq.

        Which begs the question, who are these untouchable jihadist sponsors?

      • Kay24
        Kay24 on June 13, 2014, 7:22 am

        I remember the issue about Saddam going to change sale of oil from US dollars to some other currency, and yes I guess the gluttons for oil did not like things getting out of their control. Our leaders in the US have a talent for taking a bad situation and making it worse, especially in other nations.
        They don’t seem to have a clue!

      • Walid
        Walid on June 13, 2014, 7:35 am

        Agreed, Shingo; many reasons with some more important than others. I just remembered the PNAC manifesto advocating the need for the US to be in a position to comfortably wage major wars on 5 fronts simultaneously thus necessitating the need to be accordingly armed for it by buying zillions and zillions’ worth of arms. The list of probable reasons could be endless.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 13, 2014, 6:21 pm

        I doubt the currency issue was even 1% of the motive for setting up the idiotic US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Motives were numerous, but protecting Israel was at the head of the list.

    • Naftush
      Naftush on June 13, 2014, 5:49 am

      This being MW, I figured the adjective “Zionist” would visit the debate, as in “the Zionist neocons.” Well, from 2001 on, a whole parade of Israeli officials warned the Bush administration not to invade Iraq due to the regional instability that this would cause. “The Israelis were telling us Iraq is not the enemy – Iran is the enemy,” said Lawrence Wilkerson, then a member of the US State Department’s policy planning team.

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS on June 13, 2014, 2:32 pm

        Israelis most certainly supported the war in Iraq. Read the chapter on Iraq in the Mearsheimer and Walt book. It is thoroughly documented there. The fact that Israel wanted us to attack Iran is irrelevant.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 13, 2014, 5:08 pm

        A Jewish rabbi near San Francisco, Michael Lerner, says the Israel lobby worked quietly to set up the US invasion of Iraq and the idea was to keep a low profile in case the deal blew up.

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 10:10 am

        Israel provides half-truth .One of the frequent claims made by Israeli and the 5th columnist of Israel in this country is that Israel warned US of Al Quida attack in 2001 sometimes around June to Aug. Yes they did warn of possible terrorist attack but not from at Al Quida/Bin Ledeen or Afghanistan but from Saddam and his army of freelancing terrorist who are collaborating apparently with Bin Ledeen

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 10:19 am

        “Zalman Shoval, former Israeli ambassador to the US, is quoted as saying recently to Israel’s Military Radio (GALATZ), “The postponement of the war against Iraq is against the Israeli interests.”

        —“The conservative columnist Robert Novak said on Meet the Press in December that the extremists in the Bush administration never wanted inspections in Iraq: “This is really about change of regime in Iraq and change of the political outlines in the Middle East more to Israel’s benefit. That’s what this has all been about, and since it’s very hard to sell that to the American people, they have done it on a weapons of mass destruction basis.”

        “‘If the Americans do not do this now,’ said Israeli Deputy Defense Minister and Labor Party member Weizman Shiry on Wednesday, ‘it will be harder to do it in the future. In a year or two, Saddam Hussein will be further along in developing weapons of mass destruction. It is a world interest, but especially an American interest to attack Iraq. And as deputy defense minister, I can tell you that the United States will receive any assistance it needs from Israel,’ -

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 10:20 am

        1996, Perle (and Douglas Feith) wrote ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,’ which he presented to then Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu. The plan called for not only eliminating Hussein and installing a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad, but also for trashing the Oslo Accords, Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and overthrowing or destabilizing the governments of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Perle’s master plan for Likud regional dominance … was crafted for the Jerusalem and Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS)

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 10:28 am

        “Deputy Interior Minister Gideon Ezra suggested this week that a US attack on Iraq will help Israel impose a new order, sans Arafat, in the Palestinian territories. ‘The more aggressive the attack is, the more it will help Israel against the Palestinians. The understanding would be that what is good to do in Iraq, is also good for here,’ said Ezra. He said a US strike would ‘undoubtedly deal a psychological blow’ to the Palestinians.Yuval Steinitz, a Likud party member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, says he sees another advantage for Israel. The installation of a pro-American government in Iraq would help Israel vis-a-vis another enemy: Syria. ‘After Iraq is taken by US troops and we see a new regime installed as in Afghanistan, and Iraqi bases become American bases, it will be very easy to pressure Syria to stop supporting terrorist organizations like Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad, to allow the Lebanese army to dismantle Hizbullah, and maybe to put an end to the Syrian occupation in Lebanon,’ he says. ‘If this happens we will really see a new Middle East. It might be enough not to invade Syria but just to have an American or UN blockade so that no one can ship weapons to it,’ Steinitz adds.Mr. Ezra predicts a US strike would ‘calm down the entire region’ by eliminating ‘the extremism of Saddam.’”

        Ben Lynfield, Christian Science Monitor, August 30, 2002”

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 10:31 am

        “.A grandiose, world-embracing, yet simple and logical design. What does it remind me of?In the early 80′s, I heard about several plans like this from Ariel Sharon (which I published at the time). His head was full of grand designs for restructuring the Middle East, the creation of an Israeli ‘security zone’ from Pakistan to Central Africa, the overthrow of regimes and installing others in their stead, moving a whole people (the Palestinians) and so forth. I can’t help it, but the winds blowing now in Washington remind me of Sharon. I have absolutely no proof that the Bushies got their ideas from him, even if all of them seem to have been mesmerized by him. But the style is the same, a mixture of megalomania, creativity, arrogance, ignorance and superficiality.
        sraeli peace activist Uri Avnery,, September 10, 2002

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 10:34 am

        Israel is left with the excuse -I did not commit this crime, I was trying to commit the other crime over there over there over there,over there in Iran- please believe me and let me go free.

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 10:36 am

        “All of their hopes and expectations are pointed toward Washington: an American attack on Iraq is seen as the lever which can extricate Israel from its economic, security and social quagmire. It is hoped that the removal of Saddam Hussein from power will set in motion a ‘domino effect,’ will end the Palestinian Intifada, bring about the end of Yasser Arafat’s regime and eradicate the threat to Israel from Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.”

        Israeli correspondent Aluf Benn, Ha’aretz, November 18, 2002”

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 10:47 am

        “If you want to know what the administration has in mind for Iraq, here’s a hint: It has less to do with weapons of mass destruction than with implementing an ambitious U.S. vision to redraw the map of the Middle East. The new map would be drawn with an eye to two main objectives: controlling the flow of oil and ensuring Israel’s continued regional military superiority.[Patrick] Clawson [a policy analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy], whose institute enjoys close ties with the Bush administration, wascandid during a Capitol Hill forum on a post-Hussein Iraq in 1999: ‘U.S. oil companies would have an opportunity to make significant profits,’ he said. ‘We should not be embarrassed about the commercial advantages that would come from a re-integration of Iraq into the world economy.’…But taking over Iraq and remaking the global oil market is not necessarily the endgame. The next steps, favored by hard-liners determined to elevate Israeli security above all other U.S. foreign policy goals, would be to destroy any remaining perceived threat to the Jewish state: namely, the regimes in Syria and Iran.In 1998, [David] Wurmser, now in the State Department, told the Jewish newspaper Forward that if [Iraqi opposition leader] Ahmad Chalabi were in power and extended a no-fly, no-drive zone in northern Iraq, it would provide the crucial piece for an anti-Syria, anti-Iran bloc. ‘It puts Scuds out of the range of Israel and provides the geographic beachhead between Turkey, Jordan and Israel,’ he said. ‘This should anchor the Middle East pro-Western coalition.’ [Richard] Perle, in the same 1998 article, told Forward that a coalition of pro-Israeli groups was ‘at the forefront with the legislation with regard to Iran. One can only speculate what it might accomplish if it decided to focus its attention on Saddam Hussein.’Now, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has joined the call against Tehran, arguing in a November interview with the Times of London that the U.S. should shift its focus to Iran ‘the day after’ the Iraq war ends.[T]he hard-liners in and around the administration seem to know in their hearts that the battle to carve up the Middle East would not be won without the blood of Americans and their allies. ‘One can only hope that we turn the region into a caldron, and faster, please,’ [Michael] Ledeen preached to the choir at National Review Online last August. ‘That’s our mission in the war against terror.’”

