And the first person to blame Bush for the crisis in Iraq is…

posted at 5:01 pm on June 12, 2014 by Noah Rothman

The explosion of bloodshed in Iraq has created the temptation for many to revisit their support for or opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and to ascribe blame for the recent surge in violence to their preferred boogieman.

Not all have succumbed to the enticing lure of nostalgia. Not even consistent Iraq War and George W. Bush critic Fareed Zakaria allowed himself himself to take a swipe at the former commander-in-chief for looming over the present crisis.

Appearing on CNN on Thursday, Zakaria blamed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for undoing what he said was the good accomplished by Gen. David Petraeus following the 2007 Iraq surge. The CNN analyst said that, in the wake of U.S withdrawal, the Iraqi prime minister fostered the resentments among average Iraqis which have created the conditions in which a surge can flourish.

That’s significant for a number of reasons. Zakaria opposed the surge in 2007 for the same reasons he opposed Barack Obama’s surge into Afghanistan – it was a military operation when it should have been a political and economic one. Today, however, Zakaria appears to have moderated his position on the Iraq War in light of the last seven years.

Zakaria is owed some credit. Not everyone can shed a once favored but clearly defunct political narrative as gracefully as he has. Take, for instance, MSNBC host Joy Reid who educated her audience on the origins of the ISIS threat on Thursday.

“And now to the events in Iraq, which actually began with the invasion of Iraq,” she said. “The dissolution of its army later in 2003, a subsequent civil war, a surge that was supposed to give Iraq time to form a stable government and become a modern state, and the internecine political process that resulted instead.”

“Now, it’s this unpleasant recent history that helped set the stage for the bloody events that we’re seeing in Iraq right now,” Reid said. The MSNBC host conveniently forgot to include the fact that the ISIS rebellion was incubated in Syria – a civil war characterized by the use of chemical weapons on civilians and which the United States world failed to do anything about. The very name of the organization rampaging across Iraq today pays homage to its origins in that Mediterranean state.

Instead, Reid prefers to go back in history to the very roots of the modern Democratic Party, forged in opposition to the Iraq War. She might as well have gone back to the British Mandate of Mesopotamia or Iraq’s 1958 coup to “set the stage” for present events.

But even Reid did not go so far as to blame Bush by name for crisis in Iraq. No, that dubious distinction must be awarded to Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democratic governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee.

Seeing a moment of political opportunism, Chafee jumped at the chance to remind his state’s liberal voters that he opposed the Iraq Ware while serving in the U.S. Senate.

“I never understood the original push for war in Iraq, never understood the logic of regime change,” Chafee said. “These neocons [neo-conservatives] all through the ’90s were talking the importance of regime change in Iraq and toppling Saddam Hussein, the strongman. I just didn’t understand stirring up the hornets’ nest that is the Middle East. It just never made any sense to me, and now we’re seeing some of the ramifications of having deviated from our Cold War containment strategy.”

Channeling George Kennan, Chafee insisted that the United States could have and should have contained Iraq 11 years ago. “It worked in Russia,” he said. “It worked in China.” Maybe he forgets that the West functionally abandoned containment in the 1950s in favor of a policy advocating the “rollback” of the Communist world. That shift in tactics eventually resulted in the liberation of Eastern Europe.

But, anyway, back to Chafee’s melancholy romp through events in the distant past:

“I always thought our Cold War strategy depended on strong alliances,” the Ocean State’s governor said, vividly recounting the heated cable news segments of 2002. “Those have been fractured through this misadventure.”

*Obviously, it’s happening in Syria. I just believe in multinational approaches that are respectful of everybody’s positions. We deviated from that respect. We’ve got to try rebuilding those alliances with the Saudis, the Turks, the Jordanians — that’s going to be the key.”

And that project has been going swimmingly.

Credit where credit is due; more than a handful of political commentators have been able to take into account that Barack Obama has been president for nearly six years while commenting on the renewed violence in Iraq. For some, though, it will always be those heady 22 months leading up to the Iraq War.


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I blame Mohammed
/ just kidding, right?

faraway on June 12, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Any takers?

Sven on June 12, 2014 at 6:19 PM
Sounds like Slick Willie.

Judge_Dredd on June 12, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Ding Ding Ding!

