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“The Right’s Political Correctness”: Conservatives Who Condemn Political Correctness Need To Start Calling Out Their Own

Scott Walker insists that when he changes his positions, he is not engaged in “flips.”

“A flip would be someone who voted on something and did something different,” the Wisconsin governor explained last week on Fox News. His altered views on immigration don’t count because he is not a legislator. “These are not votes,” he helpfully pointed out.

Sheer brilliance! Other than former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Walker’s major rivals at the moment are Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.). They have all cast lots of votes. So Walker can accuse them of flip-flopping while claiming blanket immunity for himself.

Unfortunately for the Republican Party and the country, Walker’s careful parsing of shape-shifting counts as one of the cerebral high points of the debate among the party’s 2016 presidential candidates.

The shortage of philosophical adventure and the eagerness of GOP hopefuls to alter their positions to make them more conservative have the same cause: a Republican primary electorate that has moved so far right that it brooks no deviation. What makes it even harder for the candidates to break new ground is that the imperatives of orthodoxy are constraining even the thinkers who are trying to create a “reform conservatism.”

The fall-in-line-or-fall-in-the-polls rule means that Walker has gone from supporting to opposing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, as has New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie . Rubio got much praise for his work in negotiating a bipartisan bill that would have allowed the undocumented to become citizens — and then, faced with hostility from tea partyers, he turned against it.

Paul, the most daring of the lot because of his libertarian convictions, deserves kudos for being true to his small-state ideology by standing up — literally, for nearly 11 hours on the Senate floor — against the Patriot Act. But even Paul has recast his foreign policy positions to make them sound more hawkish and thus more in keeping with prevailing Republican views.

Accommodating right-wing primary voters poses real risks to the party in next year’s elections. Its candidates’ messages on immigration and gay marriage could hurt the GOP with, respectively, Latinos and the young.

But the greater loss is that none of the leading Republicans is willing to offer a more fundamental challenge to the party’s rightward lurch over the past decade. L. Brent Bozell III, a prominent activist on the right, could thus legitimately claim to The Post: “The conservative agenda is what is winning the field.”

Where, for example, is the candidate willing to acknowledge that, like it or not, there’s no way that anywhere close to all Americans will be able to get health insurance unless government plays a very large role? Where is the Republican who will admit that if the party had its way on further tax cuts, many programs Americans like would fall by the wayside?

The reform conservatives were supposed to remedy this shortcoming, and they have issued some detailed proposals. But their efforts remain largely reactive. Last week, Yuval Levin, the intellectual leader of the movement, joined a symposium in Reason, the sprightly libertarian magazine, to reassure others on the right that reform conservatives are — honest and true! — no less committed than they are to “limited government,” to rolling back “the liberal welfare state ” and to reducing government’s “size and scope.”

It’s not surprising that Levin’s fervently anti-statist Reason interlocutors were not fully persuaded. What’s disappointing to those outside conservatism’s ranks is that the reformicons are so often defensive.

With occasional exceptions, they have been far more interested in proving their faithfulness to today’s hard-line right than in declaring, as conservatives in so many other democracies have been willing to do, that sprawling market economies need a rather large dose of government. Conservatives, Levin says, are “eager to build on the longstanding institutions of our society to improve things.” Good idea. But somehow, the successes of decades-old governmental institutions in areas such as retirement security, health-care provision and environmental protection are rarely acknowledged.

Many Republicans, especially reform conservatives, know that most Americans who criticize government in the abstract still welcome many of its activities. Yet stating this obvious fact is now politically incorrect on the right. Conservatives who condemn political correctness in others need to start calling it out on their own side. Otherwise, Scott Walker’s artful redefinition of flip-flopping could become the 2016 Republican debate’s most creative intellectual contribution.

 

By: E. J. Dionne, Jr., Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, May 24, 2015

May 25, 2015 Posted by | Conservatives, GOP Presidential Candidates, Political Correctness | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Emotional Distress And Mental Anguish”: Cleveland Cops Involved In 137-Shot Barrage Claim They’re Victims Of Discrimination

Nine of the 13 Cleveland police officers involved in a 137-shot barrage that left an unarmed black man and woman dead after a high-speed chase in 2012 filed a lawsuit last November claiming that they were treated too harshly and discriminated against by the police department in the aftermath of the shooting.