        UC Berkeley journalism professor Sandy Tolan, Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2002

        One thing that should not be missed is the oil angle.But that angle is being aired and echoed and focused at by the neooncs not by the oil company . Oil was an asset like the water or the fertile land .It could be used again for the interest of Israel by forcing other countries to pay respect to US-Israeli positions. History shows that as the power of Arabs diminished and as the power of its backers (USSR) diminished ,the penetration of Israel in India and certain African countries increased . It was the changed dynamics in greater ME that forced India to change its attitude and level of support to Iran in 2006 when it agreed with US to send the dossier of Iran to UN. These indirect benefits are enormous for Israel .
        The benefit of oil company is zero – nothing extra. Actually Perle told that oil price would go down after attack on Iraq !

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 11:03 am

        “The immediate and laudatory purpose of a United States military campaign against Iraq is to stamp out the regime of Saddam Hussein, the world’s most psychopathic ruler, and to strike a blow against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. As such this is a welcome move from Israel’s standpoint, whatever the consequences.[T]he American planners, who display considerable disdain for most of the Muslim and Arab worlds, seem to think that the forcible removal of Saddam’s evil regime and the consequent implantation of an American military presence in the wild Middle East will project a civilizing or liberating influence. They are not alone; not a few progressive Arab thinkers (and many Israelis) appear to welcome this American deus ex machina into the region.”

        Israeli military/political analyst, Yossi Alpher,, December 23, 2002

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 11:05 am

        “I thinkthat the conquest of Iraq will really create a New Middle East. Put differently: the Middle East will enter a new age. For the time being this will happen without us, as long as there’s no Palestinian solution. Many peoples in the region are ruled by frightened dictators who have to decide whom to fear more, the terrorists or the war against terrorism. Asad fears for his legitimacy due to the war against terrorism. Arafat can also lose his legitimacy. The Saudis gave money for terrorism due to fear. No terrorist-sponsoring country is democratic.In those countries [that support terrorism] there will be revolutions. Television will play a role like in the collapse of the Iron Curtain. This will happen with the Palestinians, too. The Arab world is ripe for internal revolution like the USSR and China in the past decade.”

        Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres,, December 23, 2002

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 11:07 am

        “Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, having just returned from a week-long fact-finding trip to the Middle East, addressed the Chicago Council of Foreign Relations Dec. 16 and said out loud what is whispered on Capitol Hill: ‘The road to Arab-Israeli peace will not likely go through Baghdad, as some may claim.’ The ‘some’ are led by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. In private conversation with Hagel and many other members of Congress, the former general leaves no doubt that the greatest U.S. assistance to Israel would be to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime. That view is widely shared inside the Bush administration, and is a major reason why U.S. forces today are assembling for war.As the US gets ready for war, its standing in Islam, even among longtime allies, stands low. Yet, the Bush administration has tied itself firmly to Gen. Sharon and his policies.In private conversation, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has insisted that Hezbollah, not al Qaeda, is the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization. How could that be, considering al Qaeda’s global record of mass carnage? In truth, Hezbollah is the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization from Israel’s standpoint. While viciously anti-American in rhetoric, the Lebanon-based Hezbollah is focused on the destruction of Israel.Thus, Rice’s comments suggest that the U.S. war against terrorism, accused of being Iraq-centric, actually is Israel-centric. That ties George W. Bush to Arik Sharon.What is widely perceived as an indissoluble Bush-Sharon bond creates tension throughout Islam.On balance, war with Iraq may not be inevitable but is highly probable. That it looks like Sharon’s war disturbs Americans such as Chuck Hagel, who have no use for Saddam Hussein but worry about the background of an attack against him.”

        Robert Novak, Washington Post, December 26, 2002

        quoted in

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 11:08 am

        Boss of Lawrence Wilkerson said “The JINSA crowd are driving the case for the war”

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 11:12 am

        Covering the palm prints and hiding the shoe prints had been already works in progress by the Israeli charm and lie factories.

        ‘”Authors’ note: Given the prevailing atmosphere in the United States for debate on Israel, the frequency with which critics of Israel are accused of malicious ethnic motives, and the widespread skittishness about associating Israel or American Jews with war planning against Iraq, the following items are of particular interest. The first of these items reports a clear Jewish effort to suppress any evidence of Jewish support for war. The second is evidence, from a non-Jewish perspective, of the effect of the silence imposed on critics of Israel.

        “A group of U.S. political consultants has sent pro-Israel leaders a memo urging them to keep quiet while the Bush administration pursues a possible war with Iraq. The six-page memo was sent by the Israel Project, a group funded by American Jewish organizations and individual donors. Its authors said the main audience was American Jewish leaders, but much of the memo’s language is directed toward Israelis.The memo reflects a concern that involvement by Israel in a U.S.-Iraq confrontation could hurt Israel’s standing in American public opinion and undermine international support for a hard line against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. ‘Let American politicians fight it out on the floor of Congress and in the media,’ the memo said. ‘Let the nations of the world argue in front of the UN. Your silence allows everyone to focus on Iraq rather than Israel.’An Israeli diplomat in Washington said the Israeli government did not request or fund the efforts of the Israel Project and that Israeli leaders were unlikely to follow all the advice. ‘These are professional public relations people,’ the diplomat said. ‘There’s also a political-diplomatic side.’ The Iraq memo was issued in the past few weeks and labeled ‘confidential property of the Israel Project,’ which is led by Democratic consultant Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi with help from Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and Republican pollsters Neil Newhouse and Frank Luntz. Several of the consultants have advised Israeli politicians, and the group aired a pro-Israel ad earlier this year. ‘If your goal is regime change, you must be much more careful with your language because of the potential backlash,’ said the memo, titled ‘Talking About Iraq.’ It added: ‘You do not want Americans to believe that the war on Iraq is being waged to protect Israel rather than to protect America.’ In particular, the memo urged Israelis to pipe down about the possibility of Israel responding to an Iraqi attack. ‘Such certainty may be Israeli policy, but asserting it publicly and so overtly will not sit well with a majority of Americans because it suggests a pre-determined outcome rather than a measured approach,’ it said.”

        Dana Milbank, Washington Post, November 27, 2002

        quoted in Counterpunch

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 11:20 am

        ” “[We need to] demystify the question of why we have become unable to discuss our relationship with the current government of Israel. — The question of course has a history.This open question, and its history, are discussed rationally and with considerable intellectual subtlety in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.Where the question is not discussed rationally,-is in New York and Washington.. The president of Harvard recently warned that criticisms of the current government of Israel could be construed as ‘anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent.’ The very question of the US relationship with Israel, in other words, has come to be seen as unraisable… We take cover. We wait for the entire subject to be defused, safely insulated behind baffles of invective and counterinvective. Many opinions are expressed. Few are allowed to develop. Even fewer change.”

        Joan Didion, New York Review of Books, January 16, 2003

        Kathleen Christison in

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 12:43 pm

        “The spies who pushed for war
        Julian Borger reports on the shadow rightwing intelligence network set up in Washington to second-guess the CIA and deliver a justification for toppling Saddam Hussein by force

        –The OSP itself had less than 10 full-time staff, so to help deal with the load, the office hired scores of temporary “consultants”. They included lawyers, congressional staffers, and policy wonks from the numerous rightwing thinktanks in Washington. Few had experience in intelligence.

        “Most of the people they had in that office were off the books, ..”

        As John Pike, a defence analyst at the thinktank, put it, the contracts “are basically a way they could pack the room with their little friends”.

        “They surveyed data and picked out what they liked,

        The OSP was an open and largely unfiltered conduit to the White House not only for the Iraqi opposition. It also forged close ties to a parallel, ad hoc intelligence operation inside Ariel Sharon’s office in Israel specifically to bypass Mossad and provide the Bush administration with more alarmist reports on Saddam’s Iraq than Mossad was prepared to authorise.

