The War Party Never Learns: Gulf War 3.0 Is Imminent

By Justin Raimondo Via David Stockman’s Contra Corner

Way back in the summer of 2009, when the US withdrawal from Iraq was being touted as yet another great triumph by the Obama administration, we wrote in this space:

“Was withdrawal from Iraq just another campaign promise, made to be broken – like Obama’s pledges on government secrecy and other civil liberties issues? The president’s record, so far, does not bode well for an answer in the negative.

“This administration of self-proclaimed ‘pragmatists’ has no problem dispensing with principles and promises when it’s convenient. And it is decidedly inconvenient to be getting out of Iraq at the very moment we are ratcheting up pressure on our new adversary in the region: Iran.”

At the time, this may have seemed a bit of a stretch: after all, the President had secured his party’s nomination – and the White House – largely on the strength of his promise to get us out. And the country, by that time, was more than ready to see the last of Iraq.

So who could’ve foreseen that an American return to Iraq was in the cards? Well, anyone with half a brain, but unfortunately that doesn’t even come close to describing US policymakers and the alleged “experts” of Washington wonkdom.

The regional war many of us predicted would be the inevitable result of the Iraq invasion is now upon us. A group expelled from Al Qaeda known as the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” or ISIS, has mysteriously arisen, fully armed, like a Muslim Minerva from the head of Allah. Now in possession of Iraq’s second largest city – Mosul, population 2 million – ISIS controls roughly the western third of the country. And they’re marching eastward, taking Tikrit and converging on Karbala and Najaf – the sites of Shi’ite shrines, which the Sunni militants of ISIS are intent on destroying.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is asking the White House for air strikes: Obama is saying “all options are on the table” – including, one presumes, troops on the ground. John McCain is already demanding it, and the outcry from the War Party is getting louder by the moment: Obama, they aver, must “do something.” The Iraqi “army” we spent billions training and arming is useless: discarding their uniforms in the street, they can’t run away fast enough. Who will stop ISIS as they converge on the ultimate prize, Baghdad?

The answer is: Iran. Tehran has already answered Maliki’s call to arms, with the elite Quds force taking up positions in the country, including in Tikrit, where they are reportedly retaking the province on the Iraqi government’s behalf. They are also stationed in Karbala and Najaf, guarding those two symbols of Shi’ite power.

When the US invaded Iraq, and destroyed the secular Ba’athist regime, Washington effectively delivered the country to the Iranians. Indeed, Ahmed Chalabi, and his fellow “heroes in error” – who along with his neocon sponsors lied us into warturned out to be Iranian agents: remember those US raids on his various Iraqi compounds? Tehran was the main beneficiary of the neocons’ war, and now they are moving to claim their prize – before it is ripped out of their hands by ISIS.

This augurs a perfect storm of regional rivalries, one that sets every religious and political faction in the ‘Middle East’ up for a war of all against all. The second phase of the Iraq War has begun: the only question remaining is how big a role will the US play in it?

As I noted in 2009, the Status of Forces agreement we signed with the Maliki government has plenty of escape hatches, which could easily be invoked to send US troops back into the country. Here’s one:

“When any external or internal danger emerges against Iraq or an aggression upon it violates its sovereignty, its political stability, the unity of its land, water, and airspace or threatens its democratic system or its elected establishments and according to the request of the Iraqi government, the two parties will immediately start strategic talks and according to what they will agree on between them the United States will undertakes the appropriate measures that include diplomatic, economic, military or any other measure required to deter this threat.”

I can just hear the Obamaites justifying an American re-entry by claiming we have a “treaty obligation” to intervene. Whether this involves drone strikes or some type of air support and even sending in troops is irrelevant, at this point, since the reappearance of US soldiers on the ground is eventually going to be required if Washington decides to shoulder the responsibility of retaking Mosul and environs.

