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"We broke Iraq and we're still paying for it"

Iraq 2013

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#1 Spectacles

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:18 PM

We Americans don't pay much attention to Iraq these days since our combat troops left a couple of years ago, but it ain't looking good. This past year has seen a disturbing increase in violence.

http://www.huffingto...html?1387222917

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Today, Iraq's future is in doubt. Renewed sectarian violence and rising attacks from al-Qaeda and its affiliates are threatening to tear a barely reassembled Iraq into pieces.
Posted Image
“The situation is fragile,” said a senior State Department official, who spoke to The Huffington Post anonymously so that he could give frank assessments.

“Al-Qaeda is now a very serious threat, and the [Iraqi] government needs to be more active in reaching out to all groups.

“Iraq remains important, a key to the region,” he said. “It is certainly not a 'failed state,' but there is a lot of work that needs to be done.”


Not that we haven’t invested heavily -- tragically -- for what most Americans regard as a mistake that did not make us any safer.

The Iraq War was one of the longest, most expensive and controversial in our history. It cost the lives of some 4,500 Americans, at least 135,000 Iraqis (some estimates range significantly higher) and, over the long term, more than $2 trillion to drive Saddam Hussein from power and use military means to “stand up” a replacement.

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Yet in some ways, Iraq is more important than ever. If it falls apart -- if it becomes the al-Qaeda global base it never was before (Dick Cheney’s dark fantasies of 2002 notwithstanding) -- the result could dash hopes for a semblance of peace and stability in an oil-rich region stretching from Turkey to the Arabian Sea.

We aren’t stuck in Iraq anymore. But we are stuck with Iraq.
That means, among other things, executing an all-too-familiar, shopworn power move: pushing “our” autocratic strongman toward democracy (usually by threatening to withhold arms), but not leaning so hard that his government and society collapse.

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What does Iraq have to do to get the Apaches (which the country doesn't yet have the military sophistication to use anyway)?

Simple. Iraq must master, or at least contain, religious and ethnic conflicts that have raged in the Middle East for millennia. After all, if the country can’t do that, no one else can -- and someone must.

Those conflicts have flared into the worst violence Iraq has seen since 2008, pitting the Shia-led government and its sectarian allies against Sunni insurgents and Kurdish separatists.

According to Obama administration officials and congressional aides, the key is to guarantee Sunnis -- once the ruling faction -- a governing role strong enough to counter the appeal of a Sunni-led jihadist group called the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). ("Al-Sham" refers to the Levant.)

But the jihadists will do what they can to disrupt the fact and the message of democracy. Many ISIS recruits come from neighboring Syria, where they are fighting the Shia-backed government of President Bashar Assad, and are dedicated to theocratic rule.

The Obama administration sees ISIS as the biggest current threat to stability. It’s a bitter irony, and yet another example of the unintended consequences that stem from any action in the Middle East: Heading to war, the Bush administration was dead wrong when it said al-Qaeda was in Iraq; after the war, a new form of al-Qaeda is a grave threat, according to the Obama administration.

Iraq has been letting Iran use its airspace to ferry supplies to Assad, btw.

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America's own efforts at rebuilding the country have produced a mixed record at best. An inspector general’s report earlier this year found that more than $8 billion of the $60 billion the U.S. had spent on civilian “reconstruction” in Iraq since 2003 had been flat-out wasted, and that much of the rest of the work was of dubious value or long-term benefit.

Meanwhile, Iraq can’t fully protect or even police its own borders or air space.
“The problem is that the country was so wrecked and destroyed by the war,” said Michael Knights, an Iraq specialist at the Washington Institute of Near East Policy. “The infrastructure isn’t there.”

After spending hundreds of billions of dollars on war and reconstruction, the U.S. government is dialing back its support, which this year amounts to perhaps $3 billion, including more than a billion to support diplomatic security and a military mission led by a three-star general.

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Finally, it's curious that "Iraq is selling ever-greater percentages of the oil it does produce to China, which is pouring drilling technology and capital investment into areas that American firms have left or not bid on.

Which means, in the long run, that China may end up “owning” Iraq, at least financially, and without having had to fight a war to do so.

That would be just one more ironic outcome to our "liberation" of Iraq.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#2 Spectacles

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:30 PM

By the way, I can't stand Howard Fineman, the author of the above piece. The really superb blogger Digby sums up the problem with Fineman here:

http://digbysblog.bl...econsiders.html

Essentially, he, like most mainstream journalists, goes whichever way the wind blows. He was part of the media's amplification of the Bush White House's messages on Iraq and the need to invade it during 2002-2003. When the war soured, so did Fineman's support....These guys remind me of sports writers. The winning team has a brilliant manager and loads of talent, but if it loses next week, the manager is a bum and the players are has-beens.

