The Syria/Iraq Situation: Not Only Stranger Than We Imagine…

“Never get involved in a land war in Asia the Middle East… “

And, of course, the perennial warmongers of the Republican Party have decided that our involvement in this clusterfvck must’ve begun on January 21, 2009. Per Mr. Charles P. Pierce:

We’ve seen something like this movie before. After the settlement that ended American involvement in the Vietnam War, and after it became plain that the South Vietnamese government was going to fall to the forces of North Vietnam, there was a general frenzy within the Ford Administration, as people tried to save a) the South Vietnamese government, and b) their historical reputations, not necessarily in that order. There was the battle in Southeast Asia, which our side was plainly losing, and then there was the battle for history, which is still ongoing, and in which deceit continued to be one of the primary weapons…

I have a terrible feeling, based on the McClatchy report, and the reports from the field, that many of the members of the national legislature are presently finding themselves on the Kissinger side in the war for national memory, and that Who-Lost-Iraq? sadly will become an issue in the midterm elections that are upcoming in the fall, and that it will do so before the country has been honest with itself in answering the question, “Why Iraq At All?”

It has been almost 40 years since the North Vietnamese Army marched into Saigon, and we haven’t truly coped with that development, even though Vietnam is now open for tourism and its peasantry is now making blue jeans and high-definition television. I can’t imagine how long it will take for this country to be honest with itself about the fall of Tikrit, or Mosul, or Baghdad.

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117 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Christopher Hayes ‏@chrislhayes 6m

    Got a pretty good montage of John McCain’s advice on Iraq over the years on tonight’s show. #inners

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    OT: Is the honeymoon over?

    David Brat Facing Storm Over Hitler Comments

  3. 3
    srv says:

    Well, boy am I glad someone is paying attention four months after ISIS started trying to take over Fallujah…

    Derp.

    Nobody could have foreseen.

  4. 4
    🌷 Martin says:

    Providing air cover for Iran. I can see why Obama is considering it. Iran, Iraq, and the US all working toward a common goal (however fleeting).

  5. 5
    Morzer says:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/l.....rica-first

    Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, torched Republican “cheerleaders” who started the Iraq war and are now criticizing President Barack Obama over the escalating violent insurgency in the country.

    “Some of the biggest GOP cheerleaders for the disastrous war in Iraq are now joining the blame-America-first crowd rather than working with our Commander-in-Chief to confront this crisis,” Boxer said in a statement Thursday.

    She said the current crisis in Iraq “has its roots in an ill-conceived war,” arguing that while the U.S. should “go after” the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Sunni jihadi organization taking over parts of the country, “any U.S. action must be well-considered and well-executed in coordination with our allies and the Iraqi government and military, which we helped train and arm.”

  6. 6
    Citizen Alan says:

    So in other words, Iraq is about to become the battlefield for a proxie war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which is pretty much what I predicted in 2002.

  7. 7
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Baud: There was never a honeymoon. People voted against Cantor, not for Brat. Dems could seriously win that district.

  8. 8
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Citizen Alan: become? Saudis Arabia’s biggest proxy went in in 2003 (and the early 90s).

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    Holy crap, Joe Manchin sounded sane on the Iraq crisis, just now on Chris Matthews Show .

  10. 10

    …yes, by all means. The President must immediately order air support for the Lon Nol government, because if the Khmer Rouge get any closer to the city they’ll take the airport!

    What? Oh.

    Sorry, wrong clusterfuck.

  11. 11
    gene108 says:

    I know rubbing out the Sykes-Picot line seems to be a “cure all” on the internets, but cobbling together two or more areas that did not have a unified government, for several generations, is really, really, really, really hard.

    Think about the trouble East and West Germany had unifying 20+ years ago and they had only been apart for 45 years, as opposed to 80-90 years in the Middle East.

    Syria and Iraq tried a unified government, when the Ba’ath party took control of both countries, but that fell apart.

    Whatever is going on, I really do not know, but it is complicated enough that there is going to be no good solution unless the parties involved want to stop fighting.

  12. 12
    beltane says:

    @Citizen Alan: This is why Bush the 1st did not want to invade Iraq. Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the area knew that this outcome was the nearly inevitable one.

