Al-Qaeda rebels take Tikrit, force 500,000 to flee Mosul

posted at 1:31 pm on June 11, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Tikrit may be remembered more for being Saddam Hussein’s home town. Today it fell to radical Sunni extremists linked to al-Qaeda as western Iraq spins out of Baghdad’s control. ISIS also tightened its grip on Mosul and took aim at the Iraqi oil infrastructure, hoping to establish its own transnational state with territory it controls in Syria:

Iraqi security officials say al-Qaida-inspired militants have seized the northern city of Tikrit.

The two officials in Baghdad told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Saddam Hussein’s hometown was under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, whose fighters this week took control of Mosul, the country’s second largest city.

The BBC reports that 500,000 refugees have fled Mosul to escape ISIS, and that the terrorists have seized diplomatic personnel from Turkey:

As many as 500,000 people have been forced to flee the Iraqi city of Mosul after hundreds of Islamist militants took control of it, theInternational Organization for Migration (IOM) says.

Troops were among those fleeing as the jihadists from the ISIS group took the city and much of Nineveh province.

The head of the Turkish mission in Mosul and 24 consulate officials have been seized, local sources say.

PM Nouri Maliki has asked parliament to declare a state of emergency.

The US said the development showed ISIS was a threat to the entire region.

Yes, but what is the US prepared to do about it? Not much more than cheerlead from the sidelines, according to McClatchy:

U.S. officials were quick to express solidarity with the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, who was elected to his post originally during the American occupation and whose administration the U.S. has backed with weapons shipments and military training. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States was working closely with the Maliki government, and Brett McGurk, the State Department’s top diplomat for Iraq and Iran, pointed out via Twitter that U.S. and Iraqi soldiers “have suffered and bled together, and we will help in time of crisis.”

But the nature of that help was perhaps best encapsulated in the response of Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby that made it clear that the U.S. was unlikely to become directly involved in Iraq’s battle with ISIS. “This is for the Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government to deal with,” Kirby said.

In comments Tuesday, U.S. officials left no room for direct involvement in the conflict there, where ISIS, analysts said, had demonstrated that it could successfully and simultaneously control parts of two major Iraqi cities, while battling multiple forces inside Syria, including the Lebanese militant organization Hezbollah and al Qaida’s Nusra Front. …

The performance of the Iraqi military at Mosul was another source of embarrassment for American officials, who had spent billions of dollars training and equipping the Iraqi military, only to have its soldiers shed their uniforms and flee before the ISIS attackers.

As I wrote earlier, there isn’t much we can do now. Despite the predictable return of al-Qaeda and ISIS to western Iraq, the Obama administration failed to reach an agreement with the Maliki government for a residual force to support Iraq’s security services in that eventuality. We have no footprint on the ground any longer in Iraq, and other than long-range bombing missions that would do damage to the Iraqis as well as ISIS thanks to the latter’s integration into urban areas, no immediate way to impact the fight.

Our materiel on the ground is worse than useless now, thanks to the Iraqi army’s flight:

With the fall of Mosul on Tuesday, Iraq’s al Qaeda offshoot has not only seized the country’s second-largest city, it appears it also has come into possession of the heavy weapons and vehicles the U.S. military had provided Iraq’s military to fight them.

That’s terrible news for America’s few allies left in Iraq as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) morph from terrorist menace to a military force capable of over-running an army the U.S. military trained for nearly a decade. It also calls into question the American government’s decision to withdraw the last of its forces from Iraq in 2011. Three years later that withdrawal now appears premature. …

General Najim al-Jabouri, a former mayor of Tel Afar, which is a little more than 31 miles from Mosul, told The Daily Beast the bases seized by ISIS this week would provide the group with even more heavy weapons than they currently control. “The Iraqi army left helicopters, humvees, cargo planes and other heavy machine guns, along with body armor and uniforms,” the general, who is now a scholar at the National Defense University, said. He said he was able to learn about the equipment from soldiers and other politicians in and around Mosul with whom he keeps in touch.

General Najim is not alone in this assessment. Jack Keane, a retired four-star Army general who was a key adviser to General David Petraeus during the counter-insurgency campaign in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 known as the surge, said ISIS has now established itself as a formidable military force.

Speaking of premature, the troops we trained to replace us ended up demoralized when confronted in the field — and are now deserting in large numbers:

After months of grinding conflict against a resurgent militant movement, the Iraqi Army is having its power blunted by a rise in desertions, turning the tide of the war and fragmenting an institution, trained and funded by the United States, that some hoped would provide Iraqis a common sense of citizenship.

In a nation tearing apart along sectarian lines, Sunnis and Shiites have served together in the military. But the defections of Sunni soldiers threatened to deepen the growing perception among Iraq’s Sunnis that the military serves as an instrument of Shiite power, even while Shiites soldiers have also fled.