        “None of the Israelis who came were cleared into the Pentagon through normal channels,” said one source familiar with the visits. Instead, they were waved in on Mr Feith’s authority without having to fill in the usual forms.

        The exchange of information continued a long-standing relationship Mr Feith and other Washington neo-conservatives had with Israel’s Likud party.

        In 1996, he and Richard Perle – now an influential Pentagon figure – served as advisers to the then Likud leader, Binyamin Netanyahu. In a policy paper they wrote, entitled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, the two advisers said that Saddam would have to be destroyed, and Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran would have to be overthrown or destabilised, for Israel to be truly safe.

        The Israeli influence was revealed most clearly by a story floated by unnamed senior US officials in the American press, suggesting the reason that no banned weapons had been found in Iraq was that they had been smuggled into Syria. Intelligence sources say that the story came from the office of the Israeli prime minister.

        The OSP absorbed this heady brew of raw intelligence, rumour and plain disinformation and made it a “product”, a prodigious stream of reports with a guaranteed readership in the White House. The primary customers were Mr Cheney, Mr Libby and their closest ideological ally on the national security council, Stephen Hadley, Condoleezza Rice’s deputy.

        In turn, they leaked some of the claims to the press, and used others as a stick with which to beat the CIA and the state department analysts, demanding they investigate the OSP leads.
        Julian Borger
        The Guardian, Thursday 17 July 2003 03.45 EDT” -

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 14, 2014, 2:01 pm

        Office of Special Plans was “ground zero” of conspiracy to dupe GW Bush to set up idiotic US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 12:51 pm

        From Guardian post of Julian Borger July 2003-
        “The Israeli influence was revealed most clearly by a story floated by unnamed senior US officials in the American press, suggesting the reason that no banned weapons had been found in Iraq was that they had been smuggled into Syria. Intelligence sources say that the story came from the office of the Israeli prime minister.”

        That WMD( Gas ) was used by Syria in 2013 according to Israeli intercepts provided to new boys in towns of NY,Germany,France,and London . It is same Syria which that deceased PM wanted to attack after Iraq war . So the new “red line ” crossed by Syria was offered to Obama as the reason to attack 10 yrs later .New OSP!
        But then Israel covers its hand-prints in removal of Morsi by saying that the support for the Jihadist by Morsi tipped the military against Morsi in Egypt!!
        One lie with extension can cover so much ME grounds!!

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 14, 2014, 1:59 pm

        The neocons who conspired to set up the idiotic US invasion of Iraq in 2003 did it as part of programme of “protecting” Israel. They knew Israel would do its best to protect them, by muddying the water if things “went sideways”.

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 1:02 pm

        “by Gary Leupp

        “Those who favor this attack now will tell you candidly, and privately, that it is probably true that Saddam Hussein is no threat to the United States. But they are afraid at some point he might decide if he had a nuclear weapon to use it against Israel.”

        Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, CNN military consultant, in a Guardian interview (Aug. 20)

        Now there’s a quotation to ponder. President Bush has said on a number of occasions that Saddam Hussein “must not be allowed to threaten the U.S. and its friends and allies” (plural) with weapons of mass destruction. This is the official, public justification for war on Iraq.

        But what does the statement mean, exactly? In February the CIA declared that it had no evidence for any Iraqi terrorist attacks on Americans since the Bush I assassination attempt in Kuwait in 1993, and never any on U.S. soil. Saddam’s missiles can’t come close to the U.S. They can reach Moscow, but the Russians aren’t concerned; they’re signing a $ 40 billion economic and trade cooperation package with Iraq. Iraq’s missiles can reach Sicily, but the Europeans aren’t concerned; they firmly oppose U.S. war plans. Iraq’s neighbors, including U.S. friends Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, even Kuwait, say they don’t feel threatened by Iraq and also oppose a war. Emphatically. Only Israel’s Prime Minister Sharon is egging Washington on. So, taking our cue from plain-talking soldier Clark (who has taken the trouble to write an editorial for the London Times urging a cautious approach to war with Iraq), we can fairly restate Bush’s declaration cited above as follows: “The U.S. must not allow Saddam Hussein to ever, ever threaten our friend Israel with weapons of mass destruction.” Israel, that is to say, constitutes a unique category in Bushite geopolitical thinking, ”
        Gary Leupp is an an associate professor, Department of History, Tufts University and coordinator, Asian Studies Program.

        So it was Israel and it was no other ally.
        But have we seen an end to that type of lies? No . It is being directed against Iran . According to Israel supplied reasons -Iran is a threat against US allies in Europe and Gulf .

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 14, 2014, 1:19 pm

        “Only nine days after the outrage, William Kristol (the son of the group’s founder, Irving Kristol) published an Open Letter to President Bush, asserting that it was not enough to annihilate the network of Osama bin Laden, but that it was also imperative to “remove Saddam Hussein from power” and to “retaliate” against Syria and Iran for supporting Hizbullah.

        Following is a short list of the main characters. (If it bores you, skip to the next section).

        The Open Letter was published in the Weekly Standard, founded by Kristol with the money of ultra-right press mogul Rupert Murdoch, who donated $ 10 million to the cause. It was signed by 41 leading neo-cons, including Norman Podhoretz, a Jewish former leftist who has become an extreme right-wing icon, editor of the prestigious Encounter magazine, and his wife, Midge Decter, also a writer, Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Studies, Robert Kagan, also of the Weekly Standard, Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post, and, of course, Richard Perle.

        Perle is a central character in this play. Until recently he was the chairman of the Defense Policy Board of the Defense Department, which also includes Eliot Cohen and Devon Cross. Perle is a director of the Jerusalem Post, now owned by extreme right-wing Zionists. In the past he was an aide to Senator Henry Jackson, who led the fight against the Soviet Union on behalf of the Jews who wanted to leave. He is a leading member of the influential right-wing American Enterprise Institute. Lately he was obliged to resign from his Defense Department position, when it became known that a private corporation had promised to pay him almost a million dollars for he benefit of his influence in the administration.

        That Open Letter was, in effect, the beginning of the Iraq war. It was eagerly received by the Bush administration, with members of the group already firmly established in some of its leading positions. Paul Wolfowitz, the father of the war, is No. 2 in the Defense Department, where another friend of Perle’s, Douglas Feith, heads the Pentagon Planning Board. John Bolton is State Department Undersecretary. Eliot Abrams, responsible for the Middle East in the National Security Council, was connected with the Iran-Contra-Israel scandal. The main hero of the scandal, Oliver North, sits in the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, together with Michael Ledeen, another hero of the scandal. Headvocates total war not only against Iraq, but also against Israel’s other enemies, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority. Dov Zakheim is comptroller for the Defense Department.”
        The other characters –Meyrav Wurmser,Meyrav’s husband, Davis Wurmser,William Safire, of NYT, friend of Perle-Robert Bartley, editor of the Wall Street Journal,General Jay Garner friend of Paul Wolfowitz

        (Jay signed, together with 26 other officers, a petition organized by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, lauding the Israeli Army )
        URI AVNERY is an Israeli journalist. His essays are included in The Other Israel: Voices of Refusal and Dissent.

  7. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby on June 12, 2014, 4:57 pm

    The author is wrong, US dont back shia leadership, you really believe US accept Iraq/Iran being allied?

  8. chuckcarlos
    chuckcarlos on June 12, 2014, 5:08 pm

    wait just a herbert hoover minute here

    we got rid of all them deadly WMDs that were parked up there somewhere north east, northwest, northnortheast, or maybe west or east of Baghdad…up near Tikrit…”for sure”

    that’s gotta be worth something

    • Walid
      Walid on June 13, 2014, 12:54 am

      Saw a newsclip last night of a new ISIS force that has changed from moving around on foot to one moving around in a fleet of Humvees, troop carriers and other sophisticated transports that had been left behind by the fleeing Iraqi army. Also bulldozers reopening closed roads between Iraq and Syria in preparation for a comeback to Syria, this time better equipped with more up-to-date US weaponry. And they don’t have to worry about fuel either, ISIL now holds the country’s largest refineries. ISIS now controls half the Iraq’s borders with Saudia and all the border areas with Jordan.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on June 13, 2014, 1:15 am

        Last I heard, ISIS were flying over Mosul in captured helicopters.