  13. 13
    David Koch says:

    woocooodanown!

  14. 14
    Joel Hanes says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    Dems could seriously win [Cantor’s] district.

    This would require Steve Israel and the DCCC to get their heads out of their nether orifices.
    I hope it happens, but no breath-holding here.

  15. 15
    Corner Stone says:

    What about providing air cover for the IRG sounds reasonable to any human being?

  16. 16
    Cacti says:

    So the Republican solution is to provide air cover for the forces of the supreme ayatollah of Iran.

    When did they get removed from the “axis of evil”?

  17. 17
    David Koch says:

    @beltane: Here’s a clip of Cheney in 1994 stating , invading Iraq would lead to a “quagmire” and asking “how many dead Americans is Saddam worth?”

  18. 18
    Cacti says:

    @David Koch:

    1994 Cheney said overthrow and occupation was a bad idea.

    2003 Cheney said show me the money, and couldn’t pass up a once in a lifetime war profiteering opportunity.

  19. 19
    Morzer says:

    @Joel Hanes:

    It might happen if Cantor ran as a write-in, which seems unlikely, but otherwise it’s a pretty conservative, rural district. Absent a total Brat meltdown, I wouldn’t put any money on a Dem having a fighting chance.

  20. 20
    Russ says:

    I have a feeling that Barack is just going to take it to Republicans like never before. I read years ago that when he gets his mind made up eh will, “cut them off at the knees and convince them they were born short”. I think he has had enough of the obstructionist attitudes of the other party.

  21. 21
    Trollhattan says:

    @Morzer:

    Preach it, senator! Now I suppose DiFi will have to promote the bombing idea for the sake of statewide bipartisanship.

  22. 22
    Baud says:

    @Russ:

    Maybe he can get the GOP to run on a “reinvade Iraq” platform this year? That would be pretty sweet.

  23. 23
    danimal says:

    This really, really looks like a situation that we should closely monitor and assess our options. For a really, really long time.

    Let McGramps go on the Sunday shows and proclaim we are all Iraqis now, let the RWNJs get their four hour boners, deploy the 101st Chairborne and then quietly work a deal with Iran that puts the Sunni play in check. Resist the siren’s call to military action, stay the hell out, and enjoy the spectacle of the GOP overplaying their hand and exposing themselves as warmongers once again.

  24. 24
    JPL says:

    @Morzer: Joe Manchin was pretty close to Boxer on Chris Matthew’s show just now. He certainly doesn’t want to send in more troops.

    this is good news for grandpa McCain.

  25. 25
    chopper says:

    ♪♫
    hornet’s nest
    hornet’s nest
    the middle east is just a crazy
    hornet’s nest ♪♫

  26. 26
    Corner Stone says:

    @Russ:

    I have a feeling that Barack is just going to take it to Republicans like never before. I read years ago that when he gets his mind made up eh will, “cut them off at the knees and convince them they were born short”. I think he has had enough of the obstructionist attitudes of the other party.

    What does your feeling tell you President Obama’s going to do?

  27. 27
    Jennifer says:

    The Iraq war was lost on March 20, 2003.

  28. 28
    chopper says:

    i think we should give the situation in iraq 6 months.

  29. 29
    beltane says:

    @Cacti:

    When did they get removed from the “axis of evil”?

    What do you mean by ‘axis of evil’. We have always been close allies of the glorious Islamic Republic of Iran.

    @Russ: Obama will never run for office again and Iraq is his signature issue, the one that carried him from political obscurity to the White House. I’m sure he will have something to say about the subject.

  30. 30
    Cacti says:

    I saw a CNN article stating that ISIS militants had “overmatched government forces”.

    That’s an interesting way of saying the Iraqi army was utterly uninterested in dying for the neocon-installed Maliki government.

  31. 31
    Ash Can says:

    @Morzer: I read somewhere yesterday that VA has a “sore loser” law that prevents primary losers from running in the general as third-party or write-in candidates. Anyone more familiar with the law can certainly correct me, but it sounded like it meant Cantor really was toast.

  32. 32
    Morzer says:

    It’ll be interesting to see which version of Rand Paul slithers out into the daylight on this issue.