The toll of the desertions came into sharp relief on Tuesday, as soldiers and their commanders abandoned bases in Mosul, all but ceding Iraq’s second-largest city to extremist fighters belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The fleeing troops left weapons, vehicles and even their uniforms behind, as militants took over at least five army installations and the city’s airport. In a desperate bid to stem the losses, the military was reduced to bombing its own bases to avoid surrendering more weapons to the enemy. American officials who had asserted that the $14 billion that the United States had spent on the Iraqi security forces would prepare them to safeguard the country after American troops left were forced to ponder images from Mosul of militants parading around captured Humvees.

The Wall Street Journal puts the blame on the Obama administration for its decision to completely abandon Iraq:

Since President Obama likes to describe everything he inherited from his predecessor as a “mess,” it’s worth remembering that when President Bush left office Iraq was largely at peace. Civilian casualties fell from an estimated 31,400 in 2006 to 4,700 in 2009. U.S. military casualties were negligible. Then CIA Director Michael Hayden said, with good reason, that “al Qaeda is on the verge of a strategic defeat in Iraq.”

Fast forward through five years of the Administration’s indifference, and Iraq is close to exceeding the kind of chaos that engulfed it before the U.S. surge. The city of Fallujah, taken from insurgents by the Marines at a cost of 95 dead and nearly 600 wounded in November 2004, fell again to al Qaeda in January. The Iraqi government has not been able to reclaim the entire city—just 40 miles from Baghdad. More than 1,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in May alone, according to the Iraq Body Count web site. …

Its promise of a “diplomatic surge” in Iraq to follow the military surge of the preceding years never materialized as the U.S. washed its hands of the country. Mr. Obama’s offer of a couple thousand troops beyond 2011 was so low that Mr. Maliki didn’t think it was worth the domestic criticism it would engender. An American President more mindful of U.S. interests would have made Mr. Maliki an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Mr. Maliki had to plead for emergency military equipment when he visited the U.S. last year, and the U.S. has mostly slow-rolled the delivery of arms. Now that stocks of U.S. military supplies have fallen into ISIS’s hands in Mosul, the Administration’s instinct will be to adopt an ultra-cautious approach to further arms deliveries. Mr. Maliki is likely to depend even more on Iran for aid, increasing the spread of the Sunni-Shiite regional conflict.

The Administration’s policy of strategic neglect toward Iraq has created a situation where al Qaeda effectively controls territories stretching for hundreds of miles through Anbar Province and into Syria. It will likely become worse for Iraq as the Assad regime consolidates its gains in Syria and gives ISIS an incentive to seek its gains further east. It will also have consequences for the territorial integrity of Iraq, as the Kurds consider independence for their already autonomous and relatively prosperous region.

We gave away all that we won in Iraq, and now the same terrorist network we have explicitly named as our enemy since 9/11 is coming close to creating its own state in the Middle East, complete with standing army and American arms. We may pretend to be able to wash our hands of this outcome, but sooner or later those oil resources will generate billions of dollars that will flood terrorist accounts and fuel attacks against Israel and the US. Right now, we don’t appear to want to do much about it, even to the extent we still can.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Hope and Change….for Ogabe’s Muslim Brotherhood homies.

viking01 on June 11, 2014 at 1:33 PM

At the rate Iraq is falling apart, we could have Obama’s very own “Fall of Saigon” before Christmas.

IE: the evacuation of the US Embassy in Baghdad by helicopter just ahead of the islamic hordes marching into the city…

ConstantineXI on June 11, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Chuck Hagel: No worries….

d1carter on June 11, 2014 at 1:35 PM

A rudderless ship(US)invites the rats to exploit.

faol on June 11, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Preview of what will happen in double-quick time in Afghanistan– “the right war,” Obama called it– after 2014. If, in fact, Obama hasn’t negotiated the Taliban back in charge of the country before then.

de rigueur on June 11, 2014 at 1:37 PM

subZero is a useless fool.

dogsoldier on June 11, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Øbama to Iraqis: “Hey, you’re on your own! What do you want us to, provide for you your entire lifetime? You have to emigrate here and vote Democrat to get that!”

ExpressoBold on June 11, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Lots of heads being cut off, really.

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Blame obama.

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 1:39 PM

#gutsycall

ElectricPhase on June 11, 2014 at 1:40 PM

No residual U.S. troops in Iraq as planned because Obama’s Administration blew the SOFA negotiations.

Five top level Taliban exchanged for one questionable U.S. soldier via Obama Administration negotiations.

Hmmm, I think I see a pattern here.

parke on June 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Obama’s plan is working perfectly…she is just so brilliant.

He will spend more time spinning this, than he did actually working on the problem.

right2bright on June 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

“Leading from behind” is such a smart strategery.

