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. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @Manny

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.    

    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.

    Agree.  And while I can understand Obama’s point about defeating with ideas, where is he doing even that?  He’s not doing anything, neither in the realm of ideas or in the realm of guns.  You’re absolutely right.  He was completely focused on ending the war and he will do nothing to prove that was a mistake.  He will do nothing for the remaining time in office.

    • #61
  2. Howellis Inactive
    Howellis
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Is there anything more tedious than the argument, “Yeah, well so did Bush.”? How does that make anything Obama did or continues to do correct or sensible? Obama’s strategy is either right or it’s not, regardless of the choices that a previous president made. This is a form of the tu quoque fallacy, and it doesn’t convince. If the intention of the “so did Bush” brigade is to defend Obama, it doesn’t work. Obama is responsible for his own decisions and strategies, and their outcomes. If the charge is that those who criticize Obama are hypocrites, my retort is “So what?”

    Bush was president during a whole set of different challenges and conditions. His decision to invade Iraq was made twelve years ago, for crying out loud. The surge was eight years ago. Obama has been president long enough for his choices to stand on their own, in a world that is increasingly of his own making. Obama pulled the troops out of Iraq. Obama failed to deal with ISIS when it was a minor force causing minor havoc. Obama has determined to use drones and not to take any prisoners and interrogate them to acquire intelligence on enemy movements and plans. Obama has chosen not to use sufficient force to defeat ISIS in short order. Obama thinks that there is no military solution to anything and he says so on a regular basis.

    I know, “Yeah, but Bush…..” Gimme a break.

    • #62
  3. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @OldBathos

    AIG:

    1/

    It might help to get honest about the differences in Bush and Obama approaches. The surge (a belated response to a botched occupation) was not merely military.  It was the stick whereas promising that the US would ride herd on the Shia-majority government to respect minority interests of Sunnis was the carrot.  We did that. That we retained the needed military and diplomatic muscle was key. It worked.  But it required us to stay until democracy was a habit in a part of the world that was never good at it.

    Obama dawdled about appointing an ambassador.  He blew off Petreus and Crocker when they told him how he needed to keep Maliki under control.  Obama made Joe Biden the point guy.  Idiot Joe declared “Maliki is our guy” and gave him a blank check.  Maliki used the army as a patronage opportunity, immediately implemented corrupt arrangements, even alienated many Shias and caused the Sunnis to return to armed resistance, undermined the tribal leaders who had joined us and opened the door to ISIS.

    Bush had a grand vision about bringing democracy to the Middle East.  Had we accepted the burden in Iraq, it may have been the exemplar that changed all.  We will never know because Obama pissed that away.

    • #63
  4. Ralphie Inactive
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    Obama’s better idea is that he has a timetable to meet and it is good for him politically. He runs foreign policy based on what is good for him.  That is how narcissists operate.

    • #64
  5. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @OldBathos

    /2

    As for rhetoric about peaceful persuasion, allies and diplomacy making Bush and Obama policies comparable, don’t be a child.  That pseudo-equivalence shtick is for HuffPo comment threads or the Democratic Underground.  Do try to be more substantive when you are with grownups.

    Bush was willing to make a substantive commitment of resources (including military) to an ambitious goal.  Obama (rhetorically ) favors the same nominal outcomes but has made it abundantly clear that he will not even pretend to commit any resources or make any substantive effort to achieve that.  Arguably, Bush’s desire to bring democracy to Arab Muslims was a bridge to far but it was a policy.

    Obama’s actual policy is disengagement, retreat, empty rhetoric and the vain hope that a weakened, chastised America will be more loveable to our enemies.  Rhetoric about alliances is empty if allies are abandoning us precisely because they know the words are empty.  Rhetoric about non-military solutions is empty because Obama is unwilling to address those problems that do have military solutions.

    To ignore the substance of argue that cherry-picked rhetorical points makes Bush and Obama indistinguishable is simply silly.

    • #65
  6. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    I find it rather strange that a nation that in four years fought its’ way across the Pacific and across Europe to defeat two nations that had modern militaries cannot defeat an army that mounts guns on the back of pick-up trucks. Perhaps it is time for a constitutional amendment that community organizers are ineligible to hold the Office of President of The United States.

    • #66
  7. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Zafar:

    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.

    I would be hesitant to say that its neighbors will never recognize it. Not that I don’t agree with you that it seems unlikely, but you never know. Its continued presence will inculcate a certain degree of tolerance for it. If Iran becomes more threatening or aggressive what is to say that the Sunni Arab states will not choose to make peace with the Sunni Devil in order to focus on the Shiite one?

