Iraq: A Few New Faces, Same Old Tricks
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  • Many predicted this from the beginning.

  • WigWag

    Bush and Obama both made the same mistake; they refused to recognize that the only group worth American support in Iraq is the Kurds.

    Instead of fighting the idea of Kurdish independence, the United States should have embraced it. Instead of worrying that championing Kurdish independence might anger the Ottoman-worshipping Islamists in the Turkish government the United States should have relished the chance to anger the Turks. Instead of focusing on how Kurdish independence might have destabilized Iran and Syria, the United States should have jumped at the chance to destabilize Iran and Syria.

    Rarely does the United States have the opportunity to pursue it’s interests and it’s values at exactly the same time. Supporting the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan (that incorporates Erbil and even Mosul) would have allowed the United States to do exactly that.

    As for the Sunni and Shia Iraqis the best thing for the United States is to pursue policies that maximizes the opportunities to pit them against each other for as long as possible.

  • Brett

    It’s brutal, but this Onion article sums up most of my opinion on the situation. I just really don’t care as long as the Maliki-ruled Iraq is stable and not shooting/bombing US citizens or screwing up oil prices.

  • Kris

    [Gather ’round! Kris, Master of Positive Thinking, will speak!]

    Well… At least he seems more competent than the Mayor of Kabul.

  • Fred

    “No people, indeed, can long enjoy more liberty than that to which their situation and advanced intelligence and morals fairly entitle them. If more than this be allowed, they must soon fall into confusion and disorder,—to be followed, if not by anarchy and despotism, by a change to a form of government more simple and absolute; and, therefore, better suited to their condition.”

    Calhoun is proven right yet again. The Iraqis are simply reverting to the only form of government of which people in that part of the world are capable. Trying to civilize the Middle East was always a fool’s errand. I’m with Brett, as long as Iraq is stable and does not act counter to America’s interests then leave the barbarians to their unspeakable folkways.

  • Toni

    WSJ columnist Dan Henninger has some interesting insights on Obama’s election-year foreign policy efforts concerning Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Hey, presto.

  • Cleon the Butcher already messing up Astapor?

  • Charles R. Williams

    Obama’s nation building crusade in Afghanistan is even less likely to succeed.

  • Well, I used to be a supporter of ‘Liberal Interventionism’. I suppose those are scare quotes. I remember when Maliki was shouting at Bush to fire Petraeus because he was arming the Sunni militias agains al Qaeda. Petraeus and the Sunnis defeated al Qaeda in the field but they didn’t fix Iraq. Nor do I buy the line that Afghanistan was the good war and Iraq the bad one. I remember the same left saying that Afghanistan was a quagmire like Vietnam in the early weeks of that war. But no matter who makes the argument I think it has become clear that trying to intervene based on Western values be they ‘democracy promotion’ or ‘duty to protect’ just do not work well with Middle Eastern culture.

    Nonetheless, having read a virtual sewer of negative Iraq coverage during the Bush years I am skeptical of Ned Parker’s grim picture. It is the Tres Partes Divisa Est meme that has been around since Caeser was a colonel in another Roman province. It is superficial and paints the same old picture of sectarian violence. As a reasonably well informed observer of Iraq, I have to ask – where is Grand Ayatollah Sistani in all this, or Sadr? What is the Sunni leadership saying and doing? How many people is the government actually killing each day? Remember Saddam killed about 450,000 people over 23 years – not counting those killed in his wars. That’s about 20,000 or close to 1% of the population every year for a generation just murdered by the government. I doubt that Maliki rises to the level of a Pinochet or Castro class autocrat, much less Saddam. As Hillary once aptly put it – “We have to deal with Iraq we have, not the one we wish we had.” Today that goes for Bush, Obama and the MSM.

  • Fred

    @number 8. I take a back seat to no one in my fear and loathing of Obama, but let’s be fair, Charles, the whole _mission civilatrice_ project for the Middle East and Afghanistan was (mis)conceived by the Bush administration. Instead of backing the most pro-American thug we could find in that nest of vipers, we tried to install liberal democracy there (I can’t even write it with a straight face). That one is on a Republican president.

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