Iraq

The Feel Good Headline of the Day

Featured image From the New York Times and other outlets: Suicide Bomb Trainer in Iraq Accidentally Blows Up His Class BAGHDAD — If there were such a thing, it would probably be rule No. 1 in the teaching manual for instructors of aspiring suicide bombers: Don’t give lessons with live explosives. In what represented a cautionary tale for terrorist teachers, and a cause of dark humor for ordinary Iraqis, a commander at »

Don’t shoot the messenger

Featured image Walter Pincus, the Washington Post’s long-time voice of conventional liberal thinking on national defense issues, is unhappy with Robert Gates’ new book. He complains that, although Gates devotes nearly half of the book to his two years at the Pentagon under President Bush, he provides “no embarrassing anecdotes or acidic comments.” No doubt, there were embarrassing moments at the Pentagon while Gates was serving Bush there. But Gates’ high-profile revelations »

As Iraq Slides Downhill, What Happened to Obama’s “Plan”?

Featured image Al Qaeda is rapidly asserting control over large swaths of Iraq, and the Obama administration is doing nothing, because President Obama doesn’t care. But didn’t Obama once have a plan to deal with the possibility that our withdrawal from Iraq could create an opportunity for al Qaeda? Indeed he did. Here is Obama in 2007, telling us that “My plan would maintain forces in the region to target all al »

Terrorists Take Fallujah; Obama Doesn’t Care

Featured image The Obama administration has been disgraceful in so many ways that it is hard to keep track of them all, but surely one of the worst is its treatment of Iraq. Following his inauguration, President Obama withdrew troops from Iraq on the timetable that had been agreed to by the Bush administration. But as the draw-down continued, and it became apparent that security would worsen dangerously in the absence of »

Kerry to Congress: Don’t believe those lying Israelis

Featured image John Kerry appeared before the Senate Banking Committee yesterday to argue against further sanctions on Iran. The session was closed, but Republican members weren’t bashful about publicly expressing their dismay over Kerry’s performance. BuzzFeed has the details. Sen. Bob Corker said he was “very disappointed.” Kerry, he said, made “an emotional appeal,” devoid of specificity. Sen. Mark Kirk described Kerry’s pitch as “very unconvincing” and “fairly anti-Israel.” According to Kirk, »

Bipartisan U.S. policy leaves Iraq on the brink

Featured image I wrote here and here about the unraveling of Iraq that has followed the withdrawal of American troops and the failure of the Obama administration to negotiate a status of forces agreement with the Maliki government. I also noted that Maliki would be in Washington this week seeking help from President Obama. The U.S. has a clear interest in helping the Maliki government stem the tide of violence and terrorism »

The wages of Obama’s foreign policy indifference

Featured image Last month, relying mainly on the work of Jessica Lewis of the Institute for the Study of War, I wrote about the resurgence of al Qaeda in Iraq. Today, the Washington Post, in a front page story that quotes Lewis extensively, describes the same phenomenon: Nearly two years after the U.S. troop withdrawal, Iraq is in the midst of a deepening security crisis as an al-Qaeda affiliate wages a relentless »

Break the logjam on visas for foreign interpreters who served our military during war

Featured image During an appearance before the Washington chapter of the Federalist Society earlier this year, someone asked Rep. Tom Cotton about immigration reform. As part of his answer, Tom noted that the Afghan who served as his interpreter while he participated in the Afghanistan war was still waiting for a U.S. visa. Why grant status to millions of illegal aliens while a man who risked his life supporting America’s war effort »

Al Qaeda in Iraq is resurgent

Featured image Jessica Lewis of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) was a decorated intelligence officer for the U.S. Army. She performed that role in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Lewis is the author of a new ISW report called “Al Qaeda in Iraq is Resurgent.” It’s always nice when a report gets to the point in the title, even if the point isn’t nice. Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) reached its »

Secular Syria?

Featured image I had to smile during yesterday’s hearing on Syria when John Kerry talked about Syria’s secular tradition. Kerry did so in arguing that, if Assad falls, a takeover by Islamist extremists is unlikely. I smiled because advocates of the invasion of Iraq made the same kind of argument in the run-up to that war. I didn’t check the Power Line archives, but wouldn’t be surprised if I talked about Iraq’s »

Democracy in action

Featured image Throughout the Middle East, nations and factions are picking sides in the Syrian civil war. But, as the Washington Post reports, Iraq is maintaining its neutrality. Iraq does so even though its president, Nouri al-Maliki, is a Shiite with close past ties to Iran — a major player in Syria. Moreover, as conflicts between Sunni and Shiite increasingly define the region as a whole, not just Syria, Maliki is making »

The peril of arming Syrian rebels

Featured image Michael Rubin has a string of worthwhile posts up at Commentary, including reports from Iraq where he is visiting. I want to call particular attention, though, to Rubin’s post about Syria, which draws heavily from what he has learned in Iraq. Rubin argues that “arming Syrian rebels is strategic suicide.” He explains: This trip. . .has been a wake-up call: Not only Iraqi Shi’ites, but also Iraqi Christians, Iraqi Kurds, »

Revisionist history aside, we were greeted as liberators in Iraq

Featured image The late Christopher Hitchens had a standard response to Iraq war critics who ridiculed Vice President Cheney and others who predicted that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators in Iraq. His response: “They were, I saw it.” Others saw the same thing, and reported it. Michael Rubin collects some of these reports. For example, there was this from the Daily Record of April 10, 2003: Ten days ago, when »

Nouri al-Maliki speaks to the liberators of his country

Featured image Nouri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister of Iraq, writes an op-ed for the Washington Post called “A partner in Iraq.” The most significant thing about the op-ed is that Maliki took the trouble to produce it. By doing so, he goes a ways towards demonstrating that the U.S. does have a partner, of sorts, in Iraq and that, as he puts it, the U.S. has not lost Iraq. Maliki’s piece relies »

How America lost its four great generals

Featured image When USMC General John Allen’s retirement was announced in February, our friend Hugh Hewitt called on Victor Davis Hanson to answer the question whether such a drain of military talent — the retirements of Generals McChrystal, Petraeus, Mattis and Allen, in that order — had ever previously occurred in our country’s history over so short a period of time (30 months) because of retirement. “That they occurred during wartime,” Hugh »

Won and lost in Iraq

Featured image Along with Congress and the American people, we supported the war to depose Saddam Hussein. Ten years on, how is the war to be judged? As the saying attributed to Kierkegaard has it, life must be lived forward, but it can only be understood backward. I don’t think ten years’ time gives us enough perspective in this case, and judgment is complicated by Obama’s abandonment of the project. Among those »

The political price of the Iraq War

Featured image Michael Walsh at NRO blames the Obama presidency on the Iraq War. Taking things one step further, he blames the Clinton presidency on our first war in Iraq: Like father, like son. The first President Bush squandered sky-high poll ratings into a defeat at the hands of a man the nation barely knew, Bill Clinton, in part because of the unsatisfying end to the first Gulf War, which ended with »