Author Topic: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread  (Read 241458 times)

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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #250 on: September 07, 2014, 11:55:20 »
Just trying to keep IS away from the dam.

Offline Hisoyaki

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #251 on: September 07, 2014, 21:15:36 »
Much blame can be put on the shoulders of Maliki, but we (the "West") are certainly not without faults.

The polls indicate the US population is at best split on staying in Iraq. The rest of the Western world(including Canada) wanted nothing to do with Gulf War II. The people want out of the region. 

Iran, by contrast, will always be there.

US aid is always conditional--- even if a client country tiptoe the US line.A bunch of leftist fops might take power and demand the demise of a pro-western ally. This is essentially the story of the second Indochina war.

There is no sane leader that believes the US (and by extension the West) is a reliable ally. It's no wonder then that Iran is stepping in to fill the vacuum.

The US has made a commitment to the Iraqi people and it should make sure that democracy flourishes in Iraq, if only to maintain the credibility of future promises.

Supposing that a region-wide blockade is possible (it isn't --- if illegal immigration in the EU and US are any indicators.Not to mention, how do you sell this option to a leftist populace?),  --- there's no guarantee that something like a democracy will come out on top.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2014, 21:52:58 by Hisoyaki »

Offline S.M.A.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #252 on: September 08, 2014, 15:41:19 »
The air strikes continue in Iraq even as Obama weighs whether expanding them into Syria is politically feasible:

Reuters

Quote
Obama expands air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq, stops siege of vital dam
By: Ned Parker and Phil Stewart, Reuters
September 9, 2014 12:23 AM

BAGHDAD/TBILISI - US warplanes carried out five strikes on Islamic State insurgents menacing Iraq's Haditha Dam on Sunday, witnesses and officials said, widening what President Barack Obama called a campaign to curb and ultimately defeat the jihadist movement.

Obama has branded Islamic State an acute threat to the West as well as the Middle East and said that key NATO allies stood ready to back Washington in action against the well-armed sectarian force, which has seized expanses of northern Iraq and eastern Syria and declared a border-blurring religious caliphate.

The leader of a pro-Iraqi government paramilitary force in western Iraq said the air strikes wiped out an Islamic State patrol trying to attack the dam - Iraq's second biggest hydroelectric facility that also provides millions with water.

(...EDITED)


Military.com

Quote
Analysis: US Wary Over Hitting Syrian Militants


Associated Press | Sep 08, 2014 | by Zeina Karam
BEIRUT -- The U.S. and its allies are trying to hammer out a coalition to push back the Islamic State group in Iraq. But any serious attempt to destroy the militants or even seriously degrade their capabilities means targeting their infrastructure in Syria.

That, however, is far more complicated. If it launches airstrikes against the group in Syria, the U.S. runs the risk of unintentionally strengthening the hand of President Bashar Assad, whose removal the West has actively sought the past three years.

Uprooting the Islamic State group, which has seized roughly a third of Syria and Iraq, may potentially open the way for the Syrian army to fill the vacuum.

(...EDITED)
« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 15:48:06 by S.M.A. »
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Offline cupper

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #253 on: September 08, 2014, 18:07:38 »
Much blame can be put on the shoulders of Maliki, but we (the "West") are certainly not without faults.

The polls indicate the US population is at best split on staying returning in Iraq. The rest Most of the Western world(including Canada) wanted nothing to do with Gulf War II. The people want out of the region. 

Iran, by contrast, will always be there.

US aid is always conditional--- even if a client country tiptoe the US line.A bunch of leftist fops might take power and demand the demise of a pro-western ally. This is essentially the story of the second Indochina war.

There is no sane leader that believes the US (and by extension the West) is a reliable ally. It's no wonder then that Iran is stepping in to fill the vacuum.

The US has made a commitment to the Iraqi people and it should make sure that democracy flourishes in Iraq, if only to maintain the credibility of future promises.