      • Egbert
        Egbert on June 13, 2014, 4:51 am

        They have allegedly looted some Iraqi banks and gained about $400 million. Unless, of course, the money had already been looted by those higher up the food chain and this is a convenient way to explain the missing money.

  9. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870 on June 12, 2014, 5:49 pm

    RE: “As the sectarian US-backed central government in Iraq loses up to half its territory to jihadist forces, the country is entering its biggest crisis in years… This would be a useful time for the US intellectual cheerleaders of the disastrous 2003 invasion to gaze upon their handiwork and consider how high that achievement ranks in their CVs.” – James North

    MY COMMENT: This invasion of Iraq by Saudi-funded, Sunni jihadists (who had earlier been fighting against Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria) certainly gives new meaning to Thomas Friedman’s “suck on this” justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
    Open wide, Iraq! “Big Tom” has a whopper for you to suck on, and he’s not going to show you any mercy no matter how sensitive you gag reflex might be.

    Golden oldies: Tom Friedman at start of Iraq war telling Arabs to ‘suck on this’ [VIDEO, 02:44] –

    • Philip Munger
      Philip Munger on June 12, 2014, 6:21 pm

      Good find. Has anyone done a compilation video with many of the most important false or hyperbolic statements made during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq and the period up to the beginning of the insurgency?

  10. James Canning
    James Canning on June 12, 2014, 7:10 pm

    Kenneth M. Pollack was completely full of cr*p in his promoting of the idiotic US invasion of Iraq. Sold the moron in the White House on the deal.

    Friedman was a foolish cheerleader of the idiocy.

    • Walid
      Walid on June 13, 2014, 1:45 am

      “… the idiotic US invasion of Iraq. ”

      Not that there was anything morally right in doing it, but looking at it from an American point of view, Saddam’s move from dealing in petro-dollars to petro-euros was the first step in wrecking the American dollar and the American economy in general. Dealing in dollars is what’s keeping America great. Now Putin appears to have taken over the role of going after the dollar with the huge non-dollars deal just signed with China and more of the same non-dollar talks are ongoing between the BRIC member countries. America had to decide between seeing Iraq destroyed or America and Iraq lost. Democracy and oil had nothing to do with it. Same real reason for having taken Gaddafi out; he wanted out of the dollar.

      • annie
        annie on June 13, 2014, 2:45 am

        i agree walid.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on June 13, 2014, 3:53 am

        @ Walid
        Just to state the obvious, Iran has long been a US target, and one of the key reasons never mentioned by the media when Iran is discussed is Iran’s long bent to get out of the dollar.

      • Walid
        Walid on June 13, 2014, 8:41 am

        Citizen, earlier today I posted a small piece of the 4-part essay on preparing for the eventual collapse of the petrodollar. It’s all doom and gloom for the US when that happens and it looks like it will soon unless something comes up to prevent it.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 13, 2014, 5:20 pm

        Would it be such a bad thing if some global oil production is priced in Chinese or Japanese currency? Or in euros?

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 13, 2014, 6:10 pm

        If Iraq had priced its oil in euros or another currency, it would not have been that big a deal.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on June 13, 2014, 6:17 am

        Democracy and oil had nothing to do with it.

        Not necessarily. Democracy is a code word for puppet governments, which is why Kerry could get away with making such Orwellian claims that the El Sisi led coup in Egypt was an act of saving democracy.

        And yes, Iraq had everything to do with oil. Even if you want to argue this was about the petro dollar, you still have to agree that Saddam could not have posed any threat to the petro dollar without having a lot of oil to sell.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 13, 2014, 2:00 pm

        I think the moron in the White House, and his grossly incompetent National Security Advisor (Condi Rice) were both taken in by the nonsense about establishing “democracy” in Iraq.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 13, 2014, 6:18 pm

        @Walid – – There would be some benefits to the US if some global oil were to be priced in euros, renminbi, yen etc.

  11. annie
    annie on June 12, 2014, 9:21 pm

    iraq, a “radically liberal war”!! thanks for digging this up!

  12. piotr
    piotr on June 12, 2014, 9:41 pm

    Friedman, bless his soul, sometimes has his lucid moments. When he wrote that latest comment, it was not one of them. Instead he follow his schtick to figure an “original idea”, and hammer it, however think and untimely: “No — the real of war of ideas, the only one worth taking sides in, is the one between the religious extremists (Sunni and Shiite) and the committed environmentalists.”

    There are many things to ponder here, like deranged policy of arming the extremists by USA and American allies. Same alumni of Syrian war wreck havock in Iraq (and vice versa, a peripatetic crowd), another shot some Jews in Brussels. And of course there are still more of the future alumni still wrecking havoc in Syria. Wars are the breeding ground of the most virulent extremisms.

    Turks got bitten by their own pet cobras.

    “They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind”

    Maliki us a malignant pustulence. How he got to his position? Somehow he convinced Washington and Tehran that he is a superior alternative to al-Sadr etc.

    Anything but chats with environmentalists that could be reported on another occasions.

    • Walid
      Walid on June 13, 2014, 12:20 am

      “Maliki us a malignant pustulence. How he got to his position? Somehow he convinced Washington and Tehran that he is a superior alternative to al-Sadr etc.”

      It goes a bit farther back than that, from an EI article in 2010 posted here at the time after the elections in Iraq:

      … The elections are just another part of this death sentence issued to Iraq.

      In 1963, the CIA-backed coup that deposed the populist, left-leaning government of Brigadier General Abdul Karim Qassim, and eventually brought Saddam’s Baath party to power, seems like it just happened yesterday. During the bloody hijack, lists of progressive activists were provided to Baathist henchmen by the US to be murdered in campuses and other public spaces. One of the men toting a gun, terrorizing the University of Baghdad, was none other than the esteemed Dr. Ayad Allawi himself, one of the main contestants in the recent Iraqi elections. He is the leader of the Iraqi National Movement (al-Iraqiya), the political party which won the greatest number of seats.

      His rival, Nouri al-Maliki, is secretary general of the Islamic Dawa (Preaching) Party, which was established by a collection of clerics in the 1960s to build an Islamic state in Iraq. Although it was not secular like its Baathist counterpart, it also saw socialism as its main enemy. From its inception, al-Maliki’s party enjoyed an incestuous relationship with the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and lived under its protection throughout the entirety of Saddam’s regime. Both the party’s history and sectarian outlook make it a perfect complement to the complete destruction of Iraq, and thus has enjoyed great success in occupied Iraq. Currently, the Dawa Party operates under the guise of the State of Law Coalition which received the second greatest number of seats in the 2010 elections.

      Both parties are self-avowed friends of the US and employ a strategy of completely burning Iraq so they can rebuild it according to their own perverted, US-endorsed visions of democracy. While Allawi prefers a nationalist-leaning, neoliberal death for the country, al-Maliki intends to bury Baghdad and other cities under the rubble of sectarian strife. In both cases, tyranny, corruption and mass murder are required elements to complete the task. To that end, the US is ecstatic, and is satisfied with playing a role of a divisive dictator from a distance.

      From al-Maliki and Allawi, one can also get a sense of the entire Iraqi political spectrum that is killing its way to power. Different variations of religious fundamentalism, ultranationalism, hyperactive capitalism and incompetency define democracy in the country. And despite their differences in delivery, the outcome is still the same: greater suffering for the people of Iraq. Al-Sadr, al-Chalabi, Talibani, al-Dulaimi, al-Hakim, al-Alousi and al-Jaafari are just some of the crooks that have terrorized Iraq for the better part of the last decade.

