Obama Pitches His Iraq Intervention with “Suck on This” Friedman

Steve Coll has a depressing article describing why Obama — after having ignored red lines in the past — drew one in Erbil.

Erbil’s rulers never quite saw the point of a final compromise with Baghdad’s Shiite politicians—as each year passed, the Kurds got richer on their own terms, they attracted more credible and deep-pocketed oil companies as partners, and they looked more and more like they led a de-facto state. The Obama Administration has done nothing to reverse that trend.

And so, in Erbil, in the weeks to come, American pilots will defend from the air a capital whose growing independence and wealth has loosened Iraq’s seams, even while, in Baghdad, American diplomats will persist quixotically in an effort to stitch that same country together to confront ISIS.

Obama’s defense of Erbil is effectively the defense of an undeclared Kurdish oil state whose sources of geopolitical appeal—as a long-term, non-Russian supplier of oil and gas to Europe, for example—are best not spoken of in polite or naïve company, as Al Swearengen would well understand. Life, Swearengen once pointed out, is often made up of “one vile task after another.” So is American policy in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Obama has inexplicably decided to go pitch his intervention in an exclusive with the man Atrios dubbed the Wanker of the Decade — not for inventing the Friedman Unit — but for his honesty that the first time we went, it was to say “Suck On This” in spectacular fashion.

In it, Obama as much as admits he fucked up Libya and had no business pretending there were secular Syrians to arm. But (as Coll notes in his piece) Obama pretends the Kurds aren’t angling for maximum advantage here, just as all other players are.

“When you have a unique circumstance in which genocide is threatened, and a country is willing to have us in there, you have a strong international consensus that these people need to be protected and we have a capacity to do so, then we have an obligation to do so,” said the president. But given the island of decency the Kurds have built, we also have to ask, he added, not just “how do we push back on ISIL, but also how do we preserve the space for the best impulses inside of Iraq, that very much is on my mind, that has been on my mind throughout.

Obama’s lesson here is that you can’t strive for maximalist advantage. But then to sell Iraq War 3.0, he obfuscates about doing just that, with the man who justified Iraq War 2.0 by saying “Suck On This.”

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21 Responses to Obama Pitches His Iraq Intervention with “Suck on This” Friedman

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel @mattizcoop Now whyever wouldn't you want him as AG? I think w/all the PR pretending DOJ doesn't like subpoenaing journos it'd be problem.
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emptywheel @Krhawkins5 But he was chased out of govt by David Addington precisely to prevent him having influence @aliwatkins @kendilanianap @froomkin
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bmaz @jessewegman @davidminbklyn Far too much reliance on law professors.
6mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @jessewegman @davidminbklyn Not you personally, but generally (and from some friends I know well, I see far too little.
6mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Litigious FOIA terrorist "He has filed 15 lawsuits prior to this week's 4 since 2012, acc to Courthouse News records" http://t.co/Xv08XKRRrB
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bmaz @rickhasen Probably. But if Obama waits until the Senate is lost, then Bharara becomes far more likely. And Schumer will press hard for him
7mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @davidminbklyn @jessewegman ...that really don't have a clue about actual formal litigation and, especially, trials.
9mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @davidminbklyn @jessewegman ...actual experienced practitioner on the various types of cases instead of reliance on law profs and lay people
10mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @davidminbklyn @jessewegman Not to horn in on your conversation, but I think legal reporting could benefit from a LOT more involvement of...
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JimWhiteGNV RT @attackerman: US official says Iraqis "start to act like an army," anonymously, so as to avoid that quote biting him on the ass. http://…
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bmaz @emptywheel Which has, of course, been the ShitSquare bet all along.
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