In any case, we have only to consult the theory of what I call “libertarian realism” – the idea that a nation’s foreign policy is determined by internal political factors rather than by objective considerations – to predict what the eventual outcome of this latest “crisis” will be. Rather than be haunted by the accusation that he and his party “lost Iraq,” and that the thousands of Americans killed and hideously wounded in that war sacrificed for nothing, the President will start us down the path to re-intervening in a big way. And if his successor in the Oval Office is Hillary Clinton – who supported the war, and up until just the other day, defended her vote in favor – the bigness of the American footprint will soon result in a confrontation with Iran.

This has been the War Party’s goal since well before the invasion of Iraq, and today we are at the end of that long and bloody road.

In a rational world, re-fighting the Iraq war would be inconceivable: in the world we are living in, however, it is all too probable. If we had a foreign policy that made any kind of sense, we would partner with Iran in keeping the peace in the region: they are in a much better position to clear out ISIS. In our world, however, this is a virtual impossibility: there is too much of a chasm between Washington and Tehran. Indeed, the present crisis could well mean an end to the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, if and when push comes to shove in Iraq.

Our present conundrum is entirely self-manufactured: there was no Al Qaeda presence in Iraq prior to the US invasion, in spite of the Bush administration’s ridiculous attempts to hold Saddam Hussein responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The repressive measures taken by the government we installed – remember those purple-stained fingers that were supposed to symbolize a New Dawn for Iraq? – have done more to consolidate support for ISIS than any other single factor. Our efforts to overthrow Syria’s Ba’athist regime have given ISIS and other radical Islamist groups the space – and the means – to create their “caliphate” in northern Syria and Iraq, where ISIS recently dismantled the border posts. I wonder how many US-supplied arms to the “moderate” Islamists have gone into the hands of ISIS and its allies.

The present mess in Iraq has “Made in Washington” written all over it. But not everyone in Washington is crazy, and the proof is a bipartisan effort to repeal the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Iraq. Cosponsored by Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), the measure has widespread support, including from some very conservative Republicans like Mike Lee (R-Utah).

If this effort succeeds, it will be a huge roadblock in the path of the drive to start Iraq War III. After all, how is one to make the case for re-intervening at the very moment the official end to the war is being certified?

The last time the War Party tried to pull a fast one – during the alleged Syrian “humanitarian emergency,” when Obama was intent on bombing the regime of Bashar al-Assad out of existence – the American people rose up and put a stop to it. It’s not hard to imagine a similar eruption in the case of this latest made-in-Washington “crisis.”

This is the only factor keeping the Obama administration in check: fear of the political consequences. Which is why we need to keep up the pressure – and step up the fight for a noninterventionist foreign policy.

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Original. To view original, click here.

11 thoughts on “The War Party Never Learns: Gulf War 3.0 Is Imminent”

  1. Assessing the Blame for Iraq: Bush, Obama, McCain, Others; Iraq Sunken Costs

    In response to Iraq Splinters Into Pieces, Thank George Bush and the Neocons, I received emails from Neocon true believers and others who want to whitewash Bush’s role in creating this mess.

    One person said Democrats are “equally” to blame.

    How laughable. Had Bush not trumped up lies, sucking Colin Powell along for the ride, the war would never have happened. Period.

    Yes, Democrat nutcases went along for the ride, notably Hillary Clinton. And had she just apologized for her stupidity, she might have won the nomination instead of Obama.

    Obama’s Mistakes

    Others pointed out that Obama made mistakes. Indeed he did. Giving weapons to Islamic rebels in Syria was one of them.

    Undoubtedly that mindless action provided weapons that ended up in Iraq, not Syria.

    Reader Dennis writes ..

    “The current situation in Iraq didn’t have to be this way for 2 reasons: 1. Bush should not have invaded, and 2. The Current Administration should not have provided assistance and weapons to the Al Qaeda linked insurgents in Syria, who intent to create an Islamist state in the region between Syria and Iraq.”

    I agree, 100%. But the first mistake was the most costly.

    And look who thought Obama did not do enough in Syria. Why it’s none other than WWIII proponent, Republican Senator John McCain.

