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Iraq Is Now Iran’s War Bride

Tim Arango of The New York Times reports from Iraq. [1]Excerpt:

Walk into almost any market in Iraq and the shelves are filled with goods from Iran — milk, yogurt, chicken. Turn on the television and channel after channel broadcasts programs sympathetic to Iran.

A new building goes up? It is likely that the cement and bricks came from Iran. And when bored young Iraqi men take pills to get high, the illicit drugs are likely to have been smuggled across the porous Iranian border.

And that’s not even the half of it.

Across the country, Iranian-sponsored militias are hard at work establishing a corridor to move men and guns to proxy forces in Syria and Lebanon. And in the halls of power in Baghdad, even the most senior Iraqi cabinet officials have been blessed, or bounced out, by Iran’s leadership.

When the United States invaded Iraq 14 years ago to topple Saddam Hussein, it saw Iraq as a potential cornerstone of a democratic and Western-facing Middle East, and vast amounts of blood and treasure — about 4,500 American lives lost, more than $1 trillion spent — were poured into the cause.

From Day 1, Iran saw something else: a chance to make a client state of Iraq, a former enemy against which it fought a war in the 1980s so brutal, with chemical weapons and trench warfare, that historians look to World War I for analogies. If it succeeded, Iraq would never again pose a threat, and it could serve as a jumping-off point to spread Iranian influence around the region.

In that contest, Iran won, and the United States lost.

In that light, how can one not sympathize with Tucker Carlson in his current fight with foreign-policy neocons? Really interesting piece about that in The National Interest. [2]Carlson, who was once a writer for The Weekly Standard, says he doesn’t like to use the word “neocons.” Yet:

Carlson’s recent segments on foreign policy conducted with Lt. Col. Ralph Peters [3] and the prominent neoconservative journalist and author Max Boot [4] were acrimonious even by Carlsonian standards. In a discussion on Syria, Russia and Iran, a visibly upset Boot accused Carlson of being “immoral” and taking foreign-policy positions to curry favor with the White House, keep up his ratings [5], and by proxy, benefit financially. Boot says that Carlson “basically parrots whatever the pro-Trump line is that Fox viewers want to see. If Trump came out strongly against Putin tomorrow, I imagine Tucker would echo this as faithfully as the pro-Russia arguments he echoes today.” But is this assessment fair?

Carlson’s record suggests that he has been in the camp skeptical of U.S. foreign-policy intervention for some time now and, indeed, that it predates Donald Trump’s rise to power. (Carlson has commented publicly that he was humiliated by his own public support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.) According to Carlson, “This is not about Trump. This is not about Trump. It’s the one thing in American life that has nothing to do with Trump. My views on this are totally unrelated to my views on Donald Trump. This has been going since September 11, 2001. And it’s a debate that we’ve never really had. And we need to have it.” He adds, “I don’t think the public has ever been for the ideas that undergird our policies.”

The piece does a good job documenting that Carlson has been anti-neocon in foreign policy for a long time. This is not pro-Trump opportunism on his part. The piece, by Curt Mills, says that Carlson is paying a lot more attention to the traditional left on foreign policy, as opposed to the neocons and the Democratic Party mainstream. And he’s paying attention to Pat Buchanan. More:

Carlson’s interests extend beyond foreign policy, and he says “there’s a massive realignment going on ideologically that everybody is missing. It’s dramatic. And everyone is missing it. . . . Nobody is paying attention to it!”

Carlson seems intent on pressing the issue. The previous night, in his debate with Peters, the retired lieutenant colonel said that Carlson sounded like Charles Lindbergh, who opposed U.S. intervention against Nazi Germany before 1941. “This particular strain of Republican foreign policy has almost no constituency. Nobody agrees with it. I mean there’s not actually a large group of people outside of New York, Washington or L.A. who think any of this is a good idea,” Carlson says. “All I am is an asker of obvious questions. And that’s enough to reveal these people have no idea what they’re talking about. None.”

Read the whole thing.  [2] Don’t miss the part where Max Boot is quoted from 2003 as saying that the Iraq War may “mark the moment when the powerful antibiotic known as democracy was introduced into the diseased environment of the Middle East, and began to transform the region for the better.” Then re-read Tim Arango’s report [1] about how American blood, American treasure, and American ideological hubris made Iraq a de facto province of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

That doesn’t make Tucker Carlson right. It does make him more credible, though.