    The longer ISIS is able to maintain their nation I think the higher the probability that there will be some push towards “normalization”. They win by surviving, time is ultimately on their side if they can endure the external pressures.

    • #67
  8. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Valiuth:

    Zafar:

    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.

    I would be hesitant to say that its neighbors will never recognize it. Not that I don’t agree with you that it seems unlikely, but you never know. Its continued presence will inculcate a certain degree of tolerance for it. If Iran becomes more threatening or aggressive what is to say that the Sunni Arab states will not choose to make peace with the Sunni Devil in order to focus on the Shiite one.

    ISIS is a greater threat to the Saudis than Iran will ever be, because ISIS claims that they are what the Saudis should be.  They out-Wahhab the Wahhabis.  It’s an existential threat for the Saudi state because some Saudis agree with ISIS – hence the extreme improbability of any current Sunni state ever recognising the Raqqa Caliphate as legitimate.

    I doubt any Saudis agree with those Kafir Shias over in Qom.  So Iran is intrinsically less threatening to Saudi than ISIS, whatever the rhetoric.

    • #68
  9. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: 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.

    Very true. And very Democratic Party. It’s exactly what Clinton did. Exactly.

    At this moment, western civilization is living on borrowed time.

    • #69
  10. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @Manny

    Old Bathos

    /2

    As for rhetoric about peaceful persuasion, allies and diplomacy making Bush and Obama policies comparable, don’t be a child. That pseudo-equivalence shtick is for HuffPo comment threads or the Democratic Underground. Do try to be more substantive when you are with grownups.

    Bush was willing to make a substantive commitment of resources (including military) to an ambitious goal. Obama (rhetorically ) favors the same nominal outcomes but has made it abundantly clear that he will not even pretend to commit any resources or make any substantive effort to achieve that. Arguably, Bush’s desire to bring democracy to Arab Muslims was a bridge to far but it was a policy.

    Obama’s actual policy is disengagement, retreat, empty rhetoric and the vain hope that a weakened, chastised America will be more loveable to our enemies. Rhetoric about alliances is empty if allies are abandoning us precisely because they know the words are empty. Rhetoric about non-military solutions is empty because Obama is unwilling to address those problems that do have military solutions.

    To ignore the substance of argue that cherry-picked rhetorical points makes Bush and Obama indistinguishable is simply silly.

    Excellent!  Excellent!  Spot on!

    • #70
  11. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    Western Chauvinist:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    AIG: Meanwhile, did Bush have a “strategy”? Seems we’re in this mess precisely because Bush had no strategy…

    Except Bush’s strategy won in Iraq. Then Obama abandoned it and let ISIS have all the equipment.

    Bush’s strategy was “We win. Our enemies lose.”

    Obama’s strategy is, “I’m going to talk them into submission.” Or, at least, bore the people so much, they don’t care anymore about dead brown people half a world away. Seems to be working on AIG.

    And they call water boarding torture, let them hear Obama talk.

    • #71
  12. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    JimGoneWild:

    Western Chauvinist:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    AIG: Meanwhile, did Bush have a “strategy”? Seems we’re in this mess precisely because Bush had no strategy…

    Except Bush’s strategy won in Iraq. Then Obama abandoned it and let ISIS have all the equipment.

    Bush’s strategy was “We win. Our enemies lose.”

    Obama’s strategy is, “I’m going to talk them into submission.” Or, at least, bore the people so much, they don’t care anymore about dead brown people half a world away. Seems to be working on AIG.

    And they call water boarding torture, let them hear Obama talk.

    A digression:

    We were watching an anti-terrorism movie one evening, and my husband turned to me and said, “You know, there have been only two known cases of waterboarding. Your chances of being waterboarded are far greater if you are an actor than if you are a terrorist.” Too funny.  :)

    • #72
  13. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    AIG: …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.”…

    That’s not “a lack of strategy”, that’s a realistic estimation of the nature of the problem.

    We’re ~1300 years into this particular war, it’s a little unrealistic to expect Bush to have wrapped it up in eight years.

    • #73
  14. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    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?

