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  • Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on June 16th, 2014 (All posts by )

    Victor Davis Hanson:

    As far as war and peace go, closure for Obama is when the United States is surrounded by war and confronted with looming conflicts, and yet has ended them all by declaring that we choose not to be interested in any of them. Obama is right about one thing: losing is certainly a way of reducing the violence.

    Genteel defeat is the way of the appeaser and comes from cowardice or expediency, sometimes both. The cowardice may be physical though it is often intellectual, a willful cutting of corners for short-term political gain at the expense of foreseeable long-term geopolitical disaster.

    Closure is a pernicious concept. People who use the term sincerely, rather than as cover for some hidden agenda, may have a compulsive aversion to loose ends. Sometimes a loose end or other untidy low-energy equilibrium is the best, least risky, most robust outcome that one can hope for in a bad situation. Obama has achieved closure in Iraq. We could have had a muddy equilibrium stabilized by a few tens of thousands of US troops. Instead we will get closure in the form of a decisive defeat for the USA and its allies following Obama’s principled military withdrawal.

     

    19 Responses to “Quote of the Day”

    1. dearieme Says:

      Bah! However awful O is, this one is W’s. There was never the least likelihood that the reckless, cowardly attack on Iraq would result in a situation that was in the USA’s interest.

    2. Grurray Says:

      There is every reason to believe that had Romney been elected in 2012, Iraq would not now be collapsing.

    3. MikeK Says:

      “There was never the least likelihood that the reckless, cowardly attack on Iraq”

      I am impressed at your expertise. Why weren’t you advising these leaders when they needed you ? I’m not sure which attack you mean, however. The one where they had invaded Kuwait or the one that resulted from all the violations of the Cease fire ? Hard to tell sometimes what the critics mean. Of course, you know all the history but some don’t.

      I’m kind of reminded of the Rhineland in 1936 and all that.

    4. Grurray Says:

      Last year when Obama signaled he was going to assist the radical Islamic extremists in Syria with his protest bombings against the regime was when Al Qaeda in Iraq, AKA ISIS, began their offensive which continues to this day.

      He had been already assisting them since early 2011 by diverting arms to Syria from Libya (which blew up in his face with the Benghazi debacle).

      Obama ran in 2008 saying he would end the Iraq War.
      What he didn’t say was that he was going to do it by joining the enemy.

    5. The Sanity Inspector Says:

      President Obama has had it hard in two ways. The Left opposed his efforts in the WOT because they either disbelieved that there was any such thing as Islamic terrorism, or they believed that the U.S. deserved 9/11 & should just repent for being the Great Satan. The Right was just cynical, suddenly becoming war-weary and hoping to pin failure on Obama, once the President had a D after his name.

    6. dearieme Says:

      Throwing the scoundrel out of Kuwait was work well done. It is to the credit of the last grown-up you’ve had as President. Also to his credit was the decision not to push on to Baghdad. But you sacked that judicious, experienced fellow and replaced him by the perpetual adolescent Clinton. He left al-Q unmolested, with the well-known that a few brave, daring and very lucky men felled the twin towers. Alas, the jack-in-office at the time was W. Oh dear. Followed by O; oh dear, oh dear.

      And presumably to be followed by Hellary. How many bad emperors in a row can an empire withstand?

    7. Richard Cranium Says:

      “You’ve”, “you”, etc.

      From whence do you hail, Dearieme?

    8. setbit Says:

      There was never the least likelihood that the reckless, cowardly attack on Iraq would result in a situation that was in the USA’s interest.

      Notwithstanding the ad-hominem “cowardly”, this is absolutely true, and was clear to me and anyone else thinking clearly in 2003. I remember at the time being gobsmacked at the claim that Iraq was on the verge of becoming a secular pro-western democracy, as soon as we gave it a good shove. (And MikeK, I don’t get the logic that invalidates an accurate prediction by virtue of the predictor not being a presidential advisor. Not being snide; I genuinely don’t follow your argument.)