Supposing that a region-wide blockade is possible (it isn't --- if illegal immigration in the EU and US are any indicators.Not to mention, how do you sell this option to a leftist populace?),  --- there's no guarantee that something like a democracy will come out on top.

Couple of points:

Although Canada publicly rejected any involvement in the invasion in 2003, behind the scenes diplomatic discussions and offers were made to provide support of the invasion.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/weston-canada-offered-to-aid-iraq-invasion-wikileaks-1.1062501

You should go back and review why the US pulled out of Iraq. It was the failure to get an agreement on the status of forces with the Iraqi government that resulted in the 2011 deadline being set by the Bush Administration.
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Offline Hisoyaki

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #254 on: September 08, 2014, 23:10:17 »
It is extremely hard to believe that the US could not have put enough leverage on a client state whose army was/is dependent upon its generosity.

Fact is, US public opinion was turning against the Iraq War well before the 2011 deadline. 
http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq2.htm

Leaving Iraq was a major point of Obama's campaign. Regardless of the SOFA, the USA elected a president whose major campaign theme was withdrawal from Iraq.Hardly the stuff that would encourage an iraqi to embrace and fight for the US cause.  The SOFA is a convenient if lame excuse to save face and placate opposition at home.

As Donald Rumsfeld puts it (in regards to Afghanistan, but the point is equally valid for Iraq):

Quote from:  Donald Rumsfeld
"...we have status of forces agreements, probably with 100, 125 countries in the world. This administration, the White House and the State Department have failed to get a status of forces agreement. A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement. It does not take a genius. We have so mismanaged that relationship."
« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 23:13:07 by Hisoyaki »

Offline S.M.A.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #255 on: September 09, 2014, 08:54:10 »
Hmm. I wonder if we'll see Turkey participating in the air campaign soon?

Defense News

Quote
Hagel Meets Turkish Leaders To Discuss Fight Against Islamic State
Sep. 8, 2014 - 05:33PM   |   By BURAK EGE BEKDIL

ANKARA — US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met here Monday with Turkish dignitaries to discuss possible cooperation against the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an army of radical Islamists that took large swathes of Iraqi and Syrian territory in July and August.

Hagel met with Turkey’s top soldier, Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel, at the military headquarters, before having further meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz.

Turkish officials said Hagel’s visit was a follow-up to Erdogan’s meeting with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Wales last week during which nine NATO countries, including Turkey, as well as Australia, discussed the formation of a core group to “destroy ISIL.”

(...EDITED)

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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #256 on: September 09, 2014, 10:40:05 »
Turkey will be content to watch from the sidelines.

Offline S.M.A.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #257 on: September 10, 2014, 11:57:42 »
A parallel update at the Syria superthread:

Obama making big speech tonight on how he will fight ISIS

Obama will make a big speech tonight on how he will fight ISIS at 9 pm EST, 6 PM Pacific on North American networks.
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"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
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"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline cupper

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #258 on: September 10, 2014, 19:09:56 »
Turkey will be content to watch from the sidelines.

Maybe not. There could be some unforeseen effects on the Turkish economy which could force them to make a larger effort to address the ISIS presence within their own borders.

Case in point, the company I work for is involved in several construction projects in Turkey which we are trying to get past the start line. Latest word is that a couple of those projects that are situated around Adana and Osmaniye near the Syrian border are delayed because contractors cannot ensure the safety of workers due to death threats and vandalism. Some of the incidents have supposedly been linked to militants who came across from Syria claiming to be refugees displaced by the civil war.
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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #259 on: September 10, 2014, 21:44:18 »
They will just keep paying the bribes/blackmail they have been paying all along....for protection from attack
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I´m not so sure about the universe

Offline S.M.A.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #260 on: September 11, 2014, 17:08:27 »
A decision to recommit US ground forces to Iraq that will prove unpopular no matter who is in the White House...