    Yes, but a: it was hoped by all parties involved (at least all the parties that I’ve spoken to or am familiar with) that it could be renegotiated. The Iraqis really needed to know that occupation wasn’t going to be permanent; there’s a lot of them who really believed that the US aim was to have it be a paleo colonial relationship, and having a framework for leaving was a useful part of that. Also, the troops weren’t particularly helpful by 2011; AQ’s fighting had moved down to a few suicide bombs and a lot of individual murders of policemen, families of policemen, and such. It meant that most of the fighting was being done by the police and ISF, not the Americans.

    As you know, I’m not opposed to the US withdrawal in 2011. The US should have sent more civilian aid (if they’d worked harder at bringing Iraqis into the banking system, for instance, ISIS would be a lot poorer today, and post-ISIS reconstruction in Anbar would be a lot easier and less corrupt), and they should absolutely have taken action in Syria (air strikes, drones, support for the FSA), but there’s nothing useful that army bases in Iraq would have done from 2011 to 2014, other than being an incredibly inefficient way of handling civilian aid. It’s also worth noting that a large part of the Bush administration’s thinking towards the end was that they wanted the Obama administration to enjoy the benefits of continuity; there would be partisan political advantage to having a sudden turn in US politics, but it’s bad for the country. That meant that, inter alia, since Obama was going to bail out the auto companies, they needed to provide stop gap support for them, and that since Obama was going to pull out of Iraq, it would be dumb to commit to staying.

    Obama’s fault wasn’t that he didn’t fight Bush era enemies, which mostly didn’t need it. It’s that he didn’t fight Obama era enemies, which did. It’s the Red Lines, the promises to help Nigeria and then not helping, the promises to help the FSA, then not helping, the promises to provide air support for the ISF, then not providing air support in sufficient quantities when things were good, or at all when there was bad weather, during the victory parade, and at similar times, the lack of even promises for Georgia and Ukraine, the lack of support for the Rohingya, the promises of support to various parties in the Yemen followed by non support, the anti-Zionism.

    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.

    I’m not sure which embargo and blockade you’re talking about.
    I don’t think the way the war in Iraq was handled was standard. The Surge, funded and begrudgingly supported by a Congress elected on a platform of betraying the Iraqis, was one of the greatest political and military achievements of the past century. Iraq really could have been another Vietnam, and it was saved by Bush’s total commitment to victory, a commitment that he supported, in part, with the speech that AIG suggests is similar to Obama’s approach.

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

    Sure. If AIG had said “less violent that New Orleans isn’t meaningful”, then he’d have had an argument. Instead he said I was lying about the numbers. I don’t think that we take the same position on these issues in general, but your positions and arguments are reasoned and decent, and supported by the sources you rely on (even if those sources are often problematic), which is why I was suggesting that the clearer line was between AIG and you, rather than between you and me.

    • #74
  15. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Zafar:

    Valiuth:

    Zafar:

    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.

    I would be hesitant to say that its neighbors will never recognize it. Not that I don’t agree with you that it seems unlikely, but you never know. Its continued presence will inculcate a certain degree of tolerance for it. If Iran becomes more threatening or aggressive what is to say that the Sunni Arab states will not choose to make peace with the Sunni Devil in order to focus on the Shiite one.

    ISIS is a greater threat to the Saudis than Iran will ever be, because ISIS claims that they are what the Saudis should be. They out-Wahhab the Wahhabis. It’s an existential threat for the Saudi state because some Saudis agree with ISIS – hence the extreme improbability of any current Sunni state ever recognising the Raqqa Caliphate as legitimate.

    I doubt any Saudis agree with those Kafir Shias over in Qom. So Iran is intrinsically less threatening to Saudi than ISIS, whatever the rhetoric.

    10-15% of Saudis are Shia. I suspect that the number of Saudis who prefer ISIS to AQ is lower than that.

    I mean, I agree that ISIS is much more of a problem than Iran from a fifth column perspective (everyone knows who the Shia are, so it’s easier to keep them safely out of the halls of power/ stop them from drinking from the Sunni water fountains). This is a pedantic quibble rather than serious disagreement.

    • #75
  16. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Valiuth: I would be hesitant to say that its neighbors will never recognize it. Not that I don’t agree with you that it seems unlikely, but you never know. Its continued presence will inculcate a certain degree of tolerance for it. If Iran becomes more threatening or aggressive what is to say that the Sunni Arab states will not choose to make peace with the Sunni Devil in order to focus on the Shiite one?

    In clockwise order:

    Do you recall the Jordanian response to ISIS? There’s a genuinely unified front against the people who celebrate atrocities committed against Jordanians.