      Iraq under Saddam was secular and pluralistic in much the same way that the Soviet Union was: an equal-opportunity dictatorship that managed to keep the lid on sectarian and ethnic strife in service of its own dominance.

      But calling it all GWB’s fault is equally absurd. Just because there were no good outcomes possible doesn’t mean that some weren’t less bad than this.

      The best feasible outcome I can see from here is the one that was being tossed around years ago: a segregation of the former Iraq into autonomous Shi’ite, Sunni, and Kurdish regions.

      And of course most Iraqi Christians are now exiled or dead, so that problem is “solved”. The fact that American Christians have largely ignored this humanitarian disaster makes my blood boil every time I consider it.

    9. MikeK Says:

      He left al-Q unmolested, with the well-known that a few brave, daring and very lucky men felled the twin towers. Alas, the jack-in-office at the time was W. Oh dear. Followed by O; oh dear, oh dear.

      You had me agreeing there for a while. You may not be familiar with US political history but, after GW Bush was elected, there was a period of six months of Democrat rage when he could get no one confirmed by the Senate. Rumsfeld was almost alone at Defense until summer. DoJ was left with Clinton appointees busy at sabotage until W finally had his AG clean house a couple of years later, setting off another leftist rage. Clinton fired all the US Attorneys when he took office in spite of a White water investigation and heard no criticism.

      The 9/11 attack was planned while Clinton was in office. US visa policy was largely to blame plus the “Chinese Wall” erected by Jamie Gorelick while running the Clinton DoJ.

      Attorney General John Ashcroft declassified a four-page directive sent by Ms. Gorelick (the No. 2 official in the Clinton Justice Department) on March 4, 1995, to FBI Director Louis Freeh and Mary Jo White, the New York-based U.S. attorney investigating the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In the memo, Ms. Gorelick ordered Mr. Freeh and Ms. White to follow information-sharing procedures that “go beyond what is legally required,” in order to avoid “any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance” that the Justice Department was using Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants, instead of ordinary criminal investigative procedures, in an effort to undermine the civil liberties of terrorism suspects.

      I’m sure most of this is unintelligible to our foreign readers.

      MikeK, I don’t get the logic that invalidates an accurate prediction by virtue of the predictor not being a presidential advisor. Not being snide; I genuinely don’t follow your argument

      I’d appreciate some link to my “argument.” By “accurate prediction” do you mean “There was never the least likelihood that the reckless, cowardly attack on Iraq would result in a situation that was in the USA’s interest?”

      Ignoring history certainly makes arguments simpler. Iraq attacked Kuwait. I guess the response was not “cowardly.”

      When GHW Bush allowed his general to sign an armistice with no diplomatic input and which allowed Iraq to use their helicopters to massacre Shiites, that was OK with you ?

      We established a “no-fly zone” to try to rectify that mistake and provided targets for Saddam’s SAMs for ten years. That was OK ?

      After 9/11, Bush believed that we could not abandon the armistice and chose to invade. I was also skeptical about a “democratic Iraq” since there is no example of democracy in a Muslim country that works. If it was ever going to work, I thought Iraq was a fair test. We were wrong and I was not terribly surprised.

      My personal blog only goes to the end of 2007 but here is an opinion from 2008

    10. Sgt. Mom Says:

      “The fact that American Christians have largely ignored this humanitarian disaster makes my blood boil every time I consider it.”

      I’m pretty PO’d about this lack of care among the mainstream denominations myself. If they do give a flying f***, they seem to be hiding it pretty effectively.