132 Comments (Open | Close)

132 Comments To "Iraq Is Now Iran’s War Bride"

#1 Comment By DRK On July 17, 2017 @ 3:27 pm

How long will Putin have to stand in sackcloth and ashes to satisfy your injured sense of nationalistic amour propre ?

Yeah, right, “sackcloth and ashes”; he’s never even admitted to the hacking.

Never thought I’d see the day where Republicans were Putin’s toadies. What’s he ever done for the US, that you people defend him so passionately?

#2 Comment By Kevin On July 17, 2017 @ 3:55 pm

““The problem is that broken places can’t fix themselves. ”

You Know Kevin, you’re starting to sound rather racist”

Wait what? I didn’t argue that Arabs can’t fix themselves because they’ are Arab, but argued that the Middle East can’t fix itself because it’s geopolitics is broken. Postwar Europe didn’t fix itself without extrernal aid either..

#3 Comment By Kevin On July 17, 2017 @ 4:01 pm

“And BTW the idea that the Saudis and Israelis, or the rest of the predominately Sunni nations are going to suddenly change course on Iran because the Great White Father in Washington is threatening to cut off the supply of wampum (which is the only real leverage we have in the region) really shows a gross misunderstanding of the region.”

Well no, the big father in DC can’t fix all, but when Obama made clear he wants the Iran deal, Israel learn to live with it. And when he failed to do same with Saudi Arabia the result was one war that would have been avoided otherwise (yemen) and anotjer where Saudis did lots of things they seem to regret ( Syria). And when Trump gave SA a green light to do whatever, they proceeded to do exceedingly foolish stuff they would not have done otherwise ( Qatar). All of which indicates the US has far more leverage than we assume

#4 Comment By Ain’t Benedict On July 17, 2017 @ 4:15 pm

The defense of Russian actions by several commenters is totally bonkers. Since the USA has a long history of subverting democracy in other countries, it’s no big deal for other countries to do the same to us?!? I can hardly believe I’m reading this. Sure, on some cosmic level it’d be justice, but a nation can’t live and die by the Golden Rule. We can’t just sit back and allow foreigners to take their revenge, and we never have. That’s crazy hippie talk.

#5 Comment By Polichinello On July 17, 2017 @ 4:17 pm

Never thought I’d see the day where Republicans were Putin’s toadies. What’s he ever done for the US, that you people defend him so passionately?

I’ll grant that there are too many on the Right who will flack for the Russian government. They’re usually reacting to others on the Right, like McCain, Rubio and Graham who have a an monomaniacal obsession with seeing Russia as the center of all evil, as if it’s still 1953. For some reason, a lot of people on the center left have taken to this attitude as well.

This hostility is leading us to a point where we’ve nearly had gunfire exchanged with a major nuclear power, beginning with the Pristina air base, where the British General had to tell Wesley Clark to piss off.

#6 Comment By VikingLS On July 17, 2017 @ 4:21 pm

“Yeah, right, “sackcloth and ashes”; he’s never even admitted to the hacking.”

Well since we have no evidence that he DID do it, that’s not surprising.

“Never thought I’d see the day where Republicans were Putin’s toadies. What’s he ever done for the US, that you people defend him so passionately?”

I never thought I’d see the day that liberals were the ones calling other people unpatriotic traitors for not agreeing with them.

Anyway pointing out that what Russia is accused of doing to the USA is something that the US, including Clinton personally, has done to other countries routinely needs to be discussed. As of right now American liberals and neocons are acting like the schoolyard bully who after punching smaller kids for years is stunned and infuriated that somebody actually hit back.

#7 Comment By JonF On July 17, 2017 @ 4:29 pm

Re: Hi. Employee of the military-industrial complex here.

Fallacy of irrelevance, though maybe I should have phrased what I said as “The US does not have the resources that can fix the Middle East as you think it does– because the problems of the Middle East are not fundamentally amenable to a military solution– unless you consider wholesale genocide a morally licit solution.”

Re: What we don’t have is the political will to mobilize them in such a way and to a degree that would actually solve the problem. There’s zero appetite for re-instituting the draft, quadrupling the size of the military, and putting the U.S. economy on a war footing for decades in order to occupy, govern, and remake the Middle East from the ground up.