*libiot

VegasRick on June 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

We have to realize what a complete wrecking ball Obama has been to our country and the world, as the forces of evil are now on the march.

If we had left just a token force in Iraq we could have prevented this insanity, as Iraq is soon to become a complete Taliban style Islamic nightmare. Same with Afghanistan soon. Much of the world now is going to be engulfed in what has to be frankly stated as pure evil, the kind that cuts heads off with dull knives and chops limbs off for minor crimes and stones little girls that dared to seek medical care or education after the age of 8. Obama is evil.

anotherJoe on June 11, 2014 at 1:43 PM

If Bush would have completed his mission, we wouldn’t be in this situation…therefore, it’s Bush’s fault…again.

(do I need a /s, yeah I do)

right2bright on June 11, 2014 at 1:43 PM

But, but, but, pResident barry said Al Qaeda was on the run…I guess he didn’t specify in which direction.

rjh on June 11, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Blame obama.

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Pharaoh HUSSEIN The Magnificent doesn’t make mistakes, racist. The first he will know about this is when he reads it in the news tomorrow. And he’ll be madder than hell at Bush.

ConstantineXI on June 11, 2014 at 1:44 PM

#gutsycall

ElectricPhase on June 11, 2014 at 1:40 PM

#penandphonediplomacy

Brilliant! – libiots

VegasRick on June 11, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Thank you Barry, Joe, Cankles and Lurch…

dpduq on June 11, 2014 at 1:44 PM

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki announces US policy…

#goodluckmaliki

PatriotRider on June 11, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Meanwhile, back in Washington, DC….FORE!!!

Deano1952 on June 11, 2014 at 1:45 PM

All those dead and maimed US soldiers…for what???…

PatriotRider on June 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

But, but, but, pResident barry said Al Qaeda was on the run…I guess he didn’t specify in which direction.

rjh on June 11, 2014 at 1:44 PM

…well!…they are on the run!…so he didn’t really lie!

KOOLAID2 on June 11, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Can’t obaME just parachute in and save everybody like he did before?

*libiots

VegasRick on June 11, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Because the Obama Doctrine. How you like it?

Red Creek on June 11, 2014 at 1:48 PM

“On Iraq, the president said he would end the war. Governor Romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 — he ended it. Governor Romney said that was a tragic mistake, we should have left 30,000 troops there.”

- Joe Biden, debate

Per the NYT:

“All American forces were to leave Iraq by the end of 2011, the departure date set in an agreement signed by President George W. Bush and Mr. Maliki in 2008. Even so, Mr. Obama left the door open to KEEPING TROOPS IN IRAQ to train Iraqi forces if an agreement could be negotiated.

Convening a videoconference on Oct. 6, 2010, Mr. Biden and top American officials reviewed the options. The vice president favored a plan that would keep Mr. Maliki as prime minister, but which involved installing his main rival, Mr. Allawi, leader of the Iraqiya bloc, near the top of the pyramid. To make way for Mr. Allawi, Mr. Biden suggested that Mr. Talabani, an ethnic Kurd, be shifted from the presidency and given another position. “Let’s make him foreign minister,” Mr. Biden said, according to the notes of the meeting.

“Thanks a lot, Joe,” Mrs. Clinton said, noting that Mr. Biden had cast the Foreign Ministry as a consolation prize.

Mr. Biden also predicted that the Americans could work out a deal with a government led by Mr. Maliki. “Maliki wants us to stick around because he does not see a future in Iraq otherwise,” Mr. Biden said. “I’LL BET YOU MY VICE-PRESIDENCY MALIKI WILL EXTEND THE SOFA,” he added, he added, referring to the Status of Forces Agreement the Obama administration hoped to negotiate.

James B. Steinberg, the deputy secretary of state, questioned whether Mr. Biden’s plan would make the already inefficient Iraqi government more dysfunctional.

Admiral Mullen sent a classified letter to Mr. Donilon that recommended keeping 16,000 troops.

The attempt by Mr. Obama and his senior aides to fashion an extraordinary power-sharing arrangement between Mr. Maliki and Mr. Allawi never materialized. NEITHER DID AN AGREEMENT THAT WOULD HAVE KEPT A SMALL AMERICAN FORCE IN IRAQ TO TRAIN THE IRAQI MILITARY AND PATROL THE COUNTRY’S SKIES. A plan to use American civilians to train the Iraqi police has been severely cut back. The result is an Iraq that is less stable domestically and less reliable internationally than the United States had envisioned.”

In the end, Biden’s plan was rebuffed by the Iraqis and the SOFA was not extended.

