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Glenn Beck: Liberals Were Right About Iraq

Glenn Beck opened his show on Tuesday with a monologue that contained four words no one ever thought he would say: Liberals, you were right. With the recent outbreak of sectarian violence in Iraq, where members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have taken control of the middle third of the country, there has been a very similar “drumbeat to war” to what preceded the first invasion of Iraq more than a decade ago.

Richard Clarke, while a confirmed Democrat, served under both Presidents Bush and Clinton in counter-terrorism roles. Unlike Beck, Clarke was harshly critical of the Bush Administration’s desire for war with Iraq and also their attitude towards the threat of terrorism pre-9/11. On a recent appearance on Real Time, Clarke echoed the same sentiments as Beck on Iraq, even using the same phrase in reference to American casualties in Iraq: Not one more.

Other media outlets are trotting out the same old neocons who sent us to Iraq in the first place, who all say that this recent spate of violence can only be defeated by U.S. intervention. Is there any credence to their claims? Will an ISIS-controlled Iraq export terrorism to the U.S.? Is the fact that Iran and (former) Al Qaeda will be fighting each other actually a good thing?

To the terrorism question, it is a legitimate worry. Especially after being both snubbed by Al Qaeda and flush with clash, ISIS would gain serious credibility in the extremist community if it carried out a successful attack on the U.S. Many of their members have European passports or possibly American passports, which could make it easier for them to enter the country.

Currently ISIS is seizing territory, if they do begin to set up terrorist training camps, Clarke said “we will deal with that, but let’s wait until it happens because it’s probably not gonna happen.” In a sense, Beck said the same thing but a different way.

Beck said, as have many others on the right who are not advocating for intervention in Iraq, that this is something the Iraqi people have “to work out for themselves.” Shockingly, he just may be right.

About the author

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with news and current events, he writes about parenting, art, and personal stories. His serial fiction story "The Prophet Hustle" is available at JukePop.com and a forthcoming independent ebook about the cam-modeling industry "Dirty Little Windows" will be available later this summer.

  • David William Rutledge

    Not always sure what to think of Glen Beck – but am happy he made this statement if it helps keep us out of another neocon war.

    • Joshua M. Patton

      So far, the reaction seems to be split on both sides. Some on the right don’t seem to care that he said that at all. Some on the left, also don’t care that he said it. It seems that a portion of either side is in it to dislike/hate people regardless of what they say or do. Thanks very much for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  • NorwegianPower

    No. Beck and the Left were and are incorrect. The Iraq War was actually a resumption of hostilities from the Gulf War due largely to Saddam’s many violations of the cease fire agreement, and the threats he posed to regional and world peace given his history of supporting terrorism and making and using chemical weapons. Nation building was not mentioned in the 2002 Authorization to Use Force, passed by Congress. Neither did the U.N. Resolutions state nation building as a goal. Certainly part of the Bush Doctrine was the attempt to establish a democratic partner in the Middle East, and that might have succeeded, had Obama cared to secure a Status of Forces Agreement allowing a residual American force to intercept groups like ISIS, while promoting a coalition government and checking the Maliki excesses. But it looks like we will never know if that dream could have been realized thanks to the failure of the Obama administration.

    • Joshua M. Patton

      With respect to the status of forces agreement, you’re telling me you’d have been okay with U.S. Forces being subject to Iraqi law, tried in their courts, and imprisoned in their jails if convicted?

      • NorwegianPower

        No. I’m saying he should have secured the agreement placing our people outside Iraqi law, not subject to their prosecution.

        • Joshua M. Patton

          I would like to know from where you are getting those facts, as this hasn’t been what I’ve researched about the SOFA over the past few years. Firstly, the President never negotiates these sort of things in person in the first place, so just based on common knowledge of diplomatic channels I am disinclined to believe your first statements. It sounds like pure rhetoric; it’s sole purpose to anger you. Secondly, the Obama Administration wanted to leave behind a larger force, and it was the Iraqi officials who torpedoed the talks (according to Dexter Filkins of the New Yorker,the Guardian, Reuteurs, et al.). It was speculated by others than just me that al-Maliki was hoping to replace the U.S. with Iran, which I do think is the case.

