Iraq Hub




GOP Congressman: Dick Cheney Will Rot in Hell for Iraq War

Some tough words for Dick Cheney from Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), Salon reports:

Cheney“Congress will not hold anyone to blame. Lyndon Johnson’s probably rotting in hell right now because of the Vietnam War, and he probably needs to move over for Dick Cheney,” Jones, a libertarian who is often critical of the war in Afghanistan, told a Young Americans for Liberty conference in Raleigh this weekend...

...Jones was once a Neo Conservative hawk, spearheading the effort to change the name of French fries in House cafeterias to “freedom fries” after France declined to support the Iraq war. But he’s since had a change of heart and is now one of the most outspoken critics of American interventionism, picking up the mantel left by [Ron] Paul.


Senators Not Keen On Hagel For Defense Secretary: VIDEO

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Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel cleaned up one political headache, kind of, by apologizing for comments he made in 1998 about Ambassador James Hormel being "aggressively gay."

Hormel has accepted the apology, though does point out it most likely came to clear a path for President Obama to nominate Hagel to be the next Defense Secretary. "While the timing appears self-serving, the words themselves are unequivocal--they are a clear apology," Hormel wrote. 

But there's still the pesky problem of Republicans who oppose Hagel for opposing the surge in Iraq, his votes and comments about Israel and his resistance to sanctions on Iran. If Sen. Lindsey Graham's remarks this morning are any indication, that GOP problem isn't going away anytime soon.

"The Republicans are going to ask him hard questions, and I don’t think he’s going to get many Republican votes," Graham said on Meet the Press. "His positions -- I didn’t really, quite frankly, know all of them -- are really out of the mainstream and well to the left of the president. I think it would be a challenging nomination." Asked if he would support Hagel, Graham said he's going to wait until the nomination hearings. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer was also asked, but said he's standing by until an actual nomination has been put forth.

Meanwhile, independent Sen. Joe Lieberman used similar language on CNN's State of the Union, telling host Candy Crowley, "...If I were in the Senate on the Armed Services Committee and he was nominated, I would have some really serious questions to ask him, not just about Israel, but to me, the most significant foreign policy challenge for President Obama and our country and the world in the next year or two is Iran and it's nuclear weapons program. Chuck Hagel has had some very outlying votes on that."

Watch Graham, Schumer and Lieberman discuss Hagel's odds AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Senators Not Keen On Hagel For Defense Secretary: VIDEO" »


Did CIA Ask FBI To Investigate Outsider David Petraeus? VIDEO

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You've probably heard by now that CIA director David Petraeus resigned yesterday after an FBI investigation into his biographer, Paula Broadwell, revealed the general had an extramarital affair.

Rachel Maddow of course discussed this last night, bringing on both the reporter who broke the story, Andrea Mitchell, and NBC News' Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel to discuss the fallout.

One interesting thing Engel passed on is the way one former and one current CIA employee explained the agency's feelings toward outsider Petraeus, the four-star general who commanded our forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and how those feelings may have impacted this story: they would have had to bring the FBI in to investigate Broadwell and Petraeus.

"[Petraeus] actually wasn't very popular in certain circles inside the CIA," said Engel, before explaining that people really didn't like the general. "The CIA is a bit of an old fashioned club. They like it if you come up the ranks."

"One person at the CIA and one person formerly at the CIA put it to me this way, 'The CIA would have to ask the FBI to look into emails that were suspicious'," he says toward the end of the video AFTER THE JUMP.

So, was the CIA outsourcing its investigation to get Petraeus out, or is this, as some on the right suggest, a huge conspiracy so that Petraeus won't have to testify before Congress about the Benghazi attack that killed American Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others?

Watch Maddow and her team discuss Petraeus' resignation AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Did CIA Ask FBI To Investigate Outsider David Petraeus? VIDEO" »


Obama Campaign Drops Foreign Policy Ad Ahead of Tonight's Debate: VIDEO

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Tonihgt's presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida will focus on foreign policy and the Obama campaign previewed some strategy in a new ad released this morning, Political Ticker reports:

The 30-second spot, "Rebuilding," faults the GOP nominee for saying during the Republican primary that the president was wrong to withdraw troops from Iraq.

