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As Iraqi government forces crumbled in disarray before the assault, there was speculation that they may have been ordered by their superiors to give up without a fight. One local commander in Salahuddin Province, where Tikrit is located, said in an interview Wednesday: “We received phone calls from high-ranking commanders asking us to give up. I questioned them on this, and they said, ‘This is an order.’ ”
The above from this morning New York Times paints, to say the least, a landscape of civil unrest of mind-boggling proportions; as hundreds of thousands once again flee for their lives.

In published reports, as few as 800 militants overcame 30,000 Iraqi troupes, who apparently fled.
So what's really up? Should we ask our great trillion dollar intelligence agencies? What do you hear NSA?

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki apparently wants us back in the game, calling for airstrikes. Fuck that, call George Bush or Dick Cheney al Maliki.

Sunni militants consolidated and extended their control over northern Iraq on Wednesday, seizing Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein, threatening the strategic oil refining town of Baiji and pushing south toward Baghdad, their ultimate target, Iraqi sources said.

As the dimensions of the assault began to become clear, it was evident that a number of militant groups had joined forces, including Baathist military commanders from the Hussein era, whose goal is to rout the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. One of the Baathists, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, was a top military commander and a vice president in the Hussein government and one of the few prominent Baathists to evade capture by the Americans throughout the occupation.

“These groups were unified by the same goal, which is getting rid of this sectarian government, ending this corrupt army and negotiating to form the Sunni Region,” said Abu Karam, a senior Baathist leader and a former high-ranking army officer, who said planning for the offensive had begun two years ago. “The decisive battle will be in northern Baghdad. These groups will not stop in Tikrit and will keep moving toward Baghdad.”



Isis has never launched an offensive this expansive in Iraq. It is very possible that it could fall prey to the over-exuberance normal for a military seeing success beyond its dreams. ISIS could be over-extending itself, in that case, making it vulnerable to rapid counter-offensives or even to the rise of angry citizenry in its rear areas—a phenomenon that we have already begun to see to some extent in Mosul and that is well-known in Isis’s main Syrian base in ar-Raqqa. But ISIS has also conducted sophisticated, multi-phased maneuver campaigns in Deir ez-Zour, Syria, showing its capability of integrating deception operations with movement in order to seize its objectives.

    Reflections from the ground indicate that Isis attacked Mosul with 150 vehicles armed with mounted crew-served weapons and between 500 and 800 troops. It is unclear if elements of this same force moved on to take Sharqat, Qaiyara, Baiji, and Tikrit, or if separate forces already proximate to these locations simply moved in to take their respective targets in sequence. ISW [the Institute for the Study of War] is actively searching for indicators of how Isis attacked and seized control of these cities in order to answer this question. If Isis had pre-positioned forces, then these forces likely now occupy their current target zones, which would allow the ISIS advance to continue.

    If instead Isis is seizing a city and establishing a leave-behind force while the assault force manoeuvres, then the offensive is likely to culminate before it reaches Baghdad, depending on the nature of the force left behind. Is Isis forming relationships with local tribes to help hold their newly acquired cities? Are recently released prisoners with little training part of that force? To what extent has Isis made common cause with the Ba‘athist forces under former Saddam General Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri and theJaysh Rijal al-Tariqa al-Naqshabandia (JRTN)? Reports indicate that JRTN forces and al-Douri supporters are active in Mosul and Tikrit, but we are not able to assess the extent of this activity with any confidence at this point.

    It should be possible to assess in the next 24-48 hours whether the current Isis offensive will continue uninterrupted or whether there will instead be a pause while ISIS regroups and consolidates. The level of activity in the areas northwest and southwest of Baghdad will likely be the most important indicator to watch.

Who's to blame for the fall of Mosul? Middle East analyst Juan Cole has a long charge sheet including: the Bush administration, Saudi Arabia, the Iraqi army, and Nouri al-Maliki. But he says the roots of the problem go right back to the "shameful European imperial scramble for the Middle East during and after WWI".
Live blog coverage:

This nightmare playing out today in Iraq was forecast by many before "Shock and Awe."

I for one want no more blood on my American hands. Let the Iraqis fight it out or resolve their fates at a table of peace. Please don't engage us again Mr. President.

Again, why did 30,000 troupes give up to 800 ISIS warriors?

Perhaps, it time to split up the countries of Iraq and Syria.

Allow the people of the region to work it out. Historically, our propped up governments have hardly ever worked anyway, most becoming dictatorships.

Think I'll read some Conrad today, seems appropriate.

7:16 AM PT: The situation in Mosul now is stable and quiet. There are no armed indications in the city at all, you might see two or four fighters at the main entrances of the city but not inside. Life is so normal in Mosul. Our fighters are advancing towards Baghdad without any significant resistance by the military forces. All we are doing is negotiating with the army and police commanders, as well as tribes leaders, and they are coming over to our side.

The fight now is in the Baghdad suburbs, near the Al Taji district. We have prepared enough men and arms and been waiting for this day for more then 10 years now. All the fighters are Iraqis from different parts of Iraq, in addition to senior military leaders who are lading the battles and setting up our successful plans. This is the reason why we are advancing further day by day. ~the Guardian blog

Interesting developments on the blog...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bush-Cheyney-ISTAN (7+ / 0-)

    Iraq will forever be a monument to the Cheney/Bush administration and a reminder that we should elect smart people and not let courts appoint an illegitimate president.

