Recent turmoil in Iraq has the U.S. questioning previous and future efforts

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  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    June 19, 2014 9:44 a.m.

    “It also demonstrates, as we said at the time, that the Obama administration withdrew U.S. forces prematurely in 2011, long before the Iraqi government was capable of defending itself.”


    The SOFA signed by GW Bush specified the US must leave by the end of December 2011. In fact, Iraq INSISTED on it. Our military withdrew in compliance.

    I know, Right Wing Media is trying to spin this to divert attention AWAY from the fact that the awful malfeasance of GW Bush and Company wasted stupendous amounts of money and lives while destabilizing the Middle East to the huge disadvantage of the United States and the West.

    The horrible repercussions of Republican Leadership still emanate in waves from that dark time of Republican hubris and incompetence.

    “Clearly, and sadly, the United States has much work left to do in that region.”

    Oh really?

    Isn’t it more accurate to say that clearly, and sadly, the United States, under Republican leadership, has already done more than enough destruction in the Middle East?

    . . . And it’s time once again for this Democratic administration to clean up another mess left to us by irresponsible and incompetent GW Bush administration.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    June 16, 2014 12:09 p.m.

    Mission accomplished. Or so we were told by GWB, the military industrial complex and right wing media like the DNews.
    Not one more drop of American blood or our money!

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    June 16, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    @ UtahBlueDevil, while I empathize with your sentiment, this is a sectarian war that has been waged for a thousand years. We will not and cannot solve it. Our mistake was that we went in to Iraq in 2003 and destroyed a pretty stable government. We blew the lid off of this, under fraudulent pretenses. So now, what are we to do? The President wisely dodged a bullet with Syria, where our intervention would have made the situation in Iraq even worse. After spatting with Iran, another situation where our intervention came back to bite us (see 1953), now we are considering working with them. It is all madness, and our constant intervention only makes things worse. We can play the role of peacemaker, but our involvement must stop there.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Chihuahua, 00
    June 16, 2014 10:51 a.m.

    Yes we can wash our hands of the situation. These liberals are talking like the neocons now.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    June 16, 2014 7:27 a.m.

    I am not sure what the US should be doing, but as we had friends over for fathers day last night, and I read about the 1,700 military recruits, brothers, husbands, and sons of some family, that were summarily executed, while I enjoyed a bbq in my back year, it made me ill.

    I am not sure what this administrations plans are, but can not wash our hands of the situation in Iraq, and just declare it is there problem now. The US needs to fight evil in all its forms, and ISIS is the face of evil. We can not let people of this nature run unrestrained anywhere in the world, because it will eventually come to our own door if we don't stop it where it lies now.

    Just my opinion....

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    June 15, 2014 12:10 p.m.

    Re: ". . . Sunnis, the upper crust of Iraqi society."

    So, you're suggesting we should have embraced and fostered Saddam's vicious apartheid policy? And, that we should now embrace a vicious, Al Qaeda-led Sunni resurgence?

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised. That's essentially the same policy pursued by Marxists in Russia, China, and Cuba.

    Truth is, Shiites comprise some 70% of Iraq's population. But, they've been suppressed and savaged by one or another Sunni regime for generations. Any US policy that favored Sunnis over Shiites would never have worked.

    Just as any "solution" to today's insurgency that leaves Sunnis in control will not work, but will lead to generations of bloodshed.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    June 15, 2014 11:11 a.m.

    The editorial suggests that perhaps America never understood the internal conflict in Iraq. I hope we are wiser this time.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    June 15, 2014 8:07 a.m.

    procuradorfiscal; (We didn't stay. And it's Al Qaeda, not us, that's creating the problems. Just as every savvy military analyst predicted when Obama cut and run, but he refused to acknowledge."

    First of all it was the savvy intelligence officers who said that if we went into Iraq it would fall apart two years after we left, regardless if that we one year or a hundred years, simply because our invasion would disrupt the Sunni Shia balance that had played out for hundreds of years.

    Secondly it's not Al Qaeda causing the problems now, they are along for the ride, it's Sunnis who by the way under Sadham hated Al Qaeda and wouldn't allow them in the country. Thanks George now we have real world terrorists in Iraq too.