That said, facts iz facts. As far as I know, Fineman's got the facts right in the above article. So I think the Broken Clock Rule applies.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#3 Spectacles

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:45 PM

Jeez...Can a mod fix the typo in the title-y? Thanks. :|
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#4 Cait

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 02:00 PM

View PostSpectacles, on 17 December 2013 - 12:45 PM, said:

Jeez...Can a mod fix the typo in the title-y? Thanks. :|

done.  ;)

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#5 schoolpsycho

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 02:42 PM

View PostSpectacles, on 17 December 2013 - 12:45 PM, said:

Jeez...Can a mod fix the typo in the title-y? Thanks. :|

Ironically, even though it's corrected, ;)  "still-y" is just as correct. Things tend to stay broke after wars where most of the damage has been done, be it fiscal, social, and/or infrastructure. And with Iraq, they may stay that way for many years to come.


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Finally, it's curious that "Iraq is selling ever-greater percentages of the oil it does produce to China, which is pouring drilling technology and capital investment into areas that American firms have left or not bid on.

Which means, in the long run, that China may end up “owning” Iraq, at least financially, and without having had to fight a war to do so.

That would be just one more ironic outcome to our "liberation" of Iraq.

Then, China will have another big money pit of investments on their hands(after the US). They may own the deeds, but good luck getting any returns with all the fighting going on there now. And they'll have the same problems that the allies had while the war was going on. Outsiders running things. They'll have to pay for security...we keep hearing the same old songs, don't we?

View PostCait, on 17 December 2013 - 02:00 PM, said:

View PostSpectacles, on 17 December 2013 - 12:45 PM, said:

Jeez...Can a mod fix the typo in the title-y? Thanks. :|

done.  ;)

I have to say, I love that avatar, Cait. :smile2:

sp

Edited by schoolpsycho, 17 December 2013 - 02:57 PM.

Love is hard...and all there is.

#6 scherzo

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 03:02 PM

Posted Image
good luck...
"Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so."    -Ronald Reagan, October 27 1964
Posted Image

#7 Cait

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 03:13 PM

View Postschoolpsycho, on 17 December 2013 - 02:42 PM, said:


I have to say, I love that avatar, Cait. :smile2:

sp

Thanks.  It was so cute, I just had to put it up!  :D

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#8 Kota

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 04:35 PM

Love it scherzo -


Obama said last year
“The war in Afghanistan is winding down. Al Qaeda has been decimated,”
“Osama bin Laden is dead. So we’ve made real progress these past four years.”



#9 offworlder

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 04:38 PM

not been watching the money as much lately as all those charts, but it is interesting that part of the sale for the war was that Iraq oil returns and leases would help pay for maybe at least half of the war; but our misunderstandings of those people making our politiking with them so bad, helped that idea straight out the door, and Iraq would rather deal with the vulture swooping, like in much of Africa, those PRC guys look see where they can give to get but get much more, trade, deal, invest, but corner the resources; China is on a major resource tear global wide and USA is not doing anything about it; and we do not much of what we do anything of progress or beneficial to us connecting with Baghdad; are we not just out with them? just finished? do we have anything helpful to us with them anymore?

have been seeing the headlines of the violence, like this here of most deaths in a day in past
weeks,
http://www.bbc.co.uk...e-east-25405272
the Sunni keep hitting the Shia, and the Shia keep hitting the Sunni, and the great powers of those both, Iran on the one border and Saud on the other, don't seem to be able to improve that 'Sitchiashion' at all; and US sure is no help there.

' The deadliest single attack came in the evening when two car bombs targeting Shia pilgrims killed at least 20 in Rashid, a southern suburb of Baghdad.

Thousands of Shia are currently making their way to the holy city of Karbala.
Violence in Iraq this year has reached a level not seen since 2008, raising fears of a return to civil war.
A further 21 people died in a series of bomb blasts around the capital earlier in the day.

Scores more were injured in Monday's violence.
Brazen attacks
Earlier in the day, militants tried to storm a police station in the town of Baiji and a council headquarters in the city of Tikrit.