    The Cheney/Bush administration killed and injured thousands of our young men and women, hundreds of thousands of Iraq civilians and there is nothing good to show for it.

    We will always remember how they destabilized the entire Middle East and how we will now be the target of all the anti-American militants they empowered.

    Obama should prosecute Bush and Cheney for war crimes and more.

  •  Looks like you've posted the (0+ / 0-)

    Entire article, but no mention of the Kurds?

    Notice: This Comment © 2014 ROGNM UID 2547

    by ROGNM on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 04:22:15 AM PDT

  •  Three ethnicities, three nations. Inevitable. M... (5+ / 0-)

    Three ethnicities, three nations. Inevitable. Most of us saw this coming.

    •  Not inevitable. I blame Malaki. (4+ / 0-)

      He didn't have to govern in such a sectarian manner. The US pullout set the table for him between 2008-2012. The political situation was ripe for sectarian reconciliation.

      But that's just not the path he chose.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 05:59:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually al Malaki is another bad choice of (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rithmck, corvo, Bob Love


        "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

        by smiley7 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 06:21:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, they wanted that other Shiite. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smiley7, Bob Love

          Ayad Allawi--the suave guy who was the first PM.  I always liked him, at least relatively, but Shiites didn't like him because he was a secularist and they thought that, despite his exile, he was a closet Baathist.

          It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

          by Rich in PA on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 06:30:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't agree. He was never their choice. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smiley7, kurt, killjoy, Bob Love

          First they wanted Chalabi, then they wanted Alawi.

          I don't think the head of the largest Iran-aligned party was actually who Bush and Cheney wanted in power.

          It's a mistake to assume that everything that happened in Iraq was part of Cheney's grand plan. They really lost control over events there.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 06:44:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I recall our (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Ambassador endorsing al Maliki at the time, but you are right, he's become another demonic despot.

            "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

            by smiley7 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 07:33:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  He never wasn't. (3+ / 0-)

              His militias are just as brutal toward women and gays as the Taliban; always were, too.  They've also done an excellent job of ethnically cleansing several Sunni parts of Baghdad . . . and they ain't exactly using financial incentives.

              Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

              by corvo on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 08:04:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Chalabi may have been their first choice (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe from Lowell

            but it quickly became clear his only support in Iraq was from opportunist, and even they fell way within a matter of days.

            Yes, Cheney released a total clusterfuck. Exactly why no other US president was ever stupid enough to plunge the Middle East into war. I think Bush really saw war in Iraq as a "game-changer". And he was right in the worst way.

            Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

            by Bob Love on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 03:33:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I used to read National Review Online. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bob Love

              Those guys were blathering about The George Washington Of Iraq, and the dirty Arabists in the CIA who wouldn't work with him, long before 2002 - heck, long before 9/11.

              Remember that sorry little spectacle when they tried to stage a Charles de Gaulle march into Baghdad?

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 03:39:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I hate to be laughing at this stuff, but (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joe from Lowell

                I can't help it.

                The night the invasion started I remember being fascinated seeing christianoids on Trinity Broadcasting, eyes blazing with divine inspiration, talking about how in a couple of weeks "we" would be sending thousands - "no, tens of thousands" of missionaries to Iraq and "turn that nation to the Lord." And yes, there was excited talk of the End Times. Creepy in the extreme.

                Another thing that sticks in my memory-craw is the report of Chalabi & Co. meeting with Bush in the WH the night before the invasion, and Bush being intrigued by the observation, new to him, that there were two different religious factions within Islam.

                Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

                by Bob Love on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 04:18:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I can't believe how often that happened. (0+ / 0-)

                  Sylvester Reyes, the Democrat who took over the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 election, had a similar moment about the Sunnis and Shiites. I believe he's the one who said, "That would explain a lot."

                  YEAH, IT WOULD! The freaking House Intelligence Committee Chair!

                  Art is the handmaid of human good.

                  by joe from Lowell on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 03:16:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  I blame Bush, Cheney et al. (0+ / 0-)

        This was a powder-keg, we all knew, but George W. Bush was determined to light the fuse. That adventure is likely to go down in history as the biggest foreign-policy mistake this country has ever made. We are reaping what we have sown.

  •  There are no answers now. (3+ / 0-)

    The Bush Iraq war's mix of empty "democracy" naivete and oil power politics has left the smoking hole in its wake everyone sane foresaw.

    Obama won't be blamed, but his policy has also failed. Pulling out of Iraq spared further American lives lost but also amounted to shrugging and abandoning Iraqis to their fate. Further, failure to stop Syria's brutal civil war strengthened ISIS and led directly to this offensive.

    Walking away some more will only foster more extreme violence.

    There is no one solution, but disengagement would be irresponsible and only accelerate the spiral into extremist chaos.

    •  Extreme chaos exists as we write... (6+ / 0-)

      why back a government that could not raise enough warm bodies today to act and apparently has its army deserting by the thousands.
      No easy answers, but killing more strangers will not help, imho.
      Again, let the people of the region work it out, we could facilitate a peace table with all involved and that's a lot of countries.

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 05:06:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Standing around watching civil war is unwise. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        People of the region "work it out" by slaughtering one another and causing millions-strong refugee crisis after crisis after crisis.