  13. stevelaudig
    stevelaudig on June 12, 2014, 11:21 pm

    Pollack and Friedman are accomplices before the fact to war crimes and should be talked about in those terms.

  14. just
    just on June 13, 2014, 6:55 am

    Well, the pinhead pundits this morning are blaming Mr. Obama and his “passivity” on Syria for the newest debacle in Iraq. And they are blaming Maliki. Got it? That’s what we are supposed to believe…

    Oh, yeah then we should be worried about Shia/Sunni ‘divide’ and Iran whose ‘stature’ is improved…….funny that not one person has mentioned the suffering/death of people….

    Now, lets hear from McCain and the other selected crazies who pushed to arm the mercenary ‘rebels’ and interfere in what was, a Syrian civil war. But no, we always have to have “our” man installed– lots of people who decide things for us decided to hate Assad.

    • just
      just on June 13, 2014, 7:15 am

      As to “our” man– we welcomed the election of el- Sisi, we denigrated Assad’s election, we sanctioned the he11 out of Iran while Israel threatened them daily. We are engaged with Iran, but whatever they do, we still have “all options on the table.” We say we’ll work with the unity government of the Palestinians and 88 Senators oppose that…….

      “shock and awe” indeed.

      If we ever get a sane foreign policy, I’ll fall over in a faint. Meanwhile, I am tired of holding my breath.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on June 13, 2014, 8:10 am

        Welcoming the election of el-Sisi is wrong. Sanctioning the heck out of Iran is questionable (I favor it, but I understand your questioning it). Unwillingness to work with the Hamas-Fatah government is hardly well thought out and pure political expedience by the senators. But, denigrating Assad’s election is right on, spot on, damn straight. I accept that the opposition in Syria sucks and is dangerous. But Assad is plenty bad. A realistic foreign policy regarding Syria is hard to imagine. but your apparent endorsement of Assad and his election is a symptom of someone who swallows someone’s propaganda hook line and stinker.

      • Walid
        Walid on June 13, 2014, 8:18 am

        Yonah, I’m not a fan of Assad, but what is it exactly for that you hate him so much? For 40 years, he has given you peace on the Golan with not a single shot fired there since the 1973 armistice of sorts and he was even into buying Jewish-grown apples from the Golan during the 5 years preceding his latest civil war.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on June 13, 2014, 9:30 am

        Walid- My opinion of Assad is not based on the fact that he is probably preferable to the jihadists. He is an example of everything that is wrong with governance in the middle east. He is the worst. Maybe he (and his father) have been good for the status quo the last 40 years, but I allow Boogie Ya’alon and the IDF to worry about the status quo. I am worried about the future and I wish Israelis to see some signs in nearby countries that they are interested in fair elections and good governance. I wish for some election in the neighborhood that encourages. And this was an election in the middle of a civil war and the only thing that assad has in common with lincoln besides species and gender is facial hair. Syria was a top 10 undemocratic regime (maybe top 20) before the civil war and if you really think he has changed his philosophy for the better because his regime was threatened, then you are nuts. He is a dictator and anyone who voted feared the wrath of the dictator. You wish to present a one state solution for I/P as reasonable and then also to promote personalities like Assad’s and elections like this one- you have zero credibility. But you are just interested in the choir and they don’t need convincing, just hand them today’s daily cant and they will repeat. Hand them the music and they’ll sing it for you.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 13, 2014, 1:54 pm

        @Yonah – – Prior to eruption of civil war in Syria, most Christian leaders in that country said their rights were better protected by the current Syrian govt. than what they could expect in a democracy.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on June 13, 2014, 9:45 am

        yonah, why the sudden interest in democracy all of a sudden? You are here every day defending a state which has, for 3 generations, held a people without the vote or without any say in the government that controls their lives.

        You hypocrite. You shameful hypocrite. I have no beef with hating Assad. That’s fine. But stop insulting everyone here by pretending you favor democracy, when you support a state that makes a mockery of the word; a state for whom “democracy” is nothing but a cover for its racist disgusting Apartheid.

        If you are not willing to demand an immediate withdrawal of every IOF terror goon, and every settlersettler back beyond the green line today, immediately, without excuses, without “land swaps “and without any of the other bull or, in the alternative, give full rights today including full voting rights to every person in the West Bank and Gaza, then kindly shit your hypocritical mouth about Assad and democracy.

      • Walid
        Walid on June 13, 2014, 9:46 am

        Yonah, I asked you a simple question to see where you were coming from and I began by telling you that I wasn’t a fan of Assad to save you the trouble of trying to sell me something that I know of more than you.

        You made a long speech about the need of doing away with dictators but I don’t see much difference between what you are describing of the man and what I’m seeing of Netanyahu’s vile actions with the Palestinians.

        It’s strange how you easily lecture on the merits of democracy and the need for it in Syria while you continue denying that Israel is treating the Palestinians in an even shittier way. They may not have the ideal democracy in Syria, but at least the Syrians are not out to steal other people’s lands while keeping them penned-in under an apartheid-like system. You really put into perspective what JC was highlighting when he asked, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

      • just
        just on June 13, 2014, 9:50 am

        You know what, yonah? Assad was secular. Saddam was secular.

        Not perfect. But they were secular.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 13, 2014, 1:51 pm

        Syria has a secular government, but neocons want it overthrown. Irq had a secualr government, but neocons wanted it overthrown. Crikey.

      • just
        just on June 13, 2014, 8:25 am

        I don’t swallow anyone’s propaganda, thank you very much.

        I am not a Syrian– they are the ones suffering and voting and fleeing and dying…

        I don’t favor getting involved in ANYONE’s civil war! I also am not in favor of arming/training “rebels” and having them fight our proxy war, especially when they are mercenaries from places other than Syria. I don’t endorse Assad, but I can tell you that I really fear and dislike ISIS. We were on again/off again friends with Assad before we denigrated him. Same with Saddam. SOS, different day. If you don’t think that our shunning of Assad is largely to blame for the rise of ISIS, you should probably look & think again.

        (I’m not even touching our previous interventions in Syria– including coup attempts…)

      • ziusudra
        ziusudra on June 14, 2014, 3:25 am

        Greeting just,
        Stability is stability is stability.
        Whether it be by Tito, Hussein, Saddam, Gaddafi, etc.
        The US,UK, FR & Zionistan wave their democratic banner & all
        fall for it. Syria is now at the forefront, but they’ve turned it down.
        They are still standing after over 3 yrs. of outside meddling.
        Not even their unanimous vote for Pres. Assad is recognized
        by the west., Should the west bring in their man, it won’t do them
        any good.
        PS The Ukraine had peace & assistance from Russia for over 20 yrs.
        The Minister of the intermediate Government after 3 weeks,
        pushed Austerity in their faces claming that this is the price for
        Freedom! Sign here to join the EU & Nato.

      • just
        just on June 14, 2014, 9:34 am

        Thanks for your insight, ziusudra.

      • annie
        annie on June 13, 2014, 8:54 am

        but your apparent endorsement of Assad and his election is a symptom of someone who swallows someone’s propaganda

        yonah, it’s been my understanding for years the majority of syrians supported assad, even if many syrians wanted reform. i wasn’t really following the election. do you have good source about the election being rigged? and which candidate do you think would have won had it not (allegedly) been?

      • Donald
        Donald on June 13, 2014, 11:14 am

        Yonah, I agreed with what you say about Assad, except maybe about the election being rigged—I don’t know that. If I were a Syrian I think I would prefer Assad over the jihadists. However, I say this in the same spirit that I’d say that living in Eastern Europe in 1943, I’d prefer Stalin over Hitler. Sometimes people have a choice between terrible and worse. Actually, if I were Syrian I would probably just try to get out. If Assad wins, he will think it was because of his willingness to bomb indiscriminately and torture prisoners. Not a great harbinger for reform.

      • Ngoodgame
        Ngoodgame on June 13, 2014, 8:37 pm

        The following paragraph is taken from the Leverett’s latest essay. My question to the Assad haters is what exactly is it that makes the British trained Ophthalmologist such a monster?