Why use ground troops when the Iraqi Army and the Kurds can do it in Iraq?

Military.com

Quote
Opponents Say Obama Will Need Ground Troops Against ISIL

Stars and Stripes | Sep 11, 2014 | by Chris Carroll

WASHINGTON — Conservatives pushed back Thursday against President Barack Obama's contention that the United States can stabilize Iraq without committing U.S. troops to a ground combat role in the country.

In a speech to the nation Wednesday night, Obama outlined a strategy that called for increased U.S. air attacks in support of Iraqi forces, coupled with increased training of the Iraqi military. The president said 475 additional troops would be sent to support the more than 1,000 others already on the ground in noncombat roles.

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., dismissed what he called Obama "minimalist" plan to the defeat Islamic State insurgents with the focus on air power. McKeon predicted that even in an advisory role, U.S. troops would likely end up in the thick of the fighting and would ultimately need to more, including fighting alongside Iraqi units, helping them with logistics and communications, and aiding in holding ground taken from the Islamic State, group also known by the acronyms ISIL and ISIS.

"American boots will be standing on sand. Americans will be shot at, and they will be shooting back,"
McKeon said in prepared remarks to an audience at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank. "There's simply no other way to do this."

(...EDITED)

Our Country
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"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
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"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #261 on: September 11, 2014, 19:45:15 »
They will just keep paying the bribes/blackmail they have been paying all along....for protection from attack

No, both contractors have pulled men and equipment off the site, and moved to jobs elsewhere in the country until things settle down.
It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

There is no God, and life is just a myth.

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Offline S.M.A.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #262 on: September 12, 2014, 17:30:29 »
In the wake of Turkey refusing to assist coalition forces in the campaign against ISIS in northern Iraq, the US is still able to make do with land-based aircraft, aside from the usual carrier aircraft from the USS George H. W. Bush currently conducting most of the air campaign.

Quote
US war planes to fly from Iraqi air base: Pentagon

Washington (AFP) - US combat aircraft will soon start flying out of a base in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq as part of a "more aggressive" air campaign against Islamic State jihadists, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The use of Arbil air base reflects the broadening US offensive against the IS militants, though attack helicopters already have been flying out of bases in Iraq.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed "armed and manned" US aircraft would fly from Arbil, capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, but declined to provide more details.

American fighter jets and other war planes bombing IS militants in Iraq previously have been flying out of bases and from aircraft carriers in the region outside Iraq.

(...SNIPPED)

Yahoo News

« Last Edit: September 12, 2014, 17:36:50 by S.M.A. »
Our Country
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"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
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"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline S.M.A.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #263 on: September 13, 2014, 22:26:29 »
The monsters at it again:

Reuters

Quote
Islamic State video purports to show beheading of UK hostage David Haines
BY OLIVER HOLMES AND NED PARKER
BAGHDAD Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:55pm EDT

(Reuters) - Islamic State militants fighting in Iraq and Syria released a video on Saturday which purported to show the beheading of British aid worker David Haines.

Reuters could not immediately verify the footage. However, the images were consistent with that of the filmed executions of two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, in the past month.

Haines, a 44-year-old father of two from Perth in Scotland, was kidnapped last year while working for the French agency ACTED.

(...EDITED)

Our Country
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"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #264 on: September 13, 2014, 22:44:20 »
Let's see if they'll use these effectively against ISIS/ISIL forces in Iraq:

Quote
Iraq's First Mi-28 'Havoc' Attack Chopper Has Taken To The Air

Iraq's first Mi-28 Havoc 'Night Hunter' attack chopper has taken flight in Iraq. These are some of the most heavily armed and capable attack helicopters in the world. Three were delivered alongside four new Mi-35 'Hind' attack helicopters from Russia as part of an expedited order placed to help fight the spread of ISIS.