Michael Brelo, the white officer acquitted on Saturday of manslaughter charges for the shooting, isn’t involved in the lawsuit. The nine other officers, eight of whom are white and one of whom is Hispanic, claim the Cleveland Police Department treats non-black cops more harshly than African-American officers when they use force against black suspects, Cleveland.com’s Cory Shaffer reported.

“The City of Cleveland, through the other named defendants, and the other named defendants in their individual capacities, have a history of treating non-African American officers involved in the shootings of African Americans substantially harsher than African American officers,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit complains that the nine officers have been placed on restricted duty for far longer than the traditional 45 days following a police shooting, preventing them from earning overtime pay and forcing them to conduct “boring, menial tasks.” This, the lawsuit says, has impaired the officers’ pay and reputation and caused “emotional distress and mental anguish.”

The city denied all the allegations of discrimination in a response reported by the Cleveland Scene’s Doug Brown in January. There has been little movement in the case since then.

The lawsuit drew almost immediate criticism when it was filed in November because it felt so tone-deaf to critics of police in Cleveland and across the country.

“Yes, Cleveland police officers involved in killing two unarmed people are saying that extra long ‘gym duty’ because of their roles in a shooting incident resulted in ’emotional distress’ and ‘mental anguish,'” the Cleveland Scene’s Doug Brown wrote at the time. “Not that they killed people, but because of gym duty.”

Over the past year, the Black Lives Matter movement rose to national prominence as several police killings of black men and boys highlighted racial disparities in police use of force, including the deaths of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Freddie Gray in Baltimore, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

But police officers, backed by their powerful unions, have by and large rejected this type of criticism. Not only do many cops and their supporters deny claims of discrimination, but they also worry that the increased scrutiny will make it more difficult to use force in scenarios that call for it, potentially putting officers and others in danger.

The disagreement has led some police officers to lash out. In New York City, after Mayor Bill de Blasio said he taught his biracial son to be careful around police, the city’s officers appeared to protest through weeks of a “work slowdown” in which they purposely reduced their activity and carried out fewer arrests.

The lawsuit from the nine Cleveland officers is another example of cops attempting to turn the criticisms around. Instead of acknowledging the disparities in the criminal justice system and the many contributing factors, these officers are saying that it’s actually they who are the victims of systemic discrimination.

 

By: German Lopez, Vox, May 24, 2015

May 25, 2015 Posted by | Cleveland Police Department, Police Brutality, Police Shootings | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Josh Duggar And The Purity Lie”: ‘Pure’ And ‘Godly’ Because They Police And Condemn Other People’s Sexual Lives

Josh Duggar, the oldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, stars of “reality” TV and the real life conservative movement, has resigned his position as executive director of FRC Action, the political action arm of the Family Research Council, after In Touch magazine reported that he sexually abused young girls, including, apparently, his sisters, as a teenager.

In a statement to People magazine, Duggar, now 27, said:

Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends. . . . I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.

Ruining his life.

According to the police report, Jim Bob and Michelle, paragons of parenting, hid Josh’s crimes from the police and the public. In Touchreports, based on the police report it obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, that:

Josh Duggar was investigated for multiple sex offenses — including forcible fondling — against five minors. Some of the alleged offenses investigated were felonies. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were interview [sic] by the Springdale Police department on Dec. 12, 2006. The report says that James told police he was alerted in March, 2002 by a female minor that Josh — who turned 14-years-old that month — had been touching her breasts and genitals while she slept. This allegedly happened on multiple occasions. In 2006, Jim Bob told police that in July, 2002 Josh admitted to fondling a minor’s breasts while she slept. “James said that they disciplined (redacted, Josh) after this incident.” The family did not alert authorities.

The police report reveals that Jim Bob Duggar “met with the elders of his church and told them what was going on” rather than contacting law enforcement. Josh was then sent to “Christian counseling” for three months, which, according to his mother’s admission, was not any sort of licensed counseling facility:

Asked about the training center that Jim Bob said Josh was sent to, Michelle told police, according to the report, “it was not really a training center. Det. [Darrell] Hignite asked if the guy [redacted, Josh] talked to was a certified counselor. She said no. She said it was a guy they know in Little Rock that is remodeling a building. Det. Hignite asked if the guy was more of a mentor. She said “kind of.”

