Nine Years After U.S. Took Fallujah, Al Qaeda Retakes The City

300px-thumbnail220px-Defense.gov_News_Photo_041108-M-8205V-003Many of us on this blog have been critical of the Iraq war from the outset as a war based on a false claim by the Bush Administration and then perpetuated by political cynicism by both Democratic and Republican leaders who did not want to be accused of “losing” the war. The costs were paid by soldiers and taxpayers in a war where the U.S. was often openly opposed by government figures and demonized in many parts of the country. It was clear that we were propping up a government that could not maintain order or loyalty across the country. Now, shortly after our withdrawal of combat troops, one of the most costly “victories” of the war — Fallujah — has been retaken by Al Qaeda as militants threaten additional takeovers in the country. Despite this history, members of Congress are already complaining that we should have continued the ground war longer at the cost of more American lives and billions of dollars.

225px-John_McCain_official_portrait_2009225px-Lindsey_Graham,_official_Senate_photo_portrait,_2006Sen. John McCain, Arizona, and Lindsey Graham, South Carolina, took to the airways to accuse President Obama of misleading the American people that the Iraqi leaders wanted the U.S. to withdraw forces and that the resulting consequences were “as tragic as they were predictable” and suggested Obama misled Americans into believing that Iraqi leaders wanted U.S. forces out of their country. They again ignore the lack of success under both Bush and Obama in stabilizing the country as an outside force or the opposition of many Americans to the loss of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars on this war. It took Al Qaeda just three days to take the city despite heavy fighting.

In a joint statement the senators proclaimed that “[w]hen President Obama withdrew all U.S. forces … over the objections of our military leaders and commanders on the ground, many of us predicted that the vacuum would be filled by America’s enemies and would emerge as a threat to U.S. national security interests. Sadly, that reality is now clearer than ever.” So the solution was to prolong the war while members like Graham have called for war with Iran in a new military campaign.

We secured the city in 2004 after some of the bloodiest battles of the war. Anbar province itself remained an area of intense fighting throughout the war. Roughly a third of the 4,486 U.S. troops killed in Iraq died in Anbar and we lost roughly 100 just in the November 2004 battle for control of Fallujah.

McCain and Graham referred to those dead in calling for more U.S. combat troops in Iraq: “Thousands of brave Americans who fought, shed their blood, and lost their friends to bring peace to Fallujah and Iraq are now left to wonder whether these sacrifices were in vain.” Clearly, the answer as to Fallujah is yes for now. However, McCain and Graham avoid their responsibility in supporting the war in the beginning with little inquiry into the false claims of the Bush Administration or their support for the continuation of the war. They continued to support the wars at the cost of hundreds of billions as we cut key scientific, educational, and environmental programs at home. The question should be whether “these sacrifices were in vain” after entering a war on false pretenses and then opposing a withdrawal to save American lives.

There are tribes who are opposing Al Qaeda but this conflict reflects divisions that are hundreds of years old, including the worsening Sunni v. Shiite divide. There never was an end strategy in our involvement in Iraq. Even now, McCain and Graham oppose the concept of withdrawal while the country is unstable. Since it has been unstable, even under a dictatorship, you can do the math.

I do not lack sympathy for the plight of Iraqis — most of whom do not appear to support Al Qaeda, though polls show a high level of opposition to the United States as well. However, this is their country and their fight.

We have a growing crisis in this country over an economy that continues as an issue to be kicked down the road by this President and this Congress. We have cut educational, health, and scientific programs that will undermine our growth and competitiveness in the future. Yet, we have members of Congress who want to not only engage new enemies but reengage past enemies in military operations.

Source: Washington Post

74 thoughts on “Nine Years After U.S. Took Fallujah, Al Qaeda Retakes The City

  1. I as a veteran do feel as if our efforts were in vain. Only time will tell if allegations were false or not in my opinion.

  2. It is hard to ferret out fact from fiction concerning such troubling matters.

    Many sites that I hold dear, claim that Al Qaeda was never an issue in Iraq until our troops arrived; because Saddam and Al Qaeda were ardent enemies.

    The battle for the U.S. to dominate all the oil producing middle east countries at the expense of human life and material adversity vexes me greatly.

    We are the bullies of the world; and I’m ashamed of that.

  3. Graham and McCain war mongers accusing someone else of lying! I don’t care whether the Iraqis wanted us to leave or not, we never should and been there and we needed to leave.

  4. McCain and Graham are war mongers. We need to publicize their cries loud and long. Hopefully the more people hear, the more they will be ostracized. One can hope.

    It is a sad situation but like you say, this is a civil war that has been long in the brewing. It is not our fight.

    Write your congresspeople, tell them what you think. I certainly will.

  5. Last figures I saw on the cost in dollars was upwards of THREE TRILLION DOLLARS! That does not figure in the cost of medical care and payments for wounded GIs and long term payments for life. Then we have the huge giveaway of Iraqi assets and money that we spent for which there was NO accounting, and for which as custodians of those assets, the US taxpayer is legally on the hook for. So the costs are gigantic, and it is ludicrous for ANY GOPer to be concerned about the deficit since THEY are the ones who caused 90% of it.

    It is absurd for any rational person to say that there was any legal, moral, or national security justification for the invasion. It is without question ILLEGAL under US law and international agreements which the US has signed. The best thing Obama did was to get out of Iraq, thus fulfilling a campaign promise and keeping his word. Too bad his critics here refuse to give him any credit.

    As for the lives being lost in vain, the ones responsible for that is W BUSH who went in, defied the recommendations of the US Army as to the numbers needed, and tossed out any plan for post war Iraq. Bush should be held to account for those who feel that they were betrayed or that their sacrifices were in vain. There was NO rational or legal reason for that war.

  6. GWB/Cheney lies about WMDs will haunt this nations for decades. The death and destruction caused by the McCain/Graham types will continue to mount. Clowns like McCain/Graham should be apologizing to America and it’s military for forcing an unnecessary war, but instead they advocate for continued imperialism and war. Blaming Obama for Iraq’s condition is like blaming Jimmy Carter for Pol Pot. Of course GOP has never accepted responsibility for any of their destructive actions, so their response is not surprising. .

  7. Now officialdumb won’t need night glasses to find Al-Qaeda at night:

    Alani’s log of cases of birth defects amounts to a rate of 14.7 per cent of all babies born in Fallujah, more than 14 times the rate in the affected areas of Japan [Hiroshima, Nagasaki].

    (Myth Addiction Is Establishment’s LSD – 3). Those in the know realize that Fallujah became a de facto dump of DU (depleted uranium) and other horribles.

    Al-Qaeda will be soon be glowing in the dark in Fallujah town.

  8. As is readily apparent, we all concur that our government, vis-a-vis rogue elements with veiled agendas – have done serious wrongs against humanity;

    so – what do good people do – about that?

  9. it is typical of the ruling class that they only advocate being responsible for others NOT themselves. They are immune from the rules for the rest of us as we can see on Wall Street and in the military business.

  10. Lazer, ‘Good People’ need to grow up and realize that society will never be peacefully organized by means of aggression. All governments either begin, or gravitate into rogue elements with veiled agendas. Governments are nothing more than groups of men and women who claim to enjoy an authorized monopoly over the exercise of force and aggression against their fellows.