Why should there be? The Middle East is not the sort of threat to us that would require such a response.

Re: Lack of expertise isn’t a problem.

Yes, it is. Because, again, the problem is not fundamentally a military or political problem. It’s a cultural one, and cultures cannot be easily fixed– and generally must be fixed from within.

Re: The catch there is that the cure may well be an order of magnitude worse than the disease.

Yes, that might be true. But it still does not mean we are in any position to do anything about that.

Re: There is no moral solution.

Probably not. But “stay the hell out of there (militarily)” is a valid solution for us, one that preserves our blood and treasure– and to some extent whatever is left of our tattered national honor and decency.

Re: That is what begat al-Qaeda. That is what begat ISIS.

In both cases it was Western military intervention that watered and fertilized those seeds. Every society has its crazies– “Some men just want to see the world burn”. Such people are usually thin on the ground and very limited in the harm they can do– atrocities on the magnitude of the OKC bombing (to cite an American crazy) but nothing that threatens the fundamental stability of society. It’s when you pump lots of money and guns into their backyard, and outrage vast number of formerly indifferent people going about their daily affairs that you are handing them both the gasoline and the matches to make the world burn.

Re: We absolutely have an abiding interest there.

You can state that until the Devil shows up at Walmart to buy long johns and a snow shovel, but that doesn’t make it true.

#8 Comment By William Tighe On July 17, 2017 @ 5:02 pm

Siarlys Jenkins wrote:

“Trying to throw an election is sufficient basis to take diplomatic (or potentially military) measures against another state, without appealing to heaven.”

To speak of taking military action, even “potentially,” against a nuclear-armed state like Russia, and over actions which the United States itself has taken repeatedly for nearly 75 years, strikes me as not only hubristic, but insane. But I guess for “the American god” blasphemers have no rights. In that case, it should probably be considered as an “appeal to Hell” rather than “to Heaven.”

“What’s [Putin] ever done for the US, that you people defend him so passionately?”

Well, for starters, he’s on the right side of the Culture Wars, even if – who knows? – hypocrtically.

#9 Comment By Kevin On July 17, 2017 @ 5:39 pm

“Anyway pointing out that what Russia is accused of doing to the USA is something that the US, including Clinton personally, has done to other countries routinely needs to be discussed. As of right now American liberals and neocons are acting like the schoolyard bully who after punching smaller kids for years is stunned and infuriated that somebody actually hit back.”

Look, you appear to be somewhat ideocynretic, but you know very well that from Sean Hannity down, pretty much every single voice that is now saying that the Russian meetings and alleged hacking were no. if deal would be howling for traitor’s blood had the shoe been on the other foot. And yeah, after conservatives having spent decades screaming that liberals are morally relativistic pinkos who apologize for America, for them to go all Chomsky now is disgustingly disengineous.

#10 Comment By David Rockett On July 17, 2017 @ 5:43 pm

Boot et al persists in championing a bankrupt neo-conservative foreign policy Dream of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama political Elites, and the DC establishment. What a tragic mess their orthodox-Globalism has made of the Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine. Tucker is wise to listening to Prof Steve Cohen & Pat Buchanan per Russia. Trump would be too. Rare men standing against the madness. Sadly, too many persist as willing children ever ready to be manipulated by the secular-progressive media to hate all things Russian. Past time we began looking for ques outside of DC, London and New York and Rome. Lord have mercy.

#11 Comment By amhixson On July 17, 2017 @ 5:56 pm

JonF: In both cases it was Western military intervention that watered and fertilized those seeds. Every society has its crazies– “Some men just want to see the world burn”. Such people are usually thin on the ground and very limited in the harm they can do– atrocities on the magnitude of the OKC bombing (to cite an American crazy) but nothing that threatens the fundamental stability of society. It’s when you pump lots of money and guns into their backyard, and outrage vast number of formerly indifferent people going about their daily affairs that you are handing them both the gasoline and the matches to make the world burn.

The implicit premise of your position is that if we leave them alone, they’ll leave us alone.

That premise is both false and dangerously naive.

Wahhabism predates American intervention in the region. Even if we withdraw not just our military presence, but our economic presence as well–foreign aid, arms sales, etc., Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states are already wealthy enough to continue financing the al-Qaedas and ISISes of the world.

