Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Obama's Middle East Disasters

Did Obama leave more Middle East disasters than he inherited?  This author says the answer is yes.
So what will the next President do about it?


  1. There is a lot there I have to agree with. Toppling Gadhafi was a bad move. His rampant drone war wherein we fly drones into any country we want to kill people is also something I feel that will bite us in the ass. I was also glad to see this author mention the Saudi's ongoing slaughter in Yemen, which indeed, no one is talking about at all.

    I'm not sure I buy his neat and tidy wrap up of the Arab spring. It wasn't that simple. This is a hard reality, the middle east is full of brutal dictators who steal much of the nation's wealth away from the average person, and create massive inequality. (Hmm, wonder where else that might be happening?) The revolutions that helped overthrow the dictators were driven by a lot of, arguably, legitimate beefs. We helped overthrow Gadhafi, but got wishy washy with Mubarak. He was a corrupt thug, but he was OUR corrupt thug, so I guess that means we were supposed to prop him up and help squash a rebellion of people demanding the very essence of rights that go with Democracy? That's where I start to call BS. Predictably, perhaps, the Arab Spring was co-opted by the same sorts of groups we are at odds with. Groups like the Muslim brotherhood. They didn't do any better job than the hacks they pulled from power, but again, are we supposed to go in an slaughter non-military citizens for the crime of backing the wrong group? Many in this country believe exactly that. I don't think it's that simple.

    The rise of ISIS is not Obama's fault. The blame for the rise of ISIS is 100% on George W, and every member of congress and the senate who voted for that war. The surge and all these other fluctuations of troops mean nothing in the long haul. What fuels a lot of this is Shiite/Sunni hatred, and right now, I see little answer for this. I agree that Obama has cleaned up little. Now that we have created ISIS, I think we are going to have a 10-15 year period wherein nothing really changes and each POTUS will spend time trying to make it look like they are moving the ball forward.

    1. I agree with what you are saying. A major problem now is what will our next President do. Clamping down on Muslims who are U.S. citizens in not the answer.

    2. Thomas Jefferson: “I tremble for my country when I think we may in fact get the kind of leaders we deserve.”

    3. Conceptually, I believe we are going to have to do several unpleasant things that we don't want to do. As I see it, we are in a spot wherein our military desires, which includes destruction of ISIS, puts us in alignment with Iran, Syria, and to a lesser extent, the Russians because they are backing Assad. Neocon doctrine stipulates that we can't work with any of these because they are ALL enemies. And then of course, there are the Kurds, who we support, but only so much because Turkey doesn't want them to have any power, land, or recognition.

      We supported Saddam, and if another such thug arose who could claim that country, we should probably do that. However, the chances of a non Shiite thug like that arising seem small. Still, I think the main point is that we are going to have to work with people we don't want to in short stretches to accomplish various goals and that is likely the best we can hope for. We are not going to solve all of this militarily, and that is another painful truth that a lot of Americans are going to have to swallow. In neocon thinking, it is totally counterintuitive to actually treat refugees like human beings and try to court their support to essentially become informants for us. But this is another piece that i think we need to do as well.

    4. Cruz said he would carpet bomb ISIS.

      Trump said he would eliminate ISIS and set up camps within Syria for refuges to return to.

      Hillary said Obama is doing a fine job and they have kept the world safe.

      Kamakazi's continue to attack innocent people all over the globe.

      You tell me Max. You tell me the answer.

    5. I said what I think my answer is. We need to work with people we don't want to from time to time. IE, a country like Iran. Damn near every time we have armed some rebel group, which is something Lindsay Grahm always call for, we almost inevitably wind up just handing weapons over to ISIS. Yes or no William, do you really believe carpet bombing and some vague promise to eliminate ISIS and set up refugee camps are an answer?

      I've stated my opposition to Hillary over this a bunch of times. she is a way hawk who will continue Obama's assassination program, which, I have a gut feeling, you would love if it came from a Republican president.

      Like I said William, with our monumental screw up in Iraq, we took away a counter balance to Iran. I don't say that to keep beating a dead horse, but people need to accept that propping up Shia lead governments in Iraq is not going to solve our problems. I think at best, we are going to get brief windows of opportunity here and there to make strikes at ISIS. As usual, you just repeated what the candidates have said and have offered nothing suggesting you even care enough about this to have given it some thought.

    6. BTW, carpet bombing in more densely populated areas can be a war crime. I don't think ISIS is hiding in caves in the middle of nowhere.

    7. I asked you for your opinion. But you're so defensive you turn a question into an automatic attack. You bring out discredited people like Graham who garnered less than 1% as he ran for president. He along with McCain and Romney are yesterday's news.

      What would Bernie do to solve our ISIS JV problem?

    8. Sorry, didn't mean for that to sound defensive, but I do genuinely want to hear what you think should be done. You say Graham and McCain are discredited, yet, those are the poster boys who get to trumpet all over the place how "feckless" Obama has been. It's honestly not that I care about what people think of Obama William. Instead, it's a matter that I am tired of people bitching about how shitty Obama is when they offer no solution of their own. That sentiment is deeply ingrained in the Republican base, so I am not aiming that squarely at you.