        “Objective measures of public opinion in Syria are not as robust as any serious analyst would like. Nevertheless, for over three years, every piece of relevant data – including multiple polls, participation in the February 2012 constitutional referendum and the May 2012 parliamentary elections, participation in this month’s presidential election (including by thousands of refugees), and other evidence – indicates that a majority of Syrians continues to back Assad. Conversely, there is not a scrap of objective evidence suggesting that anywhere close to a majority of Syrians wants Assad replaced by some part of the opposition.”

      • just
        just on June 14, 2014, 8:31 am

        Thanks, NGG.

        The vitriol re: Assad & the demand for his removal seems to be originating from outside the actual Syrian people.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on June 14, 2014, 9:08 am

        ngoodgame and just- Today the choice is between jihadis and Assad and the participation of outsiders both against and for Assad is clear. (Do you condemn outsiders only if they oppose Assad but when outsiders support Assad they are suddenly from the righteous of the nations?!) But let us go back to the start: If memory serves, the Egyptians overthrew Mubarak in february of ’11 and a few months later there followed demonstrations in Syria. Those demonstrations were met with cruelty and an iron fist. Do you disagree with this recounting of the sequence of events? If you agree, do you feel that those demonstrations were fomented by non Syrians? Do you feel that it is unusual for the repression of nonviolent demonstrations with lethal fire to lead to violent reactions by those repressed? In which case although the civil war created a situation dominated by outsiders, the actual cause of the civil war was the repression of Syrians by Assad. Agree or disagree?

      • Walid
        Walid on June 13, 2014, 8:11 am

        just, in the last few days, 500,000 Iraqis fled to the Kurdish-held parts of Iraq. These new refugees are of all religions, none of which are acceptable to the ISIS terrorists. They are about to take the Shia holy city of Karbala 60 miles south of Baghdad and with a population of half a million. ISIS are into church burnings and destruction of holy sites similar to what their Afghan cousins did to the Bamiyan Buddhas. Karbala is full of Shia shrines and burial sites of the Prophet’s family members. It promises to get very ugly.

  15. just
    just on June 13, 2014, 7:36 am

    As predicted, McCain on the telly telling the world that he, Lindsey Graham and Lieberman had the “thing” won in Iraq and were right about everything. He’s telling us that we “won the war” in Iraq, but Mr. Obama is to blame for this b/c we should have left behind a residual force forever and ever, and he pulled out.

    He wants everyone on the National Security team to be fired…

    (he probably thinks we won Vietnam and Afghanistan, too)

    • Ellen
      Ellen on June 13, 2014, 12:12 pm

      Graham is holding back here. McCain cannot control himself. Graham and others know that the US might very soon be working together, hand in hand, with…….IRAN on trying to clean up the Irak mess left behind.

      It is early in the game and Graham and a few others do not want to risk saying anything that is going to bite them.

      Meanwhile, the world is going to move on fast as Israel fiddles themselves into irrelevancy in their ongoing sand box battle.

      • just
        just on June 13, 2014, 12:15 pm

        What a great comment, Ellen. Thanks!

      • Ellen
        Ellen on June 13, 2014, 1:25 pm

        gosh, just. Thanks! It’s ‘gonna get interesting.

      • ritzl
        ritzl on June 13, 2014, 12:34 pm

        Yep. The only way to sideline the runaway Saudi takfiri train is to sanction them and de-sanction Iran. Oil for oil.

        These idiot Senators might just stumble onto the appropriate angry-enough-to-do-something world-view given that the Saudis are undoing what we just spent a $T+ “doing” (very sarcastically speaking) in Iraq.

        Our support for the people and lust for the violence in that region that is pitted against our own oft-proclaimed allies is flat out insane. I may not have said that well because it’s just too insane to wrap my brain around.

        It means Israel is involved somehow. This kind of total chaos doesn’t benefit the US much, but it seems to be their ongoing, manufactured proof that they are a the “villa in the jungle” they claim to be (i.e. keep giving us money).

      • Ellen
        Ellen on June 13, 2014, 1:24 pm

        ritzl, Israel may have been involved in egging the US into Irak, Syria, etc. but I suspect their hands are not on this chapter. What is unfolding is much bigger than Israel and it’s crappy Zionist project.

        If they need to manufacture proof of the “villa in the jungle” they will be sorry for what they wished for.

        Religious/Nationalist extremism coupled with a desire to return to the 7th century Rashidun Caliphate is not in the interest of any of the current powers anywhere. (They have too much oil, there is too much invested by too many, and there are those who do not want to give up position.)

        But this is what offers hope to the disenfranchised and there are millions and millions of them in the region who watch, for example, the Arabian “Royals” squander oil wealth — as they believe – as the rulers cling to power with totalitarian means.

        Israel needs to be friends with all their neighbors, but unfortunately has never been able to be friends with anyone other than their sugar daddy to the west. And even there, it is a pretend friendship.

        Taking care of Israel is soon to be a major burden to the US, one it cannot afford in the bigger scheme of things over the next decades.

        I might not be around, but if Israel wants to be around, it has to completely re-think itself and it’s religious/nationalist aspirations — which are not too different than an ISIS.

      • ritzl
        ritzl on June 13, 2014, 3:46 pm

        I agree with almost all of that, Ellen. That’s why, to me anyway, the fact that this violence is expanding out of control while we continue to fund the Syrian “moderates” (i.e. promote MORE violence/instability) is incomprehensible from a US perspective. Sure there are US interests that would benefit from eternal violence (some MIC types), but there are others, and I would argue many more others (all other biz interests and domestic constituencies like 5-tour military families and hungry people), that would benefit from stability. With that kind of weighted balance, why does instability seem to always win the day?

        As you say, even if this fomenting routine started out as a series of semi-coherent, short-term advantage “set-pieces,” it’s a long-term loser for all involved. There’s no core policy there that I can detect, other than fomenting chaos for chaos’ sake. IMHO, short-term thinking and chaos are both Israeli trademarks. They seem to be our US trademark now as well. Is that mere coincidence?

        So even if Israel isn’t currently fanning the sectarian flames, they had a big hand in starting the fire. And even hypothetically knowing that this is out of control and may well consume them, they continue to push to start another fire in Iran. I don’t think they’re rational at this point so I’m not sure the “consequences” argument applies all that much when it comes to Israel. If it did, they’d have solved their many conflicts long ago.

        And then there’s Jordan and Turkey. What could they have possibly been thinking or responding to in instigating and supporting a fundie takeover in a stable neighbor? Jordan is dead meat. Turkey will now have eternal fundie wars in its SE that will make the Kurds’ antipathy look like a child’s temper tantrum.

        Ukraine…? (I don’t pretend to understand what’s going on there, but it too seems to fit the pattern of incomprehensible destabilization so there it is.)

        Something’s pushing all this. Or maybe better as a question, what IS driving all this? Something is pushing all these players and situations toward [very dangerous] instability instead of beneficial stability.

        I’m trying desperately not to over-simplify this. Books will be written on it. But my view-in-a-comment is that sectarian violence from the Punjab to the Nile+ is a direct product of the on-going, mixed/muddled/ad hoc/international law-destroying thinking (tough to call it policy formulation) that has been and is required for Israel to NOT solve its covetous conflict with the Palestinians over such a long period of time.

        Appreciate your comments.

      • Walid
        Walid on June 13, 2014, 4:46 pm

        “And then there’s Jordan and Turkey. What could they have possibly been thinking or responding to in instigating and supporting a fundie takeover in a stable neighbor? “(ritzl)

        Reports out of Syria are saying that a few days before ISIS walked into Mosul, teams of Turkish and Israeli intelligence people were there to prepare the city for their arrival. There was nothing brave or glorious in the takeover by ISIS; the army had dropped its weapons and fled. Now there’s talk about collusion on the part of the fleeing soldiers making the takeover by ISIS a cakewalk.