The Mi-28NE is roughly analogous to the US Army's AH-64D Apache and is adapted to fight at night and in adverse weather conditions. The chopper is armed with a chin-mounted 30mm cannon and can carry up to 16 guided missiles as well as 40 unguided rockets or two gun pods. Igla air-to-air missiles, mine dispensers and bombs can also be carried.


(...SNIPPED)


Video of aircraft embedded at story link:

Jalopnik.com

Our Country
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"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline S.M.A.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #265 on: September 15, 2014, 22:46:15 »
The air campaign continues:

CNN

Quote
U.S. airstrike hits ISIS target near Baghdad, first in 'expanded efforts'
By Jim Sciutto and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 10:20 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014

(CNN) -- A U.S. airstrike near Baghdad on Monday marked a new phase in the fight against ISIS.

The airstrike southwest of the city appears to be the closest the U.S. airstrikes have come to the capital of Iraq since the start of the campaign against ISIS, a senior U.S. military official told CNN. And U.S. Central Command said in a statement that it was the first strike as part of "expanded efforts" to help Iraqi forces on the offensive against ISIS.

Monday's airstrike destroyed an ISIS fighting position that had been firing at Iraqi forces, Central Command said.

(...EDITED)

Our Country
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"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #266 on: September 16, 2014, 06:51:38 »
No US or Western boots.  Boots from people who live in the neighbourhood and have the most to lose?  Absolutely.
If we feel threatened, then we ought to be there, 100%.  If we don't feel threatened, then it's a regional thing, and we stay out.


/opinion.
So, there I was....

Offline S.M.A.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #267 on: September 16, 2014, 12:58:04 »
US General Dempsey hints about advisers "changing hats" to combat troops if the situation warrants it:

Quote
Yahoo Finance/Business Insider

America's Top Military Officer Just Opened The Door To A Bigger Role For US Ground Troops Against ISIS
Business Insider
US President Barack Obama is greeted by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as he takes the stage for remarks at the Memorial Day observances at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, May 27, 2013.
Martin Dempsey, the top US military officer, hinted Tuesday that he would consider recommending a more direct involvement of US ground troops in the military's ongoing campaign against the extremist group Islamic State (also ISIS or ISIL).

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, opened the door to US ground troops taking a more direct role in the conflict in a couple different situations.

First, he said if the situation escalated to the point where ISIS became a direct threat to the US homeland, he would recommend the use of ground forces on specific ISIS-held targets. And he speculated on certain missions in which ground troops might be necessary. For example, he said, he would recommend US military advisers currently in Iraq join Iraqi Security Forces in a theoretical mission to retake Iraq's second largest city of Mosul.


"To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president," Dempsey said.

(...EDITED)

Our Country
--------------------------------
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #268 on: September 16, 2014, 12:58:41 »
General Dempsey embarrassed himself today before Congress.He characterized IS as fighting because of "grievances".Time to retire Martin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LIlGyAzs2c

Offline S.M.A.

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #269 on: September 17, 2014, 12:44:45 »
While all eyes are on the conflict against ISIS, China is adding yet another oil source to feed its energy-hungry economy.

Source: Reuters

 
Quote
Exclusive: Iraqi Kurdistan oil heads to Asia, in talks with China
BY RON BOUSSO, JONATHAN SAUL AND DAVID SHEPPARD
LONDON Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:33am EDT

(Reuters) - At least 3 million barrels of Iraqi Kurdish oil are on ships heading to Asia, with trade sources naming China as a possible destination as the autonomous region expands efforts to establish independent oil sales in defiance of Baghdad.

Two sources with knowledge of the matter said Iraqi Kurdistan was in talks to potentially supply China with 4 million barrels of oil.

Reuters was unable to identify the Chinese parties involved in the talks, which the sources declined to name, and it was not clear if the cargoes currently on the water were part of the discussions.