  33. 33
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Russ:

    I also remember reading or hearing something to that effect. I hope it’s true, and I hope he brings out that big ol’ knee-cut-offing scimitar.

  34. 34
    Baud says:

    @Morzer:

    All of them, Katie.

  35. 35
    WaterGirl says:

    I have no idea what is going to happen as a result of the new developments in Iraq, but I can say, not for the first time, that today I am especially glad that Barack Obama is our commander-in-chief.

    Edit:
    Whatever we’re facing, I am glad he is driving the bus. Sadly, I would not feel that way with Hillary Clinton or with any republican president. Even though I disagree with President Obama’s actions on a number of fronts, it is truly a great thing to feel you can trust your president. Sometimes I take that for granted, but not today.

  36. 36
    Morzer says:

    @Ash Can:

    Which makes it even less likely that the Dems are going to have a chance in that district. Brat sounds like a whackaloon and his campaign manager has just had to scrub his previous incarnation as Mr Bigoted Hater, but I doubt that’s going to matter to the teabaggers. They hate any Democrat so much that you could probably run the Beast of the Apocalypse in that district and have it win, provided it had an R after its name.

  37. 37

    That chart? Has no Russia or China. Is broken.

    Stranger than we apparently can use idea mapping software to analyze…

  38. 38
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Trollhattan:

    (Rather O/T) (Okay, a lot O/T). At least DiFi was one of four Senators to write a scathing letter to the WaPo about the George Will rape column. She’s pretty useless, often even counterproductive, but I’m glad she was a signatory to that.

  39. 39
    beltane says:

    I wonder what percentage of the public wants the US to return to Iraq. 27% maybe?

  40. 40
    Morzer says:

    @PhoenixRising:

    I think they just like using a Spirograph kit because of all the pretty colors.

  41. 41
    WaterGirl says:

    @Morzer: Please don’t give up before we even try. That’s the sure way to lose.

  42. 42
    WaterGirl says:

    On a happier note, tomorrow is my birthday. My clematis is in full bloom right outside my window and I will harvest my first zucchini in time for dinner tomorrow night, so at least some things are right with the world.

  43. 43

    How Al Qaeda Changed The Syrian War, interesting piece at NYT Book Review.

    That said, I no longer believe anything I read in American media about terrorism in general, specifically in the Middle East. This isn’t just Iraq War-related. I just finished reading “The Brothers,” about Allen and John Foster Dulles, and how they used a compliant and willing US media to further CIA meddling in far-flung third world countries at the behest of American corporations. So I really don’t trust shit anymore.

  44. 44
    Corner Stone says:

    @WaterGirl:

    My clematis is in full bloom

    Penicillin, maybe?

  45. 45
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @PhoenixRising:

    That chart? Has no Russia or China. Is broken.

    But look who it does have. Who are all those foreign people? Who put them on the chart?

    It’s as if foreigners have agency, or something.

    Don’t they know nothing happens, anywhere, unless US imperialists do it, via their three-letter agencies and multinationals and proxies.

    There’s no “Israel” either….

  46. 46
    JPL says:

    @WaterGirl: Happy Birthday and enjoy your dinner. All I have so far are beans that 1/2 inch long and arugula and kale that’s getting old.

  47. 47
    raven says:

    @Southern Beale: Unfortunately, after bitching about Pat Lang for a couple of years, this is where he is of value. He knows it was a cluster fuck and has personal knowledge of some of the major players in this op.

  48. 48
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    Isn’t this a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran? Let ’em have at it.

  49. 49
    BBA says:

    We must stay the course. The next six months will be critical. Keep fucking that chicken!

  50. 50
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @WaterGirl: Different boss, is all — 80% of Obama’s fo-po advisors and staff would have turned up in a HRC White House if the ball had bounced the other way in 2008.

    Not a lot of Quakers on the Democratic bench.

  51. 51
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Isn’t Bloody Bill Kristol currently employed by ABC? I’m sure George Stephanopolous will bring up his “pop sociology” comment about Shi’a/Sunni conflict when he starts calling for other people’s kids to be sent back to Iraq.

