U.S. Airstrike Kills Qasem Suleimani, Others

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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258 Responses

  1. Avatar Aaron David
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    says:

    and I oop.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    2020 is going to be a very long, dangerous, and depressing year because we have an absolute Caligula in charge of the most mighty Empire the world has ever known. Everybody is going to stick with their priors rather than unite behind whatever candidate the Democratic Party nominates because “Na na na na White Christian nationalism, the Democratic Party has socialist girlie cooties and are supported by Hollywood pedophiles.” Can we not make sense once as a species? Can we not do the right thing?Report

    • Avatar Zac Black in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      I think the sum total of recorded history is pretty resoundingly: “Generally, no.”Report

    • Avatar Ruthee in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      The United States is not and has never been an empire. We fought a revolution to gain independence from an empire (the British). “In history”? Rome was an actual empire because invaded — not defended– other nations. It was entertained by watching slaves fight to the death and Christians devoured by lions. Attila the Gun? Genghis Kahn? Josef Stalin? What about Tutsis and Hutus killing each other because their noses and head are shaped differently? It was The first Democrat President (Andrew Jackson) who ran the natives off their land in the southeast.

      The “ordinary” people of Iran are celebrating the United States today, because they are tired of their friends and families being slaughtered along with the global victims of the “revered” two-year general.Report

      • Avatar Ruthee in reply to Ruthee
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        says:

        Did not capture my edit. Bummer. I wrote: our Judeo Christian foundations resulted in free market (entrepreneurship and innovation) and the world’s first Constitution (self-government) (based on the Mayflower Compact — please read it) One of those Judeo Christian values is a strong education. Through our example the poverty in the world is shrinking daily. But because we have drifted from our Christian foundations and desired becoming like the rest of the world, our nation is also fading.Report

  3. Avatar George Turner
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    says:

    To me, this is much much bigger than taking out Bin Laden or Baghdadi, since Soleimani commanded an actual state army of terrorists, special forces, and conventional military forces, with a budget in the billions. He has plagued the region for two decades, and I imagine a lot of government leaders over there are celebrating tonight.

    I loved how Trump added “Happy New Year!” to his tweet to Khameini.

    There will of course be some blow back, but Iran has been attacking us anyway. Yesterday we dispatched 750 members of the 82nd airborne to Kuwait, and I think a couple thousand extra troops will likewise be beefing up our presence.

    In other interesting news, Turkey is dispatching military forces to aid Libya’s government against forces backed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other Arab countries.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    “I and the public know
    What all schoolchildren learn,
    Those to whom evil is done
    Do evil in return.

    Exiled Thucydides knew
    All that a speech can say
    About Democracy,
    And what dictators do,
    The elderly rubbish they talk
    To an apathetic grave;
    Analysed all in his book,
    The enlightenment driven away,
    The habit-forming pain,
    Mismanagement and grief:
    We must suffer them all again.”-W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939

    http://www.poemdujour.com/Sept1.1939.html

    PS: You forgot the bit about Trump tweeting that Obama would start a war with Iran to get reelected in 2011. Fun times. Fun times.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      And also that Donald is Dove and Hillary is a Hawk. Donald, the guy that almost got us into nuclear armageddon with North Korea because of cock size contest.Report

      • Avatar Ruthee in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Actually our President prevented the dictator of North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and potentially dropping them on various nations. The “almost” was/is Un’s responsibility, and thank God we have a strong good man leading us not a namby pamby like before.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion, too

    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You, you may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you will join us
    And the world will be as oneReport

  6. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    I haven’t anybody even suggest Sol wasnt’ a real bad guy. But i also havn’t seen anything resembling a strategic calculation about this. Sure Trump and the R’s have a rage-on hate for Iran that has clouded them to anything except regime change. This is a clear escalation and there will be blowback. Is this worth whatever comes back at us? Who knows. Since our entire policy is regime change, which will fail, what are we gaining from this? There is no clear end game here with significant risks for bloody escalation.

    Also this attack took place in Iraq. Are the Iraqi’s cool with this? If not then we have royally sporked whatever relationship we have there with the government.

    We had start on a new relationship with Iran just a few years ago. Now there will be nothing positive for decades.Report

    • Avatar Michael Siegel in reply to greginak
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      says:

      This, to me, is the big concern. Trump hasn’t even remotely thought out the game here. He did this on a whim. The consequences … eh, that’ll be for someone else to figure out.Report

      • Disagree about the “whim” part. I am no fan of the president’s temperament or decision making but this clearly had been planned for at least the last few days, probably a long-term plan to hit Suleimani held ready that became an opportunity after the rocket attack that killed an American contract the other day and Suleimani was openly, and uncharacteristically brazenly, traveling in Iraq. There was a lot of moving parts to getting munitions on this particular target. Has the president gamed out everything that means is definitely open to debate. You have to dig back quite a ways for a presidential decision on a single action like this with more ramifications, good and bad potentially.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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          says:

          Yeah, this seems like it would have a lot of moving parts for a POTUS that has shown little administrative capacity. I would not be surprised if this was something set in motion when Bolton was NSA and a good opportunity came around just recently.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to PD Shaw
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            says:

            I wouldn’t even go that far, to be honest. This strikes me as more like US war plans for invading Canada. The military has gamed out invasions of every country on the planet as part of a commitment to general preparedness. Invading Canada wouldn’t suddenly become “a long term plan” simply because the Pentagon studied the possibility in some detail.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to PD Shaw
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            says:

            This is going to get me accused of insufficiently hating Donald Trump but I think you’re right and it probably would’ve happened under any plausible administration. My bet is the defense/intelligence bureaucracy has plans laid out for this sort of thing, has had them for years, and carries them out in a way that is largely agnostic to the situational details. The president is a veto point, but one that can mostly be relied on give the green light.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
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              says:

              and it probably would’ve happened under any plausible administration>

              What’s the “it” here? Assassinating Suleimani? A show of military strength against Iran? Escalation towards eventual war?

              I disagree with the suggestion that institutional inevitability led to Trump’s (in my view) rash act. Eg, if War with Iran was the goal, then why not use the Saudi oil refinery strike as a pretext?Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I don’t think there is a coherent goal I think a determination has been made that Iran is an enemy (which on balance is true but we must never, ever ponder how this state of affairs came to be) and all plans flow from that. Maybe you could say the goal is regime change, but only in the most aspirational sense.

                My read is that a tactical opportunity arose to damage an adversary and Trump pulled the trigger. Maybe another president wouldn’t have pulled this particular trigger at this particular time (I doubt Obama would have but who knows).

                My point about institutional inevitability is that I believe only one sort of plan is being consistently put on the table and they all go only in one direction. Yea on balance it’d be preferable to have an executive with some (any?) sense of the ramifications but as long as we have the capability to ‘pull the trigger’ over there and a calcified worldview some president eventually was going to pull it and cause an escalation.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to InMD
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                says:

                Umm …would Obama have done this. I think we can pretty clearly say no he didn’t and he would have, as one does, gather an international coalition to achieve a significant arms control treaty that could also start to lead to a lessening of tensions with Iran. Well theoretically he could have done, we’ll never really know of course.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to greginak
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                says:

                Obama isn’t a plausible president because he has already served 2 terms. However his deal, while I supported it, was a castle built on sand and IMO that only further supports my point.

                Do I think Obama would’ve pulled this particular trigger? Probably not. Harder to say for a hypothetical HRC admin which is the only plausible alternative. I can say both the last and the hypothetical alternative admins were/would be consistently in favor of deepening intervention and when our entire policy establishment favors it no one president is so brilliant or perfect that we aren’t constantly on the precipice of another disaster. Not when the table is set the way it is.

                So yes, I’d prefer Obama’s judgment over Trump’s every day of the week but if you think his administration or a hypothetical Clinton administration was incapable of something just as provocative you’re deluding yourself.

                Now Trump certainty owns this and whatever results from it. But spare me the handwringing from people who just a few weeks ago would’ve had a shooting war with a NATO ally or Iranian proxies (or both) in Syria.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to InMD
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                says:

                The nuke deal with Iran was a successful until Trump pulled us out unilaterally and put in escalating sanctions on Iran. That is one of the very immediate back drops to our situation with Iran.

                Our almost conflict with turkey and the cluster with syria were at least partly due to trumps incoherence, his inability to form a strategy and being played by everybody.

                Whether some D admin is incapable of stupid actions is inarguable and irrelevant.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to greginak
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                says:

                Your mistake is in believing that this whole thing doesn’t rest on top of a long series of precedents and actions by a lot of people and institutions.

                Make no mistake, Trump is (morally at least) responsible for his own actions, just like the cop who shoots first and asks questions later. But if you actually believe this kind of situation is a problem that needs to be addressed you need to accept that it goes well beyond whose turn it is to wear the badge. In fact I would say failing to understand that is failing to actually grasp why what Trump did is so bad.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
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                says:

                My read is that a tactical opportunity arose to damage an adversary and Trump pulled the trigger.

                My read is that Trump became aware of a tactical opportunity which serves his narrow, short term personal political goals, regardless of consequences. As I’ve said, Trump would rather see half the world burn than suffer a prick to his finger. This is that. Dressing it as anything else is disingenuous.