Sven on June 12, 2014 at 6:34 PM

Chafee’s not alone. I saw some dude named Kaplan from Slate trying to absolve the Obama administration by going back to the Status of Forces Agreement that had been worked out before Bush left office. Now, I’m sure he [this dyed-in-the-wool sycophant] is well aware that his messiah gladly took credit for that exact agreement and to have troops out at the end of 2011.

Gymistokles on June 12, 2014 at 6:38 PM

There are plenty of people who share the blame. From the past, present and still in the future pipe. Blame America under the influence of refined Islam.

BL@KBIRD on June 12, 2014 at 6:49 PM

I’m going to blame General Brickwall Jackson. – Judge_Dredd on June 12, 2014 at 6:30 PM

I agree, Stonewall wanted to die at the battle of Chancellorsville in 1863 has caused all this mess./s / lol

SC.Charlie on June 12, 2014 at 6:54 PM

Did anyone blame General George Washington yet?

Bmore on June 12, 2014 at 6:25 PM

Well he owned slaves so it is probably his fault.

Cindy Munford on June 12, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Washington but not Jefferson… blame, not slaves.

Fallon on June 12, 2014 at 7:19 PM

Obama, bragging in 2012:

“The war in Iraq is over, the war in Afghanistan is winding down, al Qaeda has been decimated, Osama bin Laden is dead.”

itsnotaboutme on June 12, 2014 at 7:45 PM

…One out of four ain’t bad, considering the source.

itsnotaboutme on June 12, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Is it fair to blame Nixon for Viet Nam? Is it more or less fair to blame Kennedy?

eh on June 13, 2014 at 1:13 AM

Heck, even the russians are stating the obvious and blaming bush.

everdiso on June 13, 2014 at 7:47 AM

Chafee should go back to snorting cocaine. He was a bit more coherent.

bsinc1962 on June 13, 2014 at 8:03 AM

Is it fair to blame Nixon for Viet Nam? Is it more or less fair to blame Kennedy?

eh on June 13, 2014 at 1:13 AM

Oop! Conservatives can not deal with the logic.

No matter how you slice it. What is happening in Iraq now would not be happening if Bush hadn’t sent us into a pointless, ego driven invasion and occupation. It is simply *impossible* to suppress radical Islam by engaging in the global militarism that radical Islam uses to recruit fighters and supporters. This fact was obvious to the anti-war Left as early as 2002. Democrats, Republicans and the Bush Administration purposefully stuck their head in the sand and went to war.

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:04 AM

I blame Mohammed
/ just kidding, right?
faraway on June 12, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Perfectly acceptable to blame a mass murdering, serially rapist and pedophile.

#MuckFarack

Nutstuyu on June 13, 2014 at 8:09 AM

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:04 AM

The problem isn’t trying to suppress “radical” Islam. The problem is that it’s REAL Islam. Radical would be if they truly embraced peace and love and got rid the homicidal maniacs emulating their mass-murderer, serial rapist and pedophile of a “prophet”.

Nutstuyu on June 13, 2014 at 8:12 AM

The problem isn’t trying to suppress “radical” Islam. The problem is that it’s REAL Islam. Radical would be if they truly embraced peace and love and got rid the homicidal maniacs emulating their mass-murderer, serial rapist and pedophile of a “prophet”.

Nutstuyu on June 13, 2014 at 8:12 AM

So your solution is?

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:19 AM


The problem isn’t trying to suppress “radical” Islam. The problem is that it’s REAL Islam. Radical would be if they truly embraced peace and love and got rid the homicidal maniacs emulating their mass-murderer, serial rapist and pedophile of a “prophet”.

Nutstuyu on June 13, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Agree. After more than a decade of reading about these neanderthals, I now feel I can confirm that there are no moderate muslims. They are all ticking time bombs, waiting to blow up. Pun intended. We are presently watching satan’s army march across Iraq. They won’t stop there… believe it.

HomeoftheBrave on June 13, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Well without Iraq there wouldn’t be Obama.
weedisgood on June 12, 2014 at 5:21 PM

So now he was born in Iraq? Birther much?

Nutstuyu on June 13, 2014 at 8:23 AM

The problem isn’t trying to suppress “radical” Islam. The problem is that it’s REAL Islam. Radical would be if they truly embraced peace and love and got rid the homicidal maniacs emulating their mass-murderer, serial rapist and pedophile of a “prophet”.
Nutstuyu on June 13, 2014 at 8:12 AM
So your solution is?
libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:19 AM

Treat it like Nazism. Eradicate it.