Resist We Much on June 11, 2014 at 1:49 PM

We should have kept a force of 15-20 thousands in Iraq when we left in 2010… That was the original agreement between us and the Iraqi government… But the most incompetent fool decided to leave none of our troops in Iraq… Now it is a disaster beyond belief… Also if the fool bombed Assad last year we would have seen this problem… Assad has been using ISIS terrorist group in Syria since January of this year to fight the rebels from the back and he fight the rebels from the front… ISIS got greatly emboldened in Syria and now they moved even stronger into Iraq…

mnjg on June 11, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Obama lost the war

cmsinaz on June 11, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Sounds like things in Iraq are progressing nicely for Obama – when you consider his support for Islamic extremists in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc. They won’t stop until Iraq is an Islamic theocracy.

TarheelBen on June 11, 2014 at 1:50 PM

obama watches, as his brothers progress.

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2014 at 1:51 PM

The bright side is that ISIL is capable only of fighting demoralized, deserting armies. The utterly crappy Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is handing ISIL its head.

Have you seen this amazing video of how the SAA fights? Their tank platoons are so inept they have to be micromanaged to the point that they’re told how far to raise their gun barrels.

Even with a commander on a rooftop walking them through this Chinese fire drill of a raid, watch how many time the tanks and APCs nearly blow each other to hell.

The fall of Iraq is terrible news for Iraq, but it means another destructive war with Iran, which is good for us and the Israelis.

And don’t forget: The Iraqis brought this down on themselves by refusing to take their training or situation seriously.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 11, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Al Qaeda is on the run to take over Libya, Syria and Iraq by the end of Obama’s reign.

forest on June 11, 2014 at 1:52 PM

500,000 fled… because hundreds of militants came in.

They outnumbered the militants by, perhaps, 1,000:1 – and fled.

Good f*cking grief.

Presume that innocents are now gone, and carpet-bomb the area to eradicate the militants and destroy all of the weaponry and machinery the fleeing f*ckwits left behind.

Midas on June 11, 2014 at 1:53 PM

At this rate, al-qaeda will be in full control in a month…

PatriotRider on June 11, 2014 at 1:54 PM

The fall of Iraq is terrible news for Iraq, but it means another destructive war with Iran, which is good for us and the Israelis.

And don’t forget: The Iraqis brought this down on themselves by refusing to take their training or situation seriously.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 11, 2014 at 1:52 PM

I’m rooting for both sides.

VegasRick on June 11, 2014 at 1:55 PM

The most important thing to this administration is not preventing the fall of the Iraq to Al Quaeda; the most important thing to this administration is making sure that Bush gets the blame for it.

PackerBronco on June 11, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Quick, someone setup a hashtag or something.

Midas on June 11, 2014 at 1:55 PM

So the point of this article is that we were supposed to stay over there and fight their battles for them forever? Through out history when has the middle east not been at war with each other? So what if we leave 5,10,15,50 years down the line. Historically they will fight amongst each other. Why must our soilders die for them?

Politricks on June 11, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Al Qaeda is on the run to take over Libya, Syria and Iraq by the end of Obama’s reign.

forest on June 11, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Bambi believes that it’s much cheaper to modify the dictionary under the term “terrorist” than it is to oppose Al Qaeda.

PackerBronco on June 11, 2014 at 1:57 PM

These poor people are running for their lives from the jihadist pigs… meanwhile thousands of kids are being left on the border because the federal government has practically invited them in.

Massive displacement of people on either side of the world because of President Idiot…

Obama sucks.

dpduq on June 11, 2014 at 1:58 PM

A Chair of Some Kind on June 11, 2014 at 1:52 PM

ISIL (ISIS) is directly or indirectly allied with Assad… They have been fighting the rebels from the back and Assad has been fighting the rebels from the front… It is Assad who made ISIL much stronger… Assad must be destroyed… If he is a gone a lot of problems will be solved…

mnjg on June 11, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Meanwhile Chuck “Quisling” Hagel thinks releasing the Taliban Five was a major score.

viking01 on June 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM

It’s Vietnam all over again. Only Democratics can lose a war retroactively, and John F’n Kerry’s fingerprints are all over this one too.

slickwillie2001 on June 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Quick, someone setup a hashtag or something.

Midas on June 11, 2014 at 1:55 PM

#Redskinsneedtochangetheirname

That ought to fix it!

VegasRick on June 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM

There is no fixing or hope of bringing those people into modernity. Ever. All we can do is minimize the threat when they get all jihadi from time to time. The “wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan were over fairly quickly and then they turned into doomed to fail by design nation building and baby sitting exercises. Sick of it. Don’t care anymore.

Borgcube on June 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Q: Was US wrong to withdraw all its troops from Iraq?

State Dept: I’m not going to look back and speculate on what could have been different

State Dept asked whether militants are heading to Baghdad: “It’s a fluid situation…we’re obviously very concerned”

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Today it fell to radical Sunni extremists linked to al-Qaeda

Lolerz.

