The US Response in Iraq

Friday, June 13, 2014

President Barack Obama meets with Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham in the Oval Office to discuss Syria, Sept. 2, 2013. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice is at left. (The White House/flickr)

Islamist militants continue to make gains in Iraq, and President Obama says his national security team is leaving all options on the table when it comes to planning a US response. Kevin Baron, executive editor of Defense One, talks about the possibilities that lie ahead.


Kevin Baron

Comments [19]

GWB/Cheney, NYTimes and The Neocons are directly responsible for ill advised invasion of Iraq. They started this and now they dumped this mess on
President Barack Hussein Obama II lap.

ISIS is part of the rebel force, trying to take out Assad.

Senate Intelligence Committee voted to give certain Syrian Rebels
U.S. weapons, like Manpads.
But once the Manpads are in Syria, nobody can guarantee that they
will not be used by ISIS, because ISIS is feared among the rebels fighters
and they would not dare turn down a request for Manpads or anything else
they ISIS wants.
Saudi Arabia our ally is funding ISIS.
So we are indirectly giving them weapons, by giving the weapons to
Syrian Rebel Fighters with close proximity to ISIS and our ally is
funding ISIS as well.
Maybe we want ISIS to do what they are doing in Iraq.

Jun. 16 2014 02:25 PM


“Now it is time to point out Obama's "mission accomplished" moment. In December 2011, when the troops were about to come home, the president gave a speech at Fort Bragg in which he applauded this "moment of success" and claimed that America was leaving behind a "sovereign, stable and independent Iraq."”

(for NY Public School Grads – Die Welt is a German daily newspaper)

950 days and 23 hours and 31 minutes !!!!

Jun. 14 2014 12:31 PM

"State Dept. confirms Russian tanks' move into Ukraine"


951 days and 17 hours and 23 minutes !!!!

.... until a pro-American president with respect and stature around the world is back in the White House

Jun. 13 2014 06:38 PM

We can't control the world and it's people in the 21st century -the peoples century launched on 9-11.All these mid east conflicts are fall out of colonial divisions, and cold war interests where either we or the ussr supported brutal regimes for our interests. In Iraq we installed a Shia government hell bent on exacting revenge on Sunnis ,which is what occurred and when they resist we call them terrorists. In Syria the people finally rose up [like in Egypt and Libya] against the tyrannical Assad regime and lo and behold we who profess to abhor tyrannical regimes , are now siding with this brutal Assad regime. Though Kerry tried to get us to act on behalf of stopping a holocaust by this dictator but was met with a let em all kill each other ,response. Incursions into Iraq by this ISIS group, are also a response against the brutal Iraqi Shia government. We should be helping them topple Assad and insisting that the Iraqi government transition to include Sunnis and enforce laws that protect their rights instead of looking for ways to stop this movement of freedom fighters! Or allow the sunnis to secede. Like we did with south Sudan!The idea of a pan Syria/Iraq sunni state is a natural desire and we should support ,not thwart it by supporting tyrannical regimes who oppress these indigenous people and their wishes for a unified state or "caliphate" in THEIR homeland!

Jun. 13 2014 06:11 PM

We invaded Iraq based on lies about weapons of mass destruction to gain control of their oil resources. Some success! We overused our troops, whose aftercare the party that sent them cheapjacked, and now cry "We can't afford it!" after breaking the bank with the "war on terror," a war without end.
The whole setup stank of a really bad historic precedent. We had 9/11--an event Richard Clarke warned about for eight months in 2001, a warning which fell on the deaf (deliberately?) ears of Condi Rice. 9/11 was the condition precedent to the passage of the "USA PATRIOT" Act--passed in a hurry and in fear--which really didn't keep us safer but trashed Constitutional guarantees. We tortured people in Iraq, despite Condi Rice's denials. We invaded another country based on lies not to "liberate" them (the official version) but to exploit their resources, trashing any vestige of civil and military authority in what was a former ally.
The stink is that of Germany 1933-45, ranging from the Reichstag Fire which was used by a numerical minority political party to push through laws setting up a dictatorship (including the first concentration camp for political prisoners at Dachau). Poland was invaded based on the lie of an attack by German troops dressed in Polish uniforms at Dirschau at the end of August 1939. Germany invaded a former ally (in the dismemberment of Poland--and earlier as a place to train the Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht to circumvent the Treaty of Versailles) in 1941 to annex its resources.
We're lucky we didn't end up as Germany had, with the Soviets winning at Stalingrad and later, more decisively, trashing German tanks at the Kursk Salient in the late summer of 1943, ending in the ruins of Berlin with a raped population in 1945.
All of this talk by Sen. McCain that Iraq represents an "existential threat to the United States" is baloney. He and his party got us into it. The real existential threat to the United States is the current iteration of the Republican Party. We are doing ourselves in and, if we believe propaganda from that Party (Fox "News"), we don't realize it.

Jun. 13 2014 01:40 PM
S/I Bobrowsky from Cedar Grove, New Jersey

As an ex-Marine/Purple Heart veteran, I fully support the opportunity presented by the plainly-predictable and ongoing Iraq debacle for all the loud-proud & lapel-pin-patriots who want our nation back in that sandy sink-hole to grab a gun (there are plenty around) , get on a plane and go put their bodies where their mouths are.

Furthermore, I would hope, urge and expect that these legions of volunteers would be led by that gang of think-tanker wiz-kid & draft-dodgers who lied, drum-beat, brow-beat and flag-waved our nation into their Iraq-crusade in the first place: namely Bush ( the former "mission accomplished"-"Decider"), his smirk-master Cheney, Paul Wolfowiz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and, of course that ever-so-adorable Wise-Cracker-Blowhard - Ron Dumbsfeld (aka "Don Rumsfeld"). Of course McCain should tag along too: to maybe rant people everyone he encounters to death, while Johnny Boehner follows his wake through the sand-dunes and works even harder than usual on deepening his perpetual tan.