          Still I very much appreciate both your reading the article and sharing your opinion!
          Cheers -JMP

          • NorwegianPower

            EXCERPT “With
            regards to Iraq, you and I agreed, I believe, that there should be a status of
            forces agreement,” Romney told Obama as the two convened on the Lynn
            University campus in Boca Raton, Fla., that October evening. “That’s not
            true,” Obama interjected. “Oh, you didn’t want a status of forces
            agreement?” Romney asked as an argument ensued. “No,” Obama said. “What I would
            not have done is left 10,000 troops in Iraq that would tie us down. That
            certainly would not help us in the Middle East.”

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/06/19/president-obama-took-credit-in-2012-for-withdrawing-all-troops-from-iraq-today-he-said-something-different/

          • Joshua M. Patton

            I see. Unfortunately, that statement was refuted at the time by anyone who fact-checked that debate. Throughout the same campaign, the President also said that he “ended the war” (he didn’t, he tried to keep it going via the SOFA) and that he did so to use the money spent on the war “here at home.” That’s also a huge lie because the war was financed mostly by borrowing.

            Take anything said in a debate with a grain of salt and check the facts from at least three separate sources.

            Cheers, JMP

          • NorwegianPower

            You’re fumbling and mumbling. I note you fail to take your own advice. Where are your facts? Where is your attribution? Where is your substantiation? Which statement are you claiming was refuted? There is not doubt Obama said flat out he would not have left 10,000 troops, belying his intention never to acquire a SOFA with Iraq. He therefore showed his hand: he insisted on complete pullout, which created the vacuum now filled by various contending forces. I think you’d be well advised to check your facts son, and apply a bit of logic to them, that is, if you hope to achieve some understanding outside the realm of arrogant presumption.

          • Joshua M. Patton

            I listed my sources in my previous reply, but let’s be honest here: No amount of facts will change your mind, will they? You seem only willing to accept the “facts” that prove your narrative. Yes Obama said those things in the debate and the election, because was trying to appear as if he was a “dove” not a “hawk.” His actions — from the drone program to the SOFA negotiations to the continued operation of Gitmo — prove otherwise. Fact-checking and “a bit of logic” are my bread and butter.

            Thanks for sharing your thoughts and please keep reading IssueHawk.com! Cheers – JMP

          • NorwegianPower

            Obviously you didn’t read the linked articles. So much for your bread and butter. I’d say honesty isn’t a long suit.

          • Joshua M. Patton

            I read the Washington Post article, in fact I had seen it before as that’s my preferred newspaper. But the writers I mentioned earlier had already reported that it was Iraqis who were upset with size of the force Obama wanted to leave behind. And the question of criminal jurisdiction was not a negotiable point, it was practically an insult.

            And remember, there are a bunch of other great writers here than me. Thanks again for sharing. – JMP

          • NorwegianPower

            ISIS is parading about openly today celebrating victory and preparing to invade Baghdad precisely because they do not fear the President. What’s to fear? He again telegraphed his intentions to the enemy. The essential point is ISIS is just as much a lethal enemy as Iran, and either we deal with them, or they will deal with us.

    • David William Rutledge

      You are so wrong on so many levels that I would just ask you to do a little research – unless you are willingly ignorant, which is what I suspect. We can do little to stop hostilities that have been going on for centuries in the Middle East; and as Truman said – “you may be the strongest nation in the world, there are limits to your power”. We lost thousands dead, thousands maimed, trillions wasted and our standing in the world – mostly because a five-time draft dodger with vested interest in the outcome and Haliburton wanted a war and lied to get it. We gained nothing. We cannot change the world by bombing it, and nobody is asking us to. Iraq is not ours to win or to lose. That’s up to the Iraqis. The same ignorant rhetoric was alive in the 50’s 60’s, 70’s and to the present day, when various presidents of both parties were accused of ‘losing’ China or Vietnam or El Salvador. They are not ours to lose. We are not special – just militarily strong. Mind the difference.

      • NorwegianPower

        I notice you did not address any of my specific points. Instead you leveled an accusation, then delivered a rant.

        Instead of arguing with you, I’ll cite sources and leave you to do some study, that is, if you are willing to consider another point of view. If you are the only one in sole possession of the truth, then you have the luxury of exercising contempt prior to investigation.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/06/19/president-obama-took-credit-in-2012-for-withdrawing-all-troops-from-iraq-today-he-said-something-different/

        http://www.nationalreview.com/article/380398/dont-blame-iraq-obama-alone-andrew-c-McCarthy

        http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21604627-crisis-iraq-has-roots-going-far-back-history-recently-folly

