Third Time’s the Charm! Rightbloggers Ready to Return to Iraq — Or At Least Complain That Obama Isn’t


For years, rightbloggers have been sore over the Iraq War. The U.S. public increasingly considers our involvement a mistake, and last year’s 10th Anniversary celebration of the U.S. invasion was a less than happy one for the folks who thought it was the start of a beautiful, never-ending New Age of American (and Republican) empire.

But the latest bad news from Iraq — victories by the militant ISIS group as demoralized Iraqi Government soldiers desert and flee — seems to have cheered them up. Not that they want the people of Iraq to suffer — well, actually, they don’t give a shit what happens to them. It’s the Obama Administration they hope will suffer at least collateral damage, and to that end they tell America that Iraq was doing great until you-know-who messed it up.After the happy statue-topping invasion back in ’03, America occupied Iraq for years, and by the time we formally withdrew in 2011 under an agreement between the Bush Administration and the Government of Iraq, both were more than ready to be shut of the collaboration that had wrecked Iraq and cost us thousands of casualties, over $2 trillion, and, arguably, the respect of the civilized world.

Yet when the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — like Al Qaeda, only worse — made their big territorial gains in Iraq versus hapless local military forces, the brethren knew it called for a strong, decisive response — on their blogs and against Democrats.

They had plenty of high-profile help. Anyone who was paying attention in 2001-2003 will probably remember at least some of the feebs and fraudsters who got us into Iraq, and last week they came slithering back to blame the ongoing Iraq disaster on President Obama. For example, Doug Feith, the Bush advisor who downplayed the risks of invasion and later blamed Colin Powell for the ensuing clusterfuck, told Politico, “The president didn’t take seriously the warnings of what would happen if we withdrew…” Amazingly, he wasn’t talking about Bush.

Kenneth Pollack, who in 2003 thought Saddam Hussein was about to get nuclear weapons, went to the Wall Street Journal to tell us “since the height of Iraq’s political-military fortunes in 2009-10, the U.S. has squandered and surrendered most of its influence,” and that the U.S. should respond with “drone strikes, weapons, reconnaissance assets, targeting assistance, improved and expanded training for his forces, even manned airstrikes” (though in return for this aid, we should require of the Maliki government some constitutional reforms. Democracy Whiskey Sexy!)

Partner-in-war-crime Tony Blair told reporters this all could have been avoided with another Middle East invasion. Shit, even Paul Fucking Wolfowitz was on the Sunday shows, suggesting we should have maintained a presence in Iraq like we have in South Korea — for 60 years. At least.

And John McCain, whose highlight reel of Iraq bullshit is quite impressive (and who appeared to applaud the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in 2010), was telling every news show host who’d have him (and for some reason there were plenty) that “we basically had the country pacified… we had the conflict won” before Obama ruined it, and now we needed to go back in with air strikes before ISIS nine-elevens us. Rightbloggers who normally denounce McCain as a RINO ate that up: “McCain Destroys ‘Confused’ Sam Stein [on MSNBC],” whooped the Washington Free Beacon; “Sen. John McCain Stands Up To Liberal ‘Morning Joe’ Panel,” beamed Laura Flint of NewsBusters. (Flint added, “[Mika] Brzezinksi might as well be asking, ‘how long will you heartless Republicans keep trying to send American troops off to die in wars the Bush administration started?'” which at this point would seem to be a legitimate question.)

Several rungs down from this exalted level, rightbloggers did their bit to spread the message that the Iraq War was totally won until Obama messed it up. They took a variety of approaches.

Jim Hoft of Progressives Today, among others, took the Dolchstoßlegende-for-Dummies approach: “George Bush Brought Democracy to Iraq – Barack Obama Brought ISIS.” In 2005, Hoft told us, Bush was responsible for many pictures of cute girls in hijabs with inked fingers — remember how much everyone loved them? But flash forward from 2005 to 2014 — skipping a lot of unpleasant history — and Obama created ISIS. “Actions have consequences,” said Hoft at the end, though we’re not sure what he meant — maybe that reading him will make you stupid?

Some Guy at RedState denounced “Barack Obama’s less-than-benign neglect of the ancient state in Iraq” and added, “this is what people all over the world seem to get when they trust and support the United States” — eight years of blood and treasure, which is apparently not enough to suit Some Guy, nor the world: “We will need the help of others,” he said, “and they may well consult with Nouri al-Maliki’s scattered surviving relatives and ask them whether working with the United States is really an intelligent idea.” You forgot Poland!

Some Guy added, “There will be a Kali-Yuga of future consequences, when all of the bad karma we have accumulated from Saigon to Odessa to Mosul all gets visited back upon us.” Man, that Obama has a lot to answer for! BTW, we looked up Kali Yuga and found it was not, as we had suspected, a World of Warcraft thing.

National Review‘s Jim Geraghty went for the One Last Push/Third Time’s the Charm approach: “…what if the Iraqi government is just short of being capable of pushing back ISIS?” he asked. “Is it worth withholding our assistance to make the point that they need to be independent? How much can fear of future scapegoating limit our options in the here and now?” Later Geraghty added, “Isn’t the president worried that by the time he resolves how to react to the situation as it existed on, say, Saturday, it will change, and/or worsen? Doesn’t the president and his team need to speed up their OODA loop (‘Observe, Orient, Decide and Act’) if they want to have an impact on the situation?” C’mon, Obama — what could possibly go wrong? Push the button — it won’t be you or Geraghty who dies! And so what if we get stuck there — that’s for the next President to worry about. Don’t you know anything about Presidenting?