In their own statement to People, Jim Bob and Michelle say that “when Josh was a young teenager, he made some very bad mistakes, and we were shocked. We had tried to teach him right from wrong,” that “each one of our family members drew closer to God,” and that they “pray that as people watch our lives they see that we are not a perfect family.”

But the Duggars and their supporters have very deliberately marketed them as a perfect family—or if not perfect, at least pure, and in particular, sexually pure.

The first episode of their “reality” television show aired in 2008, two years after the police interviewed family members about the sexual assaults that had taken place in 2002 and 2003; the statute of limitations had already run and the police could not pursue charges.

In 2010, the Family Research Council, Josh’s future employer, gave Jim Bob and Michelle the “Pro-Family Entertainment” award, describing the family as “outspoken ambassadors for Christian values in a secular world.”

On their television program in 2009, Josh Duggar was portrayed as devoting himself to a “courtship” with his future wife Anna, rather than dating, which was derided as part of the “divorce culture:”

Tonight, Anna described her husband to People as “someone who had gone down a wrong path and had humbled himself before God and those whom he had offended.”

This week, a recap of their television show on their blog discussed how Jim Bob and Michelle “encourage their kids to take a chaperone along on all their dates so they have someone to keep them accountable and ensure that they stick to their courtship standards.” In their family, they police sex outside of marriage. In politics they police sex between consenting adults, sex between people of the same sex; they are “pure” and “godly” because they police and condemn other people’s sexual lives. But now the public knows that this family which enforces “purity” has covered up the sexual predations—against children, even their own children— of their star son.

The Duggars haven’t shied away from “protecting” children in other contexts. As Right Wing Watch reports, last year Josh Duggar “led a successful campaign to defeat a LGBT nondiscrimination measure in Fayetteville, Arkansas, which he said jeopardized the safety of children,” and that his mother “also ran a robocall pushing for the repeal of the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance, which she warned would empower ‘child predators’ to threaten ‘the safety and innocence of a child.’”

The Duggars are no ordinary spokespeople for the religious right; they are super-spokespeople. For years, they have been held up as exemplars of biblical living, of devotion to Christ, and of, especially, homespun honest living and sexual purity. It’s long been obvious to many that this is a product of marketing and packaging, not reality. But now no one can pretend anymore.

 

By: Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches, May 21, 2015

May 25, 2015 Posted by | Christian Conservatives, Sexual Asault, The Duggars | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Conspiracy-Minded Conservatives, Be Warned”: Sorry, GOP. There’s No Smoking Gun In Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Emails

If Republicans were looking for a silver bullet to use against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the State Department’s Friday document dump about Benghazi wasn’t it.

There’s no illicit weapons Libyan program to be found in the emails, as some have speculated. No ‘stand-down’ order. Just a hectic flow of information to and from Hillary Clinton—about danger, about death, and ultimately, about condolences.

The State Department released Friday 296 emails involving Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State, from 2009 to 2013. The documents include some 300 emails related to Benghazi, which were turned over to the Congressional committee investigating the 2012 attacks. The attacks left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

The hundreds of emails released by the agency show a Secretary of State who was deeply engaged on Libyan issues—but usually just in a crisis. While Clinton was a key proponent of intervening in Libya to protect civilians under threat from then-Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi, her emails show that she took a largely hands off approach towards the country.

Of course, this document trove is an incomplete view, at best. It excludes any phone calls, briefings or memos. It doesn’t include the emails that were deleted by Clinton—and we know there were many. (Republicans noted “inexplicable gaps” in Secretary Clinton’s emails over several time periods, such as from Oct. 2011 to Jan. 2012, and from April 2012 to July 2012. ) And it was released by a State Department that was formerly helmed by Clinton and is still part of a Democratic administration.

But according to her Benghazi-related email traffic, Clinton appears to only have been involved at times of crisis and even then deferred to those on the ground, including Stevens and friends outside government.

Clinton’s emails show that the late Amb. Christopher Stevens had multiple brushes with danger in Benghazi in 2011—more than a year before the September 2012 attacks that would ultimately take his life.

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received an update about Stevens’ 2011 security situation: that there had been intelligence indicating a credible threat to his safety, and that officials were moving swiftly out of the hotel he was staying at in Benghazi.