Isolationism doesn’t work. The world’s too small and interconnected for it to.

We’re already in the game whether we want to be or not. There are legitimate arguments to be had about how best to play, and I agree that we’ve made plenty of stupid moves, but refusing to play doesn’t make the game go away nor does it insulate us from its consequences.

You can state that until the Devil shows up at Walmart to buy long johns and a snow shovel, but that doesn’t make it true.

As long as the Wahhabist institutional structure remains in place, awash in oil money, and nurturing its global network, unfortunately, yes, it’s true.

#12 Comment By Get Out On July 17, 2017 @ 6:14 pm

“They hate us whether we’re there or not. Their terrorist progeny will continue to attack us whether we’re there or not. Live-and-let-live ain’t an option.”

What nonsense. We were told why we were attacked, and the reasons all boiled down to “because we’re there” – “there” taking Israel’s side in the Israel/Palestine mess and “there” siting bases in their “holy land”. The bottom line is that if we weren’t there and didn’t meddle in things that our leadership is incompetent to manage or even understand, someone else would be taking the brunt of it. And that would do just fine.

#13 Comment By Ken T On July 17, 2017 @ 6:27 pm

Kevin 2:
Ever hear about “you broke it, you bought it?”

Ever hear about “the bull in the china shop”? That’s us. The longer we stay there, the more breakage we cause. The sooner we get out and stay out, the sooner the locals can start cleaning up the mess we left them.

#14 Comment By VikingLS On July 17, 2017 @ 6:43 pm

@Kevin

How much experience do you have with the Saudis? What evidence do you have other than you really WISH things had gone a different way do you have?

I have quite a bit, and a little with Iranians, so far as I can tell you have no idea what you’re talking about. The Saudis aren’t going to suddenly make nice with a civilization they’ve been at odds with for over a millennium because America says they have to, and the Iranians wouldn’t trust them if they did.

Colonialism doesn’t look any better when you dress it up in progressive clothes.

” Since the USA has a long history of subverting democracy in other countries, it’s no big deal for other countries to do the same to us?!?”

Well first of all, it’s not so much that it’s not a big deal so much that it’s hypocritical for you to complain about it.

And second of all, how was our democracy subverted? First of all there’s no proof the hacks even had an effect, and nobody has denied the validity of the information released.

You all are acting like a cheating husband who is angry at the person who told his wife they saw him coming out of a hotel with his mistress, rather than admitting he shouldn’t have cheated.

You lost, you deserved to lose, get over it.

#15 Comment By Brendan from Oz On July 17, 2017 @ 7:21 pm

“The defense of Russian actions by several commenters is totally bonkers. Since the USA has a long history of subverting democracy in other countries, it’s no big deal for other countries to do the same to us?!? I can hardly believe I’m reading this. Sure, on some cosmic level it’d be justice, but a nation can’t live and die by the Golden Rule. We can’t just sit back and allow foreigners to take their revenge, and we never have. That’s crazy hippie talk.”

Revenge? Sans any evidence whatsoever? What happened was that the corruption of the Democratic Party agitating for war with a nuclear power (No Fly Zones where Russia was flying) was revealed before the election.

The Russians did not subvert American Democracy – the Democrats, Republicans, Wall Street and Silicon Valley already have. If they did, it wasn’t for “revenge” but to rpreent a shooting war between nuclear powers right now.

Do you really want a shooting war with a nuclear power, sans any evidence, for anonymous leaks of internal American corruption?

Hippie talk makes more sense than that.

#16 Comment By MKhattib On July 17, 2017 @ 7:22 pm

Clearly Iran’s mullahs have always coveted control over Iraq ever since the war with Saddam Hussein and now they are getting their wish. They exerted control over the puppet government of Nouri al-Maliki and helped create ISIS in the first place by bolstering Assad in Syria just at the critical moment when gas attacks almost ensured international attacks, but Iran rescued him and then spawned ISIS, giving Iran the excuse it needed to activate Shia militias and send in its Quds Force to effectively take over Iraq’s military. Iran recognized using the old maxim of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and turned the US-led effort against ISIS into an Iran-starring show. And now that Iran is all in, they are not getting out. They are fulfilling their dream of establishing a Shiite sphere of influence stretching from Lebanon through Hezbollah, through Syria and Iraq and down through Yemen in order to surround Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Gulf States

#17 Comment By Brendan from Oz On July 17, 2017 @ 7:23 pm

Wow, fat fingers. “Prevent” a shooting war …

#18 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 17, 2017 @ 7:36 pm

To speak of taking military action, even “potentially,” against a nuclear-armed state like Russia, and over actions which the United States itself has taken repeatedly for nearly 75 years, strikes me as not only hubristic, but insane.