Nutstuyu on June 13, 2014 at 8:24 AM


So your solution is?

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:19 AM

This group of people is like an infestation of roaches. The only way to solve it is to do what no one wants to talk about. If it comes down to it, they will kill everyone. Everyone. With that prospect infront of you, what would you do, sit there and die? Well, maybe you would. They need to be dealt with in the most extreme of prejudices. That is the only way to stop them.

HomeoftheBrave on June 13, 2014 at 8:24 AM

Oop! Conservatives can not deal with the logic.

No matter how you slice it. What is happening in Iraq now would not be happening if Bush hadn’t sent us into a pointless, ego driven invasion and occupation. It is simply *impossible* to suppress radical Islam by engaging in the global militarism that radical Islam uses to recruit fighters and supporters. This fact was obvious to the anti-war Left as early as 2002. Democrats, Republicans and the Bush Administration purposefully stuck their head in the sand and went to war.

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:04 AM

Bearing in mind all that was done and happened between, say, 1976 and 2003 (and feel free to include the USSR incursion into Afghanistan if it will bolster your argument), please tell us what you think GWB should have done instead.

Remember, now, there were lots of folks on the left who were also very hawkish around 2001 – 2003 when it was politically convenient to be so. Don’t make me go pull names and quotes. You and I both know they’re out there.

RI_Red on June 13, 2014 at 8:25 AM

These militant muslims will be opposed by another group of militant islams. Already Iran muslims are rushing to oppose them, as are iraqi shiites.

Being scared of a unified islam caliphate is silly. Let the extremists fight each other, that way they won’t have time or resources or even desire to fight us.

Just stay out and figure out how we can avoid ever needing mideast oil going forward.

everdiso on June 13, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Bearing in mind all that was done and happened between, say, 1976 and 2003 (and feel free to include the USSR incursion into Afghanistan if it will bolster your argument),

It does.

please tell us what you think GWB should have done instead.

Nothing, The attack on 9/11 was about goading us into an actual invasion and occupation, thus exploding AQ’s recruiting ability. Our response should have encouraged greater isolation. Focus our attention on helping those who lost loved ones recover, beefing up security at home big time and using the global good will that 9/11 produced to call for military de-escalation. You can call it pie in the sky all you want. But the record on military invasion and occupation of the Middle East is clear. It. Doesn’t. Work. Put aside the base need for revenge and start thinking about what actually is proven to heal.

Remember, now, there were lots of folks on the left who were also very hawkish around 2001 – 2003 when it was politically convenient to be so. Don’t make me go pull names and quotes. You and I both know they’re out there.

RI_Red on June 13, 2014 at 8:25 AM

There’s no way you can call Democratic hawks “on the left.” They wouldn’t even describe themselves as leftists. But we can agree that American militarism is bipartisan.

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:44 AM

is group of people is like an infestation of roaches. The only way to solve it is to do what no one wants to talk about. If it comes down to it, they will kill everyone. Everyone. With that prospect infront of you, what would you do, sit there and die? Well, maybe you would. They need to be dealt with in the most extreme of prejudices. That is the only way to stop them.

HomeoftheBrave on June 13, 2014 at 8:24 AM

Can you please be specific? What would the actual military operation look like. What measures are you proposing. What would you have us do?

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:45 AM

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:44 AM

I think you need to go back to bed. Much too early for you.

Nutstuyu on June 13, 2014 at 8:49 AM

Can you please be specific? What would the actual military operation look like. What measures are you proposing. What would you have us do?
libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Nazi Germany times 10

Nutstuyu on June 13, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Nazi Germany times 10

Nutstuyu on June 13, 2014 at 8:50 AM

I asked for specifics, you give me “Nazi Germany times 10.” That’s not a lot to work with and it allows you to claim “no I didn’t mean that” in response to this post, but whatever, no one accused you of being that bright.

So “Nazi Germany times 10″ around 150k allied forces invaded Normandy, so you are wanting 1.1 million soldiers to invade the Middle East. OK so where are these soldiers going to come from? Can I assume that you want to institute the draft again?

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:53 AM

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:53 AM

You want us to discuss this with you? Like, in a free exchange of ideas?

That’s a good one.