They were reported to have briefly taken hostages in a council building in Tikrit before it was retaken by security forces.
At least nine people were killed in Baiji while another three died in the attack in Tikrit.
'

oh, and,
Syria is quite the bloody firey mess eh? what with Assad now on his Reconquista tear to take back all his lost areas?
http://www.bbc.co.uk...e-east-25421672

lookit that teenager's picture on the front there?!
any more words needed?
well here they are anyway,

' Indiscriminate and sustained attacks by government aircraft had caused significant damage in areas populated by civilians, the organisation warned.

Bodies are being lined up in front of hospitals for collection by relatives.
On Tuesday, warplanes stepped up their air strikes on rebel-held districts.

Eighteen people, including two children, were killed in the Shaar and Maadi areas, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group.

On Sunday, 76 people, including 28 children, died when barrel bombs were dropped on three eastern areas, the group said.
'Chaos'
Aitor Zabalgogeazkoa, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)'s co-ordinator in Syria, said that in the past three days, helicopters had been targeting different areas, among them a school and the Haydarya roundabout, where people wait for public transport.

"In both cases, there were dozens of dead and injured people. A dozen bodies were being lined up in front of three hospitals waiting to be recovered by the families," he added.
'

Most American online readers are way turned off by all the violent headlines, 'oh hey what did Brady and the Patriots do on Sunday yeah?' ... or what's that Miley getting into more craziness, baring breasts with that twerking behind on a new tv performance and getting more celeb headlines OH Hey let's all See!

I personally see no answer or improvement to the Shia clash stuff in the middle east or in the US politiking or view or position or involvment or diplomacy over there - and PS that is the main reason Americans are turned off.
"(Do you read what they say online?) I check out all these scandalous rumours about me and Elijah Wood having beautiful sex with each other ... (are they true?) About Elijah and me being boyfriend and boyfriend? Absolutely true. We've been together for about nine years. I wooed him. No I just like a lot of stuff - I like that someone says one thing and it becomes fact. It's kind of fun." --Dominic Monaghan in a phone interview with Newsweek while buying DVDs at the store. :D

#10 Spectacles

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 04:58 PM

View Postscherzo, on 17 December 2013 - 03:02 PM, said:

Posted Image
good luck...

Love the unintentional irony. :)

Back to the SUBJECT,

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SP: Then, China will have another big money pit of investments on their hands(after the US). They may own the deeds, but good luck getting any returns with all the fighting going on there now. And they'll have the same problems that the allies had while the war was going on. Outsiders running things. They'll have to pay for security...we keep hearing the same old songs, don't we?

Good points. I don't know how China expects to protect its investments in a country that is still teetering.

But it must have calculated that moving in and taking over areas of the oil fields that our companies have abandoned or not developed is worth it....I think China and Russia both have had a much better relationship with Iran than we have, so maybe Iran and the Shiite majority in Iraq are more kindly disposed toward the Chinese. Don't know....just speculatin'.
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#11 tennyson

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:55 PM

Back during the period of the Iran-Iraq War the PRC supplied both sides with a variety of weapons from thier state-run factories. Both sides recieved J-6 and J-7 fighters, various armoured vehicles, rocket artillery and Typr 59 and Type 69 series tanks. They were more than willing to sell to any group that had money regardless of ideology. Both countries would play thier respective arms suppliers against each other which is how Iran recieved the then top of the line Chinese Silkworm antiship missile by 1987. When the war ended in 1988 Iran maintained its relationships with its arms supplies better than Iraq did, not defaulting on loans and not having anything like the level of sanctions Iraq had to deal with post-1991. While the US and some European countries wouldn't deal with them the Chinese had no such policy. There's been transfer of military equipment and technology between Iran and China continously for the last 20 years not to mention the commercial links.
China is also regarded to have less "strings attached" to its aide than that from the US by a lot of nations especially in Africa and that could be part of the Iraqi leadership's political calculus.
The Soviet Union and later Russia was regarded as the "lesser Satan" by the Iranian leadership during the war which is why it bought Soviet block weapons from other sources like North Korea, China and the other Eastern European states. When the Soviet Union collapsed the new Russia was so desperate for hard currency that they'd take just about any order from anyone. Hence the supply of Kilo class submarines, nuclear technology and other odds and ends to an Iran that Russia itself still regarded as a security threat. Over time those relations have engendered a certain level of trust between the two leaderships and Iran is another place where the new Russia can show its international influence vis-a- vis the United States.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#12 Spectacles

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 08:40 AM

^I knew we could count on you for military and geopolitical background. :)
"Facts are stupid things." -Ronald Reagan at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman



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