Obama on ISIS: ‘Ideologies Are Not Defeated with Guns’

 

ObamaISISAfter meeting with military leaders today at the Pentagon, President Obama held a brief press conference on his administration’s ISIS policy. With head hung low and slumped shoulders, a graying Obama breezed through a statement that raised more questions than clarified America’s strategy:

OBAMA: This broader challenge of countering violent extremism is not simply a military effort. Ideologies are not defeated with guns, they are defeated by better ideas and more attractive and more compelling vision. So the United States will continue to do our part by continuing to counter ISIL’s hateful propaganda, especially online. We’ll constantly reaffirm through words and deeds that we will never be at war with Islam. We are fighting terrorists who distort Islam and its victims are mostly Muslims.

We’re also going to partner with Muslim communities as they seek the prosperity and dignity they observe. And we’re going to expect those communities to step up in terms of pushing back as hard as they can in conjunction with other people of good will against these hateful ideologies, particularly when it comes to what we’re teaching young people.

Were they still around, Hitler, Saddam and Pol Pot would disagree that ideologies aren’t defeated with guns (Mussolini would add that a rope works too). Yet Obama continues to peddle the silly progressive fantasy that terrorists can be defeated by a particularly clever TED talk. Even presidential pal Bill Ayers favored tossing a bomb every so often; perhaps if lefty bombmakers would target our enemies instead of our troops, we could drop a few Weathermen cells in the Middle East.

Since Obama thinks this latest statement will buy him some time, let’s look back at his history on the Islamic State to better assess our progress in rolling back the barbaric tide.

January 2014

“I think the analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant. I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.” Two days later, ISIS took Fallujah.

August 2014

After tens of thousands of Yazidis are trapped and starving: “I’ve, therefore, authorized targeted airstrikes, if necessary, to help forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there. Already, American aircraft have begun conducting humanitarian airdrops of food and water to help these desperate men, women and children survive… As Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.  And so even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.”

September 2014

After James Foley and Steven Sotloff are beheaded: “Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”

February 2015

After Kayla Mueller is killed: “With our allies and partners, we are going to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group… Today, my administration submitted a draft resolution to Congress to authorize the use of force against ISIL.”

June 2015

When asked at the G7 Summit about the progress of his anti-ISIS efforts: “When a finalized plan is presented to me by the Pentagon, then I will share it with the American people. We don’t yet have a complete strategy because it requires commitments on the part of the Iraqis, as well, about how recruitment takes place, how that training takes place. And so the details of that are not yet worked out.”

July 2015

“Ideologies are not defeated with guns, they are defeated by better ideas and more attractive and more compelling vision. So the United States will continue to do our part by continuing to counter ISIL’s hateful propaganda, especially online.”

———-

It is obvious that President Obama has no clear strategy to defeat or degrade ISIS, but is instead attempting to run out the clock so he can leave this nightmare for his successor to deal with. Obama entered office with a To-Do List and, in his mind, he checked off the “End War in Iraq” box back in 2011. So he will dither and dance for the next year and a half instead of reassessing his juvenile understanding of geopolitics. Whenever ISIS has a military victory or lops off a few heads, he will issue a tepid non-statement to get the press off his back for another couple of months.

In the meantime, the Middle East will continue to bleed and the western capitals will continue to shudder.

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Zafar:Ideologies aren’t defeated by guns, they’re defeated by more competitive ideologies.

    Otoh, guns aren’t defeated by ideologies, they’re defeated by other guns.

    The Nazi state was defeated by force of arms.

    Nazi ideology was defeated by liberal democracy. (Installed and maintained by force of arms until it took root.)

    Basically you need both – and politically Obama is giving combatting ISIS as much force of arms as the American people are currently willing to accept.

    Why do you always have to bring sense to a debate? Can’t you just blame Obama for everything?

    • #31
  2. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Chris Campion: Note:  It’s the “fifth” element.  What are the 4 earlier elements?  Hint:  Not playing smoochie-bottoms with terrorists.

    Oh are those the Obama strategies?

    No, his other 4 points are something about WMD (hmm…yeah nevermind that one), something about coalition building (starting to sound dangerously like a damn dirty hippie again), stopping terrorist attacks before they happen, and not allowing states to sponsor them.

    So on all counts, (other than that little WMD thingy which…well we don’t need to mention again), this has been the same “strategy” throughout Obama’s administration too.