    @WaterGirl: I hope McDaniel, Brat and maybe others (whoever is challenging Lamar!) cast their shadows over GA and KY

  52. 52
    Morzer says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I am a believer in fighting for every district, but I also believe in placing your bets shrewdly. How much money should we pour into this district – and what might that money do in say three closer races elsewhere? That’s the calculation I would apply here, coupled to the fact that Trammell doesn’t seem quite ready to be a candidate, judging by his extremely amateurish website.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    David Koch says:

    John McCain told CNN that that President Bush’s escalation in Iraq is going so well, “General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee.” On Monday, he told radio host Bill Bennett that there “are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today.” ~ March 28, 2007

    Good Times

  55. 55
    Cacti says:

    Hubris:

    When you honestly believe that invading another country and installing a puppet government will resolve centuries-old ethnic hatreds, because America is “exceptional”.

  56. 56
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I think Hagel may have been a more reluctant vote for the Iraq AUMF than Kerry, ditto for Clinton or Biden, and I suspect they all learned from the experience. We’ll see.

  57. 57
    Mandalay says:

    Heh. BJ adopts the dumb-it-down Huffington Post model.

    This OP links to an article titled “Why The Middle East Is Now A Giant Warzone, In One Terrifying Chart“.

    And earlier today DougJ’s OP linked to an article that proclaimed “The one sentence that explains why Iraq is falling apart”.

    What next?…The top 5 things we learned about Islamic Fundamentalism today.

  58. 58
    skerry says:

    @Ash Can: As I understand it, his name cannot be on the ballot but people can write it in.

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PhoenixRising:

    I think it’s meant to show only the players actually located in the Middle East. If you included Russia and China, then you’d also have to include the US and Great Britain at a minimum.

  60. 60
    Morzer says:

    @Mandalay:

    Are you going to provide us with your own in-depth analysis of the situation?

  61. 61
    JPL says:

    @raven: Send John an email and tell him to link to him. John will be just so happy, I’m sure he’ll do it for you.

    juan cole is pretty good

  62. 62
    efgoldman says:

    @PhoenixRising:

    Sorry, wrong clusterfuck.

    Seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.

  63. 63
    🌷 Martin says:

    Reports are that the US is being asked to be ready to host the World Cup in 2022 if they decide to take it from Qatar.

  64. 64
    Mandalay says:

    @PhoenixRising:

    That chart? Has no Russia or China. Is broken.

    Yep. The chart is worthless, masquerading as something insightful. Use Einstein’s Razor for shit that is complicated.

  65. 65
    efgoldman says:

    @Jennifer:

    The Iraq war was lost on March 20, 2003.

    Nope. January 20, 2001.

  66. 66
    Morzer says:

    @Mandalay:

    Still waiting for your in-depth analysis. Don’t be shy.

  67. 67
    dogwood says:

    On the day we invaded Iraq I emailed a friend and said “I think we’re gonna overthrow Sadam to “free” Iraq and find out there there ain’t no such thing as Iraq. It’s a fake country.” I hoped to hell I was wrong, but I wasn’t. No policy or military response can fix the mess we created there, but thousands more Iraqis will die over the next decade in this horrendous conflagration. That’s the neocon legacy to the Mideast.

  68. 68
    SatanicPanic says:

    @🌷 Martin: I vote we pass on that opportunity

  69. 69

    @efgoldman: Actually, Dec 13, 2000. But who’s counting?

    @Mnemosyne: Pretty sure ‘United States’ is in the upper right. But it’s irrelevant, as the chart is showing that…it’s complicated.

  70. 70
    jl says:

    @JPL:

    Since I seconded raven that a permanent link to Lang’s sic semper tyrannis blog would not be missed, I will do penance.
    Pat Lang’s bog today has what seems like serious analysis of the situation. So, below is the link.

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com....._tyrannis/

    And, I suppose part of the title is snark. Iran intervening in Iraqi affairs after the ill-advised and criminal (but very successful) invasion, and subsequent disastrously botched occupation has been very imaginable for years. The exact circumstance and timing of such intervention is probably not imaginable, though.