                Add: that said, I agree that institutional inertia and decision-making emanating from *the Pentagon* will view things as a nail needing to be hammered. It’s the military, after all. But Presidential decision-making is informed by more institutional tools than hammers, and wise POTUS’s avail themselves of them all.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                He would, and would that any president were denied the opportunity to distract from his own scandal-plagued presidency with acts of war in a powder keg.

                I have a serious problem with this stuff on principle but the fact that buffoons are elected all the time should be enough to convince people how bad our foreign policy has become.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
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                says:

                InMD, I fully get that you’re not down with the US in the ME, and especially not down with the US escalating in the ME. But it seems *ridiculous* to me to account for what’s essentially an act of war by transferring blame to institutional inertia rather than to the petulance, narcissism, ignorance and imbecility of the idiot in the Oval Office.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I blame him, but not him alone.

                I also firmly believe that until we stop compartmentalizing each episode as something one particular guy in the oval office did we will never get out of this mess.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
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                says:

                What mess? Have you watched the Wire? 🙂

                Unilaterally pulling out of the ME will lead to foot-stomping demands to get BACK INTO THE ME. Unilaterally rejecting military solutions will lead to foot-stomping demands for military solutions.

                The problem isn’t our leaders, it’s the American people. We are (as I’ve said on this site many times before) the most easily propagandized people in the “free” world. And that’s because we, as a people, have no fundamental decency or common sense.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Well this is where you can take your turn to call me naive, pollyannaish, or flat out dumb, but non-intervention has a long political tradition in the US. I’d say that on balance we’ve been more non-interventionist than interventionist through most of our history. It’s just lately since WW2 that the Overton window has closed to a crack.

                Who is to say what’s possible? Not that I’ll hold my breath or anything.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                but non-intervention has a long political tradition in the US.

                It did. Until that tradition’s immovability met the irresistible force of US proganda in the lead up to the US’ involvement in WWI. Since then it’s been all propaganda all the time.

                A great book on this is Alex Carey’s Taking the Risk out of Democracy.

                I seriously can’t recommend it enough.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Sounds depressing. I’ll have to check it out.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
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                says:

                It’s not depressing for people who are already depressed…Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
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                says:

                “The Pentagon also tacked on the choice of targeting Suleimani, mainly to make other options seem reasonable. When Trump chose the option…top military officials, flabbergasted, were immediately alarmed about the prospect of Iranian retaliatory strikes”

                NYT.

                lol

                Course, there’s lots of ass-covering going on here and I don’t take the NYT story at face value unless corroborated etc. But still…Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                …were immediately alarmed about the prospect of Iranian retaliatory strikes…

                From what I have read, also immediately said, “Of course the Iraqis are going to kick us out of the country.” The Council of Representatives (parliament) is holding an emergency meeting tomorrow.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Michael Cain
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                says:

                BREAKING: Iraqi Parliament votes to terminates Security agreement with #US, and for the withdrawal of US and foreign troops from the countryReport

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                From Josh Rogin:

                Pompeo: “We will have to take a look at what we do when the Iraqi leadership and government makes its decision… we will make the right decision. We will take actions that frankly the previous administration refused to take to do just that.” What?

                Pompeo: “In 2015, the Obama-Biden administration essentially handed power to the Iranian leadership, and acted as a quasi-ally of theirs, by underwriting them, underwriting the very militias that killed Americans.” Wow.

                What the hell?

                So, “actions the previous administration refused to take” coupled with “they handed Iraq over to Iran” paints a pretty bleak picture. Maybe he’s puffing his chest out to save face for a massive political embarrassment. Still a pretty bleak message.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Don’t the vassal lords know to obey our commands?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Don’t the vassal lords know to obey our commands?

                Is this building up to “and that’s why we should kill them to show them our place”?

                Because, if it’s not, we can say “oooh, the baby bird is asking to be pushed out of its nest! Very good, fly, baby bird, fly!” and we can declare victory and go home.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Jaybird,

                That’s certainly a possibility, and it’s early enough in the unfolding action that leaving is still a live option, but do you think Pompeo’s comments are consistent with unilateral withdrawal from the ME?

                (I don’t. Quite the opposite in fact. Pompeo’s positions is more like Vietnam logic: that you need to destroy the village in order to save it.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Oh, I agree.

                I just want “declare victory and go home” to be an option without ostensible lefties screaming “TRUMP’S A PUSSY WHO WITHDREW FROM IRAQ PREMATURELY!”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Oh!

                You don’t like the left?

                Who knew?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                If the left said “we shouldn’t be there”, I’d like them.

                If the left said “leaving would give Trump a win unless we demand that he goes to war with Iran in Iraq”, I’d like them less.

                How do you feel about the left?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                {{The Right – Cheney/Bush – got us there. Hillary voted to go there, Obama beat her in the primary because he voted no. The Right – Trump – has the ability to withdraw US troops from there yet doesn’t. You’re focused on the wrong people, Jaybird. You’re terribly fucking confused.The Right is who fucked the situation up beyond all recognition.}}Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Sure. I think we should declare victory and go home. Pull out entirely. Afghanistan too.

                For some reason, I’m seeing ostensible leftists argue that doing so would lose Iraq instead of be something that we should have done in 2009.

                How do you feel about the left?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                How do you feel about the left?

                “The Right holds all the levers of power right now, but let’s focus on the REAL problem in our politics: lefties who hold no power.”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Never mind the President and Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Senators and Congressional committees overseeing our foreign policy.

                Lets focus on an even more pressing crisis facing America: Tweets from minor celebrities and college sophomores.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I think we should leave Iraq.

                Is this something that you’d be willing to support as well?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Yes, I do.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Good. I hope we are able to pull out of Iraq.

                I think pulling out of Iraq is a good idea.

                Even if Trump does it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Sun Tzu talked about this in The Art of War, in an appendix titled “College Radicals”.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Important clarification from @hushamalhashimi
                for media.

                The parliament voted on a decision to end #Iraq’s membership in the international coalition to combat ISIS, nothing in the proposal about the expulsion of foreign forces or about the 2008 agreement with the US.

                OK., some confusion re: Iraq’s parliamentary vote.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Wall Street Journal:

                Iraqi Parliament Votes in Favor of Expelling U.S. Troops Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Breaking News: Iran says it is ending all its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal and will no longer limit uranium enrichment

                From NYT.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Also:
                U.S.-Led Coalition Halts ISIS Fight as It Steels for Iranian Attacks

                https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/05/us/politics/us-isis-iran.html

                The stupidity, it burns.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                The Iranians are in a high-leverage situation here, seems to me. Everyone in the West is running scared, they have the Iraqi government on their side, and there’s no *rush* to act in response. Trump has basically done the majority of their difficult political/strategic work for them. So good work, Trump!

                MAGA!

                The range of policy options available to the US and Europe, strategically and politically, has been drastically reduced.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                There’s a “wait and see” on that vote, since Kurds and Sunnis skipped it to show support for the US. It’s said that a majority of the 180 members present supported the measure, but it takes 165 votes to win (there are 330 seats in the Iraqi parliament).Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Our good friends, the Kurds!

                Good thing we have such deep and abiding trust with them.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I didn’t want to make that point, cuz *politics at the OT* and all, but yeah. The idea that Kurds are pro-American at this point is snake-oil even the worst con-man wouldn’t to try to sell.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                That may be relevant if it were a popularity contest, but the Kurds like us way better than they like the Arab Iraqis, who frequently try to kill them, and when not trying to kill them, try to stiff them out of oil revenues. In that regard, we’re still the only policeman around.

                So their vote would reflect self-preservation and autonomy, and along with many of the Sunnis, would be a vote against being crushed by corrupt pro-Iranian Shias, which is the likely outcome of a complete US withdrawal from involvement there.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                That may be relevant if it were a popularity contest

                Well, it is, isn’t it? It’s just that the audience isn’t the Kurds but ignorant Americans.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Back when my chat buddies were in Iraq and Kurdistan, Iraqi Kurds despised Syrian Kurds. Maybe they’ve warmed to them since then.

                In any event, I haven’t found an actual vote total to tell if “a majority” of 180 members means 91 or 179, which makes a difference when it takes 165 votes to win. There are some additional complexities, too, such as that the prime minister (who may have just resigned) sets policy, not parliament.

                So what we have is a vote by the pro-Iranian Shia faction, and can judge its size when someone reports what the actual vote was, assuming it wasn’t taken by a simple show of hands.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                The Guardian is reporting the vote was 170-0.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Michael Cain
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                says:

                Iraq’s PM, who is going to resign, said he’d sign it, but he might also drag is feet and resign first, assuming parliament doesn’t have additional votes on such measures.

                In any event, what they passed just ends their cooperation in the anti-ISIS coalition, which at this point has about wound down anyway. That could just be a clerical oversight on their part, though, voting to eliminate the first agreement that came to hand.

                I would guess it will take many weeks for all this to shake out, if not months. No hurry, because at least some Iraqis will using some aspect of the vote as an excuse to kill each other for the next several decades. It will be item |#2573 on their laundry list of wrongs that must be avenged.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                This series of comments really exemplifies the conservative American viewpoint, doesn’t it?

                The way they just so self-confidently and with unalloyed conviction express a deep and complex understanding of the nuances and complexities of a world they know nothing about.

                Nothing they have predicted over the past two decades has come true, and every goal they promised to accomplish they have utterly and completely failed to reach, yet here they are, spinning the same web of airy promises and rosy predictions.