    You can’t imagine a world without government? Most small imaginations can’t.

    Spend some time listening to materials offered by A good place to start is the free audio book Universally Preferable Behavior. If you can put aside your initial negativity and are truly searching for solutions I think you will find that solutions do exist. Although they are outside of our present paradigm.

    Humankind is headed down a road of self-extinction if we don’t make some necessary changes in how we interact with others.

  11. Perhaps it is time to look at the mentality that started the war, bungled the war, and even drift back to Vietnam. The US is not alone in history as a military power with an oversize ego of might is right. The Vietnam war was a crime against humanity that cost the lives of over three million Vietnamese, who were fighting for their freedom from colonial intervention. We can continue to short sightedly look at the trees, our 50,000+ dead, or we can look at the forest. We have no right to be in certain situations.

    We had no right to be in Iraq. We made a horrible mess of things. Politicians like McCain and others whose only claim to fame was that he was shot down while bombing innocent Vietnamese, can criticize all they want. However, the battle for the Islamic world will not be won by the US. These people will have to rise up and stand up to the extremists themselves. The US can help from a distance but should never decide who is to govern. We would never have tolerated foreign intervention into our affairs while we were eradicating the native population, lynching slaves who thought they should be free, and all the other atrocities that evolving out of made America what it is today. They have to do it on their own. Bush and the other stooges should be tried for treason. Obama was right. His was the hardest decision.

  12. Paul Wolfowitz is titled as an AEI. scholar.

    Chairman, U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, 2008-present
    President, World Bank Group, 2005-2007
    Deputy Secretary of Defense, 2001-2005; Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, 1989-93; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Regional Programs, 1977-80, U.S. Department of Defense
    Dean and Professor of International Relations, 1994-2001; Visiting Professor, 1980-81, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
    Ambassador to Indonesia, 1986-89
    Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, 1982-86; Director of Policy Planning, 1981-82, U.S. Department of State
    Special Assistant, Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1973-77
    Professor, Department of Political Science, Yale University, 1970-73

  13. We had no business being there in the first place. Thanks to Dick Cheney and his manipulation of the American people (and a pliable president), thousands of military men and women have been killed and maimed, not to mention tens of thousands of civilians. It’s time we stay out of it and heal our own country.

    ..By Andrew J. Bacevich

    The election of George W. Bush as president permitted you to escape from academe. You’d done yeoman work tutoring candidate Bush in how the world works, and he repaid the debt by appointing you to serve as Donald Rumsfeld’s deputy atop the Pentagon hierarchy. You took office as Osama bin Laden was conspiring to attack. Alas, neither Rumsfeld nor you nor anyone else in a position of real authority anticipated what was to occur. America’s vaunted defense establishment had left the country defenseless. Yet instead of seeing this as evidence of gross incompetence requiring the officials responsible to resign, you took it as an affirmation. For proof that averting surprise through preventive military action was now priority number one, Americans needed to look no further than the damage inflicted by nineteen thugs armed with box cutters.

    You immediately saw the events of 9/11 as a second and more promising opening to assert U.S. supremacy. When riding high a decade earlier, many Americans had thought it either unseemly or unnecessary to lord it over others. Now, with the populace angry and frightened, the idea was likely to prove an easier sell. Although none of the hijackers were Iraqi, within days of 9/11 you were promoting military action against Iraq. Critics have chalked this up to your supposed obsession with Saddam. The criticism is misplaced. The scale of your ambitions was vastly greater.

    In an instant, you grasped that the attacks provided a fresh opportunity to implement Wohlstetter’s Precepts, and Iraq offered a made-to-order venue. “We cannot wait to act until the threat is imminent,” you said in 2002. Toppling Saddam Hussein would validate the alternative to waiting. In Iraq the United States would demonstrate the efficacy of preventive war.

    ….. Imagine — you must have done so many times — if that notorious mission accomplished banner had accurately portrayed the situation on the ground in Iraq in May 2003. Imagine if U.S. forces had achieved a clean, decisive victory. Imagine that the famous (if staged) photo of Saddam’s statue in Baghdad’s Al Firdos Square being pulled down had actually presaged a rapid transition to a pro-American liberal democracy, just as your friend Ahmed Chalabi had promised. Imagine if none of the ensuing horrors and disappointments had occurred: the insurgency; Fallujah and Abu Ghraib; thousands of American lives lost and damaged; at least 125,000 Iraqis killed, and some 3 million others exiled or displaced; more than a trillion dollars squandered.

    You expected something different, of course. Shortly before the war, you told Congress:
    It’s hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take. “We cannot wait to act until the threat is imminent,” you said in 2002. Toppling Saddam Hussein would validate the alternative to waiting. In Iraq the United States would demonstrate the efficacy of preventive war.

    There is much more in this letter By Andrew J. Bacevich from the above link.

  15. One more excerpt,

    One of the questions emerging from the Iraq debacle must be this one: Why did liberation at gunpoint yield results that differed so radically from what the war’s advocates had expected? Or, to sharpen the point, How did preventive war undertaken by ostensibly the strongest military in history produce a cataclysm?

    Not one of your colleagues from the Bush Administration possesses the necessary combination of honesty, courage, and wit to answer these questions. If you don’t believe me, please sample the tediously self-exculpatory memoirs penned by (or on behalf of) Bush himself, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Tenet, Bremer, Feith, and a small squad of eminently forgettable generals.


    McCain and Graham are still trumpeting the Bush Doctrine.

  16. I stand reminded that there was no AQ in Iraq until AFTER America launched its illegal war of aggression…
    … Sins of our Fathers.

  17. I agree with going into Iraq and taking down Hussein, but I do not agree with the nation building project that followed.

    I think Saddam Hussein was a bad actor. First we saw an enormous buildup of his military. Next he went into Kuwait, demonstrating his imperialistic. It also became known that Hussein believed himself to be the Reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar, ordained by Allah to resurrect the Babylonian empire. He actually used WMD’s on his own people. He broke many international sanctions put upon him, and there was difficulty with the UN inspectors regarding WMD inspections. As I remember it, the inspectors wanted more time and could not validate for sure that they had destroyed all his WMD’s. For all we know, he buried them until such time that he was ready to use them.

    So my perspective is that something needed to be done about Hussein. Victory should have been called when Bush was on that aircraft carrier declaring victory. The victory at that point was a clean victory that put the fear of the U.S.A. into the heart of many dictators like Qaddafi who immediately called Bush to get rid of his WMD’S program. Instead, we entered a phase of nation building. We sent Harvard lawyers over there who drafted a Constitution that made Iraq an Islamic Republic where the supreme law of the land was the Holy Qur’an. Can you imagine what would happen to this country if the supreme law of the land was the Bible? The project was cursed from the moment that was done. We violated our own principles of freedom when we made Iraq a nation based upon the laws of the Qur’an. No law was allowed that violated the Qur’an.

    I blame G.W. Bush for all of this. He led Congress, Democrats and Republican alike, into voting for nation building.

    This recapture of Fallujah is very disheartening. It indicates that our legacy of involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan will probably be similar to our legacy in Vietnam. In Vietnam, our war is called the American War, with museums dedicated to showing the atrocities of war that we caused over there.

  18. As a veteran of the Iraq war I can honestly say I feel ashamed that this countries leaders duped so many of my fellow service members into fighting these ridiculous wars. Protecting our freedoms my A$$.