      For myself, the thing that causes concern to me is that there are so many disasters and potential disasters all converging at once, and our Fearless Leader is off playing golf. The American embassy in Baghdad is being evacuated, there are god-knows-how many American contractors scattered here and there – and will they be considered hostages, or POWs, or just lined up to be gunned down in ditches by the ISIS executioners? There are speculations in some news and mil-blogs that I follow that the whole point of the Bergdahl-Taliban swap was not to free Bergdahl, but to free the Talibunnies. There has been speculation for months now that the now dead ambassador in Benghazi was there specifically to be captured, so he could be swapped for the Blind Sheik. It’s come up again over the weekend – that our Fearless Leader actually wouldn’t mind having lots of Americans captured in Iraq … because then they can be swapped for other Gitmo inmates.

      The scary part to me is that the people venturing on this last round of speculation aren’t the wild-eyed, tinfoil-hat wearing bloggers that you would have expected. They’re pretty sober, non-sensationalist people in the main – a fair number of them military or veterans, well-adjusted professionals with an interest in current events. The ISIS offensive, the Bergdahl-Taliban swap, two years of Lois Lerner’s emails going missing at the IRS, and our southern border suddenly being swamped by thousands and thousands of unaccompanied minor children from South and Central America (a very Cloward-Pivenish attempt to crash the system, obviously)… and our Fearless Leader and his administration gives very little actual sign of caring very much at all.

      My sense of it is that just in the last week there a great many more people who were guardedly skeptical about Fearless Leader, are now concluding that along with being screamingly incompetent, he is also inimical to the interests and well-being of anyone not in his personal circle or unable to donate to his campaign in the 6-figure range. These various bloggers and commentators are sober and responsible citizens in the main; salt of the earth, in the way of the old cliche. Backbone of the country, as it were; hardworking, patriotic, and mature. Many of us are veterans, many have sons and daughters in the military – and quite a few of us are now grateful to be retired military and our children also finished with their terms of enlistment. These people that I speak of are looking at him this week, and buckling down to prepare for the worst.

      If the election in November goes against the establishment party (and the establishment GOP candidates, too) then I — and they — expect a perfectly awesome temper tantrum from Fearless Leader and the fury of his acolytes and worshipers will be unprecedented. He is a vengeful, petty and spite-filled man, and the damage he can do from his high perch in Capitol City is something that we shudder to contemplate. One commenter cynically suggested that on his way out of the White House, Fearless Leader will empty the wine cellar, and burn the place down. My daughter dearly hopes that the long-time staff have hidden most of the small and incalculably valuable objects, furniture and paintings.

      This is how cynical we have become. And with damn good reason, events of last week would prove.

    11. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      From The Daily Mail:

      It would appear the occupation of Mosul was made easier by the fact a reported 30,000 soldiers fled, leaving behind tanks and firearms as just 800 fighters approached.

      Leaving aside possible exaggeration of those numbers, a large body of trained soldiers with armored vehicles and heavy weapons high tailed it in the face of a rag-tag bunch of terrorists. I saw photos of ISIS troops inspecting freshly abandoned Humvee’s. With behavior like that, I am not surprised Iraqis find themselves under one tyrant after another.

      I suspect we might have had to stay in Iraq indefinitely, say 25-50 years for things to truly stabilize. That was probably a better option than Iraq as a terrorist run state though.

    12. Ken Hoop Says:

      Yeah, and we should have stayed in Vietnam too, propping an unpopular government.
      Anything for the Empire, in this case the Amer-Israeli Empire.
      Obama DID pressure Maliki to sign a SOFA…..which might have got Nouri killed, and would have immediately intensified multi-pronged insurgency branches.

      Oh, the opportunism of those sellout pretend conservatives, who didn’t learn from Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan.

      The US might have been able to sustain hegemony in the Mideast without Israel. Not that it should have.

      But with Israel, it’s just a question of when the Empire is pushed home and Palestine is freed.

    13. James Says:

      WRT the Iraqi army melting away, http://grimbeorn.blogspot.com/2014/06/for-tom-who-asked.html

    14. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Ken, are you the replacement for Nollie? Oh, good.