        The West twiddling its thumbs and whistling until the smoke clears only favors a descent into regional war so catastrophic it would make the current ISIS offensive look like a picnic in the park.

        Disengagement is not an option.

        There is no magic wand here. Blind support for al-Maliki helped create this bind, so perhaps now will turn into an opportunity for the West to help transition him out of power.

        We'll see. The human cost of doing nothing far outweighs the dangers of engagement, diplomatic/economic at the very least.

        •  yes, but have we accomplished anything useful (7+ / 0-)

          besides throwing 2 trillion dollars away, getting untold thousands of people killed and contributing both to regional instabiily on a mass scale and an increase in global terrorism?

          If you could honestly say that something has improved as a result of our engagement, that would be one thing.

          I tend to side with the folks who say that we should (cautiously) cast aside our difference with Iran, disengage from our obsession with the Saudis, and work on containment.

          •  The Bush Iraq War was idiotic from Day One. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And I agree with you that its inanity had awful and lingering effects.

            We're left with the detritus we had a large hand in creating. The only ethical and humanitarian thing is for the US and the West to do what they can to alleviate the worst effects of the conflict and help foster stability and hope in the region.

            Doing so (even in a limited way) will mean navigating cascades of repeated horrible situations.  

            All I'm saying us that disengagement isn't an option. It failed as Syria policy. And it will fail again if applied to Iraq.

            For the end result could well be an extremist militant pan-ISIS state of Syria and the wealthiest chunk of Iraq.

            It won't happen. But it will take committed Western engagement to avoid that possibility...

            •  Why are we behind the eight ball on this? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              And why did the Iraqi army desert if the reports on the ground are correct?
              Something's foul.

              "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

              by smiley7 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 06:08:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  the U.S. is itself crumbling right now, in no (0+ / 0-)

              small part due to the nonsense we started over there.

              This may sound extremely callous, but perhaps it is in the best interest for all involved for the situation to actually explode, rather than the U.S. stepping in with a bandaid (which is really all we can do) and pretend to keep things in check while destroying our own socio-economic standing as a result.

              We're done there.  It's going to blow up and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.  It's not just Iraq either--it's the entire region.  IT's not ours to contain--it's not even possible.

              •  Best interests of Syrians and Iraqis? (0+ / 0-)

                It's not to let them die or end up in extremist ISIS hell.

                While I don't believe the US will or should re-occupy, the West will react and the ISIS guys won't get all they want.

                Maybe there will be an opportunity here for the UN or EU to come to the fore. That could be positive. Militarily or no, the West is not done in the region nor will it be for the foreseeable future.

        •  The people of the region (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          have legitimate grips, mostly about the west who fucked them after WWI.
          I agree we should use diplomatic resources; and ideally our NATO friends in the region should apply muscle to stop the carnage, but I do not support using airstrikes or shoulders on the ground to protect al Maliki's failed government.
          In a post below, I recalled Biden's plan to break up Iraq, I'm suggesting that it's past time.

          And it befuddles me that our intel didn't see this coming.

          Appreciate your thoughts on this, very much.

          "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

          by smiley7 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 05:48:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  grrr sp soldiers. (0+ / 0-)

            "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

            by smiley7 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 05:49:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Agree Maliki should go, don't trust Biden plan. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It may well come to partition into ethnic states, perhaps very soon.

            But that too is a recipe for future problems. It would be tough for each on its own to provide security and stability (much less develop functional economies and infrastructure), and who'd be surprised to see them warring anew against the second they could?

            Whatever solution is attempted, bloody pitfalls lie ahead.

        •  Get back to me when the VA is fully funded (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and has no backload and when the kids of the 1% volunteer.  Not too late for you to join the Guard, Chelsea and Lauren.  You too can serve multiple deployments in the war for the 1%.

    •  Half measures are worse than no measures. (5+ / 0-)

      Nothing can be done so nothing should be done.

      •  Isolationist indifference is not a virtue. /nt (0+ / 0-)
        •  Utterly disagree. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smiley7, greenbell, corvo, kurt

          America has not won a war, or attained anything approaching their objectives anyway, since WW2 (well, actually Russia won that one, but at least we were one of the allies).

          What have we accomplished with all of this violence and bloodshed? Absolutely nothing except encouraging more chaos. Oh, and impoverishing our country. Unless you argue that the population control was worth the cost.

          Diplomatic action? Certainly. Sanctions? Sure, if they hurt those promoting the wars more than the general population. But more violence? Spare us.

          Look at our history of failure and tell me why you could possibly think it would be beneficial to anyone except "defense" contractors.

          •  Not all armed interventions are imperialist. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Yes, most post-WWII American interventions have been.

            And ultimately it would be better to live in a non-violent world. To get there, I'd be all for spreading military spending across all responsible nation-states and ceding all operational control to, say, the UN. But of course, that won't happen anytime soon.

            More violence in Iraq and Syria is already happening.

            The question is how best to stop it. Ignoring it won't stop it.

            The UN has had many successes stopping slaughters and negotiating settlements with troop deployment an integral part of the process. The sooner we get back to that model and away from the Bush madness, the better for all.

            While I too want to de-militarize America, the world's crises cannot all be resolved through non-violence.

        •  Oh yes it is!! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Isolationism is highly underrated.  We became a superpower by staying OUT of wars as long as possible.  Our decline began when we believed we had to fight them all.  Look how Canada has passed us up in most measures of quality of life.  We're no longer number 1 in anything but guns.  