    Hence…

    Chris Campion: This is completely different from the “future does not belong”, which implicitly denies a future to anyone who is not onboard Team ISIS.  Ask the beheaded children in Iraq.

    Wow. Talk about twisting words. This isn’t even twisting in the conventional 3 dimensions.

    • #32
  3. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Acook:“…especially online.”

    Yeah, our Facebook page will be better than theirs. That’ll show them.

    Here’s Bush:

    And they exploit modern technology to multiply their destructive power. Instead of attending faraway training camps, recruits can now access online training libraries to learn how to build a roadside bomb or fire a rocket-propelled grenade.

    • #33
  4. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    2. Beliefs die when the believers do. (People don’t change their minds, but neither do they live forever.) 

    HW Brands‘s, Laws of History

    • #34
  5. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Zafar:Ideologies aren’t defeated by guns, they’re defeated by more competitive ideologies.

    Otoh, guns aren’t defeated by ideologies, they’re defeated by other guns.

    The Nazi state was defeated by force of arms.

    Nazi ideology was defeated by liberal democracy. (Installed and maintained by force of arms until it took root.)

    Basically you need both – and politically Obama is giving combatting ISIS as much force of arms as the American people are currently willing to accept.

    Fair point (as always). On the other hand what the American people are willing to accept is also driven by what our leaders put out there. Perhaps the political inertia is to great to overcome at this point. To me though it seems like what we are doing now is not sufficient to really rollback and destroy ISIS. Invariably I think we will go in, because at some point ISIS will have beheaded or blown up just one too many people.

    To use the NAZI analogy, it would be better to take them out sooner rather than later. The longer they are allowed to function the more they destroy and kill. It may also be that the longer they are there the less likely we will be able to put anything back in place after they are gone.

    It should also be noted that if they survive long enough they are likely to simply acquire legitimacy as a real State and then become a permanent fixture.

    • #35
  6. Julia PA Inactive
    Julia PA
    @JulesPA

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: pushing back

    pushing back, like this?

    pushing back

    • #36
  7. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Ideologies are not defeated by guns.  Enemies are, and Obama does not have enemies in ISIS.

    • #37
  8. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    AIG:Here’s Bush:

    The fifth element of our strategy in the war on terror is to deny the militants future recruits by replacing hatred and resentment with democracy and hope across the broader Middle East.

    This is a difficult, long-term project, yet there’s no alternative to it. Our future and the future of that region are linked.

    If the broader Middle East is left to grow in bitterness, if countries remain in misery, while radicals stir the resentments of millions, then that part of the world will be a source of endless conflict and mounting danger for our generation and the next.

    If the peoples in that region are permitted to chose their own destiny and advance by their own energy and by their participation as free men and women, then the extremists will be marginalized and the flow of violent radicalism to the rest of the world will slow and eventually end.

    By standing for the hope and freedom of others we make our own freedom more secure.

    Damn hippie!

    Zafar:Ideologies aren’t defeated by guns, they’re defeated by more competitive ideologies.

    Otoh, guns aren’t defeated by ideologies, they’re defeated by other guns.

    The Nazi state was defeated by force of arms.

    Nazi ideology was defeated by liberal democracy. (Installed and maintained by force of arms until it took root.)

    Basically you need both

    I think that Bush and Zafar are on the same page here. What makes Obama’s statement terrible isn’t that he thinks that we should defeat ISIS ideologically; of course we should. It’s that he thinks that we shouldn’t go too much of an effort on the military side of things.

    – and politically Obama is giving combatting ISIS as much force of arms as the American people are currently willing to accept.

    I think that one way that you can see that this isn’t true is by looking at the positions taken by candidates for 2016. Clinton is campaigning on her position (also my position) that we should have taken action in 2011 and that we should take more action in the future. Every Republican bar Paul says in an uncomplicated way that we should use more force of arms. Paul says so in a complicated way, some of the time. Like Trade, he always has strong feelings, but they don’t appear to be durable.

    Anyway, at the moment it appears that we are essentially guaranteed a more robust President coming up, and you don’t get that sort of bipartisan uniformity if there isn’t political support. It’s true that there didn’t used to be such strong support, so Cruz and pals opposed meaningful intervention, but when Cruz switches position, you can be certain that the polls have.