  19. davidblue, You forgot Wolfowitz’s most important credential, that of CHICKENHAWK and coward, not to mention the anti-corruption hypocrite who was as corrupt as the people he thought were corrupt. Then he had the gall to SPIT on a REAL American hero Gen. Shinseki who actually believed and LIVED the ideals he was taught at West Point. This guy should be in prison and serving a life sentence. He is an outright traitor to the USA. He was supposedly for democracy, but fought against it in virtually every place he served. He is an American fascist or a Jewish one, your choice or both. I rarely use the term fascist on many people, but this guy is the real deal in that.

  20. We did not “leave” Iraq, unless you count our occupation of an embassy the size of the vatican and thousands of contract soldiers (mercenaries) hidden under the State Dept. as “leaving”. I dislike being propagandized by this govt. a great deal. They constantly try to hide their workings through setting up a good cop/bad cop routine. We should not fall for it. We did not leave Iraq under Obama. He has continued the Bush policy. Lindsay and John both
    know this quite well. They are counting on citizens not knowing about our State Dept. contractors.

    The govt. likes to call groups “Al Qaeda” whenever they want to send more troops and weapons into a nation. That is all they are doing-whipping up the “need” to sell more weapons and give out more high paying contracts to war contractors.

    Iraqis have died, US troops have died for that money. More will die. Those who say they are our “leaders” are truly heartless men and women.

  21. davidm Once again you show total lack of knowledge of simple facts. Hussein did NOT have a massive army when the US invaded Iraq again. If you just use a little bit of intelligence, or have a bit of knowledge you would not say stupid things. The reason the US was able to only deploy about 100,000 troops was that Iraq had such a small army and weapons. During the first Gulf War, that army WAS about 1,000,000 troops which is why the UN had over 600,000 troops. If you will recall, the US only paid one TENTH of the cost and only 60% of the troops. Hussein was NO military threat to ANYBODY in the region at the time of the W Bush invasion. Bush and his cronies made up the intel to justify the war.

    I agreed with the resolution to authorize sending US troops to Kuwait to force UN inspectors into Iraq. That would not have come about without those troops on Iraq’s borders. When the inspectors went in, they were ABSOLUTELY clear that NO WMDs existed, and the only contention was that Iraq could not account for a couple of tons of chemical. That was NOT sufficient to say that they were a threat. The INRC was even more emphatic that there was ZERO nuclear threat.

    The reason Qaddafi gave up his plans for nukes was NOT the US invasion of Iraq, but for the more prosaic reason that the Paki who provided the materials CHEATED him. The stuff he got was worthless, and when he realized that, Qaddafi told on him to the US and exposed him. The world does NOT revolve around you or the USA.

    The irony is that if Bush had listened to the US Army leaders like Shinseki, he might have actually pulled it off since the Army said it needed a minimum of two hundred thousand troops for any occupation. Of course, cowards and cheats like Cheney and Wolfowitz knew far more than the Army folks since they thought they were smarter and had run big operations like their office staff. I am disgusted at such apologists for incompetence, treason, and cowardice.

  22. I think it is time for some indictments and arrest warrants to be issued for Wolfowitz to go before the ICC in the Hague. That is where he belongs, and since he is not an big fish guy, I think that it will be more likely and have fewer political complications to arrest and try him. Hell, if the ICC could arrest and try Milosevic, who was a former head of state and who was responsible for FAR fewer dead and misery than Wolfowitz, they most certainly can put him on trial with FAR more reason. The waging of aggressive war, or pre-emptive war as the Nazis and the Japanese, and Bush did was and is still a war crime.

  23. randyjet wrote: “Once again you show total lack of knowledge of simple facts. Hussein did NOT have a massive army when the US invaded Iraq again. If you just use a little bit of intelligence, or have a bit of knowledge you would not say stupid things.”

    My previous post said that buildup was prior to Kuwait. It indicates the mindset of this leader.

    randyjet wrote: “The reason the US was able to only deploy about 100,000 troops was that Iraq had such a small army and weapons.”

    That is your interpretation. Iraq was known to have 350,000 troops at the time. Another interpretation is that we focused on our superior air force to deliver Shock and Awe.

    randyjet wrote: “Hussein was NO military threat to ANYBODY in the region at the time of the W Bush invasion.”

    This is your interpretation presented without evidence.

    randyjet wrote: “When the inspectors went in, they were ABSOLUTELY clear that NO WMDs existed, and the only contention was that Iraq could not account for a couple of tons of chemical.”

    This is factually incorrect. Following Kuwait, WMD’s were found in Iraq. There also were situations where the Iraqi’s fired warning shots at inspectors to keep them from intercepting vehicles suspected of carrying WMD’s. Although Iraq previously denied any WMD program, they finally admitted to one, but said it was only for defensive purposes. Iraq blocked the use of helicopters UNSCOM teams. When IAEA inspectors found documents related to WMD’s, Iraq prevented the inspectors from leaving for 4 days. The UN passes resolution for inspection and verification, and Iraq refuses to comply declaring that UN resolution SCR 715 is unlawful. Iraq finally admits to 89 missiles and chemical weapons, but claims it destroyed them shortly after Kuwait. Iraq prevents Inspectors from inspecting the Ministry of Agriculture and they stage a 17 day sit-in. Some three and a half years after Kuwit, UNSCOM inspectors destroy WMD production facilities. The next year Kuwait admits again that it has biological weapons, despite their previous denials. UNSCOM searches the Tigris river and finds 200 missile parts. The next year, a facility for biological WMD’s is destroyed. Then Iraq refuses to cooperate with inspectors…. for more than 2 years. Finally they are ready to let inspectors back in. When inspections are resumed, they find 12 chemical WMD warheads. Later they tag 32 Al Samoud II Missiles. Next they find drone aircraft with a size and range that violates the UN prohibitions. Inspectors withdraw and the war starts.

    See a quick timeline at the following link:

    randyjet wrote: “Bush and his cronies made up the intel to justify the war.”

    So you say without a shred of evidence. The acknowledgment of Bush is that he relied upon bad intelligence reports. Most notably was an Iraqi code named Curveball who was a chemical engineer interviewed by Germans in Germany. He now admits to fabricating his intelligence in order to topple the dangerous Hussein.

    And I think I made it very clear that I am not an apologist for Bush, Cheney, or anybody else. I blame them because they led our Congress into voting the way they did. I also blame them for falling for the bad idea of nation building based upon a foundation of sand.

    You can disagree all you like, call me whatever names you like, but it is quite apparent that you speak from your own authority rather than educating us with facts and logic. It is easy to call people liars. It is not so easy to demonstrate how they lie. President Clinton made it easy to show he was a liar when he got on tv and directly lied and then admitted his lie. Congressman Weiner basically did the same thing. President Obama has demonstrated it as well several times in regards to spying and healthcare. But when you go to President Bush, where is the evidence he lied? All you have is your assumption, your suspicion, your gut feeling, or whatever it is that tells you that he lied about the intel. What about the Senate Intelligence Committee? Do they have any responsibility? Do any of the Democrats who supported the war bear any responsibility? Why don’t you claim that they lied too? They relied upon the same intel reports that Bush did.