    Flashback February 16, 2014: Think Progress reports McCain: It’s ‘Ludicrous’ To Say More U.S. Military Aid Will Worsen Syria’s Civil War

    Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Sunday dismissed the notion that increasing American military assistance to rebels in Syria could worsen the conflict there.

    McCain has been calling for greater U.S. military intervention in Syria ever since Bashar al-Assad’s regime cracked down violently on peaceful protests throughout the country in 2011. Now, with Syrian peace talks stalled and violence there getting worse and more brutal, CNN’s Candy Crowley asked McCain on her State of the Union program whether adding more guns to the situation might do more harm than good. “Isn’t it a terrible idea to do nothing in Syria?” McCain asked rhetorically.

    But later in the segment, Crowley returned to the question. “Do you entertain the possibility,” Crowley wondered, that “more harm could happen if we increased it, help militarily?”

    “More harm could happen?!” McCain shot back. “Candy with all due respect that’s ludicrous. That’s ludicrous!”
    Syria Weapons End Up In Iraq

    Where did those weapons end up? My bet is the same as reader Dennis.

    Yet, McCain (and other warmongers) want Obama to send more. McCain also wants missiles in the Czech Republic. Is there any war action McCain doesn’t want?

    Obama Won’t Rule Out Airstrikes to Aid Iraq’s Army

    To combat Obama’s mindless sending of weapons to Syria (supported 500% by McCain), Bloomberg reports Obama Won’t Rule Out Airstrikes to Aid Iraq’s Army.

    “I don’t rule out anything,” Obama said today when asked whether the U.S. was willing conduct drone strikes or take other action against the jihadists. Iraq “clearly is an emergency situation” and the government there needs more help.

    Any move by Obama to intervene in Iraq would hit opposition in Congress. While some lawmakers were pressing for the U.S. to act, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon, said he would oppose funding any military action. His counterpart in the Senate, Democratic Senator Carl Levin, said he was skeptical that air strikes made sense.

    Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters that the U.S. is moving ahead with military assistance programs started with Iraq since 2011, to include expediting the lease of AH-64 Apache helicopters for delivery this year as well as delivery of 100 Boeing Co. (BA) Scan Eagle surveillance drones.

    The Pentagon this month notified Congress for approval to sell Iraq an additional $1 billion in military equipment including Beechcraft AT-6C attack aircraft, AM General Humvee trucks and Raytheon Co. (RTN) aerostats.

    Republicans in Congress accused Obama of ignoring a growing threat to the U.S. from the fighting in Iraq. Arizona Senator John McCain said withdrawing all U.S. forces was a mistake and that the president should fire “his entire national security team, which has been a total failure.”

    House Speaker John Boehner blamed the turmoil in Syria, Egypt and now Iraq on Obama’s policy failures and accused him of ignoring signs of the growing threat from Sunni extremists.

    “They’re 100 miles from Baghdad,” the Ohio Republican said at a Washington news conference.“And what’s the president doing? Taking a nap.”
    Always More!

    Yep, There you have it. Boehner and McCain, want Obama to do more. Always more!

    Always forgetting that Bush started this madness. And Republican readers always forget neocons pressure Obama to do the very things that blow up.

    Maliki’ Connection

    Nouri al-Maliki’ is Prime Minister of Iraq.

    Who is responsible for putting Maliki’ in charge? The answer is none other than George Bush.

    Bloomberg continues …

    Levin, of Michigan, told reporters, “We shouldn’t knee-jerk anything. We should look at all the options carefully and thoughtfully.”

    Levin and other lawmakers faulted Maliki for refusing to sign an agreement for some U.S. troops to remain in Iraq and for using his government to enforce Shiite Muslim rule instead of seeking accommodation with Iraq’s Sunni minority.

    While the militants’ swift victories raise questions about Obama’s 2011 decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq and his reluctance to help arm moderate Syrian rebels fighting Sunni extremists in that country, polls show Americans are in no mood for another overseas intervention.