“radical Sunni”

“extremists”

“linked to al-Qaeda”

Three fake qualifiers in a phrase of only ten words…just wow.

Sorry Ed, I don’t mean to pick on you. I know you’re a well intentioned guy, and it’s easy for me to make this kind of an observation when I post anonymously while you use your real name, but isn’t this a bit silly even by that standard?

Can’t we at least bring ourselves to say the word “jihadist” at this point?

What else have we got in this gem of an obfuscation?

“militants”

“terrorists”

Everything but the one group responsible — Muslims.

We gave away all that we won in Iraq

What did we win exactly?

WhatSlushfund on June 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Another failure of the Obama administration. History will be harsh on Obama and his incompetence that goes unrivaled amongst all presidents. This should insult every veteran that served to achieve victory in Iraq only to have Obama flush it away. The world is a much dangerous place because of his sheer stupidity.

Ellis on June 11, 2014 at 2:03 PM

We’ve got Al Qaeda on the run running Mosul and Tikrit now.

- Obama boast (revised)

Good Lt on June 11, 2014 at 2:03 PM

We’ve got Al Qaeda on the run running Mosul and Tikrit now.

- Obama boast (revised)

Good Lt on June 11, 2014 at 2:03 PM

And GM is exploding!

VegasRick on June 11, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Everything but the one group responsible — Muslims.
WhatSlushfund on June 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Islamists, not Muslims.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 2:06 PM

You cannot nation build a nation for other people. If you do, they do not have the skills or the virtues required for the upkeep of the nation you built them.
It would like like giving an african tribal group a bunch of computers and the infrastructure to run them and walking away. They might be able to use them for a few hours before things go to hell and they fall apart.
Well, civilization and Iraqis are pretty much the same thing. They just do not work well together.

astonerii on June 11, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Sick of it. Don’t care anymore.

Borgcube on June 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM

You will f***ing care when they come after us… And they will… Sooner than you think… In the meanwhile enjoy your f***ing trip to the mall and do not give a f*** about what is going on…

mnjg on June 11, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Once again, in an effort to help y’all make sense out of this and to clue you in to what is unfolding before our very eyes, I encourage everyone to read John Price’s prescient and starling book, “The End of America: The Role of Islam in End Times Prophecy”. One need not be a Christian or a person of any faith at all to read this well researched book and come to your own conclusion. For me, it is another reason that I support the secession of my State of Texas from the U.S. The answers are all there in the book…

http://endofamericabook.com/

bimmcorp on June 11, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Everything but the one group responsible — Muslims.

WhatSlushfund on June 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Islamists, not Muslims.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Please tell me you forgot the sarc tag. Don’t give Ed any more ideas or he’ll try to squeeze that one in too.

WhatSlushfund on June 11, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Thanks, Obama.

John the Libertarian on June 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Mosul, Kirkuk, Tikrit and Fallujah have all fallen to Al Qaeda. How many of our brave men and women lost life and limb in those cities. It’s ok because Obama, Clinton and Kerry have all stated that Al Qaeda is on the run……disgusting!!

dddave on June 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

As with Vietnam, the Democrats repeat their choice to willingly inflict a loss on the US and our allies. Just as we lost Vietnam only when the post-Watergate Congress cut the legs out of funding the South Vietnamese gov’t, so we’ve done the same thing to the Iraqis. And, as with Vietnam, the Dems treat our returning soldiers like pondscum. The Dems refuse to ever grow out of being the self-absorbed America-hating jackasses they were in the 60s.

“Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”

FiveG on June 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

At the rate Iraq is falling apart, we could have Obama’s very own “Fall of Saigon” before Christmas.

IE: the evacuation of the US Embassy in Baghdad by helicopter just ahead of the islamic hordes marching into the city…

ConstantineXI on June 11, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Oh, I think it happens before Election Day.

Ward Cleaver on June 11, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Anybody on here that is upset about Iraq, and feels like going over there to stem that tide…go for it.

inklake on June 11, 2014 at 2:17 PM

“Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”

FiveG on June 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

This is NOT by accident……disgusting isn’t it…..

VegasRick on June 11, 2014 at 2:18 PM

astonerii on June 11, 2014 at 2:07 PM

+1

I’m take it a step further. If the area won’t be civilized, then it’s better they are fighting each other, then fight you. Let it burn.

Oil Can on June 11, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Just great. Al Qaeda taking Iraq one city at a time. They don’t even want to fight for their own land. They had them outnumbered, and they still fled. Typical for Muslims. They always want someone else to fight their fight.

