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Cole writes: "There were conflicting reports on Sunday morning about whether the Iraqi government and its allied tribal levies had regained control of the western city of Falluja, which had fallen to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) on Saturday. What was not in doubt was that some in the leadership of the GOP have a screw loose when it comes to foreign affairs."

US troops on the streets of Falluja, Iraq. (photo: Scott Peterson)
US troops on the streets of Falluja, Iraq. (photo: Scott Peterson)


John McCain and Lindsey Graham Want to Invade Falluja Yet Again

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

07 January 14

 

here were conflicting reports on Sunday morning about whether the Iraqi government and its allied tribal levies had regained control of the western city of Falluja, which had fallen to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) on Saturday. What was not in doubt was that some in the leadership of the GOP have a screw loose when it comes to foreign affairs.

Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tried to blame President Obama for the al-Qaeda presence in Falluja, saying that he had been wrong to withdraw all US troops from Iraq in December of 2011.

It is really rich that these two should try to blame Obama for the problem that they caused. There was no al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2002 and the Iraqi government would not have allowed such a thing. McCain and Graham decided to invade Iraq with no justification in international law, overthrow its government, dissolve its army, fire most Sunni Arabs from their jobs, and dissolve most of the state-owned industries, creating massive unemployment. What did they expect to happen? In contrast, Obama opposed the Iraq War when he was in the Illinois Senate.

McCain and Graham are wrong on this matter for the following reasons:

1. The Iraqi parliament rejected a Status of Forces Agreement with the US on George W. Bush's watch and refused to reconsider. Without a SOFA, as Sen. McCain knows very well, US troops could not engage in combat without risking being brought to Iraqi courts and charged with war crimes. The only way Obama could have kept troops in Iraq would have been to invade the country all over again, abolish parliament and install a puppet government that would invite the US to stay. Actually, that is exactly what Leonid Brezhnev did in Afghanistan. How did that work out for the Soviet Union? In fact, McCain pursued in the 1980s more or less allied with Muslim holy warriors against the Soviets in Afghanistan, contributing the the rise of . . . al-Qaeda. So we have seen this picture.

2. The Islamic State of Iraq and other extremist Sunni fundamentalists controlled city quarters of Falluja while the American troops were there! The US invaded Falluja twice directly in 2004 and then conducted a proxy campaign there in 2007-8 using tribal levies (the "Awakening Councils") a third time! So the US military presence in Iraq 2003-2011 did not crush the Sunni extremists in Falluja, which they had to keep invading over and over again, as is proved by the way the extremists were back in control of the city just this past weekend. If a small contingent of US troops were in Iraq now, what would they do? Could they even tell which Iraqis in Falluja were the bad guys?

3. Sen. McCain has never comprehended that the Iraqis did not want US troops in their country. Many Iraqis who don't even like Sunni extremists would be perfectly happy to join them in fighting US troops were they again to be on the ground in Iraq. They're just not that into you, Lindjohn. A US troop presence in a place like Iraq is radicalizing and destabilizing, not a solution to the problems.

The two maintained that US power has declined in the Middle East in the past 5 years. But if we went back to 2007 we would find the US mired in two quagmires, in Afghanistan and Iraq, its forces over-extended and doing 3 and 4 18-month rotations. It was the bogged down US in 2007 that was weak and irrelevant. No one in the Middle East cared what W. thought.

They also wanted a direct US intervention in Syria, apparently because their Iraq adventure went so well. There is no prospect that the US could intervene effectively in Syria. Even if it could, do they want to put the Syrian rebels in power in Damascus? Do they even realize that one major rebel group in Syria is — you guessed it- the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the same "al-Qaeda affiliate" they want to sent troops in to fight in Falluja!

Some people think war is the answer to every problem. It isn't even the answer to most problems.

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+35 # walthe310 2014-01-07 09:09
If McCain and Graham want to invade Falluja, give them each a gun and let them, but no one else.
 
 
+27 # Charles3000 2014-01-07 11:02
I would even consider buying them a ticket...one way...
 
 
+19 # wipster 2014-01-07 11:19
I second both of these comments
 
 
+19 # Billbb 2014-01-07 11:27
McCain and Graham want to invade Falluja? I say: Let'm! They're certainly not doing anything productive in the Senate.
 
 
+9 # RMDC 2014-01-07 11:58
Billbb -- you can say that again!!!!!!
 