    The bottom line is that our government believed it and they apparently were wrong. That doesn’t mean that the world is not a safer place without Hussein. From my perspective, we would have been dealing with a Hitler. When Hitler first was released from prison, a lot of people saw the danger, but a lot of people said it was none of our business. Well, it eventually became our business after the whole world was thrust into war. What if we had a crystal ball that showed you what would have happened if Hussein was not made to face justice from his citizens, and it showed you that he was just like Hitler, intent on building an empire through wiping out opposition? Would that change your mind?

  24. Too bad the reasoning to oust Saddam was based on lies…
    … It makes the apologists seem that much more despirate.

  25. Using the specious logic espoused by blood spattered warmongering senators, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, if the US government had only sacrificed more American, South Korean, Australian, Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian and Thai lives along with throwing tens of billions of US dollars at US defense contractors the US would have prevailed in it’s war police-action in Vietnam.

  26. What DavidM said. President GW Bush gave President Hussein the choice. “get out” or face war. President Hussein chose not to leave and the US invaded. That we got him out of power it was time to leave, the goal having been accomplished. At least there would have been some measure of civil structure left in the country. Some would argue there is a responsibility, and I believe their is under the Geneva convention to help rescusitate a country after a war, far less damage could have been had if we cleaned up a few areas, tried at least to seed some ideas for another government of the Iraqi populace, and got out.

  27. David, It is now known that the govt. did know very well that they were lying to the American people. There’s the whole history of “Curveball”. It was all made up. Not one person in the govt. who claimed we went to war for WMD was telling the truth.

    Darren, The Iraq war was illegal. It was a war of aggression. The US does not have a legal right to get rid of heads of state without cause, even those we put in power and blessed for years! And yes, once we had destroyed that nation, we did have an obligation to rebuild it. Far from doing that, we made their people’s lives an even worse living hell.

  28. Jill, I agree the war was illegal but once it was started, for whatever reason, it should have ended immediately. When the US and its allies pushed the Iraqi army out of Kuwait with the exception of no-fly-zones etc it was a done deal. (though hawks in the US government and in the military thought it should go all the way to Baghdad and take out President Hussein) fortunately cooler heads prevailed.

    I agree face is a lot of the reason for staying in Afghanistan especially, but many in the gov’t fear the rise of a terrorist controlled state with a large base to stage operations. I don’t know if this will happen but one has to wonder how many terrorists the US has presently faced in the US by actors based out of Afghanistan. So is the threat truly worth breading more threats and it being worth the cost of continuing in these countries.

  29. Darren,

    I agree with you that the war should have ended immediately. Charles Ferguson’s film, “No End in Sight”, is really interesting to watch because it shows clearly that no rational plan was in place for dealing with the aftermath of going to war.

    I do not think we are in either Iraq or Afghanistan because we fear terrorists. I believe those places are cash cows for wealthy, connected people in the war/financial industries as well as for people in our govt. connected to those industries.

    One of the things that the 9/11 Commissioners would like declassified is the information about the Saudi govt.’s funding of the operation on that day. How embarrassing that USGinc. didn’t go to war against the govt. that really did fund the 9/11 attacks. If this were about the war on terror and the need to bomb the crap out of governments which finance terrorism, we would have bombed Saudi Arabia. Instead that govt. is our BFF and we send them all kinds of weapons. I therefore cannot conclude this govt. cares about terrorist attacks except as they may be useful to destroy the rule of law and break asunder our nation.

  30. . When inspections are resumed, they find 12 chemical WMD warheads. Later they tag 32 Al Samoud II Missiles.

    davidm I had more respect for you that was justified since you leave out lots of things in your so called violations that were found after Blix and El Baradi made their reports. The 12 warheads you cite were NOT warheads at all since there was NO warhead in 11 of them. It is like a parole officer going to a parolees house and finding 11 empty bullets, and one live one and charging him with a parole violation. we have some such folks on this site who may tell us if that is enough to revoke a parole, I doubt it is. Then you FAIL to mention the FACT Iraq agreed to destroy the missiles that were too big. Then in your response you confuse the military ability before Gulf War I with the second one. Then use as the justification for Gulf War II the facts that were true for the first one. That is beyond rationality and ABSURD! GET REAL!

    As for the outright lies, I guess you have been asleep for most of the discussion about Obama here. The FACT is that if you accuse Obama of lying about the intel collection on US citizens, you also have to accuse BUSH of doing the same and worse since he not only lied,, but BEGAN the programs. Bush lied about the use of torture, and about the use of illegal prisons around the world. Then the FACT is that Bush either is incompetent, a fool, or a liar about the intel on the justification for the Iraq war. Then Kerry and the Democrats also said Bush LIED about the resolution that Kerry, and others, myself included supported to get inspectors back into Iraq. They were NOT told that Bush had already decided to invade NO MATTER WHAT. Later Bush’s actions made this perfectly clear that he had in fact lied to Congress. Then we have the FACT that Powell knew that most of what Bush said as justification for invading was BS and refused to allow much of that crap into his speech to the UN. So even Powell KNEW that Bush was lying, and Powell has stated that the speech was his personal LOW POINT in his long governmental service since he did not cut out even more. We KNOW for a FACT, that Cheney, Wolfowitz and others cooked the books with their own intel group that supplanted the regulars. I also know for a FACT that Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld figuratively SPIT on Gen Shinseki because he gave the opinion that the US Army professionals had for the numbers needed to secure Iraq.

    On a personal level W Bush lied about his military service, illegally wore a Presidential unit citation ribbon he had no right to wear on his uniform, used his political pull to get out of two of his six year commitment, lied about the number of DUIs he had on his criminal record. I don’t have the time or inclination to list his manifold lies.

    To say that Hussein is in any way comparable to Hitler is delusional unless you think that Iraq has the same resources as Germany did. That alone shows your lack of judgment. It took most of the world to defeat Hitler, it took only 100,000 troops to take down Iraq. Does that not bother you at all?

  31. Jill wrote: “Not one person in the govt. who claimed we went to war for WMD was telling the truth.”

    So you believe Hillary Clinton and John Kerry lied to us? I’m skeptical. What evidence do you have that these government officials lied to us?

  32. Absolutely they lied. David, there are whole books about this. Look up the Downing Street Memo and look up info on “Curveball”. This govt. made up intelligence which it had “confirmed” by other friendly nation’s intelligence agencies. It knew “Curveball” was a joke, it knew the info was untrue. See what you think!

  33. randyjet wrote: “The 12 warheads you cite were NOT warheads at all since there was NO warhead in 11 of them. It is like a parole officer going to a parolees house and finding 11 empty bullets, and one live one and charging him with a parole violation.”

    I would say a better analogy is the parole officer finding 11 unloaded guns and 1 loaded gun. Yeah, that’s a parole violation.

    randyjet wrote: “Then in your response you confuse the military ability before Gulf War I with the second one. Then use as the justification for Gulf War II the facts that were true for the first one. That is beyond rationality and ABSURD! GET REAL!”

    No its not. The previous actions indicate his nature and character. When he is under scrutiny, he makes his army smaller. When he is no longer under scrutiny, what do you think he would do?

    randyjet wrote: “the FACT is that Bush either is incompetent, a fool, or a liar about the intel on the justification for the Iraq war.”