                Our forces are still mired in a hopeless quagmires that began before the soldiers fighting them were even born, in two nations only a fraction of the size of Iran, yet somehow we are supposed to believe the absurd promise of a swift and glorious victory.

                I mean, really, Baghdad Bob missed his opportunity to become a Fox News military analyst.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                2006: “Conservatives were right to want to invade Iraq, but the left deserves the blame for letting it happen.”

                2012: “Conservatives were right to blame Obama for trying to make the best of the shit sandwich conservatives handed him.”

                2019; “Conservatives are right that killing Suleimani advances US interests but the blame for killing him resides with the left.”Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Has resigned. The legislature has been unable to agree on a replacement, so he has stayed on in a caretaker role. My understanding is this is why the resolution was specifically made non-binding — the government under a caretaker PM is not supposed to propose major policy changes.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                This is interesting.

                New *deep dive* on Soleimani killing –> Pompeo spoke to Trump about hitting the top commander months ago. Getting Trump to “yes” involved key personnel changes at the Pentagon and Trump’s aversion to being viewed as weak, giving Pompeo an opening

                https://washingtonpost.com/world/national

                Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                More from Trump:

                “If the Iraqis do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis. We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame.”

                He’s an idiot with a gun.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                But he really wants to bring our troops home. I’ve seen that from maga’s today on the tweeters. We should be so lucky if he was only an idiot. That would be an improvement. .Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I love how administration officials and conservative pundits are frantically trying to spin this yarn about us being liberators and Iraqis and Iranians cheering for Trump, then he opens his fat mouth and exposes the whole bullshit circus of lies, and comes right out and says we are staying in Iraq no matter if the people there like it or not.

                Say what you want about GWB, at least he knew when to keep his lies straight.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Technically, what’s happened is the Iraqi parliament has narrowly approved a non-binding request asking foreign military to leave. Where narrowly is approximately 170-158 along strict sectarian lines. The agreement under which the US is currently operating in Iraq remains in force. We’ll see what happens when the motion is to rescind that operating agreement. Although that’s not likely to happen for months — the PM resigned two months ago, is acting as a caretaker, and the parliament is divided enough that they can’t agree on a replacement.

                To me, it looks less like an order to leave than asking us to choose sides in an impending civil war.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Here’s John Bolton:

                Another good day. Iran rips the mask off the idea it ever fully complied with the nuclear deal, or that it made a strategic decision to forswear nuclear weapons. Now, it’s on to the real job: effectively preventing the ayatollahs from getting such a capability.

                Hmmm. Is Bill Kristol right about the Bolton/Trump transaction?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                “What appears to be millions attending Soleimani’s funeral procession in Ahvaz, an Iranian city usually described by mainstream media as “restive”, and hence hardly a Soleimani stronghold. Trump doesn’t know what is awaiting him across the Middle East”

                Video is pretty amazing: https://twitter.com/amalsaad_lb/status/1213741775430529024

                Trump. What a fucking idiot.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                “What appears to be millions attending Soleimani’s funeral procession in Ahvaz, an Iranian city usually described by mainstream media as “restive”, and hence hardly a Soleimani stronghold. Trump doesn’t know what is awaiting him across the Middle East”

                The video, which is amazing, is here:

                https://twitter.com/amalsaad_lb/status/1213741775430529024Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Whatever the case it’s the sign of an incredibly broken system. If it happened the way its being reported it’s a disgrace that no one has the courage to resign rather than follow an order they believe to be so adverse to the interests of the citizens they serve. If it didn’t happen that way then its more evidence of the permanent military/intelligence bureaucracy protecting its own extra-constiutional agenda.

                Hell it’s probably both at once.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                For some perspective, Obama conducted 26,000 airstrikes just in 2016, in a long list of countries that include Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not one of the people who is so naive as to believe this started with Trump, and the drone war under the last administration is part of what set the stage. Nevertheless this guy was a very high ranking officer in an official part of the Iranian military, not some irregular fighter in a separatist or rebel militia. It’s definitely an escalation and not something easily overlooked.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                All the targets are equal in the eyes of God. That said, Soleimani had killed many hundreds of Americans an intended to kill hundreds more, plus thousands of Iraqis and likely thousands of Iranians, and thousands of Syrians, etc.

                What ever happened to the leftist idea of just letting the generals fight it out among themselves instead of killing thousands of young men?

                Dan Crenshaw just tweeted:

                For those claiming there’s “no plan,” that this was “reckless”:

                Step #1 of any strategy is to stop letting terrorist regimes attack us without repercussion.

                Why is this basic truth of foreign policy so controversial?

                Trump retweeted a reply, saying:

                They attacked us, & we hit back. If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!

                One of the ways to stop violence is to escalate beyond the opponents ability to respond, changing the game.

                A lot of the bad actors, at all levels, count on Western restraint as part of their calculations. They assume we won’t do the things we’ve long ruled out. Basically, we’ve told them what our rules are, and they then operate somewhat inside those rules. It’s comfortable and familiar, but can breed more bad actions.

                Recall the frequent hostage taking we used to suffer. They take Americans hostage, and then we negotiate for their release. That just turned Americans into something like currency, so we decided we wouldn’t negotiate, we’d retaliate, and most of the hostage taking petered out. We changed one of our rules.

                Look at Israels evolved responses to terrorist attacks. They thought about ways to deter suicide bombers, a type of attack that’s hard to further penalize, and eventually started bulldozing attacker’s family’s houses. That caused some international outrage, but did provide a disincentive.

                A gangland parallel might be the hypothetical police response to Al Capone’s street violence by saying “If you don’t stop, we’re going to have the US Army Air Corps use your house for bombing practice and then have the army round up every Italian who’s ever even met you and ship you all off to a camp in Colorado.”

                That would, of course, be breaking a whole bunch of rules, but it would have gotten him to change his behavior.

                Instead of waiting to see how Iran responds, and then responding to their response, why not raise the stakes and threaten something they don’t dare want to lose? Then maybe they won’t attack us, and we won’t have to attack them, and we can work out a more productive way forwards that doesn’t involve lots of explosives aimed at unsuspecting individuals.

                This gets into the basically psychology of establishing a monopoly of force. Instead of lots of random killings, directed by people like Soleimani, you change the game so that the only way to win the game is not to play. It may not be “fair”, since the winner is obviously the one with the overwhelming military and economic power, but the point isn’t to fight fair, the point is to avoid fighting at all.

                This also gets back to the wisdom of not fighting the battle your enemy wants you to fight (“Our random strikes versus your random strikes,” in a never-ending cycle of violence), you make them fight the battle you want to fight.

                “You attack our guard post with a car bomb, and we’ll use stealth fighters and cruise missiles blow up all of your ancient religious shrines, and then perhaps escalate from there to taking out your oil industry, your nuclear sites, your missile sites, your electric grid, and your transportation infrastructure, before just invading and putting you all on trial.”

                Terrorist attacks, the kind Iran keeps sponsoring, are a form of asymmetric warfare. Terrorists use it because terrorist cells typically don’t have much lose. It works well during an insurgency because there’s really no good way to retaliate against hidden cells that move through a population. Nation states don’t play that game because it would get their cities bombed and their territory occupied. Well, since that had already happened in Iraq, what more could the insurgents lose?

                For all talk about Trump committing an act of war, what do you think Soleimani just did, repeatedly? Well, the reason they’re called acts of war is that the lead to war, and all of its consequences. Those consequences keep smaller, weaker states from attacking larger states.

                But Iran was thinking they could play it both ways, attacking the US with impunity, at times and places of their own choosing, without risking a disproportionate, though appropriate, response.

                Well, our population is four times larger, our economy is fifty times bigger, and our military budget is a hundred times bigger. Our military budget, in fact, is larger than their entire GDP. They cannot win, they can only choose degrees of losing.

                What Trump is emphasizing is that we’re not going to play their tit-for-tat terrorist game. If they try, we’re going to blow up all their religious shrines. If they continue, we’ll keep blowing things up until we’re bouncing the rubble, basically using their country as a weapons testing ground.

                Hopefully, that prospect will make them behave, and quit sponsoring terrorists around the world.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                None of this is relevant and all begs the question of whether these interventions make sense to begin with. We put soldiers and other personnel into places like this and they will be attacked. It’s imperative on us, and the government, is to send them places only when we have decided that the importance of the mission is worth risking their lives. It’s the exact opposite of whats happening here, that being putting troops in precarious places with no clear long term goal or American interests then using attacks on them as a justification to double down on the highly questionable call to put them there in the first place.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m sure that witnessing our hapless floundering in tiny nations like Afghanistan and Iraq, where after nearly two decades of fighting we are further away from victory than the day we went in, is sure to “make them behave”.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Right… this is the nub. If you just add the words: “in Iraq” or “in the volatile Middle Eastern Theater” after all the “He was plotting to kill Americans” statements, then we’d have the context correct.

                Now, we can say, we don’t want there to be a “volatile Middle Eastern Theater” and Iran is making things more volatile… and we’d prefer that they not leverage their influence in Iraq and Syria against our preferred interests… but fundamentally the idea that Americans are at risk in the volatile Middle Eastern Theater is the calculus we’re operating under; and a calculus that we’ve miscalculated for going on 20-years.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Right and it’s that context that is so carefully, almost studiously omitted. You’d think American soldiers and bases are just magically sprouting out of the ground.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                None of this is relevant and all begs the question of whether these interventions make sense to begin with.