    "Obama and the liberals, knew the job was only half done." What we should have stayed 30 years, or we should made Maliki include more Sunnis in the government. Which one, hang around and just shoot disgruntled Iraqis or run the government for them. Point being this was a fools errand from the first for America. A complete and total disregard for history and reality.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 15, 2014 6:02 a.m.

    Had we stayed in Vietnam, the south would still be independent of the north. If we invade the every country on earth, we can mold them all to become the way we would like them to be and if we never withdraw we can keep them that way.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    June 15, 2014 12:30 a.m.

    RE: Procuradorfiscal "They threw Iraq to the wolves, in return for short-term political gain."

    One of the worst things the Bush administration did was to deny employment to Sunnis, the upper crust of Iraqi society. This engendered their everlasting hatred of the United States. So Al Qaeda gets all the recruits it wants. One more bungle is a series of bungles.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    June 14, 2014 10:53 p.m.

    RE: Bob K " I cannot imagine the colossal gall that this editorial and the Cheney-Bush gang had, to think that we had the right to pretend we could change the people of any country into thinking and acting like Americans." I agree.

    I remember well the run up to the Iraq invasion and the lies we were fed by the Bush administration, aided and abetted by the Deseret News.

    Then as now one of the best places for war information is the libertarian antiwar website. I endorse it wholeheartedly. Go there if you want to know what's coming down.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    June 14, 2014 10:26 p.m.

    Re: "The longer we stay the more problems we create for the region and for ourselves."

    We didn't stay. And it's Al Qaeda, not us, that's creating the problems. Just as every savvy military analyst predicted when Obama cut and run, but he refused to acknowledge.

    Truth is, Bush-hating liberals and cynical Obama hacks forced us to withdraw from Iraq, though everyone, including Obama and the liberals, knew the job was only half done.

    Liberals were so anxious to produce a Vietnam albatross to hang about the necks of Republicans that they completely disregarded the sacrifices of thousands of American and tens of thousands of Iraqis. They threw Iraq to the wolves, in return for short-term political gain.

    Well, they got their short-term gain. Now what? How much more blood will be needlessly spilled because of feckless liberals?

  • Henderson Orem, UT
    June 14, 2014 9:33 p.m.

    "These are the all-too-familiar rules imposed by extremists who once controlled Afghanistan and other parts of the Middle East. They are the rules of oppression, but they also are the signs of a regime that would be happy to serve as a training ground for terrorists who would target the United States and its allies."

    I didn't think of this until now.

    Guess who empowered extremists in Afghanistan? You guessed it, us.

    We empowered the Taliban to fight against the Soviets. Once the Soviets were defeated, the Taliban remained.

    Our dithering helped to create an extremist state in Afghanistan.

    Perhaps we should stop dithering in the Middle East and worry about our own country? Every time we play Risk in the Middle East it seems like we make it worse.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    June 14, 2014 8:40 p.m.

    I get that Obama was never in favor of this war. I know that most "liberals" didn't support it. All well documented. But when Obama put his hand up to be President, and took the oath of office, the problem he didn't create became his own - by choice.

    So while Obama didm't create it, he now owns it. And from what I can see, hands off isn't working. In an interconnected world where we rely on the region to keep our standard of living, it is in our interest to keep that region safe and peaceful. And if that means stopping Isis from further destabilizing the region, that is the price we have to pay, because we caused the problem.

    I find if extremely offensive when US diplomats pretend this is an internal Iraq issue. We unfortunately took ownership many years ago when we inserted ourselves into the mess... it is now ours to help clean up... whether we like it or not.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    June 14, 2014 8:30 p.m.

    It's easy for a newspaper in the state with the lowest rate of citizens being part of the military to call for risking the lives of our soldiers on worthless ventures.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    June 14, 2014 5:47 p.m.


    The Republicans tell Americans we are broke...

    Yet there is always money for their pet projects...

    Nation building did not work last time...

    It will work this time?

    The military-industrial complex will be the only American entity which benefits from Iraq redux.

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    June 14, 2014 4:44 p.m.

    "dithers and ponders"?

    For at least 5000 years, this region has had tribal fights, invasions, mayhem, destruction, annihilation, religious hatred, and so much more.

    How much longer, I ask the the DN editors, would it have taken to train Iraqi soldiers not to drop their weapons, shed their uniforms, and run?