That’s quite true Prof. Tighe, but that’s a secular consideration. I put military in parentheses precisely because I don’t consider it a wise move, just its nothing to do with our country being a god. However, if you will join me in refraining from recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance on the grounds that it violates the Second Commandment, we have some common ground here.

I admire the the framework of American constitutional government. I don’t mistake it for devotion to the Creator. And no matter how many times we’ve wrecked other nation’s republican governance for our own sordid gain, I really don’t want anyone wrecking ours. Poetic justice is merely poetic.

Wahhabism predates American intervention in the region.

Yes, but it was a crazy desert cult of tribes on camels and horses, on the fringes of Islam, until we lusted after their oil and made bargains that pumped vast sums of money into the region.

By the way, the volume on the Gospel of John you sent me arrived today. Thank you, it looks like interesting reading.

I never thought I’d see the day that liberals were the ones calling other people unpatriotic traitors for not agreeing with them.

Liberals are hopelessly addicted to aping whatever conservatives did that managed to win an election, and then wonder why it doesn’t outrage voters against Republicans the way it outraged voters against them. Its like generals always being read to fight the last war. This stuff doesn’t keep working over and over. Opportunism has a short half life.

#19 Comment By VikingLS On July 17, 2017 @ 7:38 pm

@Kevin

If the shoe was on the other foot I have no doubt that conservatives would indeed cry foul and be as completely credulous (you seem to be ignoring the point that we still haven’t had any evidence that the Kremlin was involved in the hack at all).

In that case it just would have meant the other side were being the hypocrites.

The reality Kevin is that both parties looked the other way while the USA did FAR nastier things to interfere in other countries internal politics, and as would be required for us to be the benevolent hegemon in the middle east you are suggesting we be.

And I would still be making the same argument. We did worse to other countries, including the Russians.

Can you honestly say you would?

#20 Comment By VikingLS On July 17, 2017 @ 7:46 pm

This is a great thread, I am actually hoping JonF lays the smack down on some people arguing with him. I can’t say that every day. 🙂

#21 Comment By Lllurker On July 17, 2017 @ 8:03 pm

“To speak of taking military action, even “potentially,” against a nuclear-armed state like Russia …”

That’s not something that I’ve heard anyone advocating for.

“… and over actions which the United States itself has taken repeatedly for nearly 75 years, strikes me as not only hubristic, but insane.”

Well as I alluded to above, my view of the Iraq invasion is that it may well have been the worst foreign policy move the US has ever made. Going into Afghanistan can of course be debated, but it certainly did have some solid reasoning behind it. Most of the Cold War related conflicts did fit within the context of the containment doctrine, which ultimately proved more successful than anyone dreamed possible. Any individual action can be picked apart of course, but so can the counterfactuals.

“But I guess for “the American god” blasphemer..”

William I don’t know what to do with your take on international relations and foreign policy. Apparently you’ve got an axe to grind that I don’t quite comprehend.

#22 Comment By JonF On July 17, 2017 @ 9:31 pm

Re: Wahhabism predates American intervention in the region.

Sure. Its roots go back to the 18th century when the decay of Ottoman power left a void both politically and religiously in the Middle East. But Wahhabism is something for the Islamic world to solve– and goodness knows that with a billion or more Muslims on this planet there are plenty of folk who qualify. For the US to get involved in a religious quarrel in a faith that is alien to all but a small fraction of our citizens is as absurd as if the government of the People’s Republic of China undertook to make an end to extremist Protestant Fundamentalism in our own country.

Re: Isolationism doesn’t work.

Throw that red herring back in the river– it stinks. I have no plan to build Fortress America and then pull up the draw bridge. Of course we shall engage the world, and the world us! But “engage the world” is not a synonym for “invade the world” or “rule the world.”