The American people should pay all these people - and their cheer-leading supporters, to follow their own rhetoric and convictions - and stop bothering the rest of us with their constant litanies of,"existential threats" & "sky-falling" drivel.


Jun. 13 2014 01:10 PM
Robert from Bklyn

A whole segment about the situation in Iraq without one word (unless I missed it?) about how Iran is likely to respond, and how that should affect US calculations? A blame game discussion is fascinating for political junkies but has nothing to do with the best course of action.

Jun. 13 2014 12:06 PM

Why is this country incapable of having a separate discussion as to whether a war can be won by any strategy and whether some particular strategy is capable winning a war? If we had had separate discussions on those two topics in 2004 to 2006, instead of the binary choice of letting Bush do as he pleased or pulling out entirely, we could have forced a transition to a population-centric strategy before the mass atrocities of 2006 and would have had more time to shape Iraq for after we left.

Jun. 13 2014 12:00 PM
Bob from Huntington

As I said in this space yesterday, during the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq when he was still on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden predicted exactly what we're witnessing: The violent dissolution of the country into Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish zones.

Jun. 13 2014 11:56 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To blame Bush is just to scapegoat somebody. The British were in Iraq in the 1920s after WWI. You can blame the British. You can blame the Turks. You can blame the Persians. You can blame whomever you want, but the reality is that the Middle East is at the same crossroads that Europe was not that long ago when fascism and Nazism and Communism were struggling for control of the minds of the masses. In the Middle East you've had Islamism, socialism, fascism, and liberal westernism clashing and it will continue until there is exhaustion and something comes out of it. Definitely no more western boots on the ground over there.

Jun. 13 2014 11:55 AM
Jessie Henshaw from Way Uptown

Brian..... what's really important.... is that we now listen to the voices most knowledgeable about the cultures of Syria and Iraq..... who understood the likelihood of this very circumstance....

the voices WE DID NOT LISTEN TO in 2001...

Jun. 13 2014 11:54 AM
Lonnie from Brooklyn!!!

And here we have another Journalist, a Journalist who NEVER has to worry about HIS sons being killed, a Journalist who only sees Wars as opportunities for him to write a book, saying "Well we should've done things different..."

The politicians screaming "I was Right!" aren't putting combat boots on THEIR Sons and THEIR Grandsons before they get on the Plane. And McCain is an old man who irrationally NEVER sees a War he doesn't want to SEND OUR BOYS into.

Americans VOTED to get us OUT of these ugly wars. And that what Obama is doing.

Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria...these are plain civil wars...these are RELIGIOUS WARS. They are Islamic CRUSADES. Let them KILL Each other.

Jun. 13 2014 11:54 AM

Not for the first time, Republicans sound like Iranians: "existential threat"? to whom? The US? Iran is the Karl Rove of the situation all others are it's "brain child" if you want to attack a snake you strike the head...and I don't mean bombing Iran either but for more than 35 years Iran has been the source of all the instability: beginning with the fall of the Shah without which Soviets would have never invaded Afghanistan . . .

Jun. 13 2014 11:53 AM
Bobby G from East Village

By bombing Iraq, who would we be supporting -- Maliki, whose best friends are the Iranian mullahs?

The best course for the U.S. is to stay out. I hope Obama is strong enough to resist the pressure go to war. There is no winning in Iraq.

Jun. 13 2014 11:50 AM

We do need to stop ISIS from taking over any part of Iraq. However, any action we undertake needs to be done smartly, unlike how we did things from the time Saddam's statue fell. In particular, we need to make sure we do not do anything that alienates any of the people living in ISIS occupied territory. A first step would be to tell Maliki that we will be ready to act AFTER he demonstrates a commitment to reconciliation with the Sunnis.

Jun. 13 2014 11:50 AM
Jonathan from Brooklyn

"The only people stupid enough to think we ever had this war 'won' were the same ones who predicted we'd 'absolutely' be greeted as liberators, who thought the war would be paid for by Iraqi oil, who thought the Sunnis and Shia would 'get along,' who declared the war would 'be brief,' and that of course Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Oh, wait, what was that Sen. McCain?" - Barbara Morrill

Jun. 13 2014 11:49 AM

Really, John McCain? An existential threat to the U.S.? How is that possible? A failed state of our own creation falls apart completely once the leveling effect of American military power is withdrawn. Iraqis are looking for a hand-out from Uncle Sugar...So are U.S. military contractors. I hope they don't get it.

It was a mistake to go in the first place. Unless we have a plan for stability AFTER we go, we ought not to even drop one bomb.

All I am learning (well, re-learning actually) is that you need to be careful what you ask might get it.

Jun. 13 2014 11:48 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

It all goes back to the Arab conquests of other peoples in the 7th - 9th centuries, and in the final analysis, the Arabs soon came to be ruled by Persians, by Turks, and by the British. The Arabs are tribes and what has held them together to a degree has been Sharia Muslim law. But even that Muslim law is divided between the Sunni and Shia interpretations, like Protestantism and Catholicism a few centuries back. Western style liberal law does not hold up well in that part of the world. No western "boots on the ground" can solve the internal problems that only the people on the ground will have to suffer through till some kind of equilibrium returns. The British failed. We failed. The people on the ground will have to figure or fight it out until exhaustion sets in.

Jun. 13 2014 11:48 AM
john from office

Why would anyone want to be president? The Republicans speak from all sides of thier mouths.

If we had kept people there without a status of forces agreement, they would have howled when an American would have been arrested by the Iraqis.

Jun. 13 2014 11:48 AM

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