“There is credible threat info against the hotel that our team is using—and the rest of the Intl community is using, for that matter… DS [Diplomatic Security] going to evacuate our people to alt locations. Info suggested attack in next 24-48 hours,” wrote top Clinton aide Jacob Sullivan in an email to Clinton on June 10, 2011, with the subject line, ‘Hotel in Benghazi.’

At the time Stevens was a special envoy to Libya, and the U.S. had joined a U.N. campaign to set up a no-fly zone to assist rebels in the overthrow of Muammar Qadhafi.

In a separate incident, in April 2011, a State Department official wrote:

“The situation in Ajdabiyah has worsened to the point Stevens is considering departure from Benghazi. The envoy’s delegation is currently doing a phased checkout (paying the hotel bills, moving some comms to the boat, etc). He will monitor the situation to see if it deteriorates further, but no decision has been made on departure.”

The communications received by the Secretary of State illustrate the fast pace of security decisions made on the ground—but don’t show Clinton with a direct role in these decisions. For example, there’s no indication that Clinton intervened in the decision-making process when told about Stevens’ 2011 security scares.

Clinton was heavily criticized when it emerged in March that she had used a private email server to conduct business while she was Secretary of State. Her private email accounts prevented the normal process of archiving official government records. Clinton’s staff had turned over some 55,000 pages of email correspondence to the State Department in December 2014.

Democrats on the Select Benghazi Committee had urged the release of Benghazi-related emails for months. Clinton herself had urged the State Department to swiftly publish the emails, telling reporters earlier this week that she wanted them in the public domain as soon as possible.

“I am pleased that the State Department released the complete set of Secretary Clinton’s emails about Benghazi—as Democrats requested months ago,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the committee.

The American people can now read all of these emails and see for themselves that they contain no evidence to back up claims that Secretary Clinton ordered a stand-down, approved an illicit weapons program, or any other wild allegation Republicans have made for years.

In the time between the June 2011 security scare and the September 2012 terrorist attacks, the mood in Libya ebbed and flowed—Stevens left Libya in November 2011 before returning as U.S. ambassador in May 2012.

In July, Libya held national elections which went off well, leading to people heralding the country worldwide. Meanwhile, Islamist flags had emerged on buildings throughout Benghazi.

The correspondence in summer 2012 shows a somewhat positive situation in Libya: the last email from Stevens that Clinton receives paints a rosy picture: in July 2012 Sen. John McCain is in Tripoli, Libya, being lauded for his support of the rebels.

“The atmosphere in Tripoli is very festive,” Stevens wrote in one email on July 7, 2012. “The gov’t declared today a holiday and people are driving around honking and waving flags and making peace sign gestures… McCain was applauded and thanked for his support wherever we went.”

The world’s focus doesn’t dwell on Libya, and Clinton doesn’t receive additional emails about Benghazi again until the 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities.

By September 2012, the situation in Libya had deteriorated. In a diary entry on Sept. 6, Stevens wrote about a “security vacuum” and “dicey conditions,” even suggesting that he was on an “Islamist ‘hit list’ in Benghazi.”

On the fateful day of Sept. 11, 2012, at approximately 4 p.m. in Washington, D.C., the first attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound occurred. Clinton had previously testified (PDF) that she was at the State Department that day, which could explain why she did not send or receive a large volume of emails about Benghazi.

She becomes more active on emails that evening, and at 11:37 p.m., she receives word through her Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills that the Libyan government had confirmed Amb. Steven’s death.

“Cheryl told me the Libyans confirmed his death. Should we announce tonight or wait until morning?” Clinton wrote in an email to top aides.

Throughout the morning after the initial attacks she has a lot of activity: in particular she received a large number of messages expressing condolences to her and the State Department over the death of the ambassador.

“The Ambassador was a perfect role model of the kind of person we need representing us around the world, and the others had so much to give—and already had given so much,” said former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates.

“What a wonderful, strong and moving statement by your boss. please tell her how much Sen. McCain appreciated it. Me too,” wrote a top national security aide for Sen. John McCain.

That weekend, Clinton continued to exchange emails on the Benghazi issue. On Saturday Sept. 15, the day before Susan Rice appeared on cable shows to make the since-rescinded claim that the Benghazi attacks were the result of protests-turned-violent, Clinton was involved arranging calls from her home and the collection of an action memo via classified courier.