    Yes, this sounds like a more accurate assessment to me. I agree.

    randyjet wrote: “It took most of the world to defeat Hitler, it took only 100,000 troops to take down Iraq. Does that not bother you at all?”

    Not when you consider that we struck preemptively and had MUCH greater air force capability than we did when Hitler came to power. Hitler also had many years to build up, and even when he was at all out war with other nations, we declined to do anything about it.

  34. Jill wrote: “Absolutely they lied.”

    So if Hillary Clinton or John Kerry run for any kind of political office, you would not vote for them? I assume also you would discourage anybody else from voting for them?

  35. Davidm The fact is that warheads are useless unless you they have some means of propulsion so that is simply very bad judgment in trying to call them the equivalent of a gun which DOES pose a threat. Then that you chose to ignore the FACT that 11 were empty in your list shows intent to deceive. Then you omit the FACT that the missiles were going to be destroyed by Iraqi agreement with the inspectors. Another deceit.

    Your question about what would Hussein do if he were not under inspection is inane since he had nothing CLOSE to the resources of Hitler and Germany even if he were given free reign and NO inspections. Hell,he could not even defeat a two bit power such as Iran when he had a million man army and all the weapons we could give him. This simply shows that you are more concerned with being a political hack than a rational thinker.

    Then we have the lapses of so called judgment of Bush and his war makers. They only either lied or made such bad judgments of over THREE TRILLION DOLLARS, and millions of dead, wounded, displaced, and destroyed an entire country. Obama did not lie about health care as you said, since it is a very complex program and he never said that it was going to be perfect. He even tried to fix some of the problems, yet you give him NO slack for a piddling little miscalculation, and give a pass to BUSH when he knew for a FACT that he had no reason for invading Iraq other than he wanted to take it over for the oil resources. Then you give Bush a pass for making bad judgment of over three trillion dollars and millions of dead and injured when others had specifically told him that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were wrong. It is like his bad judgment when he refused to take Al Qeda seriously and went against the career National Security staff on this. Then we have the lies about his letting Bin Laden’s family and the Saudis fly around the US right after 9/11 while I and ALL others were grounded.

    I see that you have no problem with my rather short litany of Bush lies too. I could expand on them in rather short order since those were just off the top of my head and I still have MORE egregious lies off the top of my head that Bush told. You also ignore the FACT that so called pre-emptive war is an actual WAR CRIME for which the UN executed many Nazis after WWII.

  36. This is an odd topic for a site featuring legal issues. So perhaps the discussion needs some additional focus.

    When the UN would not take a bite of the apple, the United State formed a coalition [of sorts] to invade Iraq and retaliate for 9-11. But neither Saddam Hussein nor Iraq had anything whatsoever to do with 9-11. The only weapons of mass destruction Saddam used were on Kurds living in Iraq near the borders with Syria, Turkey and Iran. And for exposing the truth about uranium hexafloride, Wilson and Phlame got crucified. In the war between Iran and Iran, we funded and backed Saddam, Rumsfeld even personally delivering Saddam a check.

    So on what legal basis did we invade? None. It was all about crude oil and getting back against Saddam for allegedly putting out a hit contract on Bush 41 after 1991, Saddam’s organization of OPEC, and the 1973 oil embargo. The hit on Bush 41 was retaliation for Desert Storm. But the people inhabiting Iraq have claimed Kuwait for thousands of years. It was about oil, plain and simple. If a nation would not join the coalition, they could not get contracts to rebuild Iraqi oil infrastructure. What a lie that was! [Can’t you hear Cheney promoting this idea in the White House and Powell arguing against it.]

    After 9-11, we invaded Iraq on the cheap. And it cost us dearly. Without a doubt, we still do have enemies. Just look in the mirror, stupid!

    Many of those commenting above see this as fact. This was an illegal war. But we are too chicken to punish those who voted for it. The list includes most all senators.

    Maybe, just maybe, it is high time we beat our swords into plow shears and our spears into pruning hooks and studied war no more. Isaiah 2:5. Our troops who returned will be suffering from lost limbs and PTSD for decades. Afghanistan’s story is different. But the outcome is not!

  37. DavidM is back with his old tricks again. He tries very hard every time but fails miserably because his ends justify the means rather than the other way around..

    After 9-11, there was no reason to invade Iraq but focus on Afghanistan and get Osama in which Bush/ Cheney failed and by invading Iraq, Afghanistan was ignored. It became a lose lose situation.

    Bush/Cheney did not know the difference between Shias and Sunni. The result is that they were so ignorant and focused on war mongering that they forgot that Shia Iraq would favour Shia Iran.

    Yes, Saddam was no angel and the same goes for lots of our so called friends in the Middle East with whom we are in bed with- Saudi Arabia, etc etc.

    Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 but Bush/Cheney made them into Siamese twins.

    Cheney made millions by selling oil equipment to Saddam when he was the top Honcho of Halliburton.

    We sold WMD’s to Iraq.

    After spending trillions of precious dollars, losing thousands of lives, we still do not realise that it was a big mistake with a myopic vision.

    Bush used emotional blackmail to the congress to get his invasion of Iraq approved. Many politicians got sucked in his lies. It is the duty of the Head of the State- El Presidente- to make a decision just in case the information regarding WMD’s was false.Bush made the wrong decision and we will be paying for it for many decades to come.

  38. I need a little guidance here….. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. but I’m certain that the parents of the young people we sent to Iraq, to die for nothing… aren’t laughing now

  39. Project for the New American Century
    last updated: March 21, 2013
    The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was established in 1997 by a number of leading neoconservative writers and pundits to advocate aggressive U.S. foreign policies and “rally support for American global leadership.” One of the group’s founding documents claimed, “a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.”[1]

  40. Max-1, I have read the PNAC is now officially disbanded.


    Chairman, U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, 2008-present
    President, World Bank Group, 2005-2007

    They started a new organization, and judging from Wolfowitz position in it, I believe it’s name… USGovInc.
    They were going to name it M&M Enterprises, but that name had already been copyrighted. LOL.

  41. davidblue, Good thing you put in the Catch 22 clip, otherwise the M&M reference would have gone over the head of many folks here. It is simply incredible that any rational group who actually wants to get something done properly would ever hire Wolfowitz. Making a $3 trillion mistake and millions of dead, maimed, and displaced would seem to qualify him to only push a broom at the very least, and at best a trial before the ICC and a prison cell for the rest of his life.

  42. David M. I would not vote for H. Clinton or John Kerry if they ran for office. I would most certainly urge everyone else not to vote for these people under any circumstances.

    Also, if you want to find out information about the mercenaries hired by the State Dept. to be the US military presence in Iraq I would read Jeremy Scahill. Glenn Greenwald also wrote extensively about Obama’s desire to keep regular US troops in Iraq.

  43. Perhaps Wolfowitz did not make a mistake. Methinks his strategy brought about the exact conditions desired by his cohorts and masters. Divide Conquer and Rule.
    A wealthy and powerful few, have and continue, to benefit immensely from his “errors” ….. How convenient ….😦 :o(

    Hopefully the icon shows a sad face.

  44. We have some on this site who seek to justify the US invasion of Iraq. They maintain that the US was justified in believing certain intelligence data, even when other data disputed its validity. And to sum up their arguments, one phrase comes to mind. “The ends [removing Saddam Hussein] justified the means [an illegal invasion of a foreign country].”