    Edit: though, on the Ukraine crisis, every time I checked Lang’s blog it was, IMHO, just raving about evil and stupid US and Western Europe NATO tripping. And I do in fact agree with Lang that the US and W Europe NATO expansion policy has been unwise, but I don’t need to go to his blog to rave on my own, but rather for information he has but I don’t.

  71. 71
    Long Tooth says:

    @Russ: You’re dreaming. Obama pinned a medal on GW not more than a year ago. He believes the GOP to be an honorable opposition, and conducts himself accordingly. That won’t change, and it’s a damn shame. The man is a blue dog- always has been, always will be.

  72. 72
    JPL says:

    @jl: I was just teasing. It was obvious that Iran and Iraq would unite when Bush befriended Chalabi.

  73. 73
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    “San Antonio mom defeats al qaeda with this one weird tip”

  74. 74
  75. 75
    raven says:

    @jl: There are three threads there worth looking at.

  76. 76
    jl says:

    @raven: Well, I said I was doing penance. I gave the link for the three posts. I didn’t suggest it be put back on the blogroll thingee.

    It is on my head, I accept my doom.

  77. 77
    Suffern ACE says:

    So ISIS is fighting everyone who happens to be fighting Assad. But they seemed so friendly at first.

  78. 78
    raven says:

    @jl: No, he doesn’t belong on the blogroll, maybe on the “one’s we monitor and mock”. He’s no worse than this douche “Sully” people are so enamored with.

  79. 79
    ruviana says:

    @🌷 Martin: I dunno, Democratic support aside (gotv, $$$) VA-7 is a pretty hard right district.

    ETA: As Morzer noted.

  80. 80
    max says:

    Pierce:

    After the settlement that ended American involvement in the Vietnam War, and after it became plain that the South Vietnamese government was going to fall to the forces of North Vietnam, there was a general frenzy within the Ford Administration, as people tried to save a) the South Vietnamese government

    First problem: everybody of a certain generation says Vietnam. Doesn’t matter what it is, it’s Vietnam. Beloved St. Molly said pre-war in 1990 that we were going to take upwards of 10k casualties. Because Vietnam. We didn’t, because Kuwait, not Vietnam. The domestic political situation is very similar, with various mad dogs running around as Mad Dog McCain does today, but that’s not because of Vietnam OR Kuwait, that’s because DC dipshit brigade. That’s what they do.

    Second problem: the then Congress declined to send ammunition supplies to the South Vietnamese, which was silly. It was silly because Americans tend to manic-depression when it comes to war – it’s the most urgent thing ever, followed by we can’t be fucking bothered. (Of course, later, they are fucking bothered, and then it’s the most urgent thing ever.)

    Billmon:

    Which is kind of mind-blowing to contemplate, but if ISIS & Co. are going to be stopped, Iranian ground forces will have to be the core.

    Nah. The Shia militias are potent enough to defend the Shia areas even if the official Army completely rots. ISIS is only 15k fighters, and that’s not enough. The militias won’t be able to retake Tikrit and such, likely.

    max
    [‘Which would leave Iraq split up, and that’s not real important.’]

  81. 81
    beltane says:

    Here’s some bonus excerpts of Michael Ledeen circa 2002 as a reminder of the stupidity that caused this mess: http://www.boomantribune.com/s.....14943/0868

  82. 82
    Origuy says:

    There’s another player missing from that chart: the Kurds. They are likely to beef up the borders of the provinces they control and let the Arab Shiites and Sunnis fight it out, but I’m sure they’d like to annex Mosul.

  83. 83
    Anoniminous says:

    @chopper:

    The Internetz, where do you want them shipped?

  84. 84
    Corner Stone says:

    @max:

    The Shia militias are potent enough to defend the Shia areas even if the official Army completely rots.

    That’s certainly one assessment. However, there’s another name for that where life isn’t so easy peasy, sectarian warfare.
    And honestly, it doesn’t matter. The IRG are in-country now in multi battalion strength.

  85. 85
    danimal says:

    I’ve got a good strategy to stay out of the Iraqi mess.

