The Warmongers Refuse to Learn

John McCain ( “get off my lawn”) and Lindsay Graham (“I’m running for re-election and nobody gets to the right of me!”) have a letter in yesterday’s New York Times, insisting that President Obama do something about ISIS. They don’t say what that something should be, but they scold the President for failing to do it.

McCain and Graham have a long history as proponents of a “muscular” (belligerent)  foreign policy; in their world, war is the first, not last, resort. As I recall, both were supportive of the Bush Administration’s disastrous decision to invade Iraq and further destabilize the  Middle East.  Given the way that little adventure turned out, you might think they’d be a bit more reluctant to rattle their swords, but they don’t seem to have learned anything.

Martin Longman, over at Political Animal, reminisces.

It’s surprisingly easy to compose a list of the 25 stupidest things Bush administration officials said about the invasion of Iraq, and no such list can be remotely comprehensive. For example, the list I just referenced has President Bush assuring Reverend Pat Robertson that he doesn’t need to prepare the public for casualties because we won’t have any casualties, and it has Donald Rumsfeld dismissing concerns about looting because “free” people are free to do dumb things, but it makes no reference to Paul Wolfowitz saying in Congressional testimony that, “There’s a lot of money to pay for this. It doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money. We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” It doesn’t include his testimony that “It is hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam’s security forces and his army — hard to imagine.” It doesn’t include his testimony that “I can’t imagine anyone here wanting to spend another $30 billion to be there for another 12 years.”

The current Administration is trying to deal with–or as Longman puts it, triage– the disastrous consequences of massively wrongheaded policies. It’s a huge mess.

I have no idea whether Obama is doing what needs to be done, because I have no idea which measures would help and which would make things worse.  I definitely have no advice to offer.

The difference between me and McCain/Graham is: I know what I don’t know.


  1. You could have posted a photo of you standing by a jet fighter airplane castigating the Administration for being so weak on foreign affairs … 🙂

  2. GWB and his NEO-CON Crowd drove the car off a cliff when he ordered the invasion of Iraq. There were many in Congress who provided GWB a permission slip to drive the car off the cliff. The Mega-Media failed to question the policy.

    GWB and his gang bailed out of the car, Obama now finds himself a victim of gravity, hurling into the abyss. The McCainic as usual can always be counted on to want to bomb something or someone.

    The Middle East has been trashed, Libya, Syria and Iraq are in a state of Anarchy, brought about by the USA and it’s puppets. The elected Governments in Egypt, and Ukraine were overthrown by Coups.

    There is one American General who will probably not be invited on the Sunday Talk shows: retired Army lieutenant general Daniel Bolger. Bolger has 35 years in the Army including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has an upcoming book “Why We Lost” scheduled to be published in November.

  3. Obama is a sell out ! I voted for him twice, sorry I voted at all. Yes we can extend the NDAA, push for TTP, sit on your hands regarding fracking ! He is a corporate hack ! If Bernie Sanders runs I’ll vote for him. Warren owned by AIPAC, what a shame almost fell for her too ! Oligarchy is alive and well. “Yes we can”, what a con !

  4. Various disparate policymakers – Madelyn Albright and Colin Powell among them – warned that if Geo. W. Bush broke the pottery in Iraq, he would own it and all the pieces of trouble that would follow. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11; they had no weapons of mass destruction; and so many American and Iraqi citizens have paid horrific prices for the pottery the President broke.

    Thirteen years later, the pottery dust he whipped up in Iraq has billowed into birth of ISIS terrorists who are too extreme even for Al Qaeda and Assad. While our budget and voters are exhausted from militaristic fatigue in Iraq, then Afghanistan and increasingly in Iraq again, Assad and Putin seized the moment to kill Syrians and invade Ukraine.

    Shooting first and getting answers later has left us no closer to putting the pottery back together again or new pottery in its place.

  5. We can’t forget Indiana’s own Mitch Daniels who as director of the OMB stated “Iraq should not require sustained aid.” March, 2003.

  6. And yet McCain is on Face the Nation again today. Isn’t there somebody else the media could interview??

  7. Both Republicans and Democratic Presidents have pushed a hawkish, interventionist foreign policy for at least the last 30 years, actually longer. Trying to still blame things on GWB six years after being out of office is a stretch. We need to have a doctrine that governs when and when we do not send military troops into foreign battlefields. Both parties are at fault for not having that policy.