    Israel values its relationship with America highly and is unlikely to ally with ISIS. ISIS is probably not going to push for that friendship anyway.

    Lebanon’s Hezbollah influence makes it maybe less likely to ally with ISIS than Israel is.

    Turkey’s government is democratic, which includes Kurdish votes, as well as the votes of the various Christians, Arab Muslims, and Turks who live along the Syrian border. They pretty much all have strong views on the stuff that’s going on and would not be happy with a government that got close to ISIS. Plus, Turkey’s ties to the West are pretty important to it.

    ISIS is literally existential for Iraq.

    Iran is not a natural ally of ISIS. They do fund Sunni terrorists, and they’re not as anti-Sunni in general as a lot of lazy analysis suggests, but they’re not big on the ethnic cleansing of and omitting atrocities against Shia for being Shia.

    Saudi was covered by Zafar.

    can imagine Assad coming to terms with them. He’s no more fond of them than the others are (less so, even), but it’s probably his best chance of holding on to power. This is part of the reason that a comprehensive ISIS response has to also include measures against Assad. ISIS can be kicked out of Iraq with straightforward military power, but in Syria there needs to continue to be a durable alternative to ISIS for those outside Assad’s base.

    • #76
  17. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Man With the Axe: Is there anything more tedious than the argument, “Yeah, well so did Bush.”? How does that make anything Obama did or continues to do correct or sensible?

    It doesn’t.

    It just makes you hypocrites.

    • #77
  18. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James Of England: Sure. If AIG had said “less violent that New Orleans isn’t meaningful”, then he’d have had an argument. Instead he said I was lying about the numbers

    I said you’re statement is a lie.

    That doesn’t imply the numbers.

    It implies that your statement that Iraq was “peaceful” is a lie.

    It is a lie because comparing homicide rates in a city with terrorism deaths is the equivalent of saying “more Americans die from car related injuries than die in the city of Detroit due to gang violence. Hence, Detroit is a very safe city”

    4,000 deaths per year due to terrorism in Iraq is not peaceful. Twist in the wind as you may try.

    • #78
  19. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James Of England: 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.

    Hence you’re arguing tactics…not strategy.

    The strategy is the same. You’re simply now admitting, finally, that it is prosecuted in a different manner due to what’s called for.

    Hence what I said, you’re simply twisting facts.

    • #79
  20. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Ball Diamond Ball: 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.

    No matter how many quotes that are IDENTICAL between what Bush and Obama has said about Muslims are posted here…it will clearly not make any difference to you or those like you who simply repeat pre-fabricated slogans.

    It takes some very powerful detachment from reason to argue that identical words coming out of Bush’s mouth and Obama’s mouth, mean different things, in the same context.

    • #80
  21. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James Of England: 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.

    I called your description an “alternate reality” because that’s what it is. What you call “tourism” is Iranian pilgrims to Karbala. Which was happening from the very first day they could do it, despite massive terrorism.

    Second, on the economy picking up. False again.

    iraq

    Life expectancy

    iraq2

    You’re trying extremely hard to bring in a bunch of unrelated “facts” in order to explain how a country with 4,000 terrorist deaths per year is “peaceful” and constitutes a “success”.

    The problem is, you’re just making up the facts too.

    • #81
  22. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Zafar: 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.

    Shhh!! Come on man! Why bring reason here again?

    Zafar: 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.

    There you go again!

    Get with the program Zafar…this is a “Blame Obama” thread which requires no reasoned arguments. You get bonus points for calling him a Muslim…triple points for saying he’s a member of ISIS.

    PS: I have yet to hear from anyone what their…”strategy”…recommendation is? So ok, lets assume for a second that “there is no strategy”, despite there being one, and despite it being identical to Bush’s.

    What is your strategy then? Why aren’t GOP Senators and Congressman not proposing such a “strategy”? What do we do? Invade Iraq again? Invade Syria?

    Good luck in elections “conservatives”, if that’s your idea of a “strategy”.

    • #82
  23. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    AIG:

    I said you’re statement is a lie.

    That doesn’t imply the numbers.

    Well, thank goodness we have a record on here. It’s comment #78 where you quote my claim (x>y) and call it a lie. You then go through ostensible problems with the numbers.

    I agree that you shouldn’t have claimed this indefensible slander, but that doesn’t mean that you didn’t. You do finish by noting that you feel that 4k deaths a year isn’t victory, but that’s not a claim that I’m lying, it’s a claim that my values are wrong (unless you think that I secretly believe that it wasn’t a victory).