(...EDITED)

Our Country
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"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #270 on: September 19, 2014, 10:15:42 »
While Hollande vacillates on whether the Mistral sale goes through, he certainly has gone ahead to join the US air campaign against ISIS:

CBC

Quote
France joins U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, wipes out ISIS target
France becomes 1st foreign country to publicly add military muscle to United States airstrikes

Joining U.S. forces acting in Iraqi skies, French fighter jets struck Friday against the militant Islamic State group, destroying a logistics depot, Iraqi and French officials said.

A pair of Rafale fighter jets accompanied by support planes struck in northern Iraq on Friday morning, and the target was "entirely destroyed," President Francois Hollande said. Four laser-guided bombs struck the Iraqi military installation that had been overrun by the militants, and hit a munitions and fuel depot, a French military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss operational details.

Iraq's military spokesman said dozens of extremist fighters were killed in four strikes.

(...EDITED)


Our Country
--------------------------------
"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves."   - Lao Zi (老子)
-------------------------------------------
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

Offline NSDreamer

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #271 on: September 19, 2014, 12:14:43 »
I don't believe we should be sending in any "token" troops as 'advisers".  I don't believe that we should be sending in a "token" Battle Group either.  We have seen Western nations "come to the rescue" in far flung nations in Africa, the Middle East and South West Asia in the past two decades with little or no solution to the problems.  Somalia is still a hotbed for Al Queda today.  We see the spread of their barbarianism throughout Africa, North Africa through Syria to Iraq, reemerging in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and even whiffs of their spread outside of those confines.
 
The West has no stomach to fight this war on the same scale as the previous two World Wars.  Western nations have to be prodded to make the minimal of contributions to stop the spread of this barbarianism.  They prefer, in their current safety, to turn a blind eye and hope that the problem will disappear on its own.  It may already be too late, as witnessed in Europe, South West Asia, and a smaller scale in North America, to stop the spread.   

Do I agree that we should send in troops?  Not on the scale that our government currently has indicated.  I believe the only way will be for the West, all the West, to come out of their complacency and step up to committing millions of troops, as in the previous two World Wars, to totally eradicate the barbarians.  I look at what the West is doing now as only a "Band-aid" solution that will allow the problem to fester and grow.  Sadly, there is currently no will to commit millions of troops and the problem will grow and spread.

 I feel the same. Everyone stands up and says we remember what went in the wars before, Remembrance day is important among other reasons, because of the things we fought for like freedom and to stop Genocide. I can't help, but see these ongoing situations as a put up or shut up situation. People say it's a lot more complicated then that, but I think the only solution is to throw ourselves so far into into it, and dedicate ourselves so whole heartedly that the concept of total war re-occurs, and the only way to come out of it is to find a success.

TL:DR Idealism is only not practical, because people lack the will to follow through when it gets tough.
Something relatively witty.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #272 on: September 19, 2014, 13:55:50 »
Some historical perspective from 2008. You can gague how far we've come, what we gained and what we lost by comparing then to now:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/879jpiay.asp?nopager=1#!

Quote
Five Years On
The war for Iraq and its lessons.

Mar 24, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 27• By JULES CRITTENDEN

The war started with an odd bit of air turbulence just before dawn. A waffling and whining noise, ironically enough. Hardly remarkable. Anyone who wasn't listening for it might have missed it.
 
I had just woken up on the Kuwait-Iraq border in a sleeping bag laid out on an armored vehicle's lowered ramp. I looked at my watch. It was 0429 hours on March 20, 2003. George W. Bush's deadline for Saddam Hussein to quit Iraq had passed half an hour earlier.
 
On the desert floor, our miles-long armored column was parked directly under the air corridor the Tomahawk cruise missiles would travel to Baghdad. Colonel David Perkins, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, had informed us they'd fly 350 feet over our heads. A few minutes later, I heard them.
 
They were otherworldly, like ghosts in flight. They'd be arriving in Baghdad shortly, lighting up the palace district with dramatic effect for the world to see on CNN. It sounded like 20 of them. When the last one had past, I burrowed back into my sleeping bag to doze a little more before stand-to was called.