                In the beginning, the US allied with the emerging Saudi state to trade oil exploration/extraction/revenues, so long as that oil pumped to the US. So in the beginning, it *did* make sense.

                And now, here we are.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m sure it did, but times change. I hear VW will have consumer ready electric cars in the next few years. I can’t wait.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s what VW tells people, but secretly they’ll belch diesel fumes.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                Mere speedbumps, veronica, mere speedbumps.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                (I’m a bad person. I’m currently researching how to register one of those 2014 deisel cars with a valid emissions sticker. They’re the best damn cars!)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m sure it did, but times change.

                How many planks can you replace on Theseus ship at sea before it’s a new ship?

                Look, I get the frustration. But to say our involvement in the middle east make no sense itself makes no sense.

                For example, the *entire rationale* for invading Iraq was to ensure that that oil flowed west rather than towards China. You may *disagree* with that justification, or rationale, or cover story, etcwhatever, but you can’t say “it makes no sense”.

                * The PNAC architects of that war have said so repeatedly.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I understand there’s a history of how we got there. I’m even open to the argument that certain decisions to be involved made sense at the time, particularly as British and French control over the region waned after the second world war.

                The thing that frustrates me is this weird version of a sunk cost fallacy, where we double down on diminishing returns, ignore changes in technology and politics, or mindlessly consign ourselves to perpetual mission creep. From the purely realpolitik POV the ME is only getting less important. The world is moving passed fossil fuels and its strategic significance has plummeted since the USSR collapsed.

                As annoying as that is, the thing that I hate and that animates me most is how we swallow our own sanctimonious bullshit about being there for peace and democracy. The other stuff is mainly a waste of money, which is terrible, but it’s the perpetual war footing that infects American politics to no good end.

                The worst sin of all, and most outrageous, is the constant camouflaging of the sunk cost crap with Wilsonian nonsense.

                So maybe once upon a time there was a solid rationale for our actions and the cost/benefit worked out for us. It is no longer the case now and we need to respond accordingly.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ll come at the same frustration from a different angle. *Even if* there was a time when US foreign policy was based on positive sum outcomes (I’m thinking of the Marshall Plan here), the reliance on military and economic force to *compel* people to conform to our wishes has been a disaster for the US. In contrast, consider the methods and tactics of our supposed ideological rival on the world stage, China, which engaged in positive sum transactions with soveriegn states for both short term mutual benefit while also allowing for the possibility of longer-term gains.

                The fundamental criticism of US policy I have, and have always had, going back to even the Marshall plan, is the presumption that the expression of US power is a good in and of itself. That that mythology has gained traction in the US is a big part of our current problems geo-politically, but also reveals that we, as a society, are a fundamentally unserious and indecent people. (That the same ideological views account for our incarceration rates and criminal justice system and other corruptions of domestic policy is just icing on the cake, as far as I’m concerned.)

                OF course, that’s not the end of the story since the US, by virtue of happenstance, is a resource-rich country which will always* have the ability and desire to use force to achieve what it can’t achieve via politics.

                *until it doesn’t of course.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                The thing that frustrates me is this weird version of a sunk cost fallacy, where we double down on diminishing returns, ignore changes in technology and politics, or mindlessly consign ourselves to perpetual mission creep.

                This is a perfect distillation of our current politics and problems. THe question is “why”? I’d say, and have said, it’s because our politicians don’t emerge from a membrane, they’re the product of American communities, American schools, American churches… It’s the best we can do folks.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ve noticed this with the security theater that sprung up after 9-11.

                All across America in every large venue like theaters, stadiums, office buildings and public buildings, a massive system of metal detectors, card key systems, 24/7 armed guards and the like became a fact of life.

                The cumulative cost of this is staggering and the threats neutralized infinitesimal.

                Yet there are no building managers who will ever be willing to be the one who removed them, for fear of being wrong.

                So from now until whenever this society crumbles, the cost of those barriers will be a hidden tax on every paycheck and purchase on every citizen.

                The constant drumbeat we hear is one of fear, anxiety, and threat. To which the only possible alternative is bellicosity, threat, and more fear.

                Its kind of like our discussions about militarized policing, where Americans have for decades voted in solid majorities for this; It isn’t some sudden quirk or strange fringe notion.

                This is who we have chosen to become.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I hear ya. Unfortunately, the problem isn’t just otherwise innocuous money drains. It’s a set of policies which suck massive amounts of money from the public coffer while actively harming people. And Americans – because we’re idiots without any commonsense – agree to it.

                Trump represents the people’s interests not because of any policy set, but because he – like the body politic – is an intellectual and moral idiot. He’s who we are.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                This is interesting.

                New *deep dive* on Soleimani killing –> Pompeo spoke to Trump about hitting the top commander months ago. Getting Trump to “yes” involved key personnel changes at the Pentagon and Trump’s aversion to being viewed as weak, giving Pompeo an opening

                https://washingtonpost.com/world/national

                This lends some credence to the theory that Bolton’s silence on Ukraine is a trade for war with Iran, though why Pompeo is carrying Bolton’s water is a mystery…Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    What are the candidates tweeting?

    Joe Biden:

    Bernie Sanders:

    Elizabeth Warren:

    Andrew Yang:

    Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Mike Bloomberg, Tulsi Gabbard, and Pete Buttigeig don’t seem to have tweeted about this attack yet (Jan 2nd, 10PM MST).

    And, last but not least, Marianne Williamson:

    Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Cory Booker:

      Amy Klobuchar:

      Mike Bloomberg:

      Pete Buttigeig:

      Tulsi still hasn’t issued a statement.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Dick Nixon (seriously, this whole thread is good):

        Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I’ll be interested to see what Tulsi says. Many are rushing out with anti-Trump statements that read almost like they were written by outraged children, missing an opportunity to look “cerebral”. If they were screaming bloody murder about Syria two months ago, they should realize that Soleimani was Assad’s most important backer, probably more so than Putin.

        I think Tulsi could go two different ways on this. The more knee jerk position would be “This is yet another example of risking the lives of American soldiers and countless civilians on yet another pointless regime change war.” That would be simple and predictable, and probably wouldn’t budge the needle for anyone because she’s just be echoing what all the other candidates are saying.

        One the other hand, Soleimani was instrumental in targeting and killing US troops. He was the major supplier of IEDs and other weapons used to kill and maim thousands of American servicemen and women, including people Tulsi served with. Taking him out could be like eliminating Dilinger, Bonnie and Clyde, or killing Hitler in 1939. That attack might restore relative peace to the region and deescalate tensions. It could be that it was a very wise move.

        But, if she thinks that, she still has to convince her strongly anti-war base of the wisdom of that move, and that might be hard to do in a stream of Tweets, because that argument necessarily has to dig into very complex geopolitical and cultural calculations. She could do it in a long format debate but would likely have trouble fully making the argument in the current sound-bite stage of the primary.

        Is there a segment of primary voters she could win over with either approach? Could she launch an attack on any of the more prominent candidates by shredding some of their less-considered statements? It may be a bit Machiavellian, but there might be an opportunity to go for the jugular on some of them, much as she did with Kamala Harris. Such openings are a risk candidates take when they rush out a statement before seeing how things shake out, openings likely made much bigger if they’d earlier rushed out some statements about Trump not defending our embassy. But she’d have to take pains not to make the attack look cheap or it will blow up in her face.

        I would suggest something that would emphasize her more JFK qualities. Suppose the other candidates on stage spent the previous five minute segment second guessing Trump and talking about how they would “consult with allies”. She could start with something like “As President, when one of our embassies is under attack, sometimes you have to make the hard call and eliminate the problem. Sometimes regional allies can’t be trusted not to leak. Therefore…”

        But I have no idea which way she’ll go on it. The easy bet is more blather about “regime change wars”.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          The majority of responses were something to the effect of “Qassem Soleimani was a bad guy, but” and there were only a handful that only talked about avoiding war (Bernie, Booker, Yang) without mentioning that first.

          Marianne Williamson, of all people, had the best tweet, if you ask me. She immediately leapt to “this is about stupid vs smart and not good vs evil”.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Warren has issued an additional clarification:

      Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Bernie knows his niche and is running with it:

      Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Speaking of Bernie, AOC ate her Wheaties today:

        Report

    • Avatar Ruthee in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      So, all the candidates don’t care about protecting our ally, Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. They don’t care about fighting global terror or helping out the Iranians being killed (so much for multiculturalism and globalism…) They ignore that Iran is a weak nation, but was empowered by Obama’s 1.7 billion dollars — talk about destabilizing the region.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ruthee
        Ignored
        says:

        The candidates are who the candidates are. What’s interesting is how they frame their opposition to what Trump did. Many of them opened with “They shouldn’t have killed the guy, but” and Bernie was the only one who was full-throated “NO WAR!” for the whole thing.

        If you’re opposed to war, you want Bernie, I guess.

        If you want someone more open to war, the other ones might suffice.

        Or Trump, of course.Report

  8. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    I remember when removing Saddam was going to led to a a new, bright future of democracy and hope in the Middle East.Report

  9. Avatar InMD
    Ignored
    says:

    One of the many reasons the only solution is removal of military personnel from the ME. It’s impossible to be there and not be drawn in or become a target.

