Fighters from the terror group ISIL, which is so atrocious it was kicked out of the Al-Qaida network due to its brutality, just captured Tikrit after recently capturing Mosul. Iraq seems poised to be split into three parts, a Kurdish state in the north, an Iranian puppet in the east, and a salafist terror state in the west - in fact, you could very well argue that is already the case.

In 2007 there were less than 30 terror groups like Al-Qaida, now that number has risen to around 50. In 2007 there were 18-42.000 terror incidents, last year it was 44-105.000. Deaths from terror attacks has risen from around 7.500 in 2007 to almost 18.000 in 2013, and this doesn't even count the Syrians which has been killed by the terrorist actors, ISIL among them, in the civil war there.

Safe to say, the mission hasn't been accomplished and the war on terror has been going badly lately, if not outright lost.

So, any good ideas..?

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Well, the world is certainly better off with a removed Saddam Hussein. And Syria probably best answers the counterfactual of what would have happened without the (and I'm not trying to be sarcastic) stabilizing presence of US troops.

Not worth it for the US for sure, but on the grand scheme of things Iraq seems to have come off quite lightly.

Wouldn't the world have been better off without the likes of Kim Jong Il, or Fidel Castro, or Hugo Chavez, or the military junta in Myanmar, or any number of brutal African dictators, etc., etc.? Let's not kid ourselves that we were trying to make the world a better place.

We went to Iraq for three reasons: 1) to funnel $1Trillion in defense spending to a handful of cronies' companies, 2) oil, 3) George W's daddy issues. Everything else was smoke and mirrors.

That is actually excessively cynical. The US national security establishment actually believed Saddam had WMDs and posed a risk to the US.

It's always a good idea not to assume conspiracy when incompetence provides an equally good explanation. 

---

(And seeing as the US natsec team now know when we masturbate, but not when Assad uses chemical weapons, Putin invades Georgia and Ukraine, or ISIL launching a major attack in Iraq, I think we can safely assume mind boggling levels of incompetence in the upper echelons of American administration.)

It's always a good idea not to assume conspiracy when incompetence provides an equally good explanation. 

That one line sums a lot of it up neatly.

I can sum it up better than you can sum it up, Reg.

Assuming of course that doing so in fewer words makes it better.

It's foolish to assume conspiracy when incompetence....

 

I don't think we can assume incompetence. I found an interesting article from the Washington Post from 2006 in which a high level CIA official said the Bush admin cherry-picked from intelligence reports to justify going into Iraq. If Bush "actually believed" there were WMDs, he believed it because he only paid attention to reports that supported that belief. It's extremely hard to believe nobody in his admin noticed that degree of confirmation bias at the time. That smells like conspiracy to me.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/09/AR2...

Actually, the CIA has released their own assessment where they admit to having fucked up.

The WaPo article came out after the CIA report, as if to refute the report. And the guy, who retired from CIA after 28 years of service, was one of the guys in charge of intelligence in that region at that time. He's got some cred.

The WaPo article came out after the CIA report, as if to refute the report. And the guy, who retired from CIA after 28 years of service, was one of the guys in charge of intelligence in that region at that time. He's got some cred.

Not to mention the CIA document specifies the intelligence consisted of "suspicions"-- meaning scant or nonexistent proof-- not slam-dunk cases like the Bushies repeatedly claimed.

That is actually excessively cynical. The US national security establishment actually believed Saddam had WMDs and posed a risk to the US.

Even if that's true of the "national security establishment" it's also true that the Bush administration knowingly referenced or even planted discredited prewar intelligence in the news media to sell the war to the American public.

It's always a good idea not to assume conspiracy when incompetence provides an equally good explanation.

That's true, but when you have evidence of a conspiracy to lie or distort the truth for political reasons, there is no need to assume it.

See above where the CIA takes responsibility for it. They had at least two sources which were making similar lies and it never occurred to them to second guess anything. The most salient paragraph:

It's groupthink at the same level as Bay of Pigs. It would actually be a good thing if the CIA was smart enough to pull off such a conspiracy. But instead of blaming them for maliciousness, the correct charge would be incompetence. 

But if believing your natsec agencies are malicious and not incompetent makes you sleep easier at night, be my guest.

See above where the CIA takes responsibility for it.

Yes, Arcus. I've seen this document before. It mirrors official claims about pre-war “intelligence failures”. It's the political statement, not the actual analysis. It also demonstrates that the Bush administration was dishonest.

Note that the document cites "deepened suspicions" that Iraq “had ongoing WMD programs” and “suspicions that Iraq continued to hide WMD.”

The Bush administration sold the Iraq war to the public through repeated declarations that it was a known fact that Iraq had ongoing programs and stockpiles of WMD, not on mere "suspicions" that Iraq had WMDs.

The CIA acknowledges that the evidence supported "suspicions", which shows the subsequent narrative of “intelligence failure” is fiction. The Bush administration lied-- and lied, and lied, and lied-- in its assertion of the "fact" that Iraq had WMDs beyond any doubt.