          •  America's decline was inevitable. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            We have limited resources. Poorer countries were destined, eventually, to muster bigger pieces of the global pie.

            The West can't expect to pillage global resources and wealth for centuries and then simply wash its hands of all global ills.

            As an ethos, that's just not good enough.

            •  Whoa the neo-cons/libs have your head (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              War is about pillaging for resources and wealth.  Nations virtually never go to war for altruistic reasons. Nations are formed at best with a social contracts that begin with words like "We the People of the United States".  If we could just keep our eyes focused on those 7 words we would solve an amazing number of problems.  Sheesh, most people came to this country to avoid problems abroad not take on every single one of them.  

              •  Libertarian devotion to self doesn't work. (0+ / 0-)

                Over the centuries, rich countries pillaged poor countries and constructed citadels of their ill-acquired wealth and privilege.

                We can't just now loll behind the castle walls and eat bon-bons and yawn while the peasant rabble massacre one another.

                We have to care.

                •   I am old enough and self aware enough to know (0+ / 0-)

                  that caring is something you do for those close to you who you love.  Caring is what a spouse does for her husband who returns from Iraq with multiple amputations and a TBI.  That's caring.  

                  We can't even "care" enough to fund or reform our own VA.

                  Nation states are not in business to "care" for people external to their borders.  

                  And don't try that "privilege" word on me.  It's not in the Constitution and that's my contract.  If you want to amend it to serve some other purpose just go round up 200 million people that agree with you.  Until then, I figure it means what it says and it says, "We the People of the United States...."

                  •  We care for all or we care for none. (0+ / 0-)

                    For every tragedy of a wounded American, there were (no exaggeration) five, six, seven, ten tragedies of dead or wounded Iraqis.

                    Why don't those tragedies count?

                    They do. We don't have the luxury to deny historical and current evils because they take place outside our borders. We should instead do what we can to address them as best as we are able. How to do so is ever and always up for debate -- but those of good will cannot let that debate cease.

                    We do not get a "rich country gated community" privilege card to shut ourselves behind our fenced borders and ignore all non-American humanity. Nor is all human morality outlined and circumscribed by the rhetoric of the Constitution alone. What is legal is not necessarily moral. Far from a final word on morality, the Constitution instead provides only the pre-conditions for us to explore and develop doing good in the world.

                    We fail to live up to its clarion call to action if we insist its inner meaning is to rake in mad dough while abandoning all non-Americans to their suffering we deign not notice.

                    •  Some of us who opposed the war (0+ / 0-)

                      predicted those Iraqi casualties which is why it is brain dead stupid to think that the US, being utterly clueless in 2002, suddenly knows how to straighten things out now.  We did not understand the people and cultures then and we do not now.

                      You are a classic neo-con/neo-lib thinker.  The problem is you ASSUME a WISDOM we do not have and you ASSUME a MORALITY we do not have and you ASSUME RESOURCES you will not FUND.  

                      You want to spend other people's money and other people's lives on other people's problems and sit back and watch the entertainment.  

                      If you care for all, you care for none because you don't have the first clue how much commitment it takes to care for even one.  Caring for all is a utopian commitment beyond any possibility of fulfillment.  You want to discard what is legal, the hard fought rule of law, with some vague moral code and whoever is the number one neo-con du jour will be using the moral code du jour conveniently unattached to any rules or laws or boundaries of any nation state.  

                      God save us from utopians.

                      •  I opposed the Bush War and protested it. (0+ / 0-)

                        I knew hell would follow the invasion and that the whole neo-con gang was a den of fools and villains.

                        Then the war came.

                        And now we are called on to do what little we can for those it ravaged.

                        Caring for all is not utopian. It is the essence of humanitarian thought and the base for all moral action in the world. Rejecting the act of compassion for human beings (and all living things) is the act of the cynic, the selfish, the amoral.

                        We can't save everyone. But we're hopelessly lost unless we craft policy to save the most we can, the best we can.

                        •  Called by who? Who called us? Who? (0+ / 0-)

                          Are we hearing voices again?  Again, I do not want to discourage you from humanitarianism (though generally we do indeed choose who to help and how to help them and all too often with total disregard for how they want to be helped.  Several folks have been posting diaries on the horrors of nuns helping people in ways many now believe were not helpful at all, just one example of how those good works tend to go astray even among your own people). But go for it.  That's what charities do.  That's what missionaries do.  The United States is not a charity or a church.  It does not act with altruistic motives.  It acts out of self-interest.  That's what nation states do.  That's why they exist.  Things go badly when we get these things confused.  They don't always go so great even when we can keep them separate.

                          •  All human institutions have power to do good. (0+ / 0-)

                            It is up to all of us to insist they do more good every day.

                            Morality is not a rigid ideology to be imposed on recalcitrant reality, it is instead a difficult practice that requires a constant re-examination of itself as we learn and experience more of the world (that's where the nuns you spoke of went wrong).

                            If we do nothing, nations won't just do good on their own. They'll be captured by the super-rich and be bent to serve always and only their devices alone.

                            The US has far more power to do good than all its charities and churches combined. It is immoral or (at best) amoral for a citizen to refuse to criticize the acts of the USA and to refuse to ask it to advance the cause of good in the world.

                            Things go badly when we stop demanding our human institutions do more good in the world. They won't do so on their own.