    Of course most of the people doing the most flipping out about this were also flipping out 2 months ago a about ‘abandoning the Kurds’ in Syria or whatever. Maybe one day people will learn we are either there or we are not, there is no in between, and if we are there, for any reason or in any capacity, escalation is inevitable.Report

  10. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    This guy killed “thousands of people”, and somehow he is History’s Greatest Monster?
    A guy not one person on this blog has ever heard of until yesterday?

    In a region filled with mass murderers, where wars have killed upwards of a million people since 2001, this guy is the one we point to as the mastermind, the single figure to despise?

    Not Assad, who has slaughtered not thousands, but hundreds of thousands?? Not King Salman who has killed up to a hundred thousand in Yemen (how many people here are even aware of that war?)
    Not Erdogan, who is cleansing the area of innocent Kurds? Not Putin who personally oversaw the slaughter in Chechnya?

    No, this one guy is the one we get all hysterical about? A hysteria that apparently began precisely at midafternoon on January 2, 2020, because none of us were aware of him until that very moment?Report

    • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      “We came, we saw, he died. hahaha!”

      Hysterical dude, just hysterical.Report

    • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      I was aware, but that is because he, among others, spent most of ’07 trying to kill people like me in Iraq. Among other various things.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Andrew Donaldson
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m tired.
        Just tired to the point of snarling cynicism, of this Forever War where every so often we are treated to the Killing Of The Top Terrorist You Never Heard Of, which will Mark The Turning Point, and achieve a glorious victory over Oceania.

        Right now in Iraq/ Afghanistan there are boys who were not yet born on 9-11. Whose entire lifetimes have been spent in the shadow of metal detectors and security checkpoints and mass surveillance.
        A few weeks ago some young man was killed in Iraq, his family receiving the news on Christmas Eve, and the bitter truth is he died for no reason, no reason at all, because Iraq today is less free and less stable and less secure than it was before we went.

        And now we are hearing the drumbeats for yet another war, yet another few trillions of dollars and thousands of body bags and folded flags and will the same lies and stupid goddam fistpumping belligerence that we have been hearing for the entire lifetime of those young boys sitting like targets over there.

        I am tired of it. I have no patience for yet another Monster Of The Week, thrilling display of shock and awe, another Friedman Unit, more Freedom Fries.

        I’m not willing to blame Iran, or AQ, or ISIS for the deaths of American troops. Their deaths were the entirely preventable result of American Presidents and politicians, and yes, the American people themselves, who reward politicians for making war, and punish those who strive for peace.

        This is our latter day Somme, our Verdun, our awful meatgrinder of wasted blood and treasure.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          Maybe this time the American people won’t put up with it.

          (Sometimes I’m sarcastic.)Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to veronica d
            Ignored
            says:

            We’ll put up with it as long as we’re damn well told to put up with it.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
              Ignored
              says:

              {{Obligatory reference to George Carlin’s bit that maybe it’s not the politicians who suck, maybe it’s the people.}}Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to InMD
              Ignored
              says:

              The American people will put up with it until it becomes too painful not to.

              So long as the stream of body bags is low, and of nobody of importance and so long as it can all be done with money borrowed from our grandchildren, war will be a painless reality show spectacle we watch on CNN.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                The American people will put up with it until it becomes too painful not to.

                I think this is both accurate in the electoral political sense but also an indictment of the fundamental cynicism constituting the foundations of American politics. We’re generally a pretty awful group of people.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I think more than anything we’re a very naive and sheltered people, at least when it comes to the voting public. As for our political class I usually lean towards stupid but I have my days where I waiver and find evil just as plausible.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Our political class is indecent because we-the-people are fundamentally indecent. The only people who deserve praise (practical, not moral) in US politics right now are the politicians who know US citizens are easy marks.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Maybe so, maybe so.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s an example of the contrast:

                Holland’s Supreme Court apparently* just ruled that the current government was violating the law by prioritizing infrastructure build out over climate change mitigation policy which was enacted into law. That kicks the US ass on two levels: not only does it make climate change a priority, but it over-ruled using public funds to improve infrastructure.

                IT got me wondering exactly how much money our government pisses away to grifters and cronies while accomplishing effectively nothing for “we the people”.

                *I heard this from a Dutch friend of mine and haven’t confirmed. Nor denied.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          I’m not willing to blame Iran, or AQ, or ISIS for the deaths of American troops. Their deaths were the entirely preventable result of American Presidents and politicians, and yes, the American people themselves, who reward politicians for making war, and punish those who strive for peace.

          Unfortunately the other side gets a vote in “peace”, and their interests and desires may not be acceptable to you. For example if it would mean “peace” with AQ/ISIS, are we willing to strip women of the right to vote? To let gays be killed for being gay? To make Islam the state religion? To ignore the occasional 911?Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
            Ignored
            says:

            No one, anywhere is making war on the United States.

            We are at war purely by our own choosing.

            Iran is less a threat to the liberal order than is the Saudi Kingdom, or Turkey or Russia.
            And ironically, Soleiman gained his fame by being a vicious killer of…ISIS.

            And ironically, ISIS was formed out of the remnants of Saddam’s shattered security forces left adrift after we overthrew him.

            And ironically, Iran is becoming a regional hegemon because we overthrew the one power that held them in check.

            And ironically, Osama Bin Laden attacked us in an effort not to prevent our women from driving but to force us to withdraw our troops from the Holy Land, which were stationed there as a hold over from the Gulf War, which we entered only to defend, not America, but the Kuwaiti royal family.

            Everything that has happened to us, and to our soldiers in that region has happened with our full choice and consent. We are as much a driver of the violence there as any one of the participants.

            But unlike the other participants, we really have no vital interest. No one is going to invade and take over America. No one is going to issue a fatwa against men having butt sex, except maybe Mike Pence.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              No one, anywhere is making war on the United States.

              911Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                To be fair 911 occured just last year and we do know the perps are hiding out in Iranaganstan.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Was it over when the Iranians bombed the Twin Towers?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                You jest but I’m guessing Pence will be tweeting how the Iranians actually had a hand in Pearl Harbor that the Deep State and Liebrul Herstory Profs have been hiding.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                9/11 was a hand grenade. It wasn’t war. Good lord Dark, just stop it.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Its funny how the United States just goes around the world blowing shit up when we feel its important;
                Grenada, Panama, Somalia- all places where we were not at war, and no one had attacked us, but where we launched airstrikes just because well, we felt we need to to keep ourselves safe somehow or to force their nation to bend to our will.

                We snatched foreign nationals off the streets of other countries without their knowledge, then flew them to one of the gulag of dark site prisons where they could be tortured.

                Imagine if China launched an airstrike at downtown Dallas in order to kill a suspected Uighur militant, or Russia had a drone strike on a Milwaukee highway to kill a dissident.

                Imagine the Iranians snatching an American tourist off the streets of Rome and transporting them to some dark site in Pakistan or somewhere.

                And like, expected us to just shrug and go about our business like it was just something that happens.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Ha, just a few years ago these were ‘somber, hard decisions a leader has to make’ now it’s just america going around and blowing shit up.

                Geebus.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Imagine if China launched an airstrike at downtown Dallas in order to kill a suspected Uighur militant, or Russia had a drone strike on a Milwaukee highway to kill a dissident.

                Imagine living in a place which is so lawless and uncontrolled, that drone strikes are viewed by us as an improvement over the other alternatives.

                That the government is so weak that it doesn’t have a monopoly on the use of force and it’s impossible to make a deal with it.

                Obama had your views and pulled us out of Iraq. He got mugged by reality and had to reverse that. The alternative to us doing unpleasant things isn’t “the world is happier”.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Imagine living in a place so lawless and uncontrolled that people have to bring guns to worship, for fear of being caught in a mass shooting.

                Where the government doesn’t have a monopoly on force and ordinary citizens have to defend themselves from marauding maniacs.

                By this logic, China is perfectly justified in lobbing missiles into the ungovernable tribal regions of Alabama to kill anyone they deem a terrorist threat.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Dark,

                Imagine living in a place which is so lawless and uncontrolled, that drone strikes are viewed by us as an improvement over the other alternatives.

                The “viewed by us as an improvement” is the key part of this comment. My guess is that the folks living on the ground being blown to bits view things differently.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I wanna add that it’s not only the people living on the ground being blown to bits who think it’s not an improvement. I think that as well. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                {{I’m reminded of a book called The Politics of Heroin. It was about Vietnam, but a new version could be written about Afghanistan I think.}}Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                9/11 was a hand grenade. It wasn’t war.

                What percentage of the population backed war after 911? Almost 100%?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                What percentage of the population backed war after 911? Almost 100%?

                This is wrong on two levels. The first – and most important from an intellectual honesty pov – is that you’re eliding the distinction between the 9/11 attacks being an act of war, and the US response being an invocation of war. The second is that there’s no way of knowing since Congress did not declare war in the aftermath of 9/11.Report

        • Avatar Ruthee in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          I would bet you don’t know the name of a single one of those hundreds of thousands of Arabs or United States troops killed or maimed, doing their job, which they volunteered for. Oh, except for Andrew. You also could never know what the world would be like if we never went over there.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Andrew Donaldson
        Ignored
        says:

        Last night I saw pictures of graffiti in Iran that was praising Trump for killing that monster. Soleiman recently oversaw the murder of between 1,000 and 2,500 Iranian protesters (depending on sources), and had also recently met with Iraqi ministers telling them they should do the same as he did to stop Iraqi protests. He was said to be more powerful than Iran’s president, and was certainly more feared.