The emails give insight into how Clinton operated at the time: using classified couriers to move memos and getting on the phone with other world leaders, rather than using email.

None of the released emails show Clinton being involved with Rice’s appearance on the Sunday shows, or the discussion of what Rice should say. She does, however, receive a transcript of what Rice would eventually say.

Findings of the Republican-led Select committee on Benghazi may not be released until sometime in 2016, in the thick of campaign season.

If the Select Committee continues to operate through the end of the 2015, its estimated cost will rise to $6 million dollars. The House Select Committee on Benghazi was established in May 2014. If it continues through to the end of 2015, it will have been investigating for 19 months—longer than other major, comparable investigations.

(To compare, the joint inquiry into the intelligence community’s actions with regard to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks took less than a year. The Senate Watergate committee operated for about 17 months before presenting its findings. And the Warren Commission on the assassination of President Kennedy operated for under a year.)

The release of Friday’s Benghazi-related emails has itself been months in the waiting: the State Department had been going through an excruciating process of assessing the emails for any information that would show sensitive or personally identifiable information, and then removing it. The State Department will now turn its attention to performing the same task on thousands of Clinton emails that are not related to Benghazi.

In fact, Hillary Clinton’s email correspondence has the potential to generate headlines at least through the end of the year, acting as a disruptive force that distracts from her presidential campaign.

For Republican committee chairman Trey Gowdy, the release of these emails are just the first step in a long slog to “collect and evaluate all of the relevant and material information necessary.” Gowdy said that the emails released Friday had all been exclusively reviewed and released only after review by her own lawyers.

Earlier this week, a federal judge had dismissed a State Department plan to release her email archives, comprised of some 55,000 pages of emails, by January 2016. Instead, the judge asked the State Department to come up with a plan to gradually release the emails in stages.

In the nearer term, Hillary Clinton is expected to appear before the Select Committee on Benghazi, Gowdy said last week that he will not schedule the former Secretary of State’s testimony until the State Department turns over more documents.

“The Select Committee should schedule Secretary Clinton’s public testimony now and stop wasting taxpayer money dragging out this political charade to harm Secretary Clinton’s bid for president,” Cummings, a Democrat, said Friday.

The New York Times obtained and published about a third of the Clinton Benghazi emails earlier this week, revealing that longtime Clinton friend Sidney Blumenthal had frequently written to her about Libya, serving as a source of information about the country before and after the 2012 attacks.

While Blumenthal had originally blamed demonstrators in the American diplomatic facility in Benghazi, a subsequent memo fingered a Libyan terrorist group for the attacks, arguing that they had used the demonstrations as cover for the violence. This week, the Select Committee on Benghazi subpoenaed Blumenthal to appear before the panel.

 

By: Tim Mak, The Daily Beast, May 22, 2015

May 25, 2015 Posted by | Benghazi, Conservatives, House Select Committee on Benghazi | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Politics Of War”: We Endanger The Peace And Confuse All Issues When We Obscure The Truth

This Memorial Day the nation remembers all those people who died while serving in the American armed forces. More than 1,316,000 military personnel have died during military conflicts in this nation’s history.

The mission of the U.S. military is to fight and win our nation’s wars. The U.S. has the most powerful military in the history of the world, but it should not be utilized as a political tool, or for retribution. The government and its leaders must do their best to make the right decisions, to be truthful with the American people, and to provide all the necessary support needed to fulfill the military’s mission. Unfortunately, this has not always been the case.

Following the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on New York and Washington DC on September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush began to plan a response. Vice President Dick Cheney and neo-con members of the administration, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, immediately set their sites on Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s tyrannical ruler. They were disappointed that Hussein had not been toppled during the first Gulf War in 1991. Soon the administration made the claim that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, and that Hussein was linked to the terrorist group al-Qaeda.

But the Bush administration was cherry picking raw intelligence, much of which was unverified. The “evidence” against Hussein was presented to Congress, which on October 11, 2002, passed the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Forces Against Iraq. In early 2003, the British and Spanish governments proposed a U.N. resolution that gave Iraq a deadline for compliance with previous resolutions on WMDs or face military actions. The resolution was withdrawn because France, Germany, Canada and Russia were opposed to military action; instead they called for further diplomacy. In early March, Chief U.N. Weapons Inspector Hans Blix said that progress had been made with the inspections and no WMD’s had been found in Iraq.