    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”?

    So, you might think that that last bit makes is plausible that you weren’t disputing the numbers.

    Happily, the record goes on. So, in comment #48 I disagreed with your claim about the numbers. You responded in #51, clarifying that you believe untrue things about the numbers and that you hence believe that my truthful claims about the numbers are lies.

    AIG: James Of England: No, counting both

    No.

    Again, like your claims about the points in the video at which things were said, or your claims that I only learn about Iraq from AM radio, or your claims about my extreme positions, the reader doesn’t need to pay a lot of attention to Ricochet to know that they’re simply objectively false, and that your argument isn’t helped when you repeatedly call me a liar while you engage in this stuff.

    • #83
  24. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    AIG:

    James Of England: 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.

    I called your description an “alternate reality” because that’s what it is. What you call “tourism” is Iranian pilgrims to Karbala. Which was happening from the very first day they could do it, despite massive terrorism.

    The tourism that was picking up while I was working with the ministry of tourism and antiquities was Nowruz tourism, not all of which takes place at Nowruz, although the bulk of it does. Iranians cross the border to Iraq because it’s easier to get visas there and they can drink and celebrate secular holidays. There’s some very beautiful parts of Eastern Iraq, so it sometimes gets described as nature tourism, too (and probably some of that description is legitimate).

    Second, on the economy picking up. False again.

    I’m deleting the charts because they’re big, but they show life expectancy was ticking up somewhat and (it’s not so easy to read from the charts, but type “Iraq GDP growth” into google and you can mouseover to get the exact numbers) that GDP growth was at 10.2% in 2011 and 10.3% in 2012. If those numbers are bad, I have no idea what a good economy looks like.

    You’re trying extremely hard to bring in a bunch of unrelated “facts” in order to explain how a country with 4,000 terrorist deaths per year is “peaceful” and constitutes a “success”.

    The problem is, you’re just making up the facts too.

    One of the most violent and oppressive regimes in the world was replaced by a chaotic and also violent civil war. The US and Iraqis were able to stabilize the country and provide the people with unheard of freedom; telephones were legalized, and air conditioning, a valuable thing in a country where 117 degree weather can discomfort the elderly and vulnerable. They gave Iraq a future.

    Violence was still a problem (as you know, my office was destroyed by AQ, and I was very slightly wounded), but it wasn’t the same kind of a problem that plagued Iraq in 2004-2007, during which period it appeared that the government might fall and the economy collapse. As with homicide in New Orleans, the government was going to every effort to cut down on the problem, but everyone knew there was going to be a government the next day. For the average person, Iraq wasn’t in a situation as bad as Greece, even though for a very small minority, those 1 in 7,500 people, and for their families and associates, it was worse.

    Since Iraq had been leaping from existential crisis to existential crisis for decades, this was a wonderful thing. Now, you can disagree with me on that “wonderful” is subjective. But claiming that the economy isn’t doing well at over 10% growth is harder to support.

    I do appreciate your efforts to cite sources for your claims, but you should slow down and check that your sources say what you think they do.

    • #84
  25. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    AIG:

    PS: I have yet to hear from anyone what their…”strategy”…recommendation is? So ok, lets assume for a second that “there is no strategy”, despite there being one, and despite it being identical to Bush’s.

    What is your strategy then? Why aren’t GOP Senators and Congressman not proposing such a “strategy”? What do we do? Invade Iraq again? Invade Syria?

    Good luck in elections “conservatives”, if that’s your idea of a “strategy”.

    You disparage AM radio as a source, but if you listened to it you would know that there are a plethora of strategies out there. Just about everyone running for the Presidency on the GOP side has them, as does Clinton (the Dem also rans don’t feel the same need). It’s true that there isn’t a unified front, but the strategies generally include giving more support to the Kurds, often directly (something I disagree with personally, but it’s still a strategy, even if it’s a sub-optimal one). Some want to send ground troops. Some want a dramatically escalated air assault. Some, like Paul, want to treat it like interval training where we assault in large numbers and then quickly stop assaulting.

    Alternatively, you could read the books by the candidates, including Rubio and Paul in particular. Or you could watch their speeches. You could even read the NYT or the WaPo. Essentially any method of keeping up with the news would let you know the basic positions of the key conservatives you sneer at, which would then mean that you make fewer embarrassing mistakes.

