As he stepped up efforts to sell the Iran nuclear deal to the American public and skeptics in Congress on Tuesday, President Barack Obama compared critics’ opposition to the agreement with support for the invasion of Iraq. In both a muscular speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Pittsburgh and a taping of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” Obama cast critics of his diplomatic approach as the same kind of misguided warmongers who pushed for an invasion of Iraq during George W. Bush’s presidency.
When the Islamic State fighters burst into the Iraqi village of Eski Mosul, Sheikh Abdullah Ibrahim knew his wife was in trouble. Buthaina Ibrahim was an outspoken human rights advocate who had once run for the provincial council in Mosul. The IS fighters demanded she apply for a "repentance card." Under the rule of the extremist group, all former police officers, soldiers and people whose activities are deemed "heretical" must sign the card and carry it with them at all times. "She said she'd never stoop so low," her husband said.
In an interview published on Thursday, President Obama responded to Iraq War boosters who claim that their only regret about the invasion was that he eventually became president and didn't see it through. The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg asked Obama about former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's (R) struggle last week to answer whether he would have invaded Iraq given what he knows now.
Shiite militias have surged into Iraq's Anbar province, a largely Sunni region, in a government-sanctioned bid to recapture the provincial capital Ramadi, which was seized in its entirety by the jihadists of the Islamic State at the end of last week. Thousands have fled the city, which is about 80 miles west of Baghdad. Ramadi's fall poses a problem for U.S. officials, who have sought to paint a picture of a weakening Islamic State. One Pentagon spokesman told reporters that the city's capture was part of "complex, bloody fight" in which "there are going to be ebbs and flows."
As the GOP has quickly settled into a new consensus that the decision to invade Iraq was - at least in retrospect - a mistake, it has come with a willful amnesia bordering on a whole new generation of deceit about exactly what happened in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. To hear Republican presidential candidates tell it, Americans believed Saddam Hussein had a stockpile of Weapons of Mass Destruction which justified and necessitated the invasion. Since he didn't, there was no reason to invade. The carnage and collateral effects we've seen over the last dozen years only drives home the point: knowing what we know now, the invasion was a mistake. We wouldn't do it again.
After three days of avoiding a statement almost any other politician would have made long ago, Jeb Bush finally said it on Thursday: His brother’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was a bad idea. “Knowing what we now know, I would not have engaged,” Bush said during a visit to Arizona. “I would not have gone into Iraq.”
Republican Jeb Bush reversed course and said that based on information now known, had it been up to him he would not have waged war against Iraq, putting some distance between himself and his brother, former President George W. Bush. Bush, who is expected to run for the Republican nomination for president, told Fox News in an interview broadcast this week that he would have authorized the invasion, referring to the drive into Iraq ordered by his brother in 2003.
Jon Stewart grilled former New York Times reporter Judith Miller on Wednesday on her reporting on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction in the lead up to the Iraq war. "My feeling has always been ... I believe that you helped the administration take us to, like, the most devastating mistake in foreign policy that we've made in, like, 100 years," Stewart said Wednesday on "The Daily Show."
The United States began its invasion of Iraq 12 years ago. Yesterday, a previously classified Central Intelligence Agency report containing supposed proof of the country's weapons of mass destruction was published by Jason Leopold of Vice News. Put together nine months before the start of the war, the National Intelligence Estimate spells out what the CIA knew about Iraq's ability to produce biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. It would become the backbone of the Bush administration's mistaken assertions that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs and posed a direct threat to the post-9/11 world. The report is rife with what now are obvious red flags that the Bush White House oversold the case for war.
As we end another year of endless war in Washington, it might be the perfect time to reflect on the War That Started All Wars — or at least the war that started all of Washington’s post-Cold War wars: the invasion of Panama. Twenty-five years ago this month, early on the morning of December 20, 1989, President George H.W. Bush launched Operation Just Cause, sending tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of aircraft into Panama to execute a warrant of arrest against its leader, Manuel Noriega, on charges of drug trafficking. Those troops quickly secured all important strategic installations, including the main airport in Panama City, various military bases, and ports.
Today's the last day for Congress to pass a budget deal and avert a government shutdown. Part of the $1.1 trillion "Cromnibus" package is the 2015 defense budget. While there's been some wrangling over pay and benefits for service members, finalizing the Pentagon budget has been relatively uncontentious.