      Actually, we had already left Vietnam, some years before it collapsed under aggressive invasion from the north, and a disinclination by our Fearless Dem Leadership of the time to SUPPORT with everything but troops on the ground guaranteed that the South Viets would fall. But … we did send a couple of ships to assist refugees, and Congress did vote funds for half a dozen volunteer organizations to assist in refugee resettlement. Generous of them, I must say. Couple of hundred a head, as I recall … and the refugees themselves were parked here and there in tent camps at various out of the way military bases. Wonder if Congress will do the same now for the Iraqis who aided us, and their families? Probably not, unless they see a large voting block for the Dems in it … like the dear little kiddie-winks from Central America now flooding over the southern border.

      Don’t try and BS me about Vietnamese refugee resettlement, BTW – I was there, from Day 1, in 1975.

      Go away, and take your vile antisemitic, anti-Israel garbage with you. Might have guessed that you are a Buchanan fanboi.

    15. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      One bright spot to Ken Hoop’s comments, everyone else always seem so intelligent by comparison.

    16. MikeK Says:

      “Anything for the Empire, in this case the Amer-Israeli Empire.”

      “Oh, the opportunism of those sellout pretend conservatives, who didn’t learn from Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan.

      The US might have been able to sustain hegemony in the Mideast without Israel. Not that it should have.

      But with Israel, it’s just a question of when the Empire is pushed home and Palestine is freed.”

      So, Ron Paul does after all share your anti-Semitic fantasies. Thank you ! I guess the left is not alone in its anti-Semitic opinions. Jews have certainly shown in microcosm why the losers hate those who have accomplishments.

      “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
      This is known as ‘bad luck’.”

      – Robert A. Heinlein

    17. setbit Says:

      MikeK,

      I’d appreciate some link to my “argument.”

      I was referring to this:

      I am impressed at your expertise. Why weren’t you advising these leaders when they needed you?

      That comment doesn’t make any sense to me, either as sarcasm or serious argument. I was wondering if I had missed the point.

    18. MikeK Says:

      “That comment doesn’t make any sense to me, either as sarcasm or serious argument.”

      It was mild sarcasm as he was presenting himself (herself?) as an expert.

      I don’t pretend to be an expert and I offer my opinions as what they are; the opinions of a fairly well read engineer/surgeon. I have offered my opinions, and links to my opinions in 2008, as what they are.

      I didn’t think it was “reckless” or “cowardly.” I don’t think the 9/11 hijackers were either “cowardly” or “brave, daring and very lucky.” I think they were mindless automatons who followed the jihadi manual and died, probably anticipating their 72 virgins.

      The planners. who will probably all be released by Obama, were far too content to have useful idiots, even those who could have been city planners, to carry out these evil plans.

      We are in the early stages of the Islamic equivalent of the Thirty Years War, which killed millions.

      So great was the devastation brought about by the war that estimates put the reduction of population in the German states at about 25% to 40%.

      see something similar in the middle east. Israel may be able to fend off the Muslims and could even end up as a sort of virtual source of a Peace of Westphalia which could end the whole middle east crisis.

      I look forward to Iran throwing off the mullahs and even leaving Islam as mosque attendance is way down to 3% or so. It could have happened in 2009 but for the alliance of Obama with the mullahs.

    19. Grurray Says:

      From 2011 to 2013, we gave implicit and explicit assistance in Syria and North Africa to the same murderous thugs running roughshod all over Iraq now, and whom we fought previously for years.

      It made no sense, didn’t further any strategic goals of the US, and it destabilized the whole region.

      To continue the Vietnam analogy, it would be like if, after the Paris Peace Accords, Gerald Ford had then run guns to the NVA. Does that make any sense?

      If I didn’t know how much of a patriot Barack Obama is, I might think that the real reason he left Iraq in the way he did, and killed Bin Laden also, was in order to ally with or even take over Al Qaeda operations in the Near East.