    Balderdash! We invaded Vietnam [took over from the French colonial power] on the foolish “domino” theory, a theory that has been proven wrong. We engineered the Shaw of Iran’s taking over from a democratically elected government on the theory that it was too friendly with the USSR. We supported Israel and still do, on various theories that do not hold water. Our US foreign policy is based on who inside of our government has the most clout, not on objective data and valid information. We would rather fight than be right. Was it not the Chinese who called what we do “hegemony?”

  45. randyjet wrote: “The fact is that warheads are useless unless you they have some means of propulsion so that is simply very bad judgment in trying to call them the equivalent of a gun which DOES pose a threat. Then that you chose to ignore the FACT that 11 were empty in your list shows intent to deceive. Then you omit the FACT that the missiles were going to be destroyed by Iraqi agreement with the inspectors. Another deceit.”

    No deceit. I gave you a link to all those details. Is it deceit for you to pretend that I made them equivalent to a gun when what I really did was make an analogy to an unloaded gun which does NOT pose a threat until it is loaded? Was it deceit on your part when you wrote the following: “When the inspectors went in, they were ABSOLUTELY clear that NO WMDs existed, and the only contention was that Iraq could not account for a couple of tons of chemical.”

    Suppose you declare to us all your weapons at your house, and you swear to us that you have absolutely no chemical WMD’s. So we send inspectors to your home to verify what you have declared, and what we find is that you have 11 brand new rockets with empty warheads and 1 rocket with a warhead loaded and ready to go. You didn’t tell us anything about these weapons at all. Should we be suspicious about what you were going to do with these, or should we just report that Randyjet is a good and honest guy who has no WMD’s just like he said?

    randyjet wrote: “Your question about what would Hussein do if he were not under inspection is inane since he had nothing CLOSE to the resources of Hitler and Germany even if he were given free reign and NO inspections.”

    Hitler only had an army of 100,000, less than one-third the size of Iraq’s army. Hussein was being supplied by the Soviet Union, France, and Germany. He had the largest and most sophisticated chemical weapons program among countries not aligned with NATO or Communist Bloc countries. I don’t think it is stupid to be concerned. You give give a single idiot access to detonating weapons of mass destruction and it will not be pretty.

    randyjet wrote: “Obama did not lie about health care…”
    When he said that if you like your current insurance and doctor you can keep it, that was a lie. He knew the grandfather clause was void once an insurance company made the slightest changes, such as changing deductibles or rates. Well, anyone who knows the insurance industry knows that adjustments are made all the time. That’s how insurance remains competitive, by consulting the newest actuarial data and making adjustments. He also had to know that many doctors would choose not to participate.

    randyjet wrote: “you give Bush a pass…”
    I did not give a pass to Bush. I said, “I blame G.W. Bush for all of this.”

  46. Dale wrote: “And to sum up their arguments, one phrase comes to mind. “The ends [removing Saddam Hussein] justified the means [an illegal invasion of a foreign country].””

    You seem to forget 9/11 and all the other terrorist attacks. How many times must they kill us before you consider them a threat?

  47. john530 wrote: “what did Saddam have to do with 9/11?”

    About as much as the Taliban in Afghanistan had to do with it. As President Bush said, “nothing.”

    When Islamic terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 and killed six people, Americans barely noticed. When they took down both towers in 2001, everybody was shocked and horrified. Who would do this to us? Our mindset and culture completely changed. We realized that we needed to defend ourselves from these enemies. And nobody wanted to take this punch lying down. Virtually nobody wanted to do what we have done following most all other attacks, as if we were merely swatting at gnats biting our legs. We wanted to stand up and say enough. We also wanted to say, “no more Pearl Harbors and no more World Trade Centers. We will attack you before you sucker punch us again.” That is the motivation for both Afghanistan and Iraq.

  48. By the way, we are posting comments about a recent event where Al Qaeda retook the city of Fallujah, Iraq. All the 9/11 hijackers were members of Al Qaeda. Would it really be all that strange to think that there is a cozy connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda?

  49. The topic is Iraq. There is no responsible defense of our actions in that country. First, the United States does not have either a moral or legal right to depose foreign leaders whom we deem to be “bad actors.” Indeed, we have frequently supported tyrants and dictators when it suited our perceived national interests, and we continue to do so.

    Second, after launching the invasion based upon lies, we proceeded to systematically dismantle the military, political, judicial and bureaucratic infrastructures of the country, expecting that our “liberation” would result in the emergence of democratic institutions rising like so many Phoenixes from the ashes of shock and awe.

    Third, in our arrogance we ignored the fact that Iraq is the creation of European colonial powers, cobbled together with little regard for cultural, religious or ethnic differences, and then reacted in shock when all of those different interests rushed in to fill the power vacuum rather than draft a constitution modeled on western notions of religious pluralism and personal freedom.

    Fourth, the suggestion that we should send troops back into Iraq is evidence that we have learned nothing from our experience and that small men with small minds would rather destroy more human lives than accept responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of lives that have already been destroyed.

    When the invasion was announced a decade ago, I predicted that the result would be the installation of a new dictator or the partition of Iraq into independent Sunni, Shia and Kurdish states. I have seen nothing to cause me to revise that prediction.

  50. Mike Appleton wrote: “Fourth, the suggestion that we should send troops back into Iraq is evidence that we have learned nothing from our experience and that small men with small minds would rather destroy more human lives than accept responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of lives that have already been destroyed.”

    I agree pretty strongly with your fourth point here. However, I am not so keen with your first point and have mixed feelings about points two and three. We have to remember examples like Pearl Harbor and 911 where we basically received a big sucker punch. I cannot get out of my mind the video of Osama Bin Laden and his friend discussing their amazement at their success and laughing about it and praising Allah for it. We have an obligation to defend our citizens from suffering any kind of sucker punch like this. We live in a nuclear age. One bad actor with access to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction could annihilate us. It would make 911 look like child’s play. Clearly the targets are no longer just our military located in places like Pearl Harbor or the Pentagon, but also our successful corporations working in skyscrapers. We cannot go back to the pre-911 mentality of how we deal with foreign threats. Unless you have a clear plan of defense from these threats that would alleviate the need to depose the aggressive despot, I think there is no choice but to be proactive in defense.

  51. davidm Once again, you use apocalyptic terms and do not have any sense of proportion or rational thought. The US dropped TWO atomic bombs on Japan, and the Japanese survived. Last time I looked, we are even welcome there. So even a so called suitcase bomb would not “destroy” the US. Those bombs by the way are about 200# and are not something one guy except a bodybuilder could haul around. Plus the fact the yield is pretty low and even in NYC would only kill around a couple of hundred thousand people. That is bad enough for sure, but it will NOT destroy the US.