    • #85
  26. Howellis Inactive
    Howellis
    @ManWiththeAxe

    AIG:

    Man With the Axe: Is there anything more tedious than the argument, “Yeah, well so did Bush.”? How does that make anything Obama did or continues to do correct or sensible?

    It doesn’t.

    It just makes you hypocrites.

    Exactly. Your ad hominem (based on what, exactly?) says nothing about what people should think about how Obama handles national security issues. You create false equivalencies and somehow think that one must approve or disapprove of Bush’s decisions and Obama’s decisions in exact correspondence.

    • I approve of Bush invading Iraq. I disapprove of Obama invading Iraq.
    • I disapprove of Obama leaving no troops behind in Iraq. I approve of Bush leaving no troops behind in Iraq.
    • I approve of Bush capturing enemy combatants and interrogating them at Gitmo. I disapprove of Obama capturing enemy combatants and interrogating them at Gitmo.
    • I disapprove of Obama announcing a surge and in the same breath announcing when it would end. I approve of Bush announcing a surge and in the same breath announcing when it would end.
    • I disapprove of Obama leaving the field to ISIS with all the horror that has meant for the people of the region. I approve of Bush leaving the field to ISIS with all the horror that has meant for the people of the region.

    Gee, I guess I am a hypocrite. I promise never to disapprove of Obama unless I can find some equivalent thing Bush did to complain about.

    • #86
  27. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    AIG

    Ball Diamond Ball: 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.

    No matter how many quotes that are IDENTICAL between what Bush and Obama has said about Muslims are posted here…it will clearly not make any difference to you or those like you who simply repeat pre-fabricated slogans.

    It takes some very powerful detachment from reason to argue that identical words coming out of Bush’s mouth and Obama’s mouth, mean different things, in the same context.

    Sorry, but I’m going to claim some special knowledge of what these men say and what it means in the real world.  “You don’t know what you’re talking about” is the nicest way to rebut your further-left-than-Obama’s talking points.

    Duck.  Low bridge.

    • #87
  28. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James Of England: Well, thank goodness we have a record on here. It’s comment #78 where you quote my claim (x>y) and call it a lie. You then go through ostensible problems with the numbers. I agree that you shouldn’t have claimed this indefensible slander, but that doesn’t mean that you didn’t.

    Your statement that Iraq was a “success” and “safe” when the US left, is a lie. No two ways about it.

    James Of England: You do finish by noting that you feel that 4k deaths a year isn’t victory, but that’s not a claim that I’m lying, it’s a claim that my values are wrong (unless you think that I secretly believe that it wasn’t a victory).

    Your statement that it was a “victory” is a lie. Again, no two ways about it.

    • #88
  29. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James Of England: So, you might think that that last bit makes is plausible that you weren’t disputing the numbers. Happily, the record goes on. So, in comment #48 I disagreed with your claim about the numbers. You responded in #51, clarifying that you believe untrue things about the numbers and that you hence believe that my truthful claims about the numbers are lies.

    The numbers are the same in both cases: 4,000 dead due to terrorism per year.

    You claim that that means “winning”, a “victory”, that Iraq is “safe”. That’s obviously not the case.

    You then try to back up your argument by comparing it to…homicide rates in NOLA and St. Louis. Again, this is the equivalent of comparing car crash deaths with gang violence deaths in Detroit.

    Again, first a lie, then a false comparison.

    • #89
  30. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    James Of England: and that your argument isn’t helped when you repeatedly call me a liar while you engage in this stuff.

    It doesn’t help that you make up facts, either.

    James Of England: The tourism that was picking up while I was working with the ministry of tourism and antiquities was Nowruz tourism, not all of which takes place at Nowruz, although the bulk of it does. Iranians cross the border to Iraq because it’s easier to get visas there and they can drink and celebrate secular holidays. There’s some very beautiful parts of Eastern Iraq, so it sometimes gets described as nature tourism, too (and probably some of that description is legitimate).

    And completely ignoring the dynamics of that “tourism”, or the fact that it happens every year since 2003.

    James Of England: I’m deleting the charts because they’re big, but they show life expectancy was ticking up somewhat and (it’s not so easy to read from the charts, but type “Iraq GDP growth” into google and you can mouseover to get the exact numbers) that GDP growth was at 10.2% in 2011 and 10.3% in 2012. If those numbers are bad, I have no idea what a good economy looks like

    2011 is when the US left. The numbers were lower when the US was there. If anything, those numbers reflect the opposite of what you claim.

    • #90
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