"I think we're going to find that this president by not putting in place a status in forces agreement with the Iraqi leadership has pulled our troops out in a precipitous way and we should have left 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 personnel there to help transition to the Iraqis' own military capabilities," Romney said in a Fox News interview last December.

His comments came days before the final U.S. combat troops were pulled from the country.

Watch the new spot, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Obama Campaign Drops Foreign Policy Ad Ahead of Tonight's Debate: VIDEO" »


Archbishop Desmond Tutu: Put Blair And Bush On Trial

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the anti-apartheid warrior, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and general mensch, this weekend published an editorial in The Observer explaining his decision to pull out of a scheduled appearance at last week's Discovery Invest Leadership Summit, in Johannesburg. His reason: Tony Blair would be there. Tony Blair, according to Tutu, shouldn't be onstage in Johannesburg. He should be on trial at The Hague. George W. Bush, too. Probably some others.

Archbishop Tutu's editorial begins with a sentence that is neither grammatical nor historical:

The immorality of the United States and Great Britain's decision to invade Iraq in 2003, premised on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has destabilised and polarised the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history.

Surely Archbishop Tutu means to say it was the conflict itself, and not its immorality, that did the "destabilising"? (And didn't the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war against Serbia in July, 1914, cause at least as much trouble?) Archbishop Tutu calms down a few paragraphs later, writing:

On what grounds do we decide that Robert Mugabe should go the International Criminal Court, Tony Blair should join the international speakers' circuit, bin Laden should be assassinated, but Iraq should be invaded, not because it possesses weapons of mass destruction, as Mr Bush's chief supporter, Mr Blair, confessed last week, but in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein?

The cost of the decision to rid Iraq of its by-all-accounts despotic and murderous leader has been staggering, beginning in Iraq itself. Last year, an average of 6.5 people died there each day in suicide attacks and vehicle bombs, according to the Iraqi Body Count project. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict since 2003 and millions have been displaced. By the end of last year, nearly 4,500 American soldiers had been killed and more than 32,000 wounded.

There are no satisfactory answers to Archbishop Tutu's questions, as a tired-sounding Tony Blair seems to acknowledge in his rebuttal:

I have a great respect for Archbishop Tutu's fight against apartheid – where we were on the same side of the argument – but to repeat the old canard that we lied about the intelligence is completely wrong as every single independent analysis of the evidence has shown.

And to say that the fact that Saddam massacred hundreds of thousands of his citizens is irrelevant to the morality of removing him is bizarre ... his slaughter of his political opponents, the treatment of the Marsh Arabs and the systematic torture of his people make the case for removing him morally strong. But the basis of action was as stated at the time.

In short, this is the same argument we have had many times with nothing new to say. But surely in a healthy democracy people can agree to disagree.


The Netherlands Halts Deportation Of Illegal LGBT Iraqi Immigrants

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It's too bad this is news, and not standard policy everywhere: The Dutch government, recognizing that to be an out gay person in Iraq is to abide in mortal danger, has elected to grant blanket asylum to all illegal LGBT Iraqi immigrants. 

From Radio Netherlands Worldwide:

Koen van Dijk of the Dutch gay rights organisation COC described the announcement as an important victory for Iraqis who had fled the country because of their sexual orientation. According to van Dijk, Iraq is the most dangerous country in the world for gay people: “Research has shown that 750 people have been murdered for this reason since 2003. There are systematic campaigns. Organised militias publicly declare that they’re hunting down people who exhibit ‘deviant’ behaviour and should be killed according to Islamic law.”

LGBT Iraqis will have to somehow "prove" that they're L, G, B, or T to remain in the Netherlands, which van Djik frankly admits will be a tricky business. Other countries have royally screwed up attempts to make similar determinations. The Dutch being the Dutch, it's reasonable to hope they will endeavor to err on the side of mercy and sanity.


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