    Then you forget that the doctrine of pre-emption works BOTH ways. If the US takes the position that it has the right to use a sneak attack on some country, then that country ALSO has the right to note that the US will attack it for no reason other than the US government does not like its policies. Thus THEY are more than justified in using a sneak attack too. Your idea about this flies in the face of all international agreements the US has signed. I know that ones word, contracts, and treaties mean nothing to you and your kind, but keep that out of US policy. At least have the decency to not attribute this to any noble motives, but blatant power lust. The other problem is that given the long sordid history of the US in Latin America, there is hardly any country there which would not be justified in a pre-emptive attack on the US. Indeed two of the leaders in Chile and Brazil were personally the victims of US torture by the CIA and military dictatorships the US installed. I hope that they can put that all in the past since if they gave in to personal feelings, the US would be in serious trouble. Then of course, the Venezuelans don’t have warm and fuzzy feelings for sponsoring a military coup there. They too have by US aggression MORE than enough justification under international law and treaties to take action against the US government

    There are times when US military force is justified, as in the first Gulf War in which Iraq violated all international law and the UN Charter. They were given fair warning, and resolutions demanding compliance, and then war was the only viable option. In fact, I was in favor of the last resolution sending US forces to Kuwait to force UN inspectors back in. I had no problem until it became clear that Bush had no intention of abiding by the UN orders and resolutions and had lied about his intentions and goals.

    North Korea is one spot where military force may be needed since they have violated the agreements on getting nuclear technology. The NPT means nothing if the UN and the US do not back up violations by the use of force as the ultimate sanction. It may well be necessary for the US to take action against them. My preference is to hit not only facilities, but bomb the leadership to take out the scientists and leaders. THAT will take a lot longer time to replace them. But the fact is that the US MUST have a clear international approval and give warning of military consequences.

  52. randyjet wrote: “The US dropped TWO atomic bombs on Japan, and the Japanese survived.”

    I almost spoke about the difference in bomb size between many of today’s nuclear bombs and the two dropped on Japan, but I assumed it was common knowledge and did not want to extend the length of my post. The bombs dropped on Japan were roughly comparable to 20,000 tons of TNT, while modern bombs are comparable to 50,000,000 tons of TNT. Instead of 2 bombs, we are talking about 100 to 8,000 depending upon the country. While there was recovery in these two cities, the death and destruction was appalling. I doubt you would want one dropped in your city.

    Probably the more serious concern about weapons of mass destruction are biological and chemical weapons. My point is simply that we should be progressive and forward thinking about our defense strategies given these new types of modern weapons and a history of allowing other countries to sucker punch us before we feel justified to enter into a retaliation mode. Must we always wait for retaliation with an eye for an eye perspective rather than a prevent harm perspective?

    randyjet wrote: “Then you forget that the doctrine of pre-emption [sic] works BOTH ways. If the US takes the position that it has the right to use a sneak attack on some country, then that country ALSO has the right to note that the US will attack it for no reason other than the US government does not like its policies.”

    Hold on now. I said nothing about “sneak attack.” Do you really think that I would condemn someone for a sucker punch and then advocate a sucker punch from us. The proactive defense strategy I talk about should be NOTHING like a sneak attack. Conversation and diplomacy must be used, possibly followed up with sanctions or declarations of expressing our disagreement with tactics. Basically, our approach with Iraq was a good one. We clearly outlined what we expected, saw evidence that the country did not respect us or care about our concerns, so we gave an ultimatum and deadline, and then followed up with the fight.

    Diplomacy seemingly has worked with nuclear countries like Russia, the UK, Israel, France, and China. While still working with India, Pakistan and North Korea, it may become more dubious in the future due to religious and political differences.

    randyjet wrote: “But the fact is that the US MUST have a clear international approval and give warning of military consequences.”

    Somewhat agreed. I don’t see our positions as far apart as you seem to want to make them. International approval should be sought, but I don’t think it is absolutely necessary. Nobody is going to care about us as much as we care about ourselves.

  53. davidm, It is hard to take your comment seriously when you say Hitler only had 100,000 troops in WWII, and use the situation before the first Gulf War to justify the second. The FACT is that Iraq has nothing close to the size, population, resources, finances, or technology of Nazi Germany. Then if that is not bad enough, you say the Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11. The FACT is that the Taliban allowed Al Qeada to operate on its territory and sheltered them after 9/11 in defiance of the UN. That is more than enough justification for war against them. Iraq had NO ties with Al Qeada before the US invasion. With the destruction of Hussein, they came in after and joined the fight. All of your facts are nonsense since you use facts that are totally irrelevant as to time, place, and circumstances. To say that Iraq constituted any kind of a threat to the US is absurd and was not backed up by the fact at the time. Bush simply kept on moving the goal posts to justify war and invasion. The ostensible reason for sending troops to Kuwait was to force inspectors back into Iraq. Then when they found virtually nothing, Bush and his boys simply lied and denied the findings of those same inspectors. I also have to remind folks that the DOE lost a couple of hundred pounds of plutonium. So if we can do that, it is not such a stretch to say the same with what inspectors did find remaining in Iraq. But of course, the US simply let all the weapons loose in Iraq after the US invaded and secured nothing at all. Thanks to Bush and his fools we armed the rebellion by our inaction.

    As for even the nuclear powers that exist now, they do not have anything close to hundreds or even many nukes. Even Pakistan could not make a successful bomb in quantity since a couple of their tests were duds. The North Koreans still do not have a functioning nuke since their tests were duds as well. Only a microfraction of those bombs actually had a nuclear reaction of the fissile material. Using the Trinity test site as an example, the North Korean nuke only would have destroyed the bombs tower at most. I have actually seen live nuclear bombs, and they were small enough to put in the back of a station wagon. I even talked to an armorer who confessed that when he was loading a nuke on a plane, he dropped it on the ground. I told him that he is one of the few people on earth who can truthfully say that he dropped a live nuclear bomb.

    As for Obama supposedly lying, he did not say that insurance companies cannot ever cancel policies. While the law made it harder and few reasons for cancelling, it did not and could not end all cancellations. It also made bogus or substandard policies illegal as well. I seriously doubt you can say that either Obama or Congress meant the statement that you can keep your policies under ALL circumstances or that insurance companies cannot ever cancel policies Only a person of limited intellect would take that interpretation. Of course, then the FACT is that there is a BIG difference between the statements and consequences of Bush’s lies and your assertion of Obama’s lies. Which actions do you think had more deleterious effects? The cancellation of insurance policies or the Iraqi war?

  54. randyjet – I have found too many factual errors in your post. Even when I point them out, you just keep repeating them. I simply don’t care to continue this type of dialogue with you. Have a nice day.

  55. “Iraqi forces have surrounded Fallujah in preparation for a potential assault to retake the city from Sunni militants who have also seized parts of Ramadi. Thousands of Fallujah residents have fled to avoid being trapped in the crossfire. This comes as the United States is ramping up its delivery of Hellfire missiles and surveillance drones as part of a “holistic” strategy to oust the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. We speak to two guests: Feurat Alani, a French-Iraqi journalist who was based in Baghdad from 2003 to 2008 and has made several documentaries, including “Roadtrip Iraq” and “Fallujah: A Lost Generation?”; and Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran who served in Iraq and later wrote a book critical of U.S. policy there, titled “We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People.” Van Buren faced dismissal after criticizing U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq.” -Democracy Now!


  56. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to the increasingly violent situation in Iraq. At least 13 people have been killed and another 30 wounded in a suicide attack on a police station in Baghdad. The bombing comes as the Iraqi government is preparing for an offensive to retake the city of Fallujah from Sunni militants. Fighters from the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant seized parts of Fallujah as well as Ramadi last week. The Iraqi Red Crescent says over 13,000 families have fled Fallujah to escape the violence in the past few days. The United Nations is warning that Anbar province faces a critical humanitarian situation, with 250 people killed already this month. This is Fallujah resident Khaled Mohssen.