    Forty-seven percent want the U.S. to do less on the global stage, while only 19 percent favor more engagement, an April NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed.
    Sunken Costs

    People are tired of war and warmongering. Rightfully so.

    The Iraq war, begun with the U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein in 2003, cost 4,490 Americans their lives, according to Defense Department data. The price for U.S. taxpayers was more than $2 trillion, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
    I suggest we face the harsh reality: nothing can bring the lives lost or the money spent back. We wasted $2 trillion dollars already. Let’s not waste more.

    McCain, as always wants to press on. And since this is a clear case of “Mission Accomplished”, somehow this is all Obama’s fault.

    By the way it should be perfectly clear now why elder Bush did not continue on to Baghdad and why it was a huge mistake for baby Bush to “finish the job”.

    Time for Self Assessment

    I can and do blame Obama for countless things. But Republicans would be very wise to self-assess on Iraq, on nation building, and on warmongering in general.

    Mike “Mish” Shedlock


  2. It’s no surprise to me. When I was there, my buddies and I all knew Iraq wasn’t going to survive. Their troops are absolute morons and utterly unreliable. Their cops weren’t any good, either. We all figured the best you could hope for would be to separate Iraq into 3 regions; Kurdistan in the North, Sunnistan in the mid-west, and Shiitistan in the southeast. Breaking that basketcase into ethnic enclaves is better than the current option.

    Words can’t describe how awful, lazy, corrupt, ignorant, stupid, selfish, and just backwards-ass those people are. It’s no surprise they turned and ran at the first sign of trouble. Iraqis are awful soldiers.

    Personally, I think we should have left Saddam in power-he was a bad guy, but he was the only guy who could hold that disfunctional cesspool of a nation together. The Baathists might have been bad, too, but they were the only organized, capable people there.

    It was obvious then Iran would own Iraq and it’s no surprise now.
    Since the Kurds seized Kirkuk, at least they’re now capable of standing up Kurdistan as a legitimate nation-there are 3 major oil refineries there, so now the Kurdish state is a real thing. When I was there, Kurdish Peshmerga were the most reliable, hard-core troops you could find. At least they knew what they were fighting for.

    The interesting thing about this is ISIS may have just totally screwed up. Iran, cut off from their Syrian buddies, now has a mandate to march all the way to Damascus. With the North of Iraq out of control, I wonder if the Turks will go in? They used to take a very personal interest in the region, since the Kurds move between the Kurdish region in Turkey, Kurdistan, and Northern Iran and they had an internal war with the KPP and the PKK. The map just changed!

    The sad part for me is seeing Mosul fall. In 2005-2006, we owned that city. Nothing happened there we didn’t know about and we kept that city on lockdown. All that effort for nothing. What a shame. I hope the Kurds go and liberate that city, too.

  3. If we go back, maybe there will be some good contractor jobs agan. I know a contractor company that just hired a linguist for 67K over there. 67K is a joke compared to a few years ago. A few years ago, a towel boy at the base gym was making 67K!

  4. ISIL Takfiri militants, tools of Zionists: Analyst
    Iraqi men who volunteered to join the fight against a major attack by Takfiris in northern Iraq stand on an army truck heading towards the town of Taji, on the outskirts of Baghdad, on June 13, 2014.
    Iraqi men who volunteered to join the fight against a major attack by Takfiris in northern Iraq stand on an army truck heading towards the town of Taji, on the outskirts of Baghdad, on June 13, 2014.
    Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:54AM GMT

    Takfiri militants currently wreaking havoc on Iraq are operatives of the Israeli regime, an analyst writes for Press TV.

    “The Takfiri terrorists afflicting Iraq – like the American invaders – are tools of the Zionists,” Kevin Barrett wrote in an article for the Press TV website.

    The analyst was referring to the extremist militants from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that reportedly captured two provincial capitals this week, namely Tikrit in the Salahuddin Province and Iraq’s second city of Mosul in the northern province of Nineveh.