    • #38
  9. Karen Inactive
    Karen
    @Karen

    I’ve heard accounts from Christian missionaries that have visited the refugee camps that ISIS fighters have gone into Christian villages, killed all the men and boys and taken the girls and women as sex slaves. Girls as young as nine are sold into marriage to these monsters, raped, sewn up and sold to another monster to be torn open again and again. Obama’s remarks are beyond useless. I have no use for a man who could do something about these atrocities and chooses not to. Where have all the good men gone?

    • #39
  10. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Seems there’s two strands of thinking going on here, which are very representative of the state of “conservative” psyche on foreign policy at this point.

    First, are the drive-by hit pieces which have no substance to them other than just repeat the usual tired “Obama has no strategy, Bush was da man!” talking point. Ok, fine. One can argue with that.

    Second, are the frankly…absolutely stupid…comments we’ve seen quite a few of. Obama sides with ISIS etc (look above for examples).

    It’s almost like Godwin’s Law needs to be re-written: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison between Obama and ISIS approaches 1. 

    Sad.

    • #40
  11. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Karen :I’ve heard accounts from Christian missionaries that have visited the refugee camps that ISIS fighters have gone into Christian villages, killed all the men and boys and taken the girls and women as sex slaves. Girls as young as nine are sold into marriage to these monsters, raped, sewn up and sold to another monster to be torn open again and again. Obama’s remarks are beyond useless. I have no use for a man who could do something about these atrocities and chooses not to. Where have all the good men gone?

    For a sense of why they do that (it attracts recruits, means that they’re then not allowed home again, that they can’t join rival armies, that they have a powerful motivation to retain a belief in ISIS’ brand of theology, rather than the dominant, child rape condemning, brand, dehumanizes them, and bonds them to their peers) Berger’s book is very good.

    One downside; the form of slaves you’re describing are actually some of the luckier ones; if you’re involved in a series of short term marriages you’re less likely to be repeatedly raped within the span of a day, and are likely to live longer than if you’re categorized as a captive with whom extra-marital sex is legitimate. Stuff like that can make for uncomfortable reading.

    For what it’s worth, Berger thinks that we should focus more on social media escalation and less on physical escalation, although obviously he doesn’t go as far as Obama.

    • #41
  12. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James Of England: I think that Bush and Zafar are on the same page here. What makes Obama’s statement terrible isn’t that he thinks that we should defeat ISIS ideologically; of course we should. It’s that he thinks that we shouldn’t go too much of an effort on the military side of things.

    Nowhere is that implied.

    Bush said the same thing, verbatim.

    Anyway, here’s another…damn dirty hippie…former CIA director Morell, speaking on many issues, some of which are related to this here.

    Pay particular attention to 19:23 on:

    Of, and don’t forget the part after 7:32 ;)

    Might help to actually listen to what people who do this sort of stuff for a living say, instead of AM radio shows.

    • #42
  13. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Western Chauvinist:Aw, shucks, Jon. You beat me to it. I was going to post this under the headline, “In Which I Agree (Halfway) with Obama’s Foreign Policy.”

    but nukes do a bang-up job! Just look at the absence of the imperial cult among the Japanese these days!

    Hitler was defeated with conventional weapons, and there are few self-labeled Nazis in Germany today, too.

    In counter-terrorism terms, the Palmer Raids mostly destroyed Anarchists as a problem in the US.

    Douglas:

    I think history is gonna disagree. We obviously won Iraq in the first year of invasion. What we lost was the occupation and nation building mission. We broke Iraq into pieces, probably because Pat Buchanan was right on this and Iraq was never a nation in the first place;

    Would you care to show a map of the pieces that Iraq was broken into? It seems like it’s relatively solid to me (unless your map is of the part that ISIS invaded, in which case I guess the question is whether Ukraine, Georgia, or any other nation that gets invaded thereby invalidates earlier treatment of that country as a nation).

    it was a collection of tribes held together by terror, and when we took that terror away, things started going back to their normal, bloody, brutal state… tribal warfare.

    I think you’re confusing “Iraq” and “Anbar”. Most Iraqis have a weak or non-existent tribal identity. Also, even today, most of Iraq is peaceful (oil production is up, most government functions are continuing and even improving across most of the unoccupied country, which includes the great bulk of the people of Iraq; ISIS mostly occupy empty desert).

    The surge was always going to be temporary. To keep the peace there, we’d have to perpetually occupy the place, or at least for generations. That’s something Americans simply weren’t going to agree to.