Alien on June 13, 2014 at 9:00 AM

No matter how you slice it. What is happening in Iraq now would not be happening if Bush hadn’t sent us into a pointless, ego driven invasion and occupation. It is simply *impossible* to suppress radical Islam by engaging in the global militarism that radical Islam uses to recruit fighters and supporters. This fact was obvious to the anti-war Left as early as 2002. Democrats, Republicans and the Bush Administration purposefully stuck their head in the sand and went to war.

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:04 AM

Then your argument is that Democrats are simply morons sitting in their chairs unable to resist the power of the Bush?

Let, I get that.

itsspideyman on June 13, 2014 at 9:00 AM

I asked for specifics

And what do we get from you when we ask for specifics?

Alien on June 13, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Thanks lib for exposing Hillary for the mindless robot she is.

itsspideyman on June 13, 2014 at 9:02 AM

The “peak oil” nut may have beaten Chafee to the punch.

corona79 on June 13, 2014 at 9:04 AM

I asked for specifics
And what do we get from you when we ask for specifics?

Alien on June 13, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Nothing.

itsspideyman on June 13, 2014 at 9:04 AM

So your solution is?

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:19 AM

The guiding principle of Islam with respect to unbelievers is — Convert, Submit or Die. (See Qur’an 9:29.) With respect to Islam being practiced in the U.S. this amounts to sedition since it can only succeed by the overthrow of the existing democratic republic. So, the first step would be to remove any official recognition of Islam as a religion. Second would be to remove any official ties the U.S. has with any government that has this cult as an official state religion.

Annar on June 13, 2014 at 9:40 AM

With respect to Islam being practiced in the U.S. this amounts to sedition since it can only succeed by the overthrow of the existing democratic republic.

Hahahahahahahaha! Yup, making being Muslim an act of treason, that’ll fly!

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 9:51 AM

I blame Mohammed
/ just kidding, right?

faraway on June 12, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Actually if we are going back to ancient history. The being that originated instability in the region was the Serpent.

The Garden of Eden was between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. Which could put it in what is now Iraq.

Call me skeptical, but Mohammed supposedly got the Koran for the angel Gabriel, who whispered it to him in a cave. Angels in the Bible were a lot more out in the open. So I think if anyone was whispering to Mohammed in a cave, and not out of a bottle, it probably wasn’t an angel.

CableDude on June 13, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Quoting Walter E Kurtz “Drop the Bomb. Kill them all.”

BruceB on June 13, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Our exit strategy under BHO became simply ‘we will exit’. And we did.

We appear to be planning on doing the same thing in Afghanistan.

What is that word for someone who keeps doing the same thing over and over, each time expecting different results?

No, not a scientist. Unless perhaps it is a climate scientist working for the UN.

s1im on June 13, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Yep, nothing……

itsspideyman on June 13, 2014 at 10:39 AM

libfreeordie, let this sink in.

Bmore on June 13, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Hillary said this week that her/obama’s biggest achievements are that the world again loves America, they inherited a hateful world and now we’re all peaceful. Send them your gratitude, rubes.

Must be hell to be the slave of HA and Ned.

Kerry: hawk, dove, hawk.

Hillary: hawk, dove, hawk now.

Schadenfreude on June 13, 2014 at 11:41 AM

libfreeordie, let this sink in.

Bmore on June 13, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Turns out that one of the released 5 helped the 9/11 act.

Schadenfreude on June 13, 2014 at 11:42 AM

The region screams historical blunders by the West. Sykes-Picot, Balfour, Kurdistan, Iran in 1953, and on and on. The invasion of Iraq was just one more huge blunder. We shouldn’t have done it; Iraq didn’t threaten our national security, didn’t threaten to attack the US. Now, we are left with a regional disaster in the making, and definite threats to our national security down the road. I wouldn’t be surprised if a domestic attack was already in the planning from Islamists either within our borders already, or coming across now. Everyone has played their part–Republicans AND Democrats.

This: http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2014/06/iraq-splinters-into-pieces-al-qaeda-in.html

This: http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2014/06/assessing-blame-for-iraq-bush-obama.html

And this: http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2014/06/remaking-iraq.html

mountainaires on June 13, 2014 at 11:48 AM

libfreeordie, let this sink in.

Bmore on June 13, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Pretty shocking photo.
And fake.

verbaluce on June 13, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Zakaria only changed his position because not doing so would mean having to blame obama.
Obama blew it and the left as usual cannot face reality.
FYI, they are not really defending obama, they are defending their leftist “religion” and their narcisissm.