        The area of Iraq currently occupied by ISIS appears impressive on a map but these areas are mostly deserts that hold less than 10% of the country’s total population. Same story about the area occupied in Syria although in both countries, these areas are rich in oil.

        Getting back to Syria, The oil from the area still occupied by ISIS in Syria’s northeast is being sold to Turkey. That should be telling.

      • ritzl
        ritzl on June 13, 2014, 6:26 pm

        It boggles, Walid. “That should be telling.” Does that mean that Jordan’s and/or Turkey’s rationale was, is, or may have been, oil-based?

        I find that hard to believe. Not because I don’t believe you (I do) but more in the WTF?? sense. How can a sane person/government unleash forces it has zero possibility of controlling to get a resource when it could just buy the resource? The going-in cost-benefit on that decision must be astoundingly weighted toward never-to-be-recovered costs – even given some nebulous ideological or political benefit. But then, that’s just me being slightly rational about it. No telling what Erdogan or Hussein calculated as a popular distraction benefit.

        I just go back to the “no consequences” state of international relations (now in East Asia as well…). Even if those two saw a domestic distraction benefit that might have outweighed the cost of blowback enough to partake, that calculation could only have been made based on neighbor Israel’s precedent/politics of impunity. In the international law sense, they were dead right. In the “Mother Nature is a hard-hearted bitch with a sick sense of humor” reality sense, they were dead wrong. FWIW.

        To summarize, now ISIS has resource-rich territory that requires tanks and aircraft to retake, abandoned modern military equipment, little population to control, and its enemy (the Syrian government, now Iraq) is fragmented/fighting house-to-house against foreign-funded mercs to recapture population centers all while ceding precious resources to a trans-border insurgency bent on the destruction of anything remotely secular.

        How did we get to this point? #whine

      • Walid
        Walid on June 14, 2014, 1:49 am

        Ritzl, I was thinking more along the lines of Turkey helping the bad guys by buying the oil they are stealing from Syria. Lots of talk about Turkey being one of the main sponsors. In the end, we’ll probably discover that all of this is a replay of the Irak-Iran rumble, as Mhughes/Fisk mentioned downthread, only this time, Turkey and it’s “neo-Ottoman Economic Empire” visionary, David Oglu being among the important players.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on June 14, 2014, 2:16 am

        Ritzl, I was thinking more along the lines of Turkey helping the bad guys by buying the oil they are stealing from Syria.

        Even Assad has been buying oil from the ISIS guys. In fact, the neocons were citing this fact as evidence that Assad was secretly backing ISIS against the Jabat Al Nusra faction.

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia on June 13, 2014, 4:45 pm

        This should be the natural,obvious,and relevant response to the situation. But logic and relevance have long gone AWOL from American repertoire of intellectual behaviors. It’s just not there.

      • ziusudra
        ziusudra on June 14, 2014, 3:35 am

        Greetings Ellen,
        A swiss author wrote a short Story of a Monk & his favorite Cat:
        One day, a giant Rat and his Cat got into a ball of fury. He was
        unable to separate them. He opened the furnace latch, took a
        shovel & pitched both in.
        PS It matered not who the Cat or who the Rat was. If something
        reaches a boiling poit, there is no right or wrong equasion.

  16. pabelmont
    pabelmont on June 13, 2014, 9:26 am

    People say, “USA started the war in Iraq for this reason. or for that reason. or for another reason.” They’re all wrong. Governments take large actions (as wars are) when a sufficient convergence of powerful interests wants the war and no sufficient convergence of (other) interests opposes the war. (Except to the extent the decision is taken secretly and without wide consultation. The “people”, for example, and even the Congress, are not consulted or even notified until the decision is taken.)

    Many words are trotted out to justify the war, but this is window-dressing and cannot, in the nature of things, describe the diverse reasoning of those whose interests converged to bring about the decision. Over time, Bush gave many “reasons” — all of which I judge to be false, misleading, “political”, and “after the fact”.

    The Iraq war may have been fought in part to suit oil interests, water interests, Israeli interests, pure militarist interests (the many then-merely-potential war profiteers), partisan political interests, and the hard-for-liberals-to-credit neocon/conservative/reactionary/hardline interest in making war as a demonstration (and a manufacture) of national resolve (“Go out and kill some folks, it’ll make a man of you!”).

    This should be said to the American people. And someone (USA?) should now fight ISIS I suppose. They sound particularly dreadful, just like Taliban. (Q: Did the USA’s interventions by commerce and war create the Taliban?)

    • just
      just on June 13, 2014, 9:40 am

      I think you’ll have to ask Pakistan about the Taliban…

      and about their role in the continued destabilization of Afghanistan…

    • James Canning
      James Canning on June 13, 2014, 1:56 pm

      An important factor in the catastrophic US decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was simply blood lust. Afghanistan did not afford sufficent scope for “punishing” the perpetrators of “9/11”. Iraq, of course, had nothing to do with those attacks. Which meant nothing to the core conspirators who set up the war.

      • Walid
        Walid on June 13, 2014, 3:30 pm

        James, you are an interested watcher of events and in time you’ll see that what has just happened has been orchestrated by the US, Turkey and some of the Gulf countries with the prime objective to create a buffer zone isolating Iran from the rest of the Arab countries. It becomes obvious when you look at the map of areas currently held by ISIS.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 13, 2014, 5:02 pm

        The US does not want ISIS in control of any part of Iraq, or in control of any part of Syria for that matter.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976 on June 13, 2014, 6:44 pm

        Robert Fisk on AJE earlier today calls it a re-run of the Iraq/Iran war, with Saudi fully funding ISIS (or ISIL as they call it on AJE) and not listening to words of caution coming from the West, which cannot stop itself from arming all sides, presumably to have influence with whoever wins. To my mind our twerp of a Foreign Secretary, W. Hague, insisted on shovelling arms into Syria, persuading himself that they were supporting the mythical moderates.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 13, 2014, 7:02 pm

        Some very important Sunnis were getting rather fed up with Nouri al-Maliki. Some of the same ilk were fed up with Hezbollah’s programme in Lebanon, and saw that taking out Bashar al-Assad might enable a better deal with H to be achieved.

      • Walid
        Walid on June 14, 2014, 1:26 am

        “The US does not want ISIS in control of any part of Iraq, or in control of any part of Syria for that matter.”

        Not necessarily the US, James, but other sponsors do and the US is tagging along. If the US doesn’t want to stir things up in Iran, there are 2 other players in the region that do, and they are doing something about it in their own perverted way.

      • Walid
        Walid on June 14, 2014, 1:29 am

        MHughes, Fisk is not that far from the mark. He’s been around the ME long enough to know how the cookie crumbles there.

    • traintosiberia
      traintosiberia on June 13, 2014, 5:11 pm

      Don’t ever blame the interests of the oil companies who are mover and shaker in politics . None of them wanted the war. They fought against Israeli lobby again and again against the war.
      1 Rose ,Brady,Ed ” Rogue States: Why Washington may ease sanctions,Business Week,May 7 ,2001 online
      2 Damien Cave ,The United States of Oil ” Salon.November 19 ,2001 online
      3 Anthony Sampson “Oilmen don’t want another Suez” .The Observer ,December 22
      4 Roger Burbach , ” Bush ideologues Trump Big Oil Interests in Iraq ” . Alternatives, September 30 ,2003.
      5 Charles A Kohlhaas, “War in Iraq-Not a war for oil”. In – In The National Interest Match 5 ,2003.
      6 Independent , Oct 6 ,2003 and NYTimes Oct 5 ,2003 about the need for billions to shape up oil industry and about the enormous time that would be required

      Iraq offered oil concessions to the architect of the war -Richard Perle through intermediaries .

      Yes Halibutton and Dick Cheney are different story . So was the wet dream of Israel to have the pipeline from Kirkuk or Mosul ( Northern Iraq) to Haifa through Jordan reopened .

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 13, 2014, 6:07 pm

        Big Oil indeed did not want the US to invade Iraq.