    Conservatives–listen closely: President Obama needs a blank check to conduct military operations in the Iraqi homeland. Please, conservatives, support President Obama in making the hard decisions about sacrificing American lives in a predominately Muslim land. Obama really needs your support to bolster his foreign policy legacy.

    That should do it. If they believe Obama’s for it, they’re agin’ it. Next week we’ll roll out the “Don’t drink bleach” initiative.

  86. 86
    nellcote says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    She’s always been steadfastly good on reproductive rights and gun control. Iffy otherwise.

  87. 87
    D58826 says:

    @gene108: From what I’ve read many of these areas were never ‘united’. The Ottomans simply put a local thug in charge of each group. As long as they paid the required taxes and kept the fighting to a minimum the Ottoman government followed a policy of benign neglect.

    From the fall of Rome it took 1500 years and boat loads of blood to create nation states like Britain, Germany and France. And none of them Had John McCain or Lindsey Graham or John Bolton actin g as advisors and cheerleaders.

  88. 88
    Cacti says:

    The US position that I most strongly support for Iraq is this…do nothing.

    Humanitarian aid for the displaced, nothing more. No choosing sides between the theocrats of Saudi Arabia and the theocrats of Iran.

    Iraq is in the position it’s in today because the US has been “helping” them for the last 25 years with invasions and sanctions.

    We’ve “helped” enough, considering our “help” always ends up as something worse than before.

  89. 89
    raven says:

    @max: Bullshit, we gave marvin the arvn enough, period. The shit needed to stop.

  90. 90
    jl says:

    @raven: I can see where you and Lang might have some disagreements.

    Edit: You have a link that argues your side? BTW I tend to agree with you, but have to admit, I do not know the details on it well enough to be very sure.

  91. 91
    catclub says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    There’s no “Israel” either…

    Now that is interesting. I think Israel got the result it wanted in Egypt.

  92. 92
    WaterGirl says:

    @Corner Stone: You made me laugh out loud! And then I checked my spelling. :-)

  93. 93
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Back in the 80s I worked with a guy who was from Lebanon. He and his brother had been sent to America under assumed names because Lebanon was to hot for them. Why? Turned out that 30 years earlier a member of their family had revenge-killed a prominent member of a powerful Syrian family. Anyone who thinks that ordnance will settle the current situation in the ME is childishly naive.

  94. 94
    catclub says:

    What/who is Jabhat Al Nusra? What is the relation between Saudi Arabia and the Free Syrian Army?

  95. 95
    Ken says:

    Who was the sociopath in the GWB administration (but I repeat myself) who said something like, “Every decade or so the US should invade a small country, just to remind everyone we can do it?” I’m thinking Feith but can’t find a reference.

    Anyway, I want to propose a corollary: “Every other decade or so the US will get bogged down in some invasion of a small country, just to remind everyone what a monumentally stupid idea this is.”

  96. 96
    Jacel says:

    I’m afraid Bob Harris will need to author an expanded edition of his invaluable book, “Who Hates Whom”.
    http://www.amazon.com/Who-Hate.....hates+whom

  97. 97
    Suffern ACE says:

    I know, I know. I’m crazy. But I really am beginning to think that we’re being played in Iraq to back off Syria. I don’t think this ISIS group is what it claims to be. It seems that they’ve spent a lot of time fighting with other rebel groups and taking over rebel controlled areas and then punishing the local population (in formerly rebel supporting areas). Maybe I’m off here, but I bet they collapse quickly now, but as the Iranians move, a lot of folks who could be leaders of a Sunni opposition are going to be killed.

  98. 98
    Morzer says:

    @catclub:

    Jabhat al-Nusra you can find here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Nusra_Front

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ken:

    I don’t think it was anyone in the administration, I think it was right-wing pundit Jonah Goldberg. It was along the lines of, Every so often we have to throw some crappy little country up against the wall just to show we can do it.

    Unfortunately for us, the crappy little country kicked us in the butt as soon as our backs were turned.

  100. 100
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @max:

    Second problem: the then Congress declined to send ammunition supplies to the South Vietnamese, which was silly.