A Republican for most of his life, Webb endeared himself to Democrats when he switched parties and beat incumbent GOP Sen. George Allen in 2006 by just a few thousand votes. Webb ran that campaign on an anti-Iraq War message, touting his own experience in Vietnam, but may have been pushed across the finish line by Allen, who called a Democratic volunteer "Macaca" (an obscure North African racial slur) at a campaign event.
"I am a United States Army General, and I lost the Global War on Terrorism." Those are the frank opening words of a new book by retired Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger, Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Bolger continues: "It's like Alcoholics Anonymous. Step one is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. So do my peers. And thanks to our problem, now all of America has a problem. To wit: two lost campaigns and a war gone awry." In over 500 pages, the retired three-star general describes the conflicting agendas that haunted both campaigns, as well as the difficulty of identifying the enemy and the looming specter of Vietnam.
President Barack Obama has approved sending up to 1,500 more troops to Iraq, roughly doubling the number of U.S. forces on the ground to advise and retrain Iraqis in their battle against the militant group Islamic State, U.S. officials said on Friday. Obama's decision greatly expands the scope of the U.S. campaign and the geographic distribution of American forces, some of whom will head into Iraq's fiercely contested western Anbar province for the first time to act as advisors.
President Obama will bolster the U.S. military force in Iraq with up to 1,500 more personnel, White House press secretary Josh Earnest says, to serve "in a non-combat role to train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces, including Kurdish forces." The move is the latest U.S. attempt to counteract the extremist group ISIS, which has made significant gains in Iraq and neighboring Syria in recent months. The new U.S. deployment follows requests from the Iraqi government and the advice of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Earnest says.
In recent weeks, the world has watched the battle to save Syria’s border town of Kobani from Islamic State. But the radical jihadists have for longer been engulfing another strategically more vital target - Iraq’s western Anbar province and its road to Baghdad. The vast desert region - where Sunni tribes rose up in 2006 and 2007 to drive out al-Qaeda with the Americans - has throughout 2014 been parcelled up, city by military camp, before the Iraqi government and U.S. forces could act.
he New York Times published an amazing story last night on the U.S. and Iraqi troops who discovered and were wounded by old and inoperable chemical weapons over the course of the Iraq war. In some cases, shoddy disposal tactics resulted in soldiers suffering injuries after being exposed to active chemical agents still inside the corroding munitions. The Pentagon withheld information about the weapons from soldiers on the front line, kept military doctors in the dark, and generally did everything it could to “suppress knowledge” about the injuries to U.S. personnel. It’s a remarkable piece of journalism. But for many conservatives, the real news broken by the Times is that BUSH WAS RIGHT ABOUT IRAQ.
On the evening of August 8th, Najat Ali Saleh, a former commander of the Kurdish army, was summoned to a meeting with Masoud Barzani, the President of the semiautonomous Kurdish region that occupies the northern part of Iraq. Barzani, a longtime guerrilla fighter, was alarmed. Twenty-four hours before, fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) had made a huge incursion into the Kurds’ territory. They had overrun Kurdish forces in the western Iraqi towns of Sinjar and Makhmour, and had surged as far as Gwer, fifteen miles from the capital city of Erbil. At the Mosul Dam, on the Tigris River, they had seized the controls, giving them the ability to inundate Baghdad with fifteen feet of water.
It was certainly impolitic of filmmaker Michael Moore, and possibly unfair as well, to tell the Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview that Barack Obama would only be remembered, a century from now, as the first black president of the United States. I am tempted to respond that while Obama’s race will always be the headline, its real significance is more like a footnote. He will quite plausibly be remembered more for other things, and some of them (though not a lot of them) are laudable. He began the process of moving the country away from our profoundly unfair and overpriced catch-as-catch-can private health insurance system toward some kind of socialized medicine. (Yeah, I said it.
Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen on Sunday broke a six-week siege imposed by the Islamic State extremist group on the northern Shiite Turkmen town of Amirli, as a suicide bombing killed 14 people in Anbar western province, officials said. Army spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said the operation started at dawn Sunday and the forces entered the town shortly after midday. Speaking live on state TV, al-Moussawi said the forces suffered "some causalities," but did not give a specific number. He said fighting was "still ongoing to clear the surrounding villages."