      As for Bernie, this is a bit of a problem because he really hasn't laid out a solid plan yet. My hunch is that he going to put a lot of effort into trying to get Muslim coalitions together and I honestly don't know how well that is going to work. Since the invasion into Afghanistan, it seems like no matter where we go, warlords of various factions are notorious for changing sides and/or using our help to extract revenge. I think Sanders understands who all the players are, but I think his approach is going to be one wherein we commit as few American lives as possible, which means he is going to try and get Muslims to work it out. I think this needs to happen, but the next four years may not the best time to make this a primary strategy.

    9. Addendum, what I said there about Obama is not entirely what I mean. If people on the right want to complain about Obama, more power to em. The real frustration is that I believe a majority of people voting are flat out ignorant about what is going on. Then they plug into their homogenized news sources and listen to people like Bill Kristol and the two above and countless others like Ted Cruz spout how Obama has screwed it all up. No one explains to said voters exactly how Obama screwed up, but it doesn't matter. They just run about their happy lives spouting that Obama had shown no leadership and has screwed up the entire middle east. I am far from an expert, but I'm taking time to try and educate myself on who the players are, and how this mess got started. I'm not asking what you would do as an attacking statement, but I am genuinely interested. There is plenty I disagree with Obama on regarding his foreign policy, but I can explain what those things are.

    10. So, basically Bernie has no plan either. At this point all major candidates pretty much are without an obvious solution.

      Without a declaration of all out war we remain hamstrung. As in all theaters of contention around the world we remain in military industrial limbo.

      My opinion is that we are all in or just stay home and hope our imaginary maginot defenses will limit the inevitable damages.

      Whomever takes over will have some job restoring any credibility left following Obama's string of oxy cleaned red lines.

    11. Respectfully William, that doesn't say anything, especially that last sentence. Near as I can tell, the lack of credibility resides foremost in the minds of people on the right. Of course Obama does not get along with far right winger Bibi, and for many on the right, Bibi is really the only world leader that matters.

      Who are we going to get a declaration of war against from congress? And again, I'm not trying to be an attacking jackass, but if we did go all in as you say, send in thousands of troops to Iraq and Syria, what is going to make the outcome any different? We've put troops in, taken them out, put em in, taken em out, and the same thing happens every time. We "train" a cadre of troops, leave behind a stockpile of weapons, and the holders of those weapons drop them and run when ISIS attacks. We did this under Bush, and we've done it under Obama and it hasn't worked under either. I'll admit, I don't have a solid answer myself at this time. That said, I remain frustrated at people who continue to just spew that Obama sucks, Obama has lost credibility and so on when clearly they have no better idea themselves. This mentality goes way beyond you.

    12. When I say all in max I mean a maximum total effort involving every last asset that our country can muster. Of course this would piss off to hell many constituencies that are gliding past just collecting a check.

      All in is defined by a frigging hell on earth against any "declared" enemy. Tell me we couldn't accomplish this against any JV outfit in the world. Imagine if you will for one moment, suspend your boxed in thinking for one just one moment, imagine every able bodied male in every college football stadium, on any given Fall weekend, being enabled with maximum resource to solve ISIS or Al Queda, or Putin.

      The key is maximum focus, maximum commitment, maximum sacrifice. All the things that have won wars throughout history. What we don't need are status of forces agreements, targeted limited engagements, and lawyer solutions.


    13. I'll grant you this William, we went through Afghanistan and Iraq while at home the vast majority of the population who didn't have a family member in the conflict went about their lives. The real cost of the war was born by a relative few.

      I guess on the rest of it, I'm going to have to keep disagreeing. I'm not sure exactly what boxed in thinking I'm blinded by. We sent everything we needed into Iraq to topple Saddam and win the military side of it. That wasn't the problem, it was what we did after that created ISIS. The JV ISIS is not just some rag tag group in a teensy piece of Syria. They are there, they are in Iraq, and they, or their affiliates are in Africa and other places as well. Your plan would put us in combat in multiple nations and we would still be left with the same problem after we kill everyone. I don't disagree at all about winning military battles, we an do that. So far, that hasn't been enough.

      Would you support a draft for your vision?

    14. If we declared war I would support a draft for both men and women. Maximum effort directed at a specific world problem.

      If not then stay the f home and let locals solve their own problems.

    15. Fair enough William, I appreciate the honest response. It bothered me that as our other conflicts dragged on, there was never full sacrifice demanded of the rest of the country. We simply denied soldiers the right to leave after they served 1-2 tours, and we sent many back for 4-5 tours. And of course, we would not raise taxes either to actually pay for the money we were spending. In short, very few in this country, relative to the entire population, bore the brunt of these wars. Had both a draft and declaration been demanded before Iraq, we possibly might not h ave gone there, and there would be no ISIS today.

      I'm not attacking your position, but it puts you in kind of a no mans land. No candidate, Republican or Democrat will even whisper the words draft, and neither will ask for a full declaration of war, which would be even more difficult in this case because ISIS is not really a state. McCain and Graham and people like Kristol, who never met a war he didn't like, are probably the only ones who would support this.

      I'll try to make this a final question, if your standard is 100% all or nothing, will you be as critical of Republicans who try to walk the middle ground and win without committing anything? Cruz's carpet bombing, despite his bluster, sounds a lot like a half measure.

    16. Carpet bombing to me means with today's technology the absolute elimination overnight of complete cities. If we were to wake up tomorrow morning with camera shots of completely leveled widespread areas I would not consider that a half measure.

      Level complete cities and eliminate any movement 100% in surrounding areas. Either you wage war or your don't.