        Doug Feith also expected to gain great riches from new government in Iraq after overthrow of Saddam H.

    • Walid
      Walid on June 14, 2014, 2:07 am

      “And someone (USA?) should now fight ISIS I suppose. ”

      Pabelmont, you are taking for granted that the US had no clue that this was about to happen. History has shown that nothing much happens to America that America did not let happen.

    • Shingo
      Shingo on June 14, 2014, 2:26 am

      Pabelmont, you are taking for granted that the US had no clue that this was about to happen. History has shown that nothing much happens to America that America did not let happen.

      I think you might be giving too much credit to the US Walid. The US is not all powerful and all knowing. Surely the US didn’t anticipate that the same people they were backing in Afghanistan in the 80’s would be bombing their buildings in the 90s or flying planes into the WTC a few decades later.

      The problem is that US foreign policy is notoriously short sighted and counter productive. They did not anticipate the civil war in Iraq when they invaded in 2003, nor did they ever have the ability to stop it. Contrary to the BS about the surge, the turn down in violence in Iraq was the consequence of the Shiites defeating the Sunnis and the called Sunni awakening (rebranded the Surge) was a case of the Sunnis turning against the extremist Al Qaeda in Iraq factions.

      I fail to see how this latest development benefits the US in any way. Iran are moving into Iraq and taking on ISIS with the Shiite militias and this will only strengthen Iran’s influence in Iraq. The US is now in the bizarre position where it has to consider offering air support for Iran against ISIS.

      • Walid
        Walid on June 14, 2014, 3:58 am

        I don’t think I’m giving too much credit to the US; those events that were unexpected by the US weren’t that much unexpected as I’m sure it knew where it was going beginning with the dismantling of the Iraqi army that instantly created half a million unemployed and disgruntled soldiers. Of course the US does make wrong calls and mistakes such as the one of the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon, but more often than not it doesn’t.

        As to Iran, I doubt it would send any troops into Iraq because of the strong Sunni minority there and in neighbouring countries. But it would send in lots of military help and fortify its own borders against any invasion. President Rouhani said that Iran would not send in troops unless asked for by Iraq and the world body but is still willing to help in other ways.

      • Shingo
        Shingo on June 14, 2014, 4:11 am

        I don’t think I’m giving too much credit to the US; those events that were unexpected by the US weren’t that much unexpected as I’m sure it knew where it was going beginning with the dismantling of the Iraqi army that instantly created half a million unemployed and disgruntled soldiers.

        Again you are giving the peers that be too much credit. Those who warned about the consequences of dismantling the Iraqi army and sending them home with their weapons were dismissed as naysayers and defeatists. Those, like Paul Bremmer, Rumsfeld etc. had no idea what they were doing. All the generals who gave anything but glowing predictions were fired, demoted or asked to retire.

        Seriously Walid, the Bush administration were a bunch of ignoramuses. Most didn’t even know the difference between Sunni and Shia, and they all expected that they could effortlessly airlift Chslabi into Saddam’s palaces and have him rule on their behalf without the Iraqis kicking up a fuss.

        WRT Iraq, there might not be Iranian battalions marching into Iraq, but there is no question they are adnding in special units to lead the Shiite militias.

  17. ckg
    ckg on June 13, 2014, 11:06 am

    Meanwhile over at the Washington Post today, Fareed Zakaria* is giving his sage opinions about Iraq. Gak.

  18. just
    just on June 13, 2014, 11:21 am

    I think we need to talk with Turkey and Iran wrt Iraq. Maybe more in the region. Not so much Israel– we know all too well where they ‘stand’.

    I heard Zbig Brzezinski say something along those lines… we’ll see if anyone does, or not.

  19. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia on June 13, 2014, 11:36 am

    Much wider involvement by the neocons in this enlarging wars would be exposed if Friedman followed his own links and contacts and if he used his brain more nonchalantly . In Iraq at some stage US have used Shia then Sunni against Bathist and against Alquida . Now it seems the turn of Alquida to get a big favor. They crisscross and mutate from Pakistan to Mali to Chechneya to Bali . They are terrorists when the geographical locations are in Pakistan, Nigeria,Somalia and Indonesia. They are rebel – freedom fighters in Libya and in Syria. ( may be same oneday in Crimea) . Now they are Aolqida again after crossing the borders between Syria and Iraq.
    Interestingly it is happening when Iran is seeking rapproachmnet and US plodding along same direction . Interestingly it is happening as the drubbings the Alquida received inSyria showed the fecklessness of this foreign trained rebels cum religious soldiers . Interestingly it is happening when Afghanistan is looking to fewer US footprint.
    Someone wants to keep the pot boiling and same some one wants US to insert his hand in the steaming water . The burn would justify a big US intervention and Isarel to say – “Haven’t we told you so “?

  20. Walid
    Walid on June 13, 2014, 12:03 pm

    “Now they are Aolqida again after crossing the borders between Syria and Iraq.”

    One could say that the US finally succeeded in indirectly re-arming the terrorist to return better equipped to Syria for a rematch with Hizbullah.

    • James Canning
      James Canning on June 13, 2014, 1:47 pm

      Are ISIS forces doing much fighting with Hezbollah?

      • Walid
        Walid on June 13, 2014, 3:06 pm

        They were in Syria until Hizbullah chased them out but now that they have gotten hold of the Iraqi army’s weapons, they will probably head back to Syria for a rematch. Hizbullah joined the fight in Syria when the terrorists announced that after taking over Syria, they intended to enter Lebanon. When asked today if Hizbullah would fight ISIS in Iraq, the answer was no. Keep in mind that ISIS fighters aren’t that great; if they control so much of Iraq today, it’s not from their prowess but simply because the army that is dissatisfied with Prime Minister al-Maliki simply abandoned their posts and their arms and fled leaving ISIS to waltz into these areas that it occupies today. Same thing happened in Kirkuk that was abandoned by the army and the police this week and the Kurdish militia simply walked in and took over the city. In all other areas where the Iraqi army and police force stood their ground, ISIS is being soundly defeated.

        From Nahar today:

        Hizbullah Vows Not to Intervene in Iraq, Warns of ISIL Spread
        by Naharnet Newsdesk 14 hours ago

        Hizbullah stressed on Friday that it will not intervene in the security situation in Iraq, expressing fear of the spread of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

        “Hizbullah has nothing to do with Iraq… Iraq is bigger than the capabilities of the party,” Hizbullah’s Loyalty to Resistance bloc MP Walid Sakariya told al-Joumhouria newspaper.

        He stressed that “it’s time to end the abnormal phenomena of ISIL.”

        Hizbullah has deployed thousands of fighters into neighboring Syria to back President Bashar Assad’s army as he battles insurgents who have been trying to overthrow him for the past three years.

        “The developments in Iraq will have major repercussions on the situation in the area and the policies followed by all states, especially the U.S. policies,” Sakariya said.

        The lawmaker reassured that the “situation in Lebanon is still stable and will remain as it is as long as there’s agreement between the political parties to prevent ISIL from entering the country.”

        Hizbullah, a long-standing ally of both Iran, Syria, and Iraq says it is supporting Assad against Takfiris (Sunni extremists) who are targeting Syria’s Alawite and Christian minorities.

        Jihadists from ISIL have swept up a huge swathe of predominantly Sunni Arab territory in northern and north-central Iraq, including the second city Mosul.

        Forces from Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region have meanwhile taken control of Kirkuk, an ethnically divided northern city they have sought to rule for decades.

      • James Canning
        James Canning on June 13, 2014, 5:06 pm

        There is essentially a three-way struggle going on in Syria, and the Syrian government seems to be focused on destroying the more “moderate” insurgents.

  21. talknic
    talknic on June 14, 2014, 11:40 am

    WMDs in Iraq…we were inundated by the media day in day out, hour after hour, month after month.

    Now THAT WAS a conspiracy theory!!

    Full blown tin hat no holds barred 100% nonsense BULLSH*T!

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