    At the point when the US left, there was a lower homicide rate than in New Orleans or St. Louis, and had been for years. If the US had done as Clinton called for in 2011, ISIS would never have grown up in Syria, and there’d have been no invasion of Iraq. If there’d been a worthwhile response in the Summer of 2014, ISIS would have been beaten back quickly. If Obama bows to political pressure and resumes the escalation of the first six months of 2015, ISIS will be kicked out without the Iraqis owing everything to Iran (and nothing to the US). None of those require an occupying force, and each would be significant, just as help for Ukraine wouldn’t require occupying Ukraine.

    • #43
  14. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    AIG:

    James Of England: I think that Bush and Zafar are on the same page here. What makes Obama’s statement terrible isn’t that he thinks that we should defeat ISIS ideologically; of course we should. It’s that he thinks that we shouldn’t go too much of an effort on the military side of things.

    Nowhere is that implied.

    Bush said the same thing, verbatim.

    I don’t believe that it is the same thing. As was pointed out above, this was a part of Bush’s plan (the fifth part) and is not intended to disparage the others. This was the fourth part:

    Fourth, we’re determined to deny the militants control of any nation, which they would use as a home base and a launching pad for terror. For this reason, we’re fighting beside our Afghan partners against remnants of the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies. For this reason, we’re working with President Musharraf to oppose and isolate the militants in Pakistan. And for this reason, we’re fighting the regime remnants and terrorists in Iraq. The terrorist goal is to overthrow a rising democracy, claim a strategic country as a haven for terror, destabilize the Middle East, and strike America and other free nations with ever-increasing violence. Our goal is to defeat the terrorists and their allies at the heart of their power — and so we will defeat the enemy in Iraq.

    Also, the context is very different. Bush was fighting hard to maintain US commitments in Iraq, while Obama is actively reducing intervention even at a time when

    Anyway, here’s another…damn dirty hippie…former CIA director Morell, speaking on many issues, some of which are related to this here.

    Pay particular attention to 19:23 on:

    Of, and don’t forget the part after 7:32

    Might help to actually listen to what people who do this sort of stuff for a living say, instead of AM radio shows.

    Are you suggesting that I don’t talk to the people who do this sort of stuff for a living? I haven’t talked to Morell, but I’ve talked to quite a lot of other people about it, and I’ve read Morell’s book (which is very good).

    For those who don’t watch the video, the 7:32 portion is the narrator making a Bush lied- people died argument with the Lancet statistics, and the 19:23 portion says that we need to maintain military and political pressure, but that it’s important to also focus more effort on opposing the radicalization of new recruits (ie., he’s with Bush and Zafar on this issue, rather than Obama and AIG).

    • #44
  15. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James Of England: At the point when the US left, there was a lower homicide rate than in New Orleans or St. Louis, and had been for years

    Again with this claim. It’s a lie. Sorry…no nicer way to put it.

    You’re apparently confusing being blown to bits by a car bomb…with homicide.

    Those are numbers relating ONLY to terrorist activities in Iraq. They’re not counting people stabbed in the process of being burglarized.

    You think 4,000 dead a year in terrorist attacks in Iraq…is “winning”?

    James Of England: If the US had done as Clinton called for in 2011, ISIS would never have grown up in Syria, and there’d have been no invasion of Iraq. If there’d been a worthwhile response in the Summer of 2014, ISIS would have been beaten back quickly. If Obama bows to political pressure and resumes the escalation of the first six months of 2015, ISIS will be kicked out without the Iraqis owing everything to Iran (and nothing to the US). None of those require an occupying force, and each would be significant, just as help for Ukraine wouldn’t require occupying Ukraine.

    Stating suppositions based on absolutely nothing other than pixie dust on the internet, is very easy to do.

    I’d suggest you to go back and watch that video I posted above, starting at 19:23.

    • #45
  16. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James Of England: I don’t believe that it is the same thing. As was pointed out above, this was a part of Bush’s plan (the fifth part) and is not intended to disparage the others. This was the fourth part:

    In no way shape or form does America’s “strategy” at the moment differ from Bush’s one.

    It only differs with the alternative reality version of events constructed in conservative media, both of Bush’s strategy, and the current one.

    James Of England: Also, the context is very different. Bush was fighting hard to maintain US commitments in Iraq, while Obama is actively reducing intervention

    This is the alternate reality version I was speaking about. It’s hard to argue when nothing said here relates to reality on the ground.