Re: As long as the Wahhabist institutional structure remains in place, awash in oil money,

They will not be awash in oil money forever. Why assume that the present is the perfect map to the future? Things change and betting against that is a fool’s bet. Ask the Bourbons and the Romanovs, the Southern slave-holders, the Renaissance merchant princes, the corrupt Renaissance cardinals…
The end of the reign of oil is closer than you might guess.

Re: and nurturing its global network

And here we go with a 21st century version of “Reds under the beds”. Well, there were Reds, just as there were once Illuminati and Jacobin agents and secret plotting Jesuits… But they never had a tithe of a tithe of the fearsome power ascribed to them. Neither does the Secret Network of Muslim Crazies. Of course you are going to say “What about 9-11”, but apart from the grief of all those innocent lives lost, the chief calamity that 9-11 wrought was to empower the warmongers in the Bush administration to embroil us in a godawful mess that has cost far more lives than died that bright September day, and burned away our wealth and our reputation like chaff in a wild fire.
Enough!

#23 Comment By Lllurker On July 17, 2017 @ 10:19 pm

Brendon: “Do you really want a shooting war with a nuclear power, sans any evidence, for anonymous leaks of internal American corruption?”

This isn’t in the offing.

“The Russians did not subvert American Democracy – the Democrats, Republicans, Wall Street and Silicon Valley already have. If they did, it wasn’t for “revenge” but to rpreent a shooting war between nuclear powers right now.”

Where on Earth are you getting this stuff? We’re now degenerating from hippie stuff into magic mushroom territory.

#24 Comment By VikingLS On July 18, 2017 @ 10:15 am

“Where on Earth are you getting this stuff? We’re now degenerating from hippie stuff into magic mushroom territory.”

Really, so the political parties, the media, and the financial sector haven’t undermined the Democratic process?

Okay, explain why. If you can. Ad hominems are not an argument.

(Though I anticipate you won’t lower yourself to defend your opinions, because in reality you can’t. )

#25 Comment By amhixson On July 18, 2017 @ 10:44 am

JonF: For the US to get involved in a religious quarrel in a faith that is alien to all but a small fraction of our citizens is as absurd as if the government of the People’s Republic of China undertook to make an end to extremist Protestant Fundamentalism in our own country.

It’s not about sorting out their religious differences. It’s about eliminating a national security threat and the infrastructure supporting it.

I have no plan to build Fortress America and then pull up the draw bridge. Of course we shall engage the world, and the world us! But “engage the world” is not a synonym for “invade the world” or “rule the world.”

That’s good to hear.

I look forward to you laying out your unified field theory of international relations and the detailed specifics of your vision for U.S. foreign policy.

The end of the reign of oil is closer than you might guess.

I’ve heard that prophecy my entire life. I’ll believe it when I see it.

And here we go with a 21st century version of “Reds under the beds”…

Nice straw man you’ve got there.

The network I was referring to is the aid, comfort, and financing provided to terrorist groups and the global archipelago of madrassahs.

#26 Comment By Allen On July 18, 2017 @ 11:29 am

I spent time in Baghdad during the war. My advice is to get out of there AND Afghanistan AND Libya AND Syria AND anywhere else the idiot generals want to deploy without a credible threat to our nation. Just stop already with the “democracy is a virus” mentality.

#27 Comment By Liam On July 18, 2017 @ 12:19 pm

Iraq is not the place where Wahhabism can be resolved.

Iran and Turkey remain the civilizational hegemons in Mesopotamia, and Iran is in a better logistical position, and the historic mission of powers like the US is to make sure Iran doesn’t become an avenue for Russia to divide the Eurasian subcontinent. (I don’t mean that the US therefore intervenes *in* Iran.)

Which means, in the end, that Israel and Saudi Arabia are going to be subordinate to that mission over the long term. So long as we have leaders who remember the mission.

#28 Comment By JonF On July 18, 2017 @ 4:40 pm

Re: It’s not about sorting out their religious differences. It’s about eliminating a national security threat and the infrastructure supporting it.

You have a hugely exaggerated estimation how great that threat is to the United States (unless your real concern is not the US at all but some other nation or nations closer to the Middle East– but why should we be on tap to solve someone else’s problems?). You seem to want to use a literal cannon to kill a fly.

Re: I look forward to you laying out your unified field theory of international relations and the detailed specifics of your vision for U.S. foreign policy.