Patriot Vet on June 11, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Oh yeah, in case you forgot… before GWB decided to go into Iraq, Saddam Hussein was a sworn enemy of AQ.

inklake on June 11, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Iran will never permit ISIS to take the oil fields and areas around Basra. Can’t wait to see those two snake heads go at it.

vnvet on June 11, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Still totally lost. The blindfold must be comfortable despite the taste of scrotum in the mouth.

BL@KBIRD on June 11, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Will this ‘movement’ respect Saudi, Jordanian, or Kuwaiti borders?

Freddy on June 11, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Anybody on here that is upset about Iraq, and feels like going over there to stem that tide…go for it.

inklake on June 11, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Thanks for the stupidest comment of the day.

I’m upset about the illegal Central American kids flooding across our border. Do I have to go down and tackle them myself one by one?

I’m upset that people die of cancer. Do I have to become an oncologist now?

Please don’t waste everybody’s time with your vestigial thinking. Thanks.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 11, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Iran will never permit ISIS to take the oil fields and areas around Basra. Can’t wait to see those two snake heads go at it.

vnvet on June 11, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Iran has been more than happy letting ISIS allies itself directly or indirectly with their slave in Syria the Assad regime where both them are fighting the Syrian rebels… ISIS got very strong in Syria because of this direct/indirect alliance with Assad and now they are taking over Iraq…

mnjg on June 11, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Oh yeah, in case you forgot… before GWB decided to go into Iraq, Saddam Hussein was a sworn enemy of AQ.

inklake on June 11, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Oh yeah, in case you forgot…GWB is NOT POTUS and Saddam Hussein is dead. Kaptain KickAss is your Dear Leader, Son. And he apparently embraces AQ.

bimmcorp on June 11, 2014 at 2:27 PM

All those dead and maimed US soldiers…for what???…

PatriotRider on June 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Don’t get fooled again.

David Blue on June 11, 2014 at 2:27 PM

Iran will never permit ISIS to take the oil fields and areas around Basra. Can’t wait to see those two snake heads go at it.

vnvet on June 11, 2014 at 2:21 PM

We need to encourage this infighting.

Oil Can on June 11, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Mosul, Kirkuk, Tikrit and Fallujah have all fallen to Al Qaeda. How many of our brave men and women lost life and limb in those cities. It’s ok because Obama, Clinton and Kerry have all stated that Al Qaeda is on the run……disgusting!!

dddave on June 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

As with Vietnam, the Democrats repeat their choice to willingly inflict a loss on the US and our allies. Just as we lost Vietnam only when the post-Watergate Congress cut the legs out of funding the South Vietnamese gov’t, so we’ve done the same thing to the Iraqis. And, as with Vietnam, the Dems treat our returning soldiers like pondscum. The Dems refuse to ever grow out of being the self-absorbed America-hating jackasses they were in the 60s.

“Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”

FiveG on June 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Bush II started the problem by starting the war without having an achievable conflict solution and exit plan. There was no way we were going to be able to keep Iraq together with all of the fighting groups unless the US was prepared to spend decades and tons of money there; the US population was not willing to do that and that should have been apparent before Bush II started the war.

So blame the “useless” deaths of American soldiers on poor and ineffective planning and refusal to acknowledge the importance of the long-term support of the American people, rather than Obama. That’s the lesson of history

And I don’t recall seeing any news articles about people in the US spitting on our soldiers or treating them as pondscum.

jim56 on June 11, 2014 at 2:29 PM

2016 Landscape…

Afghanistan – Run by the Taliban
Iraq – Run by Al-Qaeda
Libya – Run by Al-Qaeda
Syria – Partially run by Al-Qaeda

Israel warming up the nukes…

PatriotRider on June 11, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Oh yeah, in case you forgot… before GWB decided to go into Iraq, Saddam Hussein was a sworn enemy of AQ.

inklake on June 11, 2014 at 2:20 PM

No he wasn’t, you imbecile.

Saddam PAID al Qaeda affiliates Answer al-Islam and Abu Sayyaf.

Al Qaeda and Saddam reached an understanding that they would not work against each other and would cooperate on weapons development.

A top secret Iraqi document dated March 28, 1992, lists Osama bin Laden as an asset of the Iraqi intelligence services, as reported by the Daily Telegraph.

In 1992, Ayman al Zawahiri–who later became the Number Two in al Qaeda–visited Baghdad for a meeting with Saddam Hussein.

From 1999 to 2002, Saddam Hussein ran three training camps in Iraq that produced thousands of Islamic terrorists.

Abu Zubayr al Halili, an officer in Saddam’s secret police, was also the ringleader of an al Qaeda cell in Morocco. He attended the September 5, 2001 meeting in Spain with other al Qaeda operatives, including Ramzi Bin-al-Shibh, the 9/11 financial chief.

Do some research instead of puking up the standard party line. All this stuff has been out there for over a decade.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 11, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Shouldn’t we be sending our Muslim youth (12-55) over there to fight the great battle between the Muslim sects ??
Like, who wants, Shia to win?? — or would you rather Sunni??