    James Of England: For those who don’t watch the video, the 7:32 portion is the narrator making a Bush lied- people died argument with the Lancet statistics,

    No that’s the part where Morell admits that everything the CIA said was wrong on WMD.

    James Of England: and the 19:23 portion says that we need to maintain military and political pressure, but that it’s important to also focus more effort on opposing the radicalization of new recruits (ie., he’s with Bush and Zafar on this issue, rather than Obama and AIG).

    And again, the alternate reality where apparently “me” and Obama are claiming that no war should happen, no war is happening.

    • #46
  17. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

     Ideologies are not defeated with guns…

    National Socialism notwithstanding.

    • #47
  18. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    AIG:

    James Of England: At the point when the US left, there was a lower homicide rate than in New Orleans or St. Louis, and had been for years

    Again with this claim. It’s a lie. Sorry…no nicer way to put it.

    You’re apparently confusing being blown to bits by a car bomb…with homicide.

    Those are numbers relating ONLY to terrorist activities in Iraq. They’re not counting people stabbed in the process of being burglarized.

    No, counting both. The Iraqi homicide rate (for burglaries and such) is very low, which helps.

    You think 4,000 dead a year in terrorist attacks in Iraq…is “winning”?

    Sure. That’s a little under one Iraqi in seven thousand five hundred. It’s a small enough number that life expectancy was going up, the economy was improving, and life was normalizing. I mean, it was still enough that tourism was mostly limited to Iranians and Arabs, but there was a decent amount of it and climbing. Victory meant a functioning country with a future and AQ’s obnoxious attacks on the police didn’t stop that from being the case. New York City managed that sort of level of violence every year from 1968 to 1997 (that is just counting the terrorism, though, add in the spousal murder stuff and it’s only NYC was only more violent from 1969-1995).

    It wasn’t a positive thing, but it wasn’t going to last forever, and it’s not the sort of scale of violence that makes a country unlivable.

    James Of England: If the US had done as Clinton called for in 2011, ISIS would never have grown up in Syria, and there’d have been no invasion of Iraq. If there’d been a worthwhile response in the Summer of 2014, ISIS would have been beaten back quickly. If Obama bows to political pressure and resumes the escalation of the first six months of 2015, ISIS will be kicked out without the Iraqis owing everything to Iran (and nothing to the US). None of those require an occupying force, and each would be significant, just as help for Ukraine wouldn’t require occupying Ukraine.

    Stating suppositions based on absolutely nothing other than pixie dust on the internet, is very easy to do.

    I’d suggest you to go back and watch that video I posted above, starting at 19:23.

    I did watch it. That’s how I was able to describe it. Like I said, I’ve also read his book on the subject. I’m not against counter-radicalization efforts. I agree with Morell that we should engage in both keen efforts against the current terrorists and keen efforts to deradicalize marginal cases and to suppress the radicalization of more.

    • #48
  19. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James of England, as I said, verbatim what Obama said:

    Asked “Can we win?” Mr. Mr. Bush said, “I don’t think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the — those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world.”

    Second, you can let Zafar speak for himself.

    Third, in every way the Obama “strategy” has been the same as the Bush “strategy” (after he invaded everyone on a hunch). That is, work with the locals to fight Islamic extremists. Work with allied nations to fight them. Just as we’re working with the Kurds in bombing ISIS , and with the Iraqis in doing the same. The same strategy of following, finding and bombing Islamic extremists everywhere. In fact, Obama’s pursuit of this has been far more aggressive than Bush’s.

    Fourth, as I said earlier, your assertion that he is saying that military action isn’t needed or happening, is in direct contradiction with reality. Hence you’re just distorting what he’s saying.

    Fifth, the important part in the video is the part where he says that this is an intelligence war…where the enemy is difficult to find and that’s the limiting factor. Hence all the calls for “lets bomb more” etc heard in the conservative sphere are not only pointless, but they are in contradiction with reality on the ground. You can’t bomb what you can’t see or ID.

    • #49
  20. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Think about it this way, though. What got Obama elected? Identity politics and social media. Ideology was defeated… Look at Facebook and see all the rainbow avatars (though far fewer than perhaps they expected). In the united States, in liberal politics, ideologies are “defeated” by conformity with other mass ideologies. But Obama is too stupid. America used to provide an ideology separate from those of the world around it. Obama himself is openly hostile to that. Perhaps that might have stood against ISIS.