More by Jules Crittenden
Harvard's Warriors
Barack Obama's Leading Indicator
A Time for Thanksgiving


We would arrive where those missiles were going in 19 days, after an epic movement through Iraq's western desert and combat along the Euphrates and Tigris, filthy and transformed by our experiences. I was a reporter embedded with A Company of the 4/64 Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. Designated to lead the assault on Saddam's seat of power on April 7, 2003, our armored column attacked Baghdad at dawn. No one expected to see dusk. What we expected was Mogadishu writ large. The Americans would win, that was indisputable. But we, the first in, embarked on it without expectation of survival. We prepared to make a good run of it, stripping soft gear off the outside of the Bradley that might burn if we got hit, loading up on water and ammo. Smitty, the Bradley's 20-year-old radio operator, was bounced to make room for a psyops soldier and the amplifiers that would blast the "surrender" messages. Smitty was angry.
 
"I don't wanna stay back!" he said.
 
"Smitty," I said. "We're gonna get f--ing killed. You get to live. Be happy."
 
"If y'all gonna get killed, I wanna get killed with you," Smitty said.
 
Captain Wolford, the company commander, told me later that he was praying when he fell asleep and praying when he woke up that morning. "I had never done that before," he said.

I was the only one in the company who had a choice in the matter. But the question of whether to ride with one's friends, when one has a job to do, when one has made a commitment, is not much of a question at all. There was heavy fire that day and for two days after. A lot of people died. But not us. We lived, and learned some of the many lessons that war has to offer.

Things rarely happen as expected. Once you start, you have to finish. You don't get to be the same again. There is nothing much good about any of it, but winning is better than losing. And there is no such thing as a safe place to which you can withdraw. The fate of two reporters demonstrated that last point when they chose not to accompany the assault into Baghdad, considering it too dangerous. They were killed along with three American soldiers when an Iraqi missile struck the brigade's field headquarters south of Baghdad. Two cameramen, believing themselves safe in Baghdad's Hotel Palestine, were killed the next day when American tankers, my friends, mistook them for Iraqi forward artillery observers and fired.

We're five years into the war in Iraq now. Nearly 4,000 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed. Thousands more Americans and Iraqis have seen their lives shattered in what became the premier killing zone of a global war. But death and combat no longer make the front pages; the drama has been bled out of it, and the war has taken a back seat in the presidential campaign. Rather than maturing in time of war, the American people seem eager to put it out of mind.

After 1989, we were encouraged to believe that war was history. This illusion made the shock of 9/11 all the worse. Even then some people wanted to believe it was an aberration, something we had brought on ourselves and could fix with kind words and deeds. The ease of the Taliban's ouster then created the false impression that we had managed to reinvent war in a more palatable form.

In fact, all we've managed to do as a nation over six-and-a-half years of war is confuse ourselves. This is not a simple war to understand, and it has been going on for decades. It has expressed itself with everything from low-grade terrorism to conventional war to nuclear threats, across multiple continents, and with many, seemingly unconnected, adversaries. Just the part of it we call the Iraq war has involved many different, and not always distinct, adversaries in numerous, overlapping conflicts. Faced with this kind of complexity, it isn't so surprising that vague messages of "hope" and "change" resonate with the American public, and politicians vie for the right to own those terms.
 
The shallowness of the debate suggests our nation is in danger of failing the test of our time. The abstract circumstances of cause and consequence in this war have fostered an avoidance of reality in some quarters--and at some of the highest levels of our leadership, often quite nakedly for purposes of political gain. Would-be leaders would rather play to emotions than make the hard calculations that adulthood forces on us.
 