 
+1 # nategold 2014-01-07 11:51
Your headline is completely misleading, and I have seen you do that a number of times. That is **not** what Juan Cole said.
 
 
+2 # pbbrodie 2014-01-07 12:31
What does this comment mean????
What is misleading?
 
 
0 # nategold 2014-01-07 15:05
Cole did not say that McCain & Graham "want to invade Falluja yet again." Read the article.
 
 
+11 # jwb110 2014-01-07 11:59
Joe Biden said, before any vice-presidenti al aspirations, that "If we leave now or leave in a hundred years it will still be a blood bath." It may be the only prescient thing he has ever said.
Iraq was the only secular state in the Middle East. Why bring it down and make it another "at each other's throats" religious state? This was all about privatising the Oil in Iraq. Remember we had big oil in the White House at the time. The GOP was no more interest in the spread of Democracy than Al-Qaeda was.
 
 
+7 # Glen 2014-01-07 12:47
Thousands of us were asking that same question prior to the U.S. attacking Iraq to begin with. Thousands.

Fallujah was a total disgrace, now riding on the back of the U.S. government and military. Thousands of citizens died and the city destroyed. Hospitals went down first, along with emergency workers, then neighborhoods - all destroyed.

In truth, it was mercenaries who went in first and met with resistance from people in the city. Not the military. The bombing began and then more soldiers died. A slaughter on both sides - as the entire enterprise in attacking the Middle East has been.

And yes, jwb110, Iraq was much better off with Hussein on the job. He NEVER put up with terrorism or outsiders attempting influence. That is until Bush and Clinton and the bombings, and then George W. bombing everybody into almost oblivion.
 
 
+1 # geraldom 2014-01-07 20:30
Glen, I don't know if you can say that Fallujah was a slaughter when it comes to the soldiers who died when you compare that number to the number of innocent civilians, men, women, and (especially) children, who died most horribly at the hands of the U.S. military by the illegal use of White Phosphorous, a chemical weapon, and depleted uranium ordinance, a radiological weapon. I saw pictures of the dead who died as a result of White Phosphorous.

This was a totally one-sided battle with the best equipped and best trained military in the world, the U.S. military, fighting mostly helpless civilians with illegal weapons of war in an illegal war of aggression to begin with.
 
 
+1 # Glen 2014-01-08 07:09
Oh, I agree, Harold. I just felt a need to sympathize with soldiers dying. There is no question the horror of Fallujah for Iraqis. That does not eliminate the destruction and death throughout the country, but Fallujah was made a symbol by the U.S. government as if it was a joyous victory, pointing to Iraqis causing their own destruction. They continue with this line/lie.

Most citizens in the Middle East who have died are innocents.
 
 
+12 # geraldom 2014-01-07 12:16
Before sending any more precious young Americans into the breech of a situation that we created as a result of our illegal invasion of Iraq in 2008 based on known lies by the Bush administration, let's first give both John McCain and Lindsey Graham and their children guns and send them in first. Let's put them all on the front line before we sacrifice anyone else. Let's see how brave both John McCain and Lindsey Graham are if they and their families have to go in first.
 
 
+1 # geraldom 2014-01-07 12:17
Correction: meant 2003, not 2008
 
 
+8 # seeuingoa 2014-01-07 13:27
McCain is a total nutcase.

He lost all credibility after
choosing SP as his partner, one heartattack
from the Oval office.

Just ignore this stupid old man,
he belongs in a retirement home.
 
 
+7 # EdRobison 2014-01-07 13:54
Having served in western Anbar province in 2007 trying to restore local governmental functions I learned many things from the Iraqis I worked with daily.
First the Sunni extremists were directly supported by the parts of the Saudi government and second Anbar province is very closely linked to eastern Syria.
If McCain and Graham were serious about helping Iraq to be more stable they would quit trying to help Syrian terrorists an would insist that Saudi Arabia quit arming and supporting terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
Iran was never the primary problem in the region it has always been Saudi Arabia. They profit from the conflicts all around and diverts the attention of the Saudi extremists from their government.
 
 
+1 # RICHARDKANEpa 2014-01-07 16:05
Thank you Ed Robison for directing this discussion toward what to do in the future instead of just complaining about the past.

I would like to know more about your experiences in Iraq?
 

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