Then there was the Spurned Liberator approach. Michael J. Totten, author of “The Liberal Case for Bush,” The Liberal Case for Bush, Again,” and “The Liberal Case for Bush, Yet Again,” was back in glory days an ardent war fan, dreamily recounting how he once saw Christopher Hitchens yell at some insolent Iraqis to buck up and get liberated. Even into the late Bush era Totten was reporting that allied forces were winning hearts and minds in (though not bringing potable water to) Iraq.

But by 2011 Totten had begun to despair, and guess who he blamed: “Iraqis didn’t have to attack us after we toppled Saddam Hussein,” he moped. “Contrary to what some seem to believe, guerrilla warfare and terrorism weren’t the only options available… This may be a good time for Arab leaders and opinion makers to ask themselves what they can do to win over the hearts and minds of Americans.” All you do is take, take, take! To paraphrase an old Garry Shandling routine: I’m starving, I’m on fire — me, me, me!

Last week Totten was thoroughly over that bitch, see if he wasn’t: “Arab governments complain when we intervene and they complain when we don’t intervene,” he wrote. “Basically, they complain no matter what. So asking what they want is pointless. It takes a while to notice this trend over time, but there it is.” See if we invade you again anytime soon!

The Arabs weren’t the only ones to blame, either: “‘We’ll kill you if you mess with us, but otherwise go die’ is not even close to my preferred foreign policy, but it’s what President Barack Obama prefers (phrased much more nicely, of course) and it’s what the overwhelming majority of Americans prefer, including most liberals as well as conservatives,” said Totten. If he sounds dismissive and cruel toward Iraq, keep in mind that, unlike Obama, he had a long history with it; you people just don’t know what he’s been through. That country’s a conqueror-tease!

Then there was the Jonah Goldberg approach, distinguished by Jonah Goldberg. Goldberg has a long history of Iraq War mouthfarts. When challenged by Juan Cole in 2005 to enlist and fight the war he so strongly favored, Goldberg explained that he couldn’t serve because “I’m 35 years old, my family couldn’t afford the lost income, [and] I have a baby daughter.” Goldberg then offered to bet on the success of the war with Cole, who naturally found this disgusting; Goldberg celebrated with a “victory lap.” A year later Goldberg said, “the Iraq war was a mistake,” and declared that “Iraq needs a Pinochet,” as the democracy America had allegedly fought for wasn’t working out.

Last week Goldberg outdid himself. He declared that by choosing “doing nothing beyond tweeting slogans and lecturing the ‘international community'” over “sending American troops into harm’s way in the Middle East,” Obama was just pulling “a clever, albeit grotesquely cynical, ploy.” If you had no prior experience of Goldberg’s rhetorical method, you might expect his next paragraph to explain why sending (more) American troops was a better idea than not sending them. Instead his next paragraph began, “A better option would be a time machine.”

Had Obama this wondrous device, Goldberg said, “Perhaps he wouldn’t have wasted so much time harassing Israel as if it were the cause of a centuries-old Sunni-Shia civil war.” (No, he didn’t explain that either.) “Or maybe he would have kept U.S. troops in Iraq to deter the rise of ISIS. Or maybe he would have followed through on his ‘red line’ threats to Syria…”

In a final flourish (perhaps “spasm” is a better word), Goldberg wrote:

Defenders of the president often ask critics, “Well, what do you want to do?” I’ll be honest. I don’t know. We have no good options left. I certainly think we should have provided assistance to the (corrupt and pathetic) Iraqi government when they asked for air support last month. But I don’t want boots on the ground.

What I really want is that time machine.

Now Goldberg wants the time machine for himself. This is understandable. Might he have come to regret a lifetime of embarrassment on the public stage? Does he welcome an opportunity to make a fresh start in a more suitable line of work? As always we prefer to think the best of people.

There were also Arab Scare-ologists. As ISIS operatives put out photos of their decapitated victims, the brethren eagerly disseminated them, probably hoping to give us that old 9/11 shiver.

“Heads Are Literally Rolling In Iraq,” cried Michael Brown at TownHall. “As America looks on in a state of paralyzed shock” — pause to consider that piquant image, and contrast it with what you know as reality — “Muslims are slaughtering Muslims in Iraq, with reports that the heads of those decapitated are literally piling up in the streets.” The piled-heads imagery was attributed to world-class news organization the Daily Mail.

Brown went on a while about how Muslims suck (“simply following the example of their prophet”), dropped references to 9/11 and the 2012 Boston Marathon bombing, and told us how close Baghdad, Tehran, and Damascus are to Tel Aviv before delivering this laudable closing: “And so, as the bloodied heads roll in the streets of Iraq, we dare not stick our heads in the sand here in the West.”

If only Brown had worked in a chicken-with-its-head-cut-off reference! Well, there’ll be other opportunities as the conflict continues. However that plays out, we expect the brethren will keep calling for Iraq War III, despite the public’s decreased appetite for it. For one thing, you know the drill: Throw everything, see what sticks. For another, warblogging is something many of the old-timers actually know how to do and if they can bring back old mobile phones, maybe they can bring back Operation Iraqi Freedom. There’s probably a whole generation of Americans out there now who can be convinced ISIS has WMDs.