                            Nation-states exist for many complex and chaotic historical reasons. The abstract justifications you cite did not alone will "the nation-state" into existence, but instead were created after the fact to justify its operations.

                            Nation-states act many ways, for many reasons. They are at their best when they acknowledge larger moral ends and attempt to forward them. When nations have pursued naked self-interest alone, the results have been the darkest chapters in modern human history.

                            We must not rewrite them in our times.

                •  Come on, we do care, caring enough to (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Rithmck, Portlaw

                  demonstrate in the streets against the Iraqi invasion to begin with.
                  The question is, should we kill more innocent people by bombing away. I say no.
                  The more news coming to light suggests that many Iraqis are welcoming this offensive....
                  I fear our hawks and fully expect to shortly hear that oil must be saved, protected.

                  "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

                  by smiley7 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 07:43:51 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hundreds of thousands have fled Mosul! (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    smiley7, Portlaw

                    Sunnis are welcoming the invasion.

                    The majority Shi'ites are fleeing in terror.

                    It's not good and is about to get worse.

                    Yes, it is heartening to recall the protests against the Bush Iraq War -- I was there in the streets along with you!

                    •  Cool, so whose side do we take and isn't that (0+ / 0-)

                      the bottom line here? I just don't see a military backing of the Sh'ite government as a solution. Maybe it's best to realize this democracy experiment of Cheney's has failed.
                      And look for another solution
                      I appreciate your postings and thoughts.
                      NATO chief tells NPR, he doesn't see a need for intervention now, I just heard.

                      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

                      by smiley7 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 08:06:10 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Reminds me of the lines (0+ / 0-)

                  Their walls are built of cannon balls,
                  their motto is "don't tread on me"...

        •  Isolationism need not be indifference. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smiley7, greenbell

          We can do lots behind the scenes, such as mend fences with Syria and Iran . . . and Russia.  The only sources of stability in the region, by the way.

          And we can take some of the billions we throw at the war machine and put them into humanitarian relief -- and I don't mean phony vaccination programs.

          Look, you want a war, fight it your goddam self.

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 06:50:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Mend fences with Assad? (0+ / 0-)

            Oh boy. Eek.

            I'm all for turning the American war machine into a green and humanitarian machine. We're on the same side.

            War is already here. Ignoring it resolves nothing.

            Instructing me to go personally to Iraq or Syria is out of line.

            •  No, it's not out of line. (0+ / 0-)

              You want war, sign up with Xe or whatever it's called now.

              Just leave the rest of us out of it, for once.

              Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

              by corvo on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 07:14:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I want to stop war. (0+ / 0-)

                Ignoring the current war won't stop it.

                Please stop personalizing a policy discussion.

                •  Then stop demanding we do something. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Right now the best we can hope for is containment (by diplomatic means involving The Axis of EEEEEvullll) and humanitarian relief.

                  Anything else just feeds the American war machine.

                  Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                  by corvo on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 07:20:27 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Making an absolute virtue of disengagement (0+ / 0-)

                    is as misguided as Bush's absolute virtue of engagement.

                    I will not back down one bit. Those in power in the West came very close to taking military action in Syria months ago.

                    They should have done so then. It would have spared the region a larger, more deadly and more dangerous conflict now.

                    •  Yes, and I for one am delighted (0+ / 0-)

                      we didn't take military action in Syria.

                      Imposing a Salafist jihadi Caliphate isn't my idea of imposing stability on a bunch of less-than-white people, thank you very much.

                      If anything, we should've come down on the side of Assad, who runs a pretty nasty regime, but at least it isn't genocidal.

                      That would've spared you your ISIS problem but quickly.

                      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                      by corvo on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 07:46:11 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Only Assadists support your policy suggestion. (0+ / 0-)

                        Do you know any Syrians? How about Syrians who are not peons of Assad's brutal regime?

                        I do. They would be infuriated to hear such callous talk.

                        The answers were not simple, but dealing with ISIS when they were only a Syrian problem sure beats doing nothing until they exploded into a Syrian/Iraqi problem.

                        Doing nothing got ISIS a hell of a lot closer to their Salafist caliphate ambition which they have all but achieved today. Why is that to be lauded as a policy success? It's not.

                        •  Oh, you mean like all those Christians (0+ / 0-)

                          who are in the crosshairs of the "good guys"?

                          Keep swallowing the Western corporate propaganda if it tastes so good to you.

                          If you'd been paying attention lo these years, you'd know that our attitude toward ISIS has always been of the "wink wink nudge nudge" variety.  And now we're supposed to act all outraged because ISIS is doing precisely what we've armed and funded them to do?  Get real.

                          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                          by corvo on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 10:39:06 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  No, I mean anti-Assadist Syrians. (0+ / 0-)

                            As in, sane, non-murderous Syrians.

                            Advocating action to deal with unfolding catastrophe is not grounds to label me a corporate shill. Nonsense.

                            No one expects you to be outraged. People of conscience and principle are merely calling on responsible world powers to respond to some very nasty events unfolding in Iraq.

                          •  There are non-murderous Syrians (0+ / 0-)

                            and they aren't represented by any of the armed factions, nor by the puppets we keep on trying to prop up.