Iraq has become the central battlefield in the 21st century's Islamic war, and may have been destined to be, with or without us. Lying geographically, ideologically, and culturally athwart the Middle East, rich in resources and boiling with rage long before we got there, it is the place where the war will either be settled or truly begun. It is a fitting role for the cradle of civilization to host a war in which the very progress of civilization is being challenged.
 
While there were terrible errors made in going to war in Iraq, the decision to go to war was not one of them.
 
Saddam Hussein convinced the world he had active weapons programs. The evidence now suggests he didn't, but how active his programs were, ultimately, is irrelevant. He had demonstrated his desire to dominate the region. Our European allies were eager to do business with him despite their own intelligence reports. Absent any containment, there was potential for more terrible and far-reaching wars. It was inevitable that Iraq would undergo a post-Saddam power struggle with massive ethnic conflict and with interference by Iran and Syria. The question was, and remains, how much influence we would wield in that event.
 
Five years on, the threat Saddam Hussein posed to regional stability--global stability, if you consider the resources he sought to control--has been neutralized. The toll in American and Iraqi lives to date may well have averted a far worse toll, though we can yet get the full accounting if we withdraw precipitously. The deadly influence of Iran remains limited by our presence in Iraq and by the still somewhat credible threat to use force against its nuclear ambitions. Iraqi genocide and the remaking of the map of the Middle East to the benefit of the Islamic Republic of Iran remain potent what-ifs.

The side benefits of the 2003 invasion included a briefly more compliant Iran and capitulation by Libya. The beacon of democracy shined, with successful, if sometimes problematic, democracies emerging in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon and with democratic movements making gains elsewhere in the Islamic world. Even the Palestinians had a crack at it and have learned that choices come with consequences. Those parties most threatened by civil order find themselves increasingly marginalized within the larger Islamic world, from Hamas in Gaza, to Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon, to the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistan is only the most recent case of renewed democracy producing a victory over Islamism in elections supported by the United States--despite the widespread resentment of America's alliance with Pervez Musharraf, a seemingly contradictory situation that underscores the difficulty of our task in this war.

Those Americans who have sneered at these fits and starts of democracy are experiencing their own domestic political frustrations. Democrats are demanding more political cohesion from Iraq and Pakistan than they've been able to manage themselves. As Congress presses for disengagement with no practicable plan, we learn--thanks to the candor of a departing foreign policy adviser--that the leading Democratic candidate has no plan whatsoever for his campaign's central plank of withdrawal from Iraq.

The errors committed in this war have contributed greatly to American frustrations. There was a failure to recognize the extent of the challenge ahead, even as ambitious plans were being laid starting in late 2001. The Bush administration could have had a blank check and recruits lined up around the block, but instead insisted on taking us into war with a post-Cold War military that is only belatedly being built up. The administration failed to seize control of Iraq with sufficient urgency and, when a complex insurgency was well underway, failed to move with sufficient skill to quell it until late in the day. The greater failure was to not adequately communicate the mission to Americans and to the world.

All wars go through evolutions, and it is unrealistic to expect no missteps. In this case, however, they are cited most frequently not as arguments to improve the war effort, but as excuses for abandonment. The Bush administration has made good at last with a counterinsurgency strategy that has hobbled Al Qaeda in Iraq and has the Shiite militias in a box. Iraqi military capabilities are improving, and the next president appears likely to inherit a somewhat pacified, reconciled Iraq; an enhanced American position of influence in the Middle East; opposing terrorist organizations that are sharply compromised; and a string of nascent democracies. At considerable cost of American blood and treasure, the United States is now in a position of marked if precarious influence in the most dangerous part of the world. The new president will have to consider how much of that he or she wants to throw away or build upon.

The antiwar camp and their candidates hold a childish hope that our problems will just go away if we withdraw. They argue that Iraq was an artificial cause, that our presence fuels violence and our departure will end it, that Iran can be a helpful partner in this process, and that al Qaeda can be fought from afar. They desire nothing but a return to the innocence we enjoyed before September 11, 2001, ignoring the fact that our enemies had been emboldened by decades of American demurring, disengagement, and half measures.