    Barrett said people in Iraq and the entire Middle East have to “wake up” to what is under way in their countries and “then rise up and throw the Takfiri terrorists, Zionists, and occupiers out of the region.”

    He added that the ISIL was created on the al-Qaeda model to pursue the interests of Western governments in the Middle East.

    “So perhaps the Zionist-led West is perfectly happy to sit back and watch Iraq get torn apart by the ISIL,” wrote Barrett.

    He said the unrest desired by the West in Iraq is currently under way “in the form of the decimation of Iraq by the…terrorists of the ISIL.”

    Over the past days, Iraqi armed forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with the Takfiris, who have threatened to take their acts of violence to other Iraqi cities, including the capital, Baghdad. Hundreds of Iraqi volunteers have rushed to army recruitment centers to join the fight against terrorism.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the acts carried out by the militants, calling on the international community to support the Iraqi government’s fight against Takfiris.


  5. “House Speaker John Boehner blamed the turmoil in Syria, Egypt and now Iraq on Obama’s policy failures and accused him of ignoring signs of the growing threat from Sunni extremists”

    Earth to John Boehner,calling Earth to John Boehner…you idiots put the Shai in power did you think that the Sunni minority who ruled Iraq for years under Saddam would sit still for this…you morons.Look at the video’s on Youtube from Cheney and others explaining why we didn’t go into Baghdad after the 1st Gulf War…EVERYTHING they mentioned has come to pass . But WTF the chance to make trillions is too good for the Military/Industrial complex to pass up .

    I had a buddy was sent over to Iraq to train them…the video he should me was hilarious …those bitches couldn’t even do a jumping jack. They were morons !

    If I was a veteran I’d challenge McCain to an ass kicking contest ( I’d kick him and walk away ). . He is old and obviously mentally unstable .

  6. To quote Biden: Iraq is a big fucking deal.


    Iraq is the world’s eighth-largest producer of oil and ranks No. 2 in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, behind Saudi Arabia. Production has been on the comeback trail since the height of the Iraq war. Production hit 3.6 million barrels a day in February, its highest level in more than 30 years. Production has since fallen back, slipping to 3.3 million barrels a day in May, analysts say.

    Iraq’s production growth has been a welcome development for oil consumers as Libya struggles to come back online amid persistent violence and turmoil. But the fighting casts big doubts over the government’s aim to boost output to 4 million barrels a day by the end of this year and to 7 million barrels a day by 2016, note economists at Capital Economics.

  7. Not too many years ago, seems we gifted Saddam some helicopters, which he then used to kill a bunch of Kurds. We didn’t seem to care much about that.

    My, what a tangled web we weave.

    No wonder Lindbergh went batty towards the end. Seeing the insanity and lies for what they are hurts one’s head, and heart.

    War it will be folks. Soon, I fear, will be a War to end all wars.

    Hard times are coming and 99% of America believes things are only going to get better.

    Food lines, no money, no jobs, starving and cold children.

    We brought this freedom to many countries, Iraq most recently and notably. Won’t be too much longer and this country is going to have to pay for these atrocities we have created and sanctioned.


  8. If at least these psychos had the self control to secure oil supply and leave them the fuck alone as we had previously done. After all, that’s why we’re there. However, greedy psychos don’t understand boundaries. They wanted to make lots of moola and fucked up the country, our reputation, and now there is a mess that is way bigger than before. Probably because they didn’t have enough money any of them. Anywho, I begin to digress and there is still plenty of brown and black people to bomb there and elsewhere in the name of freedom…back to our regularly scheduled program….

  9. This whole M.E. bloodshed is going to end badly, I feel so sorry for the people caught up in this night-
    mare. I saw a Iraqi father with his cute son in his arms, and there was absolute panic in his face.

    Lack of water, too many people in the M.E, and the oil resources may be the start of WWIII. See 5.00 gal gas very soon/

  10. Admin: I like the colors on your map! I think I’ll try to find a beater M1911 45 and have it refinished in Cerakote. Dark brown slide and light brown frame.


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