    In this instance you’re woefully misinformed. The ARVN was well equipped and supplies of both arms and ammunition were piled up on the docks. There was a shitload of ordnance as well as air cover available. If anything, the largely conscript ARVN failed because the governments we supported were corrupt and not worth fighting for. I was there, 1971-1972. Vietnam was a civil war with some very under reported religious overtones. I fought alongside some very courageous members of the ARVN. I also saw them melt away when the first shots were fired.

    People generally want to write their own history. They generally don’t appreciate it when anyone attempts to write it for them.

  101. 101
    jl says:

    @Mnemosyne: The ‘throw ’em against the wall’ theory of effective foreign policy was from the wise and sound pundit Tom Friedman, wasn’t it? Maybe he was not the first one to say it, though.

  102. 102
    catclub says:

    @Mnemosyne: It was Tom Fucking mustache Friedman

  103. 103
    ruviana says:

    @Ken: Michael Ledeen. I didn’t click on Beltane’s link so if refs to it are there too, my apologies.

  104. 104
    jl says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Thanks. I guess that it the raven position too.

  105. 105
    trollhattan says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:
    Did not know that, good for her.

  106. 106
    Bobby B. says:

    @Suffern ACE: Sterling and Lana are always bickering.

  107. 107
    Heliopause says:

    From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol…

    The mainstream discourse resulting from this will, on a good day, rise to the level of idiotic. This coming Sunday I would sooner spend all day in Mitt Romney’s temple looking at Tagg’s family photos than watch the morning network shows. I would sooner receive a soylent colonic from Henry Kissinger than watch Crossfire tomorrow. I’d sooner have Yuichi Nishimura make a life or death decision for me than spend fifteen seconds listening to Diane Sawyer and Jonathan Karl hashing this one out.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jl:
    @catclub:

    Well, at least I remembered it was a pundit, not a Bush employee. :-)

  109. 109
    Citizen_X says:

    @beltane:

    We have always been close allies of the glorious Islamic Republic of Iran.

    You know who else believed in supporting the Islamic Republic of Iran…

  110. 110
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    a pundit, not a Bush employee.

    Since when were those mutually exclusive?

  111. 111

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: We have a winner. Few Americans know that the government we supported in Cambodia was blessing our hand-me-down tanks and planes with Buddhist magic sand…to repel the atheist Chinese Communists as well as the Vietnamese Buddhist Communists, who were struggling with the Catholic VNese capitalists. To say that we didn’t understand what was going on then, as the region blew up, overestimates what we knew. Who really thinks we understand “Iraq” better, today?

    Like ARVN troops did in early 1975, as they collapsed toward the soon-to- fall capitol, Iraqi soldiers are running away from their uniforms. That tells me everything I need to know about how involved I want to get.

    US air support in the ‘American War’, as Southeast Asians call it, had many effects, all of them negative. At a minimum, the last time we responded to that siren call to piss into the ocean, 2 million people ended up dead who otherwise would not have.

    More bombs than we dropped on the European theater fell on the Mekong Delta 1970-1975. It didn’t create secular democracies. Barely taught Americans geography, which of course is why we go to war.

  112. 112
    Svensker says:

    @beltane:

    Not sure stupidity is the word you’re looking for. Pure fugging evil, maybe.

  113. 113
    the Conster says:

    @WaterGirl:

    This. All of it.

  114. 114
    OGLiberal says:

    @Southern Beale: I’ll have to read that. Kinzer’s book about the ’53 Iranian coup is one of my favorites.

  115. 115
    Fred says:

    So let’s see if I have this straight:
    The Suni are US enemies because they are the insurgent remnant of Sadam’s forces.
    AND the Shia are US enemies because they are allied with Iran, a long standing enemy of US.
    AND the Kurds don’t seem to want to have anything to do with US (I just can’t imagine why).
    And the Christians, Jews, secularists, etc. could all be moved into a small suburban subdivision outside of Wilmington Delaware with plenty of vacancies to spare.

    Gosh, what could go wrong? Let’s get Dick Cheney back in the White House so deficits won’t matter again.

  116. 116
    raven says:

    Moon this morning.

  117. 117
    Jado says:

    @beltane:

    So…no one in the W administration, is what you’re saying. Cursory knowledge is a hinderance when you are making your own reality

Comments are closed.