    • #50
  21. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James Of England: No, counting both

    No.

    James Of England: Sure. That’s a little under one Iraqi in seven thousand five hundred. It’s a small enough number that life expectancy was going up, the economy was improving, and life was normalizing. I mean, it was still enough that tourism was mostly limited to Iranians and Arabs, but there was a decent amount of it and climbing.

    Talk about alternate realities.

    James Of England: I did watch it. That’s how I was able to describe it. Like I said, I’ve also read his book on the subject. I’m not against counter-radicalization efforts. I agree with Morell that we should engage in both keen efforts against the current terrorists and keen efforts to deradicalize marginal cases and to suppress the radicalization of more.

    And neither is Obama saying that he’s against military action. He’s the one who started the military action, and has killed tens of thousands of terrorists around the world that way. So you’re hitching on to him saying the same thing Bush said…and transforming that as if its the ONLY strategy of this administration.

    That’s not just twisting words. That’s disingenuous.

    • #51
  22. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    AIG:

    James Of England: I don’t believe that it is the same thing. As was pointed out above, this was a part of Bush’s plan (the fifth part) and is not intended to disparage the others. This was the fourth part:

    In no way shape or form does America’s “strategy” at the moment differ from Bush’s one.

    Wut?

    Bush had boots on the ground in live combat, as I’m sure you’re aware. I don’t think that that’s called for in this instance, but it’s clearly not the present policy. Bush didn’t have a policy whereby he announced that he wouldn’t engage in strikes if there was risk of a single civilian casualty. Heck, Obama didn’t do that until recently. There’s a reason that you didn’t see hostile armored vehicles taking part in victory parades near US air resources nearby under Bush.

    It only differs with the alternative reality version of events constructed in conservative media, both of Bush’s strategy, and the current one.

    Do you think that the liberal media think that the conflict in Iraq right now looks like the conflict under Bush?

    Again, I don’t get a lot of my news about Iraq from the conservative media. I agree that they often overstate the case, but no one except the Buchananite, Paulbot, and Communist/ Green fringe make the argument that the highly limited use of drone and air strikes is similar to having ground assaults.

    I don’t think that the decision to claim to support, but then to not actually support, Nigeria under Jonathan would have gone the same way with Bush, either.

    James Of England: Also, the context is very different. Bush was fighting hard to maintain US commitments in Iraq, while Obama is actively reducing intervention

    This is the alternate reality version I was speaking about. It’s hard to argue when nothing said here relates to reality on the ground.

    I imagine you’re wrongly disputing Obama’s reduction in intervention. I don’t know if you’re also wrongly disputing the claim that Bush supported staying the course in Iraq.

    James Of England: For those who don’t watch the video, the 7:32 portion is the narrator making a Bush lied- people died argument with the Lancet statistics,

    No that’s the part where Morell admits that everything the CIA said was wrong on WMD.

    Watch it again. That’s not Morell’s voice. That’s a journalist. You don’t hear Morell for a full minute after that. I think that you’re meaning 9:10, and it’s a single sentence. If you read the book, you’ll see that he has a more nuanced view. Also, I have no idea what the relevance is to this discussion.

    James Of England: and the 19:23 portion says that we need to maintain military and political pressure, but that it’s important to also focus more effort on opposing the radicalization of new recruits (ie., he’s with Bush and Zafar on this issue, rather than Obama and AIG).

    And again, the alternate reality where apparently “me” and Obama are claiming that no war should happen, no war is happening.

    I don’t think that either you or Obama mean that. I think that you’re both using hyperbole to argue for a reduced degree of intervention in Iraq and Syria today.

    • #52
  23. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    AIG, your equation of Obama with Bush and extraction of Obama from his own many-times proclaimed affinity to Muslims is as goofy as it is transparent.

    Bush: Committed to winning the war in Iraq through long-term presence even when everything looked lost.

    Obama: Committed to hauling butt outta there and trashing the possibility of helping them even when things were going well.

    Things are certainly not going well now, and that’s not only the predictable and predicted result — some of us see it as Obama’s actual goal.  You just can’t get it this wrong this consistently by accident.

    You can’t consistently have A) things are bad and getting worse, B) Obama is smart, and C) Obama is on America’s side.

    Duck.  Low bridge.

    • #53
  24. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    AIG:

    James Of England: No, counting both

    No.