        Netanyahu was going to take him out in Damascas in 2015, but unfortunately Israel let the US know, so Obama warned the Iranians that the Israelis were tracking him.Report

  11. Avatar CJColucci
    Ignored
    says:

    Wag the Dog.Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s 2003 all over again:

    I don’t know how the best way to argue against intervention in the Middle East and I certainly don’t know how to argue that we should pull out entirely (and from Afghanistan as well!) but if the gameplan is the same as 2003, I don’t see the outcome changing even if everybody now knows that the “Free Mumia” people wearing keffiyehs at the protests last time were right.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      but if the gameplan

      I’m impressed. Not many people know that Rose McGowan is the offensive coordinator for Team Blue. Nice work.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        I guess my assumption is that we’re going to once again have anti-war protests, and loud ones.

        The people interviewed will not be the quiet veterans who explain how awful Iraq turned out to be and how much it wasn’t worth it, at the end of the day, though Blackwater and Exxon made a mint.

        It’ll be the much more colorful people who will be interviewed and held up as representative.

        If you think it’ll play out differently, please let me know how I’m thinking about this incorrectly.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          I’d say it differently. Your fundamental assumption is that Rose McGowan’s views are a leading indicator of the left’s views on this, so if you can get *her view right* you’ll be able to predict where this is going.

          Which is fine. It’s a fun game and all.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            Yes, a leading indicator. The more rational, nuanced, “look, there are a lot of dynamics here…” with discussions of the value of whatshisnuts as a target, whether he was a high value target the day before the attack (I’ve seen a lot of “why haven’t we heard of this guy before!” takes), and what is likely to play out kinda arguments will fizzle without the sizzle of the much more sexy moral condemnation.

            I suppose I have a couple of paths it might go down that aren’t that (the emphasis is on the last time this happened) but the appeal of protesting the way that people protested Iraq and the way they protested Vietnam is quite a siren’s call.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Jaybird, you “see” all sorts of things in the twitter verse. Hell, you “see” liberals saying the exact opposite of what they actually write here at the OT.

              But let me ask you a question. Do *you* think Trump greenlighting the assassination of Suleimani is a good thing?

              I mean, I get that the *interesting* part of this is the political game theory, the courtly drama. And thinking that lives actually matter is a fools game, but real people’s lives are gonna be (and have been) really lost because of this.

              But enough of that. Sorry. Let’s get back to the polling and how this will play with the public…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, my starting point is that we should have pulled out of Germany and South Korea by now (let alone Afghanistan, Iraq, etc). Of course it’s not. We shouldn’t be there! I’m not sure how useful that is for your question.

                Assuming that we’re there… then what?

                Do I think it’s a good thing? I don’t know.

                I think that the fact that it took place on Iraqi soil is one hell of a thing. If it’s true that he was somehow involved with Benghazi (the wikipedia entry doesn’t mention him, for example), then I think that it’s a long time coming especially if he was involved with the mourners hoping to engage in some peaceful assembly at the Iraqi embassy earlier this week.

                I pretty much can only answer the question that my only real measuring stick for this is a consequentialist one and I don’t know what the consequences are.

                Deontologically, we should be isolationist and never in this situation in the first place.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                As I recall from a previous thread, your starting point is that the US shouldn’t have entered WWI.

                Here, I’ll take a crack at this game:

                My starting point is that the US shouldn’t have done anything that would lead to the problems we currently find ourselves in, and because of that I don’t really care how they play out since, counterfactually, I’m off the hook.

                Man, I feel so much better. In fact I feel so good I’m gonna break someone’s heart tonight.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                We *SHOULDN’T* have entered WWI. WWII could have been avoided entirely.

                Out of curiosity, did you get to the part of my comment where I said “Assuming that we’re there… then what?” and then went on to try to answer your question assuming that our starting point is 2019 or so?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I missed that. Sorry. Honestly, all I hear is you trying to tease out whether we’re going to war or not so you can place the right bet.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t think my “what should we do!” opinions are interesting at all.

                My “what’s going to happen?” opinions are more interesting because, among other things, they’re more likely to be right or wrong based on information that will be able to be looked up.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I think the US shouldn’t have given Soleimani $1.7 billion dollars in unmarked bills so he’d chill out and quit stirring up trouble. In retrospect, I think we got ripped off on that deal. I don’t suppose there’s any way we can get a refund.

                As for WW-I, I think Austria-Hungary shouldn’t have entered it, which would have solved so many other problems. But they were pissed off about Arch Duke Ferdinand getting shot by a Serb…

                I think folks are holding their breath about whether this was like killing the Arch Duke or whether this is more like taking out Hitler in ’39. I’m leaning toward the latter because Soleiman has been a driving force in destabilizing the region and threatening war with the US, Israel, and anyone else Iran paints as an enemy. In contrast, the Arch Duke was just out riding in his car with his family in a world that was at peace.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                We *SHOULDN’T* have entered WWI. WWII could have been avoided entirely.

                You're a fool. If the US didn't engage in the Federal Government expanding War of Northern Aggression it couldn't have entered WWI. Read some history…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Wilson ran on “he kept us out of war”.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Wilson “kept” the US out of the war?

                Are you fucking kidding me?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re not reading what I’m saying.

                I didn’t say he kept us out of war.

                I was arguing against the proposition that the US couldn’t have stayed out by pointing out how Wilson ran for office.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Wilson changed his mind.

                What he ran on is irrelevant.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                {{WWI is the time frame where US propaganda hit it’s stride. Public sentiment against the war basically flipped from 80-20 against to 80-20 in favor in 6-8 months.}}Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                What he campaigned on is relevant to whether he could have gotten away with doing what he campaigned on, yes.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ve said this before, but Americans are the most easily propagandized people on the planet.

                If that’s true – and you seem to think that’s true – then surrendering to that rather than fighting against it is *on you*. The problem is that if everyone is ideological then everything is ideological. Hence, even you’re bitching about how the parties suck is ideological.

                People in the real world don’t act like this,. People in other countries don’t either. It’s a peculiarly American thing to think that eg., welfare for the poor is part of a sinister plot to impose totalitarian rule.

                Now I’m reminded of another great piece of writing: The Paranoid Style in American Politics.

                the paranoid style has a greater affinity for bad causes than good. But nothing really prevents a sound program or demand from being advocated in the paranoid style. Style has more to do with the way in which ideas are believed than with the truth or falsity of their content.

                Hofstadter is talking to you Jaybird.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I think there’s a pragmatic path here based on where we are. Yes, all parts of our overseas footprint should be subject to ongoing cost benefit analysis but it’s really only in the ME and Africa where we prop up governments of questionable legitimacy and involve ourselves in wars with no clear interest, endgame, or cost control.

                I mean I don’t know what NATO is for exactly anymore and I wouldn’t have taken it further than incorporation of East Germany. But it’s not like we’ve got soldiers helping Berlin maintain control of separatist Bavaria or our alliance with Catholic Italy makes us the de facto enemy of Protestants in Denmark and we’re inadvertently taking sides in millennia old feuds we can’t comprehend.

                I’m totally cool with a pairing of principle and priorities.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I endorse this message. Part of the reason our politics suck is that people who identify themselves as “smart, above the fray” types take a cynical view of politics and don’t engage. They’re counterfactually-driven people, you see. But that’s a big part of the public malaise that circularly confirms the prior that politics sucks.

                “Smart people are too smart to engage in a fool’s game, only dumb people do that. So being a smart person I’ll sit back and watch, periodically bitch, maybe occasionally *note* how fucked up things are in order to impress people of my smartness. I mean, I’m no fool….”

                And now we have Trump.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s the lack of an endgame that gets me.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                But in conclusion, the Democrats are worse.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, to be fair, I’ve seen more praise for taking out Soleimani coming out of Iran and Iraq than from any Democratic Party politicians. When that happens, moderates in the heartland and the battleground states really do start to wonder who our real enemies are. Perhaps that kind of psychological messaging mistake got George Bush re-elected.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                George, that’s 100% pure undiluted bullshit and I praise you for it. Good Effort!Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s a real thing, like portraying the press as an enemy of the American people. It resonates with vast swaths of the public.

                The same issue arose during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, when some politicians seemed not so much to be against the war as to be rooting for the other side. Patty Murray (D-WA) comes to mind, with her statements praising Osama bin Laden as a leader who helped people.

                Toss in Code Pink and much of Indy Media, and it became apparent that there are folks who will side against the US in any conflict. Such people are thick in the media, which is why we saw the Washington Post eulogize ISIS leader Al Baghdadi as an “austere religious scholar.” They just can’t help themselves.

                Now most often two sides in a conflict will strongly disagree about who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, but when a group on one side always sides with the other team, folks start to wonder about their loyalties.

                Trump, of course, is going to riff on that theme and beat it like a drum all through 2020.

                Over in the sandbox, he’s going to get a lot of praise for the strike. They tend to bet on the strong horse, and he just showed who that was. That could lead to a dynamic where the Arabs are saying nicer things about the US than the Democrats are (because they’re so intent on attacking Trump), and that worms its way into people’s perceptions of in-group and out-group dynamics.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s a real thing, like portraying …

                It’s just as real as a portrayal!Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                “…when a group on one side always sides with the other team, folks start to wonder about their loyalties.”