    KHALED MOHSSEN: [translated] We are families fleeing from Fallujah, which is undergoing military operations due to the presence of militants that are unwelcome in the city. There was random shelling against houses in the city, so we were scared for our families and left the city.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Meanwhile, the United States is ramping up its delivery of military equipment to help Iraq battle militants who have overrun parts of Anbar province, including the city of Fallujah. This is White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

    PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: We’re accelerating our foreign military sales, deliveries, and are looking to provide an additional shipment of Hellfire missiles as early as this spring. These missiles are one small element of that holistic—excuse me—strategy, but they been proven effective at denying ISIL the safe haven zones that it has sought to establish in western Iraq.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

    Well, for more, we’re joined now via Democracy Now! video stream by Feurat Alani. He’s a French-Iraqi journalist who was based in Baghdad during the war from 2003 to 2008. He has returned twice a year since then and made several documentaries, including Roadtrip Iraq and Fallujah: A Lost Generation? He recently wrote a piece for Le Monde calling Syria’s conflict—called “Syria’s Conflict Spreads to Iraq: Violence and Power Struggles.”

    AMY GOODMAN: And in Washington, we’re joined by Peter Van Buren, 24-year veteran of the U.S. State Department, who served in Iraq, later wrote a book critical of U.S. policy called We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. And he was later forced out of the State Department.

    We want to welcome you both to Democracy Now! Feurat Alani, I want to start with you. You begin one of your latest pieces, “Violence and Power Struggles,” by writing, “How do you stop a suicide bomber?” And that’s exactly what happened in Baghdad today, yet another suicide bombing. Can you talk about the situation there, and particularly in Fallujah?

    FEURAT ALANI: Yes. Thank you for inviting me. You know, I just talked today to many friends in Fallujah, and the situation today was not like yesterday. It’s moving. The market in the center of Fallujah has reopened. And, you know, people in Fallujah are used to be ostracized, like since 2004, so it’s usual for them to live under the violence. So they’re trying to live. And some—a lot of families fled to other part of Iraq, in Baghdad and other provinces. But the situation is very tense, and people of Fallujah doesn’t know what is going on and what’s happening.

    AMY GOODMAN: Can you describe Fallujah for us right now? And exactly what is the dynamic that’s happening when news reports around the world say al-Qaeda-linked forces have taken over?

    FEURAT ALANI: Yes, I would like to be precise and clear about it. When you talk to Fallujah people, they reject the idea that al-Qaeda is taking control of Fallujah. They almost saying that it’s false. People who are controlling Fallujah are member of tribes and normal inhabitants. We have to remind that one year ago demonstrations started in the Dignity Square, showing anger against the policy of the government, of the Iraqi government. And so, when the prime minister, Maliki, started to arrest Sunni politicians, anger increased in Fallujah. And what we are facing today is not a battlefield between al-Qaeda and the army. It’s a battle—it’s a political battlefield. It’s anger expressed many years ago by Fallujahn people who are tired and angry, and they just want to be recognized as Iraqis.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Peter Van Buren, you’re a State Department veteran. I’d like to bring you into the discussion and talk about—you know, President Obama has repeatedly said, since United States troops pulled out, that he ended the war in Iraq; however, we know that what has exactly happened is that it’s just gone off the front pages of our newspapers, but the war has continued. What happened after U.S. troops left to create the situation that exists now?

    PETER VAN BUREN: What happened was very similar to what the gentleman before me was talking about. It’s back to the future. The core issues that led to instability in Iraq, that started in 2003, were never resolved by the United States over nine years of occupation—primarily, the need to create a unity government. The United States stood aside as the Kurds de facto created a new nation. The United States stood aside as the Sunni-Shia rift—and of course we’re using those terms very broadly—developed. Almost within days of the U.S. troop withdrawal, Prime Minister Maliki sought to have his Sunni vice president arrested. The vice president fled and is believed to be in Turkey. Maliki has continued his persecutions and prosecutions against the Sunnis, and now has resorted to open warfare in Fallujah in attempt to tame them, to marginalize them and to maintain his Shia control of power.

    AMY GOODMAN: What about the U.S. sending military aid to the Iraqi government?

    PETER VAN BUREN: During nine years of war and occupation, the U.S. expended a tremendous number of Hellfire missiles and other weaponry. None of that was effective against either side—Sunni, Shia, or perhaps third-party foreign fighters. This is not a war that can be won like a game of chess. There’s not lines on the ground where one force is on one side trying to capture territory on the other side. This remains a war to settle political, ethnic, social and other types of differences. It’s an insurgency. And any attempts to blast your way out of this problem will end, for the Maliki government, exactly as they ended for the American government: ineffectual and nothing more than a stage for the next round of violence.

    AMY GOODMAN: Feurat Alani, what has to happen, do you believe? And what about that same issue of U.S. re-arming the Iraqi regime?

    FEURAT ALANI: I think this is a very bad news. You know, I made a documentary about Fallujah three years ago about the consequences on the health in the city of Fallujah by the use of U.S. weapons like white phosphorus, depleted uranium and Hellfire missile. We call it—this technology is called thermobaric weapon. It’s very bad. And now, today—even today in Fallujah, the hospitals faces birth defects, deformed babies and cancer rising in the city. And even scientists say that it’s worse than Hiroshima, because of the U.S. weapons that were used in the battle of Fallujah in 2004. So, as—I totally agree with what was said by the gentleman before me. This is not a solution. This is—this has to be solved by a political view, and we have—I mean, the Iraqi government has to stop the marginalization of Sunnis in Anbar.

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Feurat Alani, what are—there have been news reports that Iran and the United States are now, inconceivably, talking about finding ways to ally with the Maliki government to prevent the continued rise of the opposition forces in the Sunni areas of Iraq. What’s your response to that?

    FEURAT ALANI: Well, the tribes are divided in Iraq. A part of them are collaborating with the Iraqi army. And one famous leader of those tribe is Ahmed Abu Risha. He’s one of the—he’s the brother of one tribe leader who created the Sahwat the Awakening militia, made up of members of Sunni tribes who allied themselves with the U.S. to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq. And this was a strategy to expel the people of al-Qaeda. But today, as I said before, many people of Fallujah said they’ve never seen any member of al-Qaeda in Fallujah. So, I think this is part of the government’s policy to divide the Sunnis in number. And this is a main problem today, because we face member of tribes who are struggling against the Iraqi army and other tribes who are struggling against al-Qaeda. So it makes the situation very confused, and it’s very difficult now to know what will happen in the future.

    AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you both for being with us, and we are going to continue our conversation with Feurat Alani in a post-show that we will post online to talk about the documentary he did specifically in Fallujah and the effects of what the U.S. did there have on what is happening there today. Feurat Alani is a French-Iraqi journalist who is based in Baghdad. We’re speaking to him in Dubai. He was based there from 2003 to 2008, has returned twice a year since then and made several documentaries. And thank you so much to our guest in Washington, D.C., Peter Van Buren, 24-year veteran of the U.S. State Department, who served in Iraq and wrote the book We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People.

    (Transcript of DN segment posted in prior comment)

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