    So, 4k/ year in a country with 32 million people is 12.5/100k/ year. Add to this 2/100k/year for the non-terrorist homicide rate. You get about 14.5. Compare New Orleans at 57.6/100k/year. That’s almost exactly four times as high.

    James Of England: Sure. That’s a little under one Iraqi in seven thousand five hundred. It’s a small enough number that life expectancy was going up, the economy was improving, and life was normalizing. I mean, it was still enough that tourism was mostly limited to Iranians and Arabs, but there was a decent amount of it and climbing.

    Talk about alternate realities.

    If you could be specific, then it would be easier to rebut. Do you mean that the economy wasn’t growing? That tourism wasn’t ticking up? That life wasn’t normalizing? Please be specific about the manner of your error.

    James Of England: I did watch it. That’s how I was able to describe it. Like I said, I’ve also read his book on the subject. I’m not against counter-radicalization efforts. I agree with Morell that we should engage in both keen efforts against the current terrorists and keen efforts to deradicalize marginal cases and to suppress the radicalization of more.

    And neither is Obama saying that he’s against military action. He’s the one who started the military action, and has killed tens of thousands of terrorists around the world that way. So you’re hitching on to him saying the same thing Bush said…and transforming that as if its the ONLY strategy of this administration.

    That’s not just twisting words. That’s disingenuous.

    He’s not saying the same thing as Bush did, and he’s deprioritizing military action.

    I’m not saying that it’s the only strategy of the administration. I’m saying that it was the strategy of this speech.

    I’m surprised by your “tens of thousands of terrorists” being killed by military action started by Obama. Could you break that down?

    • #54
  25. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    James Of England: Please be specific about the manner of your error.

    “And remember, this is for posterity so please, be honest.”

    • #55
  26. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    James Of England:

    I imagine you’re wrongly disputing Obama’s reduction in intervention. I don’t know if you’re also wrongly disputing the claim that Bush supported staying the course in Iraq.

    Okay, you’re better at these details than I am, but didn’t Bush sign the “exit in 2011” SOFA with Iraq that Obama then just implemented?

    I used to think that the big difference between Bush and Obama was that Obama wouldn’t have jumped into a (imho) unnecessary embargo and blockade the way the Bushes did – not so much in how they executed the war once they were in Iraq which was standard.

    (Also – New Orleans was really violent.  Its homicide rate is not really a good measure of peacefulness.)

    • #56
  27. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Valiuth:

    Fair point (as always). On the other hand what the American people are willing to accept is also driven by what our leaders put out there. Perhaps the political inertia is to great to overcome at this point. To me though it seems like what we are doing now is not sufficient to really rollback and destroy ISIS. Invariably I think we will go in, because at some point ISIS will have beheaded or blown up just one too many people..

    Given the juice ‘Bush lied, people died’ still has it’s no wonder politicians have decided to lead from the middle on Iraq.  Even Congress, for all its criticism of the President, has determinedly refrained from even discussing US military options in Iraq, leave aside declaring war on ISIS or something that actually means a commitment that could come back to burn individual congressmen.

    As for ISIS, like any other polity in that region it can control territory, it can make war, it can even tax or ethnically cleanse the people under its control – but until its neighbours recognise it as such it will never be a state.  That requires the acquiescence of the governed and the acceptance of your neighbours, and the second will never happen.

    • #57
  28. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Zafar:

    (Also – New Orleans was really violent. Its homicide rate is not really a good measure of peacefulness.)

    Well yes, but that’s Bush’s fault as well.

    • #58
  29. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Oh yeah, I forgot.

    • #59
  30. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    Zafar:

    James Of England:

    I imagine you’re wrongly disputing Obama’s reduction in intervention. I don’t know if you’re also wrongly disputing the claim that Bush supported staying the course in Iraq.

    Okay, you’re better at these details than I am, but didn’t Bush sign the “exit in 2011″ SOFA with Iraq that Obama then just implemented?

    I used to think that the big difference between Bush and Obama was that Obama wouldn’t have jumped into a (imho) unnecessary embargo and blockade the way the Bushes did – not so much in how they executed the war once they were in Iraq which was standard.

    (Also – New Orleans was really violent. Its homicide rate is not really a good measure of peacefulness.)

    No, on the SOFA – Barry up and left, the original intent was to keep troops there to continue to maintain security.

    What would be a good measure of peacefulness?  The likelihood of not getting murdered?

    • #60
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