                            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                            by corvo on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 06:37:02 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  They don't mind instructing the MN NG to go (0+ / 0-)

              I'm kind of old of here but I have this problem when I see the kids from all the little bergs out here dressed up in MINNESOTA NG gear being sent off to war in some country that has nothing whatever to do with MINNESOTA.  They should stay home and defend us from mosquitos or fight the Canadians over fish.  You know do something useful for MINNESOTA not reorder the world to suit some service dodging elitist neocon sitting in his think tank in DC.

              •  Humanitarian values are global. (0+ / 0-)

                We can't build social justice by refusing to acknowledge non-American humanity. It's also hypocritical, as our suburban comforts are all drawn from our 1% catbird seat in world trade (fund cheap products by outsourcing cheap labor and massive pollution).

                Yes, protest neo-liberal war-mongering. But in the name of justice for all, not just justice for suburban Minnesotans.

                •  If you or Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or Bono (0+ / 0-)

                  want to go do a global humanitarian mission, fine.  But that is not the purpose of the US government.  You can see right there in Iraq what happens when people don't have a common understanding of the rules of their nation state.  That's what happens when you just make stuff up.  We have a Constitution which defines our purpose and that purpose has NOTHING to do with Iraq.  The only people who have a prayer of making that case are the ones who tell us we might freeze if they don't secure the oil.  At least they can connect the dots to Minnesota.  

                  •  I want social justice progress in the world. (0+ / 0-)

                    That work is all-consuming and not a charity benefit ball. No. It entails the long and tedious struggle to make imperfect human institutions more perfect. The Constitution does not make policy. It wasn't intended to. Its only scope was to empower three branches of government to determine and implement policy. Deciding what policies do the most good (BOTH for Americans AND the world) is precisely what the Constitution demands us to debate. That's why we debate!

                    •  "I want" (0+ / 0-)

                      You want to reorder the world to fit YOUR world view.  And with the arrogance of a good neo-con, you think you know what is good for everyone else in the world when it's hard enough to figure out what's good for everyone on your block.  

                      One of the reasons I don't apologize for being religious is because I think it helps separate the realms of "good and evil" (very dangerous territory) from the pragmatic needs of civil society.  

                      The US government was not created to do good.  If you want to set up an institution to do good, start a church or fund a charity.  The US government was setup to represent the people of this and no other country.  The people in Iraq do not get a vote in the "good" we deliver in the form of bunker bombs or just plain chaos.  That is the root of the problem.  They had no vote.

                      •  We either work for goals or work for nothing. (0+ / 0-)

                        Working for nothing is not admirable.

                        It's not moral. It's literally purposeless.

                        Working to better the world means listening to others, taking their views and aspirations into account, and endlessly refining and revising how change is crafted.

                        It is the opposite of monolithic. It is engagement.

                        Disengagement and disinterest in the lives and fates of others only advances the cause of violence, terror, and evil.

                        All human institutions can be pushed to do good things. All.
                        But they won't do so if we don't endlessly insist they do.

                        People do not gain rights, freedoms and justice by going to church or attending a charity raffle. Gains are made when slowly, painfully, human institutions are badgered, tugged. and forced kicking and screaming to serve moral ends.

                        The roots of Iraq's problems are far deeper than any abstract vote or lack of vote. They go back centuries to tribal culture, then heavily shaped in recent times by the brutal history of the oil industry, colonial jousting in the Middle East by world powers, tangled up with poverty, authoritarianism, and sectarian strife

                        When faced with that kind of mess of the world, we must plead with human institutions to make things better. Refusing to pressure them means merely accepting the ills as they are.

                        That's not good enough.

                        •  You keep repeating "good" and "moral" as if there (0+ / 0-)

                          is any objective measure of either.  Those are value laden words.  Again, I suggest you choose the faith based organization of your choice to pursue your moral goal of doing good.  

                          •  No. I refuse to stop demanding govts be good. (0+ / 0-)

                            No, never. The second we do, the forces of evil win.

                            Good is something I want organizations to embody in the world. It's not a hobby or a fairy tale I will restrict to a charity black-tie formal dance or a once-weekly sermon to sleep through.

                            Such passivity is not becoming.

                            They call them "activists" for a reason. I stand with them.

                •  How have those humanitarian values worked out (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  in Libya?

                  During the original conflict many here were extolling the virtues of the February 17th Martyrs Brigade as "freedom fighters". This group was also tasked with helping to secure the diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Now this brigade is on the receiving end of the bombing by Khalifa Haftar.

                  Benjamin Franklin's old adage "If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas". Even a cursory examination of the group at the time of the overthrow of Qaddafi showed they were dogs so for many here, the current situation in Libya comes as no surprise.

                  •  I was not involved with the Libya discussion. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Claudius Bombarnac

                    Poor and unstable countries will require continuous and difficult commitment by many outside forces to improve.

                    Re-evaluating actions and allies is an on-going imperative.

                    Absolute disengagement as guiding principle means just telling the world to go to hell. It is an abdication of any value at all and I will argue against such an action so long as there is breath in my body.

                    •  Many countries are poor and unstable due to (0+ / 0-)

                      outside forces intervening in their internal politics. Most would be better left alone to sort out their differences. I'm hard pressed to think of one US intervention out of the 70 or so in the last century that turned out for the better for the ordinary people.

                      I do not think the US should be the arbiter of what is right and wrong in the world. It acts only out of it's own self interest which is usually defined as the self interest of the monied class.

                      In this light, Iraq and Afghanistan were a disaster for humanity but greatly increased the fortunes of the MIC and oil conglomerates.