                Republicans: “Better Russian than a Democrat.”

                Indeed, we do wonder.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                A guy who was in the running to compete for the top slot in Iran gets killed, and some Iranians are happy?
                Weird!

                And when precisely did you decide that Soleimani was America’s Enemy?
                The moment you first heard his name, yesterday afternoon?Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                The general killed a contractor, then the general gets killed. I don’t know why yall are locked in a bout of 12D chess over this, and until someone declares war it’s about as much a nothing burger as the hundreds of Obamas predator strikes.

                Yeah it would be great to have a president that didn’t start some kind of dust up, but that isn’t the president we have, and the world isn’t a world that can sustain peace.

                InMD was correct last time, and also this time, we need to get assets out of crazyland.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        “Rose McWhoogan? Huh? Whatever, it’s not like she’s someone highly visible. Get back to me when it’s someone with actual social capital, like a Republican candidate for state senate in Ohio.”Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      An interesting clarification:

      Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        ah-heh.

        Jews are stabbed in the street: “you have to understand that it’s a complicated situation with a lot of aspects and it does nobody any good to pretend like there isn’t a history here”
        Iranian war criminal is exploded: “OH GOD PLEASE DON’T HURT ME I DIDN’T WANT IT THIS ISN’T MY FAULT MAYBE HE DID BAD THINGS BUT NOT TO ME PERSONALLY EVER PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE”Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          DD, can you cite some comments from McGowan apologizing for Jews getting stabbed on Brooklyn streets? Or is this just a lazy “McGowan is a spokesperson for the incoherent liberal left” sort of thing?

          If you have evidence that she’s a Jew hater, then I’m all ears, of course.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          McGowan is a tool. I am one of the least credible members of team blue on OT but I like to think one of the most consistently anti-war. If it helps to ground the conversation, I hereby disavow everything she has said on this, or any other topic. Though she was really hot in Grindhouse, even with a machine gun for a leg.Report

  13. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    I am not accepting this automatic preamble of “of course he was an evil man…”

    Really? What makes him evil, or more so than any of the other hundreds of generals and commanders working on behalf of the other nations and groups in that region?

    How many women and children were killed by American commanders over the past two decades? Who ran the torture chambers at Abu Ghraib?

    The default, unquestioned presumption here is that somehow America has the moral high ground and everything we do there is justified.

    I don’t think we do.Report

    • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Yeah, he is only half as evil as 58 million American socialists, but that means he is still pretty damned evil.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JoeSal
        Ignored
        says:

        For anyone wondering, here’s evidence that Americans have no decency and lack common sense.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
          Ignored
          says:

          Would you say that JoeSal is more representative than Rose McGowan, less representative, or equally representative?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Do you think “decency” is defined by polling?

            Recall that after the Vegas shooting Joe Sal offered ways to for such a shooter to increase firing rate and accuracy…

            George Carlin talked about this you know…Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              I’m just trying to figure out an extrapolation formula.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Do you gamble on these types of outcomes?

                “The odds on war in Iran just went up, but they’re still undervalued by our model. Buy now!”

                That’s the only reason I can see to play this sort of game. Otherwise it’s cynical bordering on sociopathic.Report

            • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              Here are my two comments on the Vegas thing:

              —1:
              “Politicize the Vegas shooting? Ha, how? There was no politics there. Any good marksman in the crowd wouldn’t have been able to carry a rifle there to shoot back. The NRA peeps would have ostracized anyone open carrying a rifle to a concert. It’s not like the shooter was backlit and had a constant muzzle flash indicating where he was firing from. At 300 yards, bullet drop is around 9″ on a good rifle with a slippery round, wind and spin drift were less than 2″ if I remember correctly.

              The politics of that night were done long ago. A people died without anyone having the means to shoot back, even the ones capable of making shots like that.

              Thank the gods of terrible accuracy that the final tally wasn’t a lot more, must of been someone who didn’t know how to use a rifle, but was miraculously good it not producing those little hick-ups you get with a bump fire stock.”

              —2:
              “I apologize, i didn’t intend for it to read as ridicule. I just find the parameters don’t match for some unknown reason. If the perp knew enough to shoot a rifle instead of a pistol, or machine gun from that position, why didn’t he know the effects of a bump stock from that position.

              There is more unknowns than knowns there, but the political action is to demonize the thing that probably made the process terribly inaccurate. Just postmodernism i guess.”

              –If you find anything else let me know.Report

  14. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    I keep seeing peeps talk about how Sol was this or that. A very bad guy. But it’s not like killing him stops all that stuff they were doing. Iran has already named his replacement. Maybe the new guy won’t be as smart or organized or good at what he did. But killing one guy doesn’t stop the org he ran or it’s actions. Do armies disband because one general is killed. No, not really.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      I’d phrase it differently. If we were at war with Iran, taking out major military leader has strategic and political benefits. Since we’re not at war with Iran, taking out a leader constitutes the equivalent of an act of war.

      Was he a bad man? Well, Ben Shapiro said he was responsible for killing “hundreds” of Americans. That’s supposed to be a QED. Propaganda, bro.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        I’ve read plenty of people today who seem to …ummm…. stand head and shoulders above Benny Shaps in insight who say that Sol was a very bad man. So i dont’ doubt that, but that is also not relevant.

        I dont’ doubt there could be benefits to taking out a big guy, but yeah, that is like an act of war. As i’ve noted it also a big deal to do this in Iraq. We also killed a Iraqi leader, so we have caused other problems for us in Iraq and with some factions there. We have certainly slapped the face of the gov in Iraq, which is part of the bill we have to pay for killing Sol. Is it worth it? Well the supports of this just keeping shouting boo yah and telling us Sol was bad.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          There’s a story about Sad-DAMN invading Kuwait from way back that resonates with the current dynamic a bit. IT’s that Sad-DAMN, because he knew he was effectively a client of the US, asked for Papa Bush’s permission to invade, and received the greenlight. Unbeknownst to Sad-DAMN, Bush had already determined that he was going to attack Iraq if such an invasion occurred, so it was a trap. Hundreds of thousands of lives lost.

          And Bush didn’t even get re-elected.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      “Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani”

      Report

  15. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    For those who do not hold with the “Trump is an idiot” theory of his motivations and are seeking something more complex, here is an interesting tidbit:

    “As Trump assassinates Soleimani and attacks Iran, a reminder that the Trump Org did a shady deal for a hotel in Baku with a massively corrupt family with ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which Soleimani headed.”

    https://twitter.com/stengel/status/1213067604673417217Report

  16. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    There are more reports that there has been another strike on an Iraqi leader of an Iranian backed militia. Egads. More escalation. This will almost certainly lead to more and bigger retaliation which might not be a great thing. And as Daniel Larison, noted pinko liberal noted, the admin is really going for a War is Peace justification stating that all these attacks will just make everything ducky.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      Twitter confirmation:

      Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I heard we had F-18’s out of Kuwait and F-15E’s out of Jordan cruising the skies over Iraq, ready to blast any targets that pop up. Since half the country is more than eager to rat out the other half of the country, finding targets is apparently not a problem.

        Millions of Americans missed their flights over the past 18 years because of the huge security delays and early check-in times caused by these terrorist nutcases. But we make one of the guys responsible for that miss one flight and people lose their minds over it.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          Now that he’s dead, I can’t wait til they dismantle the airport security and we can go back to normal.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            Sadly, we can’t ever disband them because they unionized. Once screening became a real job, we have to assume there’s an ongoing terrorist threat just to keep everybody employed. If nothing else, that doesn’t mean we maintain a workforce for those obvious 9/11 anniversaries when we know they’re gonna do something predictable like attempt a re-enactment or attack our consulate in Benghazi.

            In this case, however, we knew that Soleimani was looking to attack us, and had done so repeatedly, as a way to strike back against Trump’s sanctions. Prior to that he was attacking us because we Iran wanted to get nuclear and missile concessions, hundreds of billions of blocked money in Western banks, and a planeload of cash.

            Prior to that he was attacking us because we were weak Prior to that he was attacking us because we were in Iraq. Prior to that he was attacking us because we were the great Satan, aligned with Israel. Prior to that they were attacking us because we accidentally down their jetliner. Prior to that they were attacking us because we were defending Kuwaiti ships during the Iran/Iraq war. Prior to that they were attacking us because we’d supported the Shah.

            You might notice a pattern there. Iran attacks because that’s what they do. They attack anyone virtually anywhere. They even blew up a building in Argentina, killing 85 people. In 2011 they stormed the British embassy in Tehran. They’ve also conducted or tried to conduct attacks in Albania, Bahrain, Kenya, India, Thailand, Denmark, France, and Lebanon.

            Part of the reason for their behavior is their insane belief that the 12th imam has been living in a well in Qom for the past 1100 years, and that he’ll reappear during a great crisis, along with Jesus, fry the non-believers in fire and convert the whole planet to Shia Islam. It’s an apocalyptic belief system, similar to that in Sunni Islam, in which Allah will intervene if they can just kill enough infidels to start a global conflagration. Letting them continue on their path is as crazy as giving a massive nuclear missile arsenal to a Baptist cult leader who thinks God is instructing him to bring about nuclear Armageddon to cleanse the Earth of sinners.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
              Ignored
              says:

              I missed all those Iranian strikes in America. Refresh my memory?