  8. Frame the argument and you proscribe the outcome. We should be much less concerned over what McCain has done wrong that what he has done right: Wreck havoc in the Middle East. Done. Deliver billions to arms manufactures. Done. Swing WASPs to the farther right. Done. Cause deeper desperation of the classes. Done. Disenfranchise opponents. Done. Swing the courts to become another arm of his party. Done. Roll back restrictions on monopolies and corporations. Done. The list of his accomplishments goes on and on. During all of this, he has been able to frame the discussion to be about freedom for our coalition allies to determine their own future. For me to even write that sentence makers me sick. There is no ‘coalition’ in the Gulf States. The bad guys are who the ‘spooks’ say they happen to be today. Ran out of Arabic names so now they are reduced to initials. Still, the march of the neo-cons goes on. Right over the cliff. In the long history of man, oil has played but a very small part. There is yet the mystery of the ‘Greek Fire’ used prior to the 15th century. It had little to do with the course of history. The first major American conflict between the States was not to be determined by petroleum products. Therefore you must consider that oil has been a factor in human concerns for little over a hundred years. People have a much longer memory than the average American. Japan remembers, Korea remembers. And Vietnam and Tripoli, and Columbia, and Cuba, and Panama, and, and, and… And one day the oil will be gone. And with it, the F-35s and the Abrams, and the MRAPs, and the Hueys and this is where McCain and his cronies fall miserably short. They don’t see a China that has lasted for thousands of years. They can’t imagine a populace of which major factions side with the oppressed. (write London’s Muslims today!) They can’t see beyond very limited perspectives. They don’t know they are destroying that which they intend to preserve. How do they intend to maintain hegemony over a world when devoid of a limited resource destined to disappear as rapidly as it came. Idiot McCain would not remember when ‘coal oil’ was sold in gallon jugs only by your local drug store! It”s main purpose being a cheaper form of lamp oil. Then somebody found out you could also cook with it and the race was on. Rockefeller became the world’s richest not because of the oil he commanded, but rather the barrels and the rail lines he monopolized. Could our McCains and Palins figure this out, they would retreat to Utah and study distances from Alaska to Russia.

  9. The evidence of our Bush-whacking is in the vigor Republicans invest still in blaming Obama for the consequences of George’s policies. Not the least of which is the passion in the Middle East for our destruction. And the armament now available for Muslims to destroy each other.

    Obama’s foreign policy is working fine. The world is not fixed and we are not and should not be about repairing it.

    Time to invest in fixing our only home and let those who want to kill each other proceed without our help.

  10. Pete; someone from GOP put a post on Facebook earlier this summer blaming President Obama for 9/11. Too stupid to bother responding to. These wars will never end; they seem to be a natural state for humans, they are all trying to get even…for real or imagined reasons (excuses or inventions). We, the United States of America, are expected by the majority of the world – and ourselves – to continue trying to save everyone when we cannot save ourselves – from ourselves – at this point in time. Maybe the world is flat and eventually we will fall off the edge into infinity; we seem to be making no strides forward to preserve humanity. I get countless E-mails daily from unknown sources and some known by me due to their political identities; they all want money to preserve our basic civil and human rights so I have been deleting them for days, unread. Why do I have to pay someone to do what they were elected to do and are well paid by us with our tax dollars pouring out of all orifices? Sheila states her outlook on the world is jaundiced; my view is one of disgust combined with hopelessness. This is Labor Day weekend in a country which has all but destroyed the labor unions who gave us this holiday. Happy Holiday, y’all, enjoy your BBQ.

  11. Speaking at an Americans for Prosperity conference in Dallas that was organised by influential party funders the Koch brothers, presidential hopeful and Texas senator Ted Cruz said: “We ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age”.
    I wonder if one single person cheering to bomb them back to the Stone Age, ever served in actual combat other than X-Box??? The bravery of these people is proportional to their distance from the battlefield!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Paul and Pence, who on Thursday night dined privately with a more exclusive group of major donors and VIPs including AFP foundation chairman David Koch and columnist George Will, appear to have made the best impressions on the elite and moneyed class.

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