    •  How, precisely, was the U.S. to "stop" (0+ / 0-)

      . . . Syria's civil war? By invading & occupying the country? Because that's what it would have taken. By air & missile strikes? These would have degraded the Assad regime's military superiority & made for a more even fight, but this would have been just more gasoline on the flames. So maybe there would have been jihadi rule in Damascus rather than in Mosul. By "arming the rebels"? Well, Saudi Arabia & Qatar have done precisely that, & this is where that strategy has led.

      This situation already IS extremist chaos. Re-engagement by U.S. forces would only worsen that situation. We lit this fire by invading Iraq & removing Saddam Hussein, destroying the country's infrastructure, imposing shock therapy on its economy, disbanding its army, & brutally occupying the country for 8 years. The Iraq War drained our treasury, killed 4,500 of our young men & women & maimed tens of thousands more, & undermined our credibility & whatever moral authority we could claim. It bled us dry & left us militarily exhausted & politically polarized. We lack the power & the political will to put this fire out. Such are the wages of folly.

  •  The Sunnis seem to want it more. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Saddam in charge was probably the natural order of things, not an abberation.

    •  Good read: Juan Cole (8+ / 0-)

      The fall of Mosul to the radical, extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a set of historical indictments. Mosul is Iraq’s second largest city, population roughly 2 million (think Houston) until today, when much of the population was fleeing. While this would-be al-Qaeda affiliate took part of Falluja and Ramadi last winter, those are smaller, less consequential places and in Falluja tribal elders persuaded the prime minister not to commit the national army to reducing the city.

      It is an indictment of the George W. Bush administration, which falsely said it was going into Iraq because of a connection between al-Qaeda and Baghdad. There was none. Ironically, by invading, occupying, weakening and looting Iraq, Bush and Cheney brought al-Qaeda into the country and so weakened it as to allow it actually to take and hold territory in our own time. They put nothing in place of the system they tore down. They destroyed the socialist economy without succeeding in building private firms or commerce. They put in place an electoral system that emphasizes religious and ethnic divisions. They helped provoke a civil war in 2006-2007, and took credit for its subsiding in 2007-2008, attributing it to a troop escalation of 30,000 men (not very plausible). In fact, the Shiite militias won the civil war on the ground, turning Baghdad into a largely Shiite city and expelling many Sunnis to places like Mosul. There are resentments.

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 05:20:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Getting rid of Saddam left an enormous vacuum. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, OleHippieChick

    Bush and Cheney have to be the most evil people the US has ever produced.

    Best Scientist Ever Predicts Bacon Will Be Element 119 On The Periodic Table

    by dov12348 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 05:17:22 AM PDT

    •  Well, evil comes in all types. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rithmck, kurt

      The idea that keeping Saddam Hussein in power for the sake of avoiding a vacuum seems pretty evil to me.  At very least, it sounds better in the original Kissingerese.

      It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

      by Rich in PA on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 06:27:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  First of all it was based on lies. (0+ / 0-)

        We were already transferring the 5th Special Forces Group from Afghanistan to staging areas near Iraq in early 2002, while Bin Laden was escaping through Tora Bora.

        And what is our principle?  Remove all bad dictators from the earth?  We'd destroy ourselves in the process.

        Best Scientist Ever Predicts Bacon Will Be Element 119 On The Periodic Table

        by dov12348 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 10:11:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Too bad about the Kurds. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, joe from Lowell

    I'd probably be in favor of sending them assistance if they wanted to break away and defend themselves, but Turkey would disapprove, right?

    •  Most likely and Iran (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jrooth, joe from Lowell

      rattled their saber earlier today. I recalled this morning that
      Biden suggested breaking up Iraq into three regions.
      A little search reveled this:

      Biden's Iraq plan had been a central theme of his own presidential campaign, and the subject of numerous addresses, television appearances, and op-eds. He authored a Senate resolution, passed in September, that reflected his plan, and he even created a Web site to promote it: But there is no more talk about that Senate resolution. And the Web site has been quietly taken down.

      Hindsight, damn.

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 05:29:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I remember the Biden Plan. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Probably would have been a good "cooling off" period to let them build their separate societies then decide whether they wanted to become a state again -- or not.

        As I understand it, it's not really a nation anyway -- just some lines drawn on a map by the Brits a long time ago.

        •  Many have misunderstood the original plan (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          At this time I believe federalism will no longer be a viable solution. Too much blood has been spilled.

          Partition into three politically separate regions is the end game - as it is in Syria. This would work to the US's (and it's regional allies) long term geopolitical advantage.

          Federalism, Not Partition

          By Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Leslie H. Gelb
          Wednesday, October 3, 2007
          Instead, Maliki and the administration -- through our embassy in Baghdad -- distorted the Biden-Brownback amendment beyond recognition, charging that we seek to "partition or divide Iraq by intimidation, force or other means."

          We want to set the record straight. If the United States can't put this federalism idea on track, we will have no chance for a political settlement in Iraq and, without that, no chance for leaving Iraq without leaving chaos behind.

          First, our plan is not partition, though even some supporters and the media mistakenly call it that. It would hold Iraq together by bringing to life the federal system enshrined in its constitution. A federal Iraq is a united Iraq but one in which power devolves to regional governments, with a limited central government responsible for common concerns such as protecting borders and distributing oil revenue.
          The Bush administration's quixotic alternative has been to promote a strong central government in Baghdad. That central government doesn't function; it is corrupt and widely regarded as irrelevant. It has not produced political reconciliation -- and there is no evidence it will.

