US launches airstrikes on Iraq


I wonder if any of the hawks are now wishing that Saddam were still around so we could just sell him some nerve gas and a handshake and let him sort it out, like the old days?


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To be honest I’m surprised that it took this long. If it was up to me I’d drive the IS into the sea, there would be no survivors.

I do happen to think that Iraq would be better off under Sadaam. He was horrible, just horrible. But, he was LESS horrible that what is happening now.


The thing is, any sane intelligent person could have predicted this. A power vacuum is a nightmare to deal with.

Better a stable mass murdering psychopathic dictator than a giant war-torn mess ruled over by warlords and religious fanatics pissed off about just how much war-tearing has been going on in their backyard at the hands of infidel invaders.

But hey, at least we severed ties between Al-Qaeda and the Husseins, right? Wait, they were never working together? Oh, right! I mean… uh… we sure found those weapons of mass destruction Saddam had! What do you mean we didn’t find any? We know Saddam had them - we sold them to him! Shoot… uhh… well… at least we took control of those strategic oil reserves, yeah? …the wells were all captured and burned by militias and insurgents, you say?

…remind me, again, why we invaded Iraq?

Ah, yes! That’s right! Reflexive patriotic hysteria to compensate for our collective societal disempowerment in a time of societal weakness and vulnerability!

Eight years. Hundreds of thousands dead with the majority being civilians. Iraq’s economy and infrastructure devastated. The entire region destablized. Anti-American sentiment at record highs. A power vacuum rapidly being filled by religious zealots so extreme and horrible that Al-Qaeda themselves severed ties because they were too radical.



Well, back to good 'ol peace time. Can the 90’s dot-com boom happen again too?

edit: I mean something about regularly harassing random people with airstrikes feels very Clinton-esque (or pre-9/11 Bush-esque, in the case of the last link).

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Yeah, I felt this way from the beginning. Yes Saddam was not a good guy, but then not many of the leaders in that part of the world are either and for better or worse Saddam seemed to be doing the best job at (well not sure how to phrase it without sounding all western civilization is awesome but I don’t mean it that way) bringing that part of the world into modern culture.

I hate to get the conspiracies going on this, but I think we all kind of accept that our primary goal was to get a country more amenable to the united states.

Which failed, miserably. But that’s not the only reason there was a push, as the military-industrial complex certainly always wants the US involved somewhere, so they can keep pumping out economic growth.

At the end of the day, the US needs to transition a significant portion of it’s work force away from military endeavors, and that’s a hard case to make.


Also: this. From 2003. It was a joke.

The first part was dead serious, the second part was a self-consciously weak joke.


I just… I can’t even…


You just can’t Godwin these guys - they make the Nazis look good.

Edit: removed auto-play video

And no, I don’t hold out much hope that American intervention will improve matters.

We really do need to combat extremists of this stripe. They threaten not only civilization in Africa and west Asia, but the very notion of civilization itself. We need to support moderate Muslims (read: the kinds wot were crucified by crazy extremists) against the religious extremists and racists and out-and-out barbarians of the area.

But we stand no chance of “winning” in any meaningful sense by ourselves especially given the public’s understandable reaction to our half-assed efforts in the recent past, and how likely is it that other nations will also fight?

But, whatever I guess. That’s really what it boils down to in the end: whatever. They’re over there, we’re over here, fuck 'em. I see that sentiment everywhere. Isolationism and “peace by superior firepower” and other such notions. If it’s not feckless, wishy-washy moral relativism from fellow leftists (I still consider myself a leftist, god help me) it’s this “let’s leave them to it” idea.

Maybe abiding the faraway horror is better than marching into another bout of quagmire. I really do not like this idea, though; it seems rather explicitly defeatist to me. There is no worthwhile good in people that we should fight for. No no, the good in people is measured by how close they are to us, and how easy it is to build a viable pluralistic society with them.

Everybody hates a cynic… so I guess I really hate myself right now. I can’t help it.

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In a bit of contrast to my prior post, I will say this - an air war is going to be a hell of a lot less problematic for America than a ground war and active occupation was.

I mean, yeah, it probably won’t do much other than harry the ISIS for a while - perhaps long enough for other factions to step in to try to claim power instead if we hold out hope - but dropping bombs is what the American military does best - for certain values of “best”.

It won’t stop the radical zealots from making the region a hellhole, but it will be far less unpopular in terms of dead American soldiers, and marginally less expensive than having boots on the ground, so I guess it wins the “Not As Shit As It Could In Theory Still Get” award for strategic military choices?

Meanwhile, in the Ukraine…



I never understand you guys, your kill the bad guys and everything will be OK mentality is totally absurd. The reason Iraq is a mess, is because the United States invaded with that sort of mentality. Sure we got rid of Saddam, but Iraq is now less safe than it was under Saddam and more fractured. Yes, I’m sure the Kurds think it was worth us invading Iraq, but honestly I think we would of had been better off if we had left Saddam in power.

The region would be less of a mess, we wouldn’t have wasted billions and thousands of American lives. Sure we may kill or disable some of the bad guys here in the new round of bombings, but this is a mess we’re weighing in on. Unintended consequences may rear their ugly head yet again, we’ll have to see.


For America in the short term, that’s right. But as for creating a new generation of America-hating people in the Middle East, I think random air strikes will prove just as effective as actual occupation. “Mom, who are the Americans?” “Well, they are the people who blew things up and killed your cousin for no reason.”

I don’t know if the current situation is necessarily worse that Saddam was, or than Saddam would have been right now, or how things would have been if Saddam has stayed in power and then died this year from cancer. I don’t even think that’s really the point, though. What if things were definitely better than they were under Saddam? We went all in on two-seven off and hit a full house? That doesn’t mean it wasn’t stupid. And incinerating people in the middle east doesn’t become moral if it works either. If we could say for sure that things would be better under Saddam then I’d like to rub that in Cheney’s face, but it’s not like he’d be perturbed by facts anyway.


You forgot Syria. Meanwhile, in Syria.

This is going to shock lot of people, but the US does not have a time machine. Pointing out the stupidity of past actions doesn’t change it. It might make you feel good, but doesn’t accomplish much.

Better to focus on the here and now. Is bombing the ISIS a good or bad thing? Take a stand on what is happening today, not what happened 10 years ago and can’t be changed.


The alternative was to let these some 40k religious minorities either starve or be slaughtered by the Islamic State. My understanding is that we basically just held off their would be butchers long enough for them to escape. My information could very well be bad, but this looks like it may be a rare case where we actually do appear to be acting legitimately heroic.

I’m very opposed to US involvement overseas, but some things are worth fighting for. In this case, we very well may have stopped a genocide with very minimal involvement on our part. This is very different from our occupation of hostile lands.