Donald Trump’s phony claim of prescience about the Iraq war

Featured image Donald Trump rarely misses an opportunity to tout his early opposition to the war in Iraq. But how early did his opposition come? If it predated the invasion (and Trump had ample opportunity publicly to oppose intervention during the long build-up to the war), then he can claim to have been prescient, assuming that the war was a mistake. If not, then Trump was just one of many voices who »

Donald Trump’s fallacious analysis of Middle East instability

Featured image Donald Trump said on Meet the Press yesterday that the Middle East would be a more stable place if Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi were still in power. For once, Trump answered a question about the Middle East more or less correctly. The Middle East would be more stable if Saddam and Qaddafi held true power in Iraq and Libya. But the question is whether, absent foreign intervention, Saddam and »

Iraq turns to Russia to fill void left by “unserious” Obama

Featured image The Washington Post reports that Iraq plans to set up a joint-intelligence-sharing hub with Syria, Iran, and Russia to fight ISIS. The center is expected to be operational within a matter of weeks, according to a spokesman for the Iraqi Defense Ministry. The Post’s Loveday Morris explains the meaning of this move: The deal is the latest indication of expanding Russian influence in the region as Moscow embarks on a »

Clearing my spindle, Syria edition

Featured image The withdrawal of the United States from Iraq and points elsewhere around the Middle East has created a vacuum that has been filled by forces hostile to the United States. Syria is representative. ISIS has moved into Syria from Iraq. Iran and Hezbollah have both moved into Syria to defend the Assad regime from ISIS. The Obama administration has taken a sort of Stalinist tack. Obama has concentrated on building »

Who Lost Iraq?

Featured image Hugh Hewitt has been making news regularly lately. If you haven’t been listening to his radio show, you should. Tonight I was driving home from work and heard the following exchange between Hugh and Lindsey Graham. First, this observation: Graham is not my favorite Republican by any means, but he is smart and generally sound on foreign policy. In addition, he has been personally involved in some key events of »

Tom Cotton on the Obama-Iran axis

Featured image Our friend Senator Tom Cotton has released a statement commenting on the Bloomberg story reported yesterday by Josh Rogin and Eli Lake here that we are now sharing a military base with Iranian forces in Iraq: When I was a soldier fighting in Iraq, Iran supplied the most advanced, most lethal roadside bombs used against coalition forces. Many American soldiers lost their lives to Iran’s proxies and Iranian-supplied bombs. Further, »

Right question, wrong answer

Featured image Our congressman is John Kline, a man who served 25 years in the Marine Corps before he retired at the rank of Colonel. He served as a helicopter pilot and was ultimately accorded the responsibility of flying Marine One. He also served as a personal military aide to Presidents Carter and Reagan. When Rep. Kline asks the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff a question bearing on our national »

Hillary and Jeb on Iraq: compare and contrast

Featured image Iraq figures to be a major issue in the presidential election, as it should be given the current disastrous situation. It’s less clear that Iraq as it was in 2003 should be an issue, but it’s fair to look back that far, and at subsequent inflection points, to see what positions (if any) various candidates have taken on Iraq. A reader sent me a comparison of Hillary Clinton and Jeb »

If we’re not going to put boots on the ground, how about a serious air campaign?

Featured image The conventional wisdom among hawkish conservatives is that ISIS cannot be defeated by U.S. air power unless we also put “boots on the ground.” This may well be true. But it’s also true that the U.S. air campaign against ISIS has not been serious. David Deptula, a retired air force general, provides the evidence: In the campaign against the Islamic State, we are averaging 12 strike sorties per day. During »

Score another one for Iran: Shiite militias fill void left by Obama

Featured image The Washington Post reports that Iraq’s Shiite militias have launched an offensive intended to put a stranglehold on ISIS fighters in Ramadi by cutting off ISIS supply lines and besieging the city. The Shiite militias in question are heavily influenced, if not dominated by Iran. The Badr Organization mentioned in the Post’s report, with its close ties to Iran’s elite Quds Force, is a good example. Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi »

The Iraqis’ “lack of will”. . .and Obama’s

Featured image Iraqi troops lack “the will to fight” ISIS, according to Ashton Carter, the Secretary of Defense. Carter is one of the few Obama administration officials whose statements on controversial matters should not be dismissed out of hand, and he may well be right about the Iraqi military. There’s a flip side to this story, though. The Obama administration lacks the will to help the Iraqis fight ISIS. This fact has »

Is ISIS crazy?

Featured image ISIS’s capture of Palmyra has aroused fears that the terrorists will smash the archaeological treasures of this ancient Semitic city. The fears are justified, given ISIS’s conduct in places like Nimrud, Khorsabad, and Mosul. But according to Nicolas Pelham, writing in the New York Review of Books, even as ISIS forces made a great show of destroying some antiquities on display in the museum in Mosul, the leadership was planning »

ISIS gains big in Iraq; Obama remains functionally indifferent

Featured image U.S. policy in Iraq is in a shambles — there can be no serious disagreement about that. Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province and a mere 70 miles from Baghdad, has been captured by ISIS. Mosul, Iran’s second largest city, remains in ISIS’s hands. As importantly, it’s now clear that military success against ISIS hinges on the use of Iranian-dominated militias, but that these forces will not be able to »

How Republican Candidates Should Answer Questions About Iraq

Featured image Lately reporters have been asking Republican presidential candidates to admit that the Iraq war was a mistake. The candidates have handled such questions with varying degrees of deftness. But so far, none has responded with: “You are asking whether I think Hillary Clinton made a mistake in voting for it?” After the necessary backing and filling by the interviewer, the candidate can proceed with this answer: “No. The mistake was »

ISIS loses a bigwig, gains Ramadi

Featured image There are two big stories about ISIS this weekend. U.S. forces have killed an ISIS leader in Syria and ISIS has taken control of Ramadi, just 80 miles from Baghdad. The first story seems to be getting most of the press; it’s the headline story in today’s Washington Post. But the second strikes me as more significant. In my view, the most notable thing about the killing of Abu Sayyaf, »

Jeb Bush on the invasion of Iraq

Featured image Jeb Bush is taking heat for his response to a question by Megyn Kelly about the Iraq war. Here is the exchange: Kelly: Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion? Bush: I would have, and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got. Kelly: You don’t think it was a mistake? »

Uncommon Knowledge with Tom Cotton

Featured image Senator Tom Cotton recently sat down with Peter Robinson in Washington to record an interview for Peter’s Uncommon Knowledge series (video below, 39 minutes). The interview focuses on questions of national security and offers cogent thoughts on the cause of the present discontents. The video is also posted here under the auspices of the Hoover Institution. I’m posting the interview this morning in the hope that readers can make time »