    We already destroyed the country once. I cannot imagine the colossal gall that this editorial and the Cheney-Bush gang had, to think that we had the right to pretend we could change the people of any country into thinking and acting like Americans.

    If we mess with Iraq again, you can count on a long season of 9/11 repeats, since we will be once again affirming that we think we must control the Arab and Muslim parts of the world.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    June 14, 2014 4:32 p.m.

    Yes, this whole invasion of Iraq turned into quite a mess didn't it. How many years do you think we should have stayed there, Deseret News? Since you think we're just "dithering" now, what do you suggest, another invasion? Do you really think the USA is going to solve the Sunni/Shiite division in Islam? We shouldn't have gone in there in the first place. What a disaster.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    June 14, 2014 1:32 p.m.

    The US left the Iraqi military in much better shape than it is now.

    Maliki replaced well trained military leadership with political hacks, and unsurprisingly, the military has quickly atrophied.

    I thought the whole purpose of our intervention in Iraq was to enable the Iraqis to fend for themselves. If they've squandered the opportunity through poor leadership, how are we in any way responsible?

    Considering how spectacularly inept our pre-war planning and intelligence was - "we'll be greeted as liberators!" - it's not at all surprising that Iraq is still struggling to govern itself. At some point they really need to be responsible and take ownership of their own country.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    June 14, 2014 12:09 p.m.

    Thank you, Roland Kayser, for pointing out the TRUTH that everyone seems to have forgotten in the rush to make Obama look bad.

    The ones who should be looking bad and completely ashamed are the ones who started this stupidity. President Cheney and his little buddy.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 14, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    Apparently, Jay Evansen wants us to fight with Iran against Saddam supported Sunnis. Or to fight with Sunnis against Iran.

    Sounds like a lose lose to me. Another Vietnam. No thanks

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    June 14, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    "Women are not allowed to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary and unless completely covered. People caught stealing will have limbs amputated."

    No. That is not the case.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 14, 2014 9:54 a.m.

    "If you don't fight for your freedom then you don't respect your freedom."

    Iraq never threatened our freedom.

    Besides, encouraging a state of perpetual war is a great way to kill off our youth and bankrupt our country.

    We threw away trillions into Iraq and look at it now!

    How much better off would we be had we invested all the money in our youth rather than Iraq?

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    June 14, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    editorial "The rapid success of those forces in recent days..."
    ISIS is made up of Sunni forces. They rapidly captured Tikrit and other northern towns because they're Sunni. That's like reporting in 1861 that Confederate forces fired on US ships from Fort Sumter, and then had rapid success in "capturing" Atlanta, Charlston, and Richmond.

    The US should have divided the country into its more natural Sunni, Shia, and Kurd countries rather than forcing them to play together is one Western vision called Iraq. The US didn't do that, and now we're seeing a civil war.

    The most stomach turning part of your editorial is this: "After 9/11, and after more than a decade of waging war against such factions, do any Americans believe the homeland is safe from such a government?"

    Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Statements like yours were used to trump up support for a costly and unnecessary war. Fool us twice, shame on us.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    June 14, 2014 9:00 a.m.

    Dither and ponder? You make this sound like a bad thing (even though you note the U.S. is working in the background - you want it both ways). It is a wise thing to do. We went to Iraq under Bush on fraudulent grounds. Thousands of Americans were killed. We spent trillions of dollars. For what? Oil? Revenge on Saddam Hussein? I'm sorry, but the U.S. is not going to solve this, in Iraq, in Syria, elsewhere in the Middle East. This is a religious war, going back over a thousand years. And here you are, taking another cheap shot at the President, parroting Fox News, and essentially calling for more intervention. Your prior calls for intervention in Syria [proved to be wrong - the President proved to be correct. The rebel base there has been the springboard for the Sunni rebels in Iraq. In the end, this editorial is fundamentally wrong, irresponsible, irrational, and calloused. It shows a complete lack of leadership of the editorial board, which seems to be driven by right wing radio. The Bush fiasco should not be repeated. Enough! We the people want no more of it!

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    June 14, 2014 8:43 a.m.

    We invested $25 Billion in Iraq in developing highly trained security forces with excellent equipment, and then the democratically elected Iraqi president let go the highly trained leaders and appointed simple political hacks loyal to him.

    The Iraqi military has seen a rapid deterioration due to very, very poor leadership.