KenInIL on June 11, 2014 at 2:33 PM

As with Vietnam, the Democrats repeat their choice to willingly inflict a loss on the US and our allies. Just as we lost Vietnam only when the post-Watergate Congress cut the legs out of funding the South Vietnamese gov’t, so we’ve done the same thing to the Iraqis. And, as with Vietnam, the Dems treat our returning soldiers like pondscum. The Dems refuse to ever grow out of being the self-absorbed America-hating jackasses they were in the 60s.

“Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”

FiveG on June 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

I understand your point relative to Democrats. But I don’t see Vietnam as a loss. Vietnam was a component of the Cold War. We won the Cold War (thanks to Reagan).

One could debate whether Vietnam was the right line to hold in the context of the broader war at that particular moment, but at least we were honest back then about who the enemy was — Communists.

Today, we won’t even name the enemy, as Ed has once again amply demonstrated. Hell, we’re even afraid to criticize Communists.

WhatSlushfund on June 11, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Bush II started the problem by starting the war without having an achievable conflict solution and exit plan.

When somebody says “exit plan,” it means “I’m an idiot who parrots others’ words.”

The “exit plan” (what a moronic coinage) was to leave when the Iraqis were able to defend themselves. The current administration FAILED to get a Status of Forces agreement, which would’ve allowed us to deal with this precise contingency.

At some point you need to stop treating Obama like your boyfriend and accept that he’s an incompetent schmuck with a reverse Midas touch.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 11, 2014 at 2:37 PM

ISIL (ISIS) is directly or indirectly allied with Assad… They have been fighting the rebels from the back and Assad has been fighting the rebels from the front… It is Assad who made ISIL much stronger… Assad must be destroyed… If he is a gone a lot of problems will be solved…

mnjg on June 11, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Are you high? A large part (if not a majority) of the “rebel” forces is ISIS.

Ted the Average on June 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Any neocons want to debate that the lives lost and destroyed and money spent on Iraq was worth it?

bw222 on June 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM

At some point you need to stop treating Obama like your boyfriend and accept that he’s an incompetent schmuck with a reverse Midas touch.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 11, 2014 at 2:37 PM

You should stop treating Bush like your boyfriend. He was a screw up, and while it was not about exit strategies, it certainly was all about a failure to be a competent Commander in Chief. Along with plenty of other incompetence. Obama being worse is no excuse for Bush in the first place.

astonerii on June 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM

All those dead and maimed US soldiers…for what???…

PatriotRider on June 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

1. For taking out a state sponsor of international terrorist.

2. For removing a destabilizing influence in the region.

3. For ATTEMPTING to give the Arabs what they’ve always been screeching for, a chance to live in freedom.

They got their chance, and THEY screwed it up. Our troops acted in good faith. They did everything humanly possible, and the Iraqis fought them every inch of the way.

I study World War One. I have newspaper clippings of people saying the exact same thing, word for word, that you just said.

Our troops did magnificently. I would never belittle their sacrifices.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM

mnjg on June 11, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Not the sharpest tool in the shed, but a tool nonetheless.

bw222 on June 11, 2014 at 2:43 PM

You should stop treating Bush like your boyfriend. He was a screw up, and while it was not about exit strategies, it certainly was all about a failure to be a competent Commander in Chief. Along with plenty of other incompetence. Obama being worse is no excuse for Bush in the first place.

astonerii on June 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM

True. Bush also had every reason to secure the U.S. borders after 9-11 and chose not to.

bw222 on June 11, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Welcome to South Vietnam, circa 1975.

I’m sure Obama will be surprised by this unforseeable event.

When he reads about it in the NYT, of course.

Hucklebuck on June 11, 2014 at 2:46 PM

You should stop treating Bush like your boyfriend. He was a screw up, and while it was not about exit strategies, it certainly was all about a failure to be a competent Commander in Chief. Along with plenty of other incompetence. Obama being worse is no excuse for Bush in the first place.

astonerii on June 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Your post is as confused as the other those of the other pea-brained weirdos using this disaster to try and score political points.

Tell me specifically how Bush was an incompetent commander-in-chief. Give me five examples.

To make it easier on you, let’s focus on Iraq. Five examples of Bush’s incompetence in regard to Iraq.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 11, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Perhaps the best we can hope for is that in these desert toilets the fundamentalists of all sides keep busy killing each other. They’re pretty good at it. They’ve been practicing for a millennium.

xNavigator on June 11, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Any neocons want to debate that the lives lost and destroyed and money spent on Iraq was worth it?

bw222 on June 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Christ, who still says “neocons”?