Hard Right on June 13, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Oh and Verb, we know you are ok with islamic fascists doing that sort of thing, especially of the victims are Christians.

Hard Right on June 13, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Pretty shocking photo.
And fake.

verbaluce on June 13, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Um — not quite fake.
The photo is real, the heads are real, the beheader is real.
It’s being circulated as a photo of one of the Gitmo 5, but is actually thought to be someone else.
Doesn’t change the validity of Bmore’s comment a bit.

The image displayed above has been widely circulated since the May 2014 prisoner exchange as a photograph of Fazl in his pre-captive days, posed with bloody knife in hand above the severed heads of five victims. But although the man in the photo bears a superficial resemblance to the former Taliban Deputy Defense Minister, we could find no instance of this image being identified as a picture of Mohammad Fazl prior to his release in May 2014. Up until then, this picture was widely published as something other than a photo of Fazl, usually as an image of an Iraq-born former Dutch resident “Islamic extremist” or “Islamic jihadist” named Khalid Abudurahman:

AesopFan on June 13, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Bearing in mind all that was done and happened between, say, 1976 and 2003 (and feel free to include the USSR incursion into Afghanistan if it will bolster your argument),

It does.

please tell us what you think GWB should have done instead.

Nothing, The attack on 9/11 was about goading us into an actual invasion and occupation, thus exploding AQ’s recruiting ability. Our response should have encouraged greater isolation. Focus our attention on helping those who lost loved ones recover, beefing up security at home big time and using the global good will that 9/11 produced to call for military de-escalation. You can call it pie in the sky all you want. But the record on military invasion and occupation of the Middle East is clear. It. Doesn’t. Work. Put aside the base need for revenge and start thinking about what actually is proven to heal.

Remember, now, there were lots of folks on the left who were also very hawkish around 2001 – 2003 when it was politically convenient to be so. Don’t make me go pull names and quotes. You and I both know they’re out there.

RI_Red on June 13, 2014 at 8:25 AM

There’s no way you can call Democratic hawks “on the left.” They wouldn’t even describe themselves as leftists. But we can agree that American militarism is bipartisan.

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Fair enough. I don’t see how military escalation would have helped anything…those savages only understand the club.

And your plan for dealing with Hussein? He’d been defying the UN for years by then (and that’s just for starters).

RI_Red on June 14, 2014 at 12:26 AM

Bearing in mind all that was done and happened between, say, 1976 and 2003 (and feel free to include the USSR incursion into Afghanistan if it will bolster your argument),

It does.

please tell us what you think GWB should have done instead.

Nothing, The attack on 9/11 was about goading us into an actual invasion and occupation, thus exploding AQ’s recruiting ability. Our response should have encouraged greater isolation. Focus our attention on helping those who lost loved ones recover, beefing up security at home big time and using the global good will that 9/11 produced to call for military de-escalation. You can call it pie in the sky all you want. But the record on military invasion and occupation of the Middle East is clear. It. Doesn’t. Work. Put aside the base need for revenge and start thinking about what actually is proven to heal.

Remember, now, there were lots of folks on the left who were also very hawkish around 2001 – 2003 when it was politically convenient to be so. Don’t make me go pull names and quotes. You and I both know they’re out there.

RI_Red on June 13, 2014 at 8:25 AM

There’s no way you can call Democratic hawks “on the left.” They wouldn’t even describe themselves as leftists. But we can agree that American militarism is bipartisan.

libfreeordie on June 13, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Fair enough. I don’t see how military escalation would have helped anything…those savages only understand the club.

And your plan for dealing with Hussein? He’d been defying the UN for years by then (and that’s just for starters).

RI_Red on June 14, 2014 at 12:26 AM

*de-escalation…sorry; the Rangers just lost the Cup. :(

RI_Red on June 14, 2014 at 12:28 AM

verbaluce, the point remains the same. Photos can be manipulated in a slew of ways, would you like me to show you. I can you know. From your snopes link verbaluce.

It appears this image is one unrelated to Mohammad Fazl that has been misleadingly repurposed to make a political point.

Which part is misleading verbaluce? The player or the point? Certainly you don’t deny the reality of head choppers in Islam do you? Let that sink in.

Bmore on June 15, 2014 at 5:15 PM

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