              “Letting them continue on their path is as crazy as giving a massive nuclear missile arsenal to a Baptist cult leader who thinks God is instructing him to bring about nuclear Armageddon to cleanse the Earth of sinners.”

              Stop writing my Franklin Graham/ Donald Trump jokes.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, let’s see. They started with seizing the US embassy in Tehran, which is sovereign US soil, and holding all the Americans hostage. Just the other day they were setting fire to the US embassy in Baghdad, also sovereign US soil. Last year they attacked both our embassy in Baghdad and our consulate in Basra.

                Back in 1983 they blew up our embassy in Lebanon, kiling 17. That same year they blew up our Marine barracks in Lebanon, killing 241 Marines.

                Via Hezbollah, they blew up our barracks in Saudi Arabia, killing 19, including some of my chat buddy’s coworkers, though the really hot guy she’d been tempted to date was only severely injured when he was blown through a window onto the pavement below. (He was so good looking that American nurses in Okinawa who were treating him for multiple kinds of VD would go out with him. She says he’s not pretty anymore.)

                Their Revolutionary Guards tried to blow up a popular restaurant in DC, but US law enforcement stopped them. We also stopped their plans for attacks in Chicago.

                And of course they constantly threaten to sink our ships in the Gulf, and threaten to strike the US and Europe with nuclear weapons, and leading weekly chants of “Death to America!”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                So, after we stage a coup and overthrow their government, then launch wars of aggression and invade other countries, they make strikes at our foreign embassies?

                All you’re doing here is reminding everyone of America’s foreign aggression and meddling.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            Now that he’s dead, I can’t wait til they dismantle the airport security and we can go back to normal.

            Does it work that way for the police too?

            After they catch someone seriously nasty, can they all just go home with job done because clearly there is no more need for them? How about the reverse, can they look at someone seriously nasty and say there’s no point in stopping him because someone else will just take his place?Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
              Ignored
              says:

              OK, so you’re saying that this is not war that can be won, where there will never be any sort of “victory”, but a police action.

              If this is a police action, we should apply the same logic and rationale we use to determine if policing is effective.

              Are our police and security efforts working? Has the level of security increased or decreased over time? Are the number of enemies we have increasing or decreasing?

              This reminds me of the drug war, where the police keep bragging about capturing a drug kingpin or massive stash of drugs, yet the level of drugs never goes down, the level of violence only increases and we keep being asked to add more metal detectors, more security bars, more fear more anxiety.

              If this was a city, we would be asking the police chief and mayor to consider other strategy for security.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            To tie into the whole “libertarian” thing from the other thread, in addition to stuff like “let’s turn the machine from a 7 down to a 6”, libertarians also oppose “let’s turn the machine from a 6 up to a 7.”

            Why?

            Because, in practice, we find that we are still asked to take off our shoes at the airport. It’s something that does not go away once we turn the machine up. It’s like a ratchet.

            Remember flying in the 90’s? Man, that was fun. You could wear your shoes, meet your friends at the gate, everything.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              You keep referring to government as the machine with a dial, as if it is a singular entity.

              Like, if we “turn the machine from 7 down to a 6” the Defense Department will close some bases and furlough the F-35 program, and the Department of Fisheries will lay some people off, the Agriculture Department will jettison a bunch of regulations, and the FAA will shutter some airports.

              Have you considered that the machine can simultaneously grow and shrink at the same time? That it has a thousand dials, some going from 7 to 10, others dialing down from 8 to 4, still others holding steady at 5?

              And that these dials need to be going in different directions at different times to respond to changing conditions?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                So it sounds like you know why you’ll always be taking your shoes off at the airport and why you’ll never again meet a loved one at their arrival gate.

                Because the suggestion that we do that will be answered with questions about all of the people put out of work.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Was this misthreaded? Because it seems entirely unrelated to anything I wrote.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                It depends on whether you see this as threaded into your comment of “Now that he’s dead, I can’t wait til they dismantle the airport security and we can go back to normal.” or not.

                If you don’t, I imagine it seems like a huge non sequitur.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t follow what my comment about the multiple dials has to do with “putting people out of work”.

                That is a textbook non sequitur, it doesn’t follow from any previous step and just drifted in from some other discussion.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “I don’t follow what y comment about the multiple dials has to do with “putting people out of work”.”

                Because you said, and let me quote this, “Like, if we “turn the machine from 7 down to a 6” the Defense Department will close some bases and furlough the F-35 program, and the Department of Fisheries will lay some people off, the Agriculture Department will jettison a bunch of regulations, and the FAA will shutter some airports.”

                Do you remember saying that?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Seriously, I am not following what you’re trying to say.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ll go back to my opening statement, then:

                To tie into the whole “libertarian” thing from the other thread, in addition to stuff like “let’s turn the machine from a 7 down to a 6”, libertarians also oppose “let’s turn the machine from a 6 up to a 7.”

                Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Should I just repeat my comment about there being multiple dials, or are we moving towards a point?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                The point is that you’re still asked to take off your shoes at the airport. You can’t meet your loved ones at the gate.

                And you never will again.

                Because someone talking about turning the dial down from a 7 to a 6 will have someone else point out that jobs will be lost.

                And if you want evidence for that, I will ask you to scroll up.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “The” dial.

                Sigh.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Because, apparently, the “take shoes off at the airport” dial is the same dial as “provide jobs” and, quickly, let’s jump to what you thought the dial was also connected to: The Defense Department (and the F-35 program), fisheries, the Agriculture Department, and airports that, apparently, would have to be closed down by the FAA.

                It’s like arguing that we shouldn’t have people choking out the guy who sells loosies gets “but what about vandalism?” questions.

                Narrowing things down to “just this one dial” gets responses of “but what about all of the other dials that get turned??!?”

                Each dial is a butterfly’s wing that, when turned down, causes other dials to turn down and, suddenly, we’ve got anarchy.

                Which, to bring me back to my original point, is why some oppose turning any given dial up in the first place.Report

  17. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Rose McGowan wins today’s nutbar on the Internet argument. Apparently she is a Republican. Who knew?Report

  18. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Rose McGowan seems to have retracted her earlier tweet entirely.

    Report

  19. Avatar Marchmaine
    Ignored
    says:

    This is one of those things where I’m so out of step with the assumed assumptions that frame the discussion that there’s no way to really enter in.

    Which is to say, our strategic intervention in the Middle East is the cause of our strategic discomfort, and we’ve no way to tactically disengage nor navigate the strategic trap we’ve laid for ourselves.

    As such, the action killing Soleimani is both inevitable and without gain. Soleimani isn’t indispensable; no one is indispensable. Whether we’ve de-escalated the situation in Iraq or accellerated the situation in Iraq will become apparent in time… but we haven’t in any way decided what our Strategic interests in Iraq might be and whether our deteriorating position is better accelerated or decelerated. We’ve no Strategic outlook by which to gauge the outcome, at least as far as Iraq is concerned.

    Assuming that Iran settles upon just the right amount of infrastructure damage or kills just few enough embassy staff that we shrug off their face saving retaliation… then the matter is simply another example of a foreign policy adrift and without any strategic coherence. So, par.

    Should the retaliation lead to escalation into full-blown war with Iran; then I can judge the killing of the “flag” officer only worsened our strategic position and further distracts us from navigating our position vis-a-vis China. Potentially a sort of Syracuse expedition where even military “success” weakens our strategic position.

    The neo-con democracy building project is simply a misguided project that must be scrapped as gracefully as scrapping can be scrapped.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
      Ignored
      says:

      The problem, at this point, with declaring victory and going home is that it’s an election year.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Sure… but I chalk this up to the subtle(!) effects of Trump’s incompetence… the only time to begin the scrapping was at the very beginning where all the fallout would land on the shoulders of W and Obama… or, more accurately, a competent politician would take all the partisan attempts to saddle himself with the fallout and deflect them where they belong. But… with delay, lack of attention, inability to articulate a new Overarching Strategic Plan, comes ownership of the status quo.

        If the neo-libs had a better Foreign Policy than the neo-cons, then they could make political hay on this… but, as it is, we’ve got consensus. Hence all the “Bad Guy, but…” takes you observe.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Marchmaine
          Ignored
          says:

          I should add, if not obvious, that this is something I point out to my “reluctant Trump” friends who hoped he might effect some positive changes with regards foreign policy.

          Alas, even if they concede my prescience… the political void is still void.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
            Ignored
            says:

            For the record, I’d be willing to trade a second Trump term for pulling out of the Middle East and Afghanistan.Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              I get the sentiment but I neither trust he’d do it, nor trust he has the capacity to do it himself nor the judgment to hire people who could.

              Trust is a vector that a certain sort of democrat or non-Trump could exploit; but its a counter-intuitive Trust issue… you have to acknowledge that some of the things he’s stumbled into are worth doing, but doing well and right.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m coming to the conclusion that if done “well and right” ain’t on the table, it’s a choice between the status quo and a half-assed something different.

                That said, a single-cheeked stopping doing something strikes me as more likely to not be harmed by single-cheekedness than a single-cheeked continuing to do it.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah… since your original is trading on a fait accompli, doubting the accompli isn’t fair.

                But, while I’m very much in favor of a new grand strategy… we need both our cheeks intact to pull it off; but in the realm of magic wands and blue-skies, I could see making that trade.Report

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