A Chair of Some Kind on June 11, 2014 at 2:48 PM

3. For ATTEMPTING to give the Arabs what they’ve always been screeching for, a chance to live in freedom.

They got their chance, and THEY screwed it up. Our troops acted in good faith. They did everything humanly possible, and the Iraqis fought them every inch of the way.

I study World War One. I have newspaper clippings of people saying the exact same thing, word for word, that you just said.

Our troops did magnificently. I would never belittle their sacrifices.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM

The first two were worthy goals and putting an effort into.
The problem with the second one is that if the Iraqis are not the ones who built their nation, they will be incapable of sustaining it.

This was a major failure on the part of Bush and is where the bulk of the treasure and blood got spent. Instead of if you break it, you own it, it should have been we planned to break it and we will be back with more big booms if you guys do not get your shit together. In and out and there to punish. PERIOD. War is not about winning hearts and minds. We sure as hell did not win any hearts and mind with the Germans and the Japanese, but they are now pretty darned close allies.

astonerii on June 11, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Everything but the one group responsible — Muslims.
WhatSlushfund on June 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Islamists, not Muslims.

kcewa on June 11, 2014 at 2:06 PM

I’ve come to believe that this is merely a distinction without a difference.

Midas on June 11, 2014 at 2:49 PM

This is directly on Obama. He’s losing the entire Middle East. I predict nuclear holocaust in the not distant future.

claudius on June 11, 2014 at 2:49 PM

When somebody says “exit plan,” it means “I’m an idiot who parrots others’ words.”

The “exit plan” (what a moronic coinage) was to leave when the Iraqis were able to defend themselves. The current administration FAILED to get a Status of Forces agreement, which would’ve allowed us to deal with this precise contingency.

At some point you need to stop treating Obama like your boyfriend and accept that he’s an incompetent schmuck with a reverse Midas touch.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 11, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Uum, no. When someone says “exit plan” or “exit strategy” it means having an effective and achievable way to extracate (probably misspelled) from a business, joint venture, investment, war (or equivalent), etc.

Any “exit plan” that depended on having to renegotiate an agreement with an Iraqi leader who no longer wanted the US there was a bad thing. Bush II was the one who signed the original 2008 agreement with its 2011 withdrawal date, by the way: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S.%E2%80%93Iraq_Status_of_Forces_Agreement

jim56 on June 11, 2014 at 2:50 PM

All those lives, all that sacrifice, all that horror and suffering…I wish we could have done something to make sure this didn’t happen, if for no other reason than to let our troops know that it wasn’t for nothing? God help the people of Iraq now. Who else will?

scalleywag on June 11, 2014 at 2:51 PM

I think I have figured out The Obama Doctrine, let the terrorists win. Behold the world under SMART Power!!!!111!!!elebinty The results speak for themselves.

By the end of today there will be a unified progressive fascist party line of it is BOOOOOOOOOSH’s fault!!

Well….maybe Chuck Hagel’s fault too but in no way the failure of Obama to get SOFA (even though he is the smartest negotiator in history) will not be mentioned.

jukin3 on June 11, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Any neocons want to debate that the lives lost and destroyed and money spent on Iraq was worth it?

bw222 on June 11, 2014 at 2:42 PM

It certainly was up until oh say, about January, 2009, Libiot.

bimmcorp on June 11, 2014 at 2:51 PM

War is not about winning hearts and minds. We sure as hell did not win any hearts and mind with the Germans and the Japanese, but they are now pretty darned close allies.

You just completely negated your entire post.

We’re allies with the Germans and Japanese because we stayed, rebuilt, and protected.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 11, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Oh yeah, in case you forgot… before GWB decided to go into Iraq, Saddam Hussein was a sworn enemy of AQ.

inklake on June 11, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Wow. How’s that debunked, regurgitated leftynutburger drenched in psycoticsauce taste?

Midas on June 11, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Bush screwed up in several major ways. He created a gigantic new entitlement program (Medicare Part D). He also created such a political stink around Republicans that he handed the Congress and the presidency to the Dems on a silver platter (and NOBODY with an IQ higher than a low-wattage light bulb thought a Republican had a chance in ’08 with the mood of the country from Bush).

Five examples of Bush’s incompetence in regard to Iraq.

A Chair of Some Kind on June 11, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Not enough troops: See complaints from Shinseki, proven correct afterward.

Improper and lacking equipment: See Rumsfeld, “You go to war with the army you have…” excusing it.

Those are two gigantic screw-ups.

xNavigator on June 11, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Dear Chair,
You know that even Dick Cheney, admits there is no Iraq-AQ connection.

The only place AQ existed in Iraq, was in the no-fly zones.

Where he had power, he killed them.

inklake on June 11, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Remember when AlQueda was on the run?

Good time, good times.

jukin3 on June 11, 2014 at 2:55 PM

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