    We may engage in emergency remedial training and advising the Iraqis on how to defend themselves, but given the massive fiasco which was the US war in Iraq to begin with, the current situation shouldn't be at all surprising.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 14, 2014 8:40 a.m.

    The article states "It also demonstrates, as we said at the time, that the Obama administration withdrew U.S. forces prematurely in 2011, long before the Iraqi governmeant (sic) was capable of defending itself." Well, it also demonstrates, as some of us said at the time, that going into Iraq in the first place was one of the most unnecessary, foolish and stupid things this nation could do, and that we could have troops there for 50 years and this still would be the result when they left. You cannot pin this on President Obama. Prevention was the only option for a cure here, and you lined up squarely against it.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    June 14, 2014 8:26 a.m.

    This is a continuation of the Shiite-Sunni war. Iran is Shiite and Iraq about 65%, If the Sunni's and Al quaida win we will see as the author suggests women will be basically slaves to their fathers and husbands. The only "free" person in a fundamentalist society are male Muslims. As we note slavery is still practiced by Muslims. So also a Muslim man can have 4 wives though wealthy ones have more. At least they may not have much of an economy under Al quaida.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 14, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    The oppression of people under capitalism is just as bad as the oppression of people under any other name, religion or business. It was business interests that took us to war in Iraq and business interests that kept us there years after the initial goal was met.

    American businessmen, like their English teachers, are so concerned with profits that they can't or won't have any concern for people. The American businessmen got what they wanted from Iraq and bailed out leaving the people to the vices of the local businessmen. We did nothing to help the people. Our goal of keeping Iraq in the hands of a free and friendly government was/is just a smokescreen.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 14, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    From the piece " It also demonstrates, as we said at the time, that the Obama administration withdrew U.S. forces prematurely in 2011, long before the Iraqi governmeant was capable of defending itself."

    We withdrew from Iraq on the timetable that was negotiated by the Bush administration. We offered to stay longer, the Iraqi government said "NO". You seem to have forgotten these facts, either that or your hatred of President Obama is making you blind to reality.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    June 14, 2014 7:08 a.m.

    The opinion that the United States could have stayed in Iraq long enough to "stabilize" it is wildly in error.

    To think that we can help settle the Sunni, Shia, war within Islam is mad.

    Of course everyone knew that within in two years of our departing Iraq it would fall apart. The key is that it didn't matter if we stayed 10 years or a hundred years, the Sunni's who had traditionally governed were going to come back.

    Who ever thought that Malaki would keep his promises to include Shia equally in governing.

    Get over America regardless of how "dangerous" various groups are we are going to have to find a way to mitigate that danger (and there are ways) without taking sides or trying to build the nation the way we think it should look.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    June 14, 2014 6:47 a.m.

    It is not our job to tell other countries how to organize their society. It is the job of our government to protect our borders. When Iraq or Iran attach us, then go after them. Until then, stay out. Mr Bush's adventure was a total failure.

    I don't want anymore adventures in the Middle East. Western society values are foreign to this part of the world. They do not believe in religious freedom, nor freedom of speech, nor the equality of the sexes. They have no history of democratic government.

    We could help those countries evolve, but we can not force them to choose a more equitable society. Were it not for billions of barrels of oil in this part of the world, I doubt we would have spent the trillions we have wasted here. Just imagine how much good that money could have done here.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    June 14, 2014 6:09 a.m.

    In 2003 Iraq was fully capable of defending itself against Iran.

    "While the United States dithers and ponders"

    After 11 years, countless lives, and several trillion dollars, I wish Bush/Cheney had spent more time dithering and pondering!

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    June 14, 2014 3:58 a.m.

    If you don't fight for your freedom then you don't respect your freedom.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    June 14, 2014 12:26 a.m.

    "Women are not allowed to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary and unless completely covered. People caught stealing will have limbs amputated." I think this also describes Saudi Arabia. We have a Sunni insurrection against the Shia government. How much funding is ISIS getting from the Saudi Sunnis? Lots - and these are our allies supposedly.

    Some of us argued against our meat ax approach to Iraq, but to no avail (we tried to point out that Iran would be the chief beneficiary). We still don't understand the tribalism and religious feuding which has gone on for centuries. The longer we stay the more problems we create for the region and for ourselves.