The administration, which rejected Blix’s assessment, began making the case for war to the American people. In February, President Bush conducted a series of interviews with news organizations, including the Spanish language channel Telemundo. I was the head of news for Telemundo at that time, and I was present for our session. The president told Telemundo’s Pedro Sevcec that he had not made a decision to go to war. Following the interview, I asked the president, “What about Jacques Chirac,” referring to the French president. President Bush swatted me on the shoulder with the back of his hand and said dismissively, “Oh, he’ll come around.” “We’re going to war,” I thought.

The American invasion of Iraq began on March 20. Vice President Cheney had predicted we would be greeted as liberators. He was wrong. The Iraqi forces were quickly defeated but the administration mismanaged the occupation. The Ba’athist government had collapsed, Hussein’s military was disarmed, and a power vacuum ensued. Sectarian violence broke out between the Shias and the Sunnis. U.S. backed Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, became Prime Minister in 2006, but his government alienated the country’s Sunni minority.

In 2007, President Bush implemented a troop surge in Iraq. By adding 20,000 additional U.S. troops, primarily in capital city Baghdad, the president hoped to buy time for reconciliation among the factions. The situation on the ground stabilized, but Sunnis still distrusted the Maliki government.

In 2008, the Bush administration negotiated a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq granting U.S. troops in the country legal immunities with the understanding the troops would be withdrawn by 2012. When negotiations began to extend U.S. military presence, only a smaller number, Maliki and various Iraqi party leaders agreed to the extended troop deployment, but did not want to continue the legal immunities. These immunities are a condition everywhere U.S. troops are based.

Some critics said President Barack Obama could have done more to secure the legal immunities, but that is debatable. In an interview on CBS News’ Face the Nation Sunday, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) once again claimed an agreement could have been reached with Maliki through negotiations. Nonetheless, President Obama withdrew American combat troops and fulfilled a campaign promise.

The Maliki government collapsed in 2014. In the summer of 2014, ISIS, an Islamic terrorist group that had been incubating for more than a decade in Syria, launched a military offensive in Northern Iraq and declared an Islamic caliphate. ISIS, which is Sunni, has slaughtered thousands of people in its expansion in the region. But many Iraqi Sunnis find ISIS preferable to the Shiite government in Baghdad.

Iraq under Hussein had served as a counter balance against Iran, its bitter enemy. With Hussein gone, Iran, a Shiite country, began working closely with the Shiite government in Baghdad. Iran’s influence in the region has grown, especially with the spread of ISIS. Iraq is in turmoil and it is unlikely all of the factions, including the Kurds in the north, will come together again.

The Iraq War has been costly. More than 4,500 members of the U.S military have been killed since the invasion. Hundreds of thousands of casualties have been suffered by Iraqis. Two years ago the “Costs of Wars” project, part of the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, estimated that the Iraq War had already cost America more than $2 trillion. And many veterans of Iraq, who have returned home, are unemployed, suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, or have committed suicide.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and many Republican presidential candidates blame President Obama for today’s chaos in Iraq and the region. Yet these candidates do not offer a plan or a solution. In fact, former Senator Rick Santorum recently said, “If these folks (ISIS) want to return to a 7th-century version of Islam, then let’s load up our bombers and bomb them back to the 7th century.” ISIS and Iraq have turned into political fodder for the Republican base.

The 2003 invasion of Iraq, and subsequent mismanagement by the Bush administration, is the biggest mistake the U.S. has made since Vietnam. It has led to a series of unintended and disastrous consequences. And there is no light at the end of this tunnel for America.

Perhaps the architects of the Iraq War should have heeded the counsel of their spiritual leader, President Ronald Reagan. In a 1985 Veterans Day speech he said, “We endanger the peace and confuse all issues when we obscure the truth.”

 

By: Joe Peyronnin, Hofstra Journalism Professor; The Blog, The Huffington Post, May 24, 2015

May 25, 2015 Posted by | Bush-Cheney Administration, Iraq War, Memorial Day, U. S. Military | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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