The American people have been allowed to believe that getting out of Vietnam was the best thing we did there, and that there was no penalty for cutting our losses. It should not be surprising that so many believe the same of Iraq. Looking past the immediate victims of that historic abandonment, the Soviet Union was emboldened by our show of weakness, invading Afghanistan and triggering a fateful string of events. Iran, seized by Islamic zealots, staged the 1979 hostage crisis to kick off three decades of support for terrorism and a bid for regional domination. In both cases, the belligerents knew we would do nothing about it. Figures like Osama bin Laden, among others, noted this void, and created the circumstances we are currently compelled to address.

The United States has commitments to Iraq and the larger region and a pressing interest in the defense of free and open societies. If we avoid our responsibilities we simply plant the seeds of further conflict. The pressing question of the 2008 presidential campaign is whether the part of this global war that began five years ago will be prosecuted to a satisfactory conclusion, or whether the effort to end the Iraq war will be marked by a different kind of waffling, whining noise than that one I heard at dawn five years ago, followed by more devastating explosions.

Jules Crittenden is an editor at the Boston Herald and blogs at julescrittenden.com.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Ducimus BTC

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #273 on: September 22, 2014, 11:29:52 »
ISIS urges jihadists to attack Canadians: ‘You will not feel secure in your bedrooms’
Quote
The spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham called for attacks on Canadians on Sunday in an apparent attempt to deter members of the military alliance that has formed to challenge the terrorist group.

In a 42-minute audio speech, Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani urged ISIS supporters to kill Canadians, Americans, Australians, French and other Europeans, regardless of whether they were civilians or members of the military.

“Rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be. Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling,” he said.

“Both of them are disbelievers. Both of them are considered to be waging war. Both of their blood and wealth is legal for you to destroy, for blood does not become illegal or legal to spill by the clothes being worn.”

Canada is part of a U.S.-led alliance that has begun mobilizing to defeat ISIS, which has been committing widespread atrocities against Syrians and Iraqis in an attempt to impose its barbaric version of Islamic law in the region.

Reacting to the ISIS speech Monday, the Prime Minister’s Office said it would not be “cowed by threats while innocent children, women, men and religious minorities live in fear of these terrorists.

“We will continue to work with allies to push back against this threat,” Stephen Harper’s spokesman Jason MacDonald said in an emailed statement.

About 30 Canadians are taking part in the conflict in Syria, some as members of ISIS. The National Post revealed on Saturday that the government had begun revoking the passports of Canadians who had left to fight with ISIS.

Since President Barack Obama outlined a strategy last week to degrade and defeat ISIS, the terror group has ramped up its propaganda campaign, releasing several videos that appear designed to portray Western military intervention as futile.

The latest message goes a step further, warning of attacks inside Western nations. “You will not feel secure even in your bedrooms. You will pay the price when this crusade of yours collapses, and thereafter we will strike you in your homeland, and you will never be able to harm anyone afterwards,” Adnani said.

But it is unclear ISIS has the capability to strike beyond the swath of lawless land it occupies in Iraq and Syria. Last week, an alleged attempt by ISIS to carry out a beheading in Australia was disrupted by police, who arrested the suspects.


http://ww2.nationalpost.com/m/wp/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com/2014/09/21/isis-urges-jihadists-to-attack-canadians-you-will-not-feel-secure-in-your-bedrooms

Offline cupper

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Re: Iraq in Crisis- Merged Superthread
« Reply #274 on: September 22, 2014, 17:38:28 »
Well, at least I can feel safe in the rest of the house.

But definitely do not go anywhere near the bathroom. Phew! No one is safe in there.
It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

There is no God, and life is just a myth.

"He who drinks, sleeps. He who sleeps, does not sin. He who does not sin, is holy. Therefore he who drinks, is holy."

Let's Go CAPS!