Should I someday become so frustrated with “the damned human race” (as Mark Twain termed it) that I use my supernal powers over time and space to make myself Lord High Dictator you will learn all that in great detail. But in the meantime I am more concerned with working out my salvation “in fear and trembling”. And I suspect you will be much the happier if that is the my path until the day I draw my last breath.

Re: I’ve heard that prophecy my entire life. I’ll believe it when I see it.

It’s already entrained, much as the dethronement of King Cotton was by the 1850s.

Re: The network I was referring to is the aid, comfort, and financing provided to terrorist groups and the global archipelago of madrassahs.

I don’t doubt there are some unsavory people out there– really, I think we all know that. What I object to is the use of military force– firing up the canon to kill the fly. What is needed is patient police work– no I don’t mean by the Mayberry PD, or even the Baltimore PD. But by the FBI, the INS, financial regulators*, and, yes, by international security groups too. See, I am not opposed to some level of international effort. War- deadly force in general– should always be the last resort, and only when coldest necessity demands it. That bar has not been met.

* One of the seldom told stories behind the breaking of Al Qaida after 9-11 was the efforts of world financial “police” to destroy its funding resources and shut down its money pipeline.

#29 Comment By VikingLS On July 18, 2017 @ 4:58 pm

@amhixon

“The network I was referring to is the aid, comfort, and financing provided to terrorist groups and the global archipelago of madrassahs.”

Could you clarify this? If you aren’t talking about continuing the attempted forced conversion of the Middle East to liberal democracy, but are talking about countering the spread of the Wahhabist message then there may have been some talking past each other here.

#30 Comment By Brendan from Oz On July 19, 2017 @ 2:32 am

Llurker:

Try Google or Amazon search for a massive number of articles and titles on topic.

From [6]:
There are two lines of cases that can be cited. The first, the refusal to find any constitutional violation in political gerrymandering, has led to a breakdown in deliberative democracy. With so many members of the United States House of Representatives and the state legislatures coming from districts that have been drawn so as to make their seats safely Republican or safely Democratic, there is no longer any incentive to compromise. A member who compromises, thereby moving to the center of the electorate, moves away from the center of those who vote in his or her party’s primary. In a safe district, it is the primary that matters, and winning the primary requires ideological purity. Compromise calls that purity into question. That affects the functioning of government. It can also impact political participation, when voters find themselves in safe districts in which their votes don’t really matter.

The other line is the Court’s repeated striking down of any attempts to limit the influence of money in politics. While the Court has accepted contribution limits to avoid actual, or the appearance of, quid pro quo corruption, it has been completely unwilling to limit expenditures by anyone, including corporations and unions, supporting the election or defeat of candidates. Somehow, the Court does not see the corruption this may cause. It may also impact the functioning of government, in the sense that government is not responsive to the people but instead to those who have the capacity to spend in favor of, or against, reelection of members of the legislature. It is also likely to affect political participation; people may choose to take no part in the process, if they believe that government is bought and paid for.

It is ironic that a line of decisions the Supreme Court saw as protecting democracy through an expansive understanding of expression instead contributed to a decline in democracy. This refusal to allow any reining in of the influence of money is also in stark contrast to the law in most to all of the countries that remain fully functioning democracies. Those countries limit spending, including spending by non-candidates in support of those seeking election, or they lessen the need for money. The lessening comes through bans on purchasing television advertising, often accompanied by the provision of free time in the media for candidates to reach the voters.

#31 Comment By MarcH On July 19, 2017 @ 8:05 pm

You left out a few minor points, such as TC’s calling for Iran’s “annihilation” in 2012, [7]

#32 Comment By Lllurker On July 20, 2017 @ 10:34 am

Amhixon: “It’s not about sorting out their religious differences. It’s about eliminating a national security threat and the infrastructure supporting it.”

So if we start out viewing national security this way, and then tune and refine the thinking a little, we end up talking of developing realistic ways to “contain” national security threats of this sort, verses truly eliminating them. Similar to how in the domestic law enforcement front we work to contain auto theft rather than to fully eliminate it.

And then what follows when you view terrorism this way, in terms of taking realistic actions to contain it, the need to invade other countries and execute large scale military options is greatly reduced.

By the way it’s also important to carefully define what is meant by “national security.” And what we want it to mean in the context of discussions about terrorism and the like.