        http://www.westernjournalism.com/military-intervention-iraq/

        • David William Rutledge

          I took a look at your articles. Except for the Washington Post, they are pretty conservative sources of information – which to me seems a little self-serving – using sources that validate your viewpoint. In the past, I’ve watched Fox News. I watched it for a fairly long time and figured out that that it is not news at all – so I become suspicious of any sources which appear – and are described in reviews – as ‘conservative’. And I know some sources on the left are similar in their approach. I consider NPR the least biased local source. I also get news from Spiegel.online and Le Monde and the Guardian. Regardless – I will stick to my point: we cannot make the world better by constantly bombing it. It failed in Vietnam, it failed in Central America, it failed in Iraq – and it will fail here again as well. Remember this struggle between rival religious groups had been going on long before W and Cheney sent our people in to be, well, not welcomed as liberators as Cheney said. I’ve also heard from Iraq vets (NPR, yesterday) who argued both points of intervention but who in every case excoriated the original mission as foolish. One view was that we should intervene simply to clean up the mess we helped create by the 2003 invasion (Iraq, if under an evil leader, was at least stable, and a balance of some kind was maintained. Al Quaida had no foothold there. The no fly zone – instituted by GHW Bush and maintained by Clinton was effective). The other viewpoint was ‘no way, we failed before and it will fail again- THEY need to figure this out’. And of course, no less a source than Megyn Kelly of Fox News fame lambasted Cheney on air for being wrong on everything about Iraq, including right now. I won’t predict the outcome of this reincarnation of a 1400 year old struggle. I will predict that the law of unintended consequences will come to haunt us. Again. And leave off with a Republican quote:

          “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

          (Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, WW II and President)

          Think Cheney. Think Haliburton. Think defense contractors. Think politicians who push for war, not necessarily because we lack alternatives,but because they play the patriot card.

          Your turn

          • NorwegianPower

            Except for the fact my articles covered a wide spectrum of opinion, they were narrow conservative points of view and self serving. Right.

            Do you believe roughly 10% of Muslims want us dead, that they want to take over the world, and that the remaining 90% are so cowed they’ll remain silent or comply if the times demand?
            There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and 10% say they support Jihad. That’s 160,000,000 people willing to pick up a gun, strap on a suicide vest, or carry a suitcase nuke across the border, which remains unsecured. No big deal right? Cheney and the rest are just hysterical old men lining their pockets . . .

            Do you believe we have a right to self defense?

            Do you believe we can negotiate with Jihadits?

            Do you believe Sharia is being forced on people across the globe, by the sword, in increasing measure?

            Do you think we have any option but to meet force with force?

            What is your solution to the problems caused by Jihadists?

          • David William Rutledge

            I’m not sure about your numbers, though yes, you are right, a lot of them want us dead. I’m not sure that invading their countries and droning them so much that a large % of the victims are innocents will help us. Clausewitz made the famous statement that war is simply politics by another means. In its application here, I don’t believe we gave political dialogue much of a chance. When it was becoming apparent that Iraq was complying with the WMD search in 2003 – and that none were being found – the search teams were told to leave the country. Bush-Cheney did not want to lose their chance to bomb. We’ve been at it with the Muslim world since 632 – death of Mohammed – and by 732, they had conquered all of Spain and were in Northern France before being defeated – but they held Spain until 1492 (yes, same year as Columbus). The last attempt of the Turks (militant Islam) to conquer Vienna was in 1683. From that time until the 20th century, things were relatively (!) calm. That changed when we took out Mohammed Mosadiq (democratically elected leader of Iran) in 1953 and put the Shah in power – because he agreed to keep down the price of oil. The Shah was almost universally hated in that country. From that point on, we manipulated countries in the Middle East and interfered in their affairs and occupied their countries at various times – mostly for oil. I try to imagine what my feelings would be if I were to see Islamic / Arabic soldiers marching down my streets and telling the US how to conduct its business and how to structure its political system. When I feel the revulsion of that image, I think that’s what many in the Muslim world must feel about us. The hate for America did not come out of the blue – we are responsible for some of it. What to do now? I don’t know. I don’t think that continuing failed policies will work; and I fear to ignore the situation. I refuse to listen to advice from the clowns that got us into this mess 11 years ago. I can at least respect Bush and some of the others for letting the current administration cope as best it can. Cheney – is worthless, venal, mendacious, ignorant and arrogant. Most of us own party don’t want to be associated with him anymore.

          • NorwegianPower
          • David William Rutledge

            I disagree and we can agree to disagree. It has been good to trade viewpoints. Best to you.

          • NorwegianPower

            Agreed. Best to you.