          Second, we are not trying to impose our plan. If the Iraqis don't want it, they won't and shouldn't take it, as the Senate amendment makes clear. But Iraqis and the White House might consider the facts. Iraq's constitution already provides for a federal system. As for the regions forming along sectarian lines, the constitution leaves the choice to the people of its 18 provinces.

    •  Tensions between the Kurds and Turkey (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smiley7, jrooth

      Have cooled a bit. And I suspect that Turkey would far rather have Kurds as neighbors rather than ISIS.

      •  I'm not personally sufficiently invested in (0+ / 0-)

        schadenfreude to enjoy the blowback the Turks are experiencing at the hands of the ISIS . . . but blowback it is.

        They sowed the wind; they reap the whirlwind.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 07:32:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Expect the Kurds to seize the moment. (0+ / 0-)

      The pesh merga, unlike the Iraqi army, are a loyal, disciplined, motivated force that has already proved capable of providing security & defending the country's borders. Yesterday they occupied Kirkuk. With this city & its oil wealth in its possession, Kurdistan becomes economically viable as an independent state.

      If Kurdistan does declare independence, I certainly hope the U.S. & other countries recognize it. Turkey would no doubt disapprove, but Turkey doesn't have veto power over this.

  •  Oh, to answer your headline. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think we learned -- for the time being, anyway.

    I don't even think repubs want back into this mess.

    •  With the info available, this offensive looks well (0+ / 0-)

      coordinated by ISIS, this man?


      In the scheme of prominent jihadi leaders, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq in Syria (Isis), is among the most mysterious. And his mystique – for now at least – has only been burnished by his group's capture of the city of Mosul.
      NSA/CIA/ our behemoths don't seem to know much except about our emails and phone calls.

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 05:37:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Those orgs exist to protect American (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        smiley7, Claudius Bombarnac

        corporate interests.  That explains most of their domestic and European espionage.

        It's only sensible to suspect that they're not all that concerned about actual terrorism, which just pads the bottom line of the corporations that constitute the MIC.  And that padding is best accomplished by continued war.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 07:33:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Is this starting to feel like the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    final collapse in Vietnam? (Note: I'm not saying that it will be. In fact, I think this isn't the final act, but maybe it is.)

  •  Do not just blame Bush admin or Saudis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, corvo

    I also blame the attitude of the United States of " We know best so do as we wish " We need to change our thinking and stop being the worlds cop. And that other countries need the same policies as ours. We can not impose our values on other cultures no matter how barbaric they are to us. As sad as it makes me. The world sucks and politics and religion ( is there a real difference? ) only seem to make it worse.


  •  Well, you win some and you lose some. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's not like Bosnia or Panama or other places we've intervened have all gone to hell.  There is a lot of essentialism about Islam and Muslims in these "when will we ever learn?" interpretations that I consider pernicious paleoconism.  

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 06:25:43 AM PDT

    •  That's quite a each this morning... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, marsanges

      Peter Seeger to Pat Buchanan
      Forgive me, not following your thinking...

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 06:39:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bosnia was Europe's problem - should have stayed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      out of it.  Panama is in our "sphere of influence" so we had a realpolitik reason for intervention.  EVERY problem is not our problem and the paleocons have that right if I follow you there.  Our interventions should be closely tied to our essential interests and our essential allies.  And no "ally" not in the "5 eyes" club is an essential ally because I wouldn't count on any ally other than the UK, Canada and Australia/NZ to actually fight to defend us.

      All other allies and engagements are optional and we must consider our resources and the needs of the American public before engaging in any military conflict.

  •  The NSA says (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    So what's really up? Should we ask our great trillion dollar intelligence agencies? What do you hear NSA?
    that there are dangerous Occupiers and Quakers in our midst.  Forget the Tsarnayevs and militias; if they strike, the only end result is an increase in NSA funding and power.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 06:47:57 AM PDT

  •  I've put up a live blog... (0+ / 0-)

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 08:47:54 AM PDT

  •  The Islamic State of Iraq (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, Claudius Bombarnac

    created by the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. No Saddam's rule was not good either but to insert the chaos of war into that cruel dictatorship was the wrong course of action.

    •  To facilitate Saddam's rise to power within the (0+ / 0-)

      Iraq government in the first place was the wrong course of action.

      The CIA originally tasked Saddam with the assassination of Iraqi Prime Minister Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim in 1959. After the death of Qasim, the CIA then tasked Saddam with jailing, torturing and killing thousands of suspected communists. Saddam performed these duties with extreme efficiency and soon became head of the secret intelligence apparatus of the Baath Party whereupon he rose to power.

      US meddling in the ME has created blow-back after blow-back if peace and security were the real goal. If destabilization and increasing the MIC's and oil conglomerate's bottom line were the real objective, then the US has been extremely successful including right up to this very day.

      •  But of course! we have to go back to the discovery (0+ / 0-)

        of oil in the Middle East and US interests ever since have been to keep up the flow. Saddam had started to make oil deals in Euros instead of dollars. And that was his WMD.

        Thank you for the history, it makes me remember that photo of Rumsfeld shaking Saddam's hand.

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