"Intelligence leaves no doubt that Iraq continues to possess and conceal lethal weapons." - George Bush, US President 18 March, 2003

"Saddam's removal is necessary to eradicate the threat from his weapons of mass destruction." - Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary 2 April, 2003

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." - Dick Cheney, Speech to VFW National Convention, August 26, 2002

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons." -George W. Bush, Speech to UN General Assembly, September 12, 2002

"If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world." - Ari Fleischer, Press Briefing, December 2, 2002

"We know for a fact that there are weapons there." -Ari Fleischer
Press Briefing, January 9, 2003

"25,000 liters of anthrax ... 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin ... materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent ... upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents ... several mobile biological weapons labs ... thousands of Iraqi security personnel ... at work hiding documents and materials from the U.N. inspectors." -George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, January 28, 2003

"We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more." - Colin Powell, Remarks to UN Security Council, February 5, 2003

"We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have." - George W. Bush, Radio Address February 8, 2003

"So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad? . . . I think our judgment has to be clearly not." -Colin Powell, Remarks to UN Security Council, March 7, 2003

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." -George W. Bush, Address to the Nation, March 17, 2003

"Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly... all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes." -Ari Fleisher, Press Briefing, March 21, 2003

"There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. And... as this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them." - Gen. Tommy Franks, Press Conference, March 22, 2003

"I have no doubt we're going to find big stores of weapons of mass destruction." - Defense Policy Board member Kenneth Adelman, Washington Post, p. A27, March 23, 2003

"One of our top objectives is to find and destroy the WMD. There are a number of sites." - Pentagon Spokeswoman Victoria Clark, Press Briefing, March 22, 2003

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." - Donald Rumsfeld, ABC Interview March 30, 2003

"I think you have always heard, and you continue to hear from officials, a measure of high confidence that, indeed, the weapons of mass destruction will be found." -Ari Fleischer, Press Briefing, April 10, 2003

"We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists and people within the Iraqi structure, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. And so we will find them." -George W. Bush, NBC Interview, April 24, 2003

"There are people who in large measure have information that we need... so that we can track down the weapons of mass destruction in that country." - Donald Rumsfeld, Press Briefing, April 25, 2003

"We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so." - George W. Bush,
Remarks to Reporters, May 3, 2003

"I'm absolutely sure that there are weapons of mass destruction there and the evidence will be forthcoming. We're just getting it just now." -Colin Powell, Remarks to Reporters, May 4, 2003

"I'm not surprised if we begin to uncover the weapons program of Saddam Hussein -- because he had a weapons program." -George W. Bush, Remarks to Reporters, May 6, 2003

"I just don't know whether it was all destroyed years ago -- I mean, there's no question that there were chemical weapons years ago -- whether they were destroyed right before the war, (or) whether they're still hidden." - Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, Commander 101st Airborne
Press Briefing, May 13, 2003

"Before the war, there's no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical. I expected them to be found. I still expect them to be found." - Gen. Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps, Interview with Reporters, May 21, 2003

"Given time, given the number of prisoners now that we're interrogating, I'm confident that we're going to find weapons of mass destruction." - Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, NBC Today Show interview, May 26, 2003

"For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on." - Paul Wolfowitz, Vanity Fair interview, May 28, 2003

"It was a surprise to me then, it remains a surprise to me now, that we have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward dispersal sites. Believe me, it's not for lack of trying. We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there." - Lt. Gen. James Conway, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, Press Interview

"But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them." - George W. Bush, Interview with TVP Poland, 5/30/2003

"You remember when [Secretary of State] Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons ...They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two...And we'll find more weapons as time goes on And we'll find more weapons as time goes on." -George W. Bush, Press Briefing, 5/30/2003

If the CIA says the information is unreliable, and the original source of the information says its unreliable, but the Bush administration asserts that it is factual, the Bush administration is responsible for that, not the CIA.

It's groupthink at the same level as Bay of Pigs. It would actually be a good thing if the CIA was smart enough to pull off such a conspiracy.

I didn't say it was a CIA conspiracy. I said it was a Bush administration conspiracy to sell the war by misleading the public. And that's exactly what your CIA document shows. Suspicion is an expression of doubt, not lack of doubt as the Bush administration claimed.

But instead of blaming them for maliciousness, the correct charge would be incompetence. 

I'm blaming the Bush administration for dishonesty, not malice. They may have genuinely believed the war was in the best interests of the United States, but that doesn't mean a fabricated or misleading claim is an honest one.

The issue of Bush's competence in the war (to stop Iraq from using WMDs in terror attacks) is another subject.

But if believing your natsec agencies are malicious and not incompetent makes you sleep easier at night, be my guest.

I said absolutely nothing of the kind.

I would call the CIA incompetent if it had asserted that mere suspicions are facts beyond doubt and sufficient justification for an invasion and war. The CIA, according to the document you posted, did no such thing.

That distinction belongs to the Bush administration. The narrative they manufactured wasn't what the CIA intelligence indicated, and was done too well and persistently to be called a mistake instead of a deception.

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