Category Archives: Iraq

Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban – Update

In my opinion, the best lie is the one that is just a little bit tainted with truth. Those lies are the best lies. About two weeks ago, President Donald Trump (yeah, it still does not sound right) signed an executive order which asked for increased scrutiny of persons wanting to immigrate to this country from several lands. I say several lands because if you actually read his executive order, first of all it is kind of a headache because it is long and nonspecific. The order does not actually say Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. So, let us actually read what the order says I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

Now, this whole thing gets complicated. It appears that President Trump’s executive order refers to the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.” This was a bill that was tacked onto the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. So, it is kinda hard to say that this was a Obama administration initiative. The bill was actually written by former Congresswoman Candice Miller, Republican. To make matters even more confusing, this bill, HR 158, simply canceled the Visa Waiver Program. So, essentially, what this did was force travelers from Syria and Iraq to get visas the old-fashioned way through interviews at the American consulate. So, President Obama had the choice of signing this huge omnibus spending bill into law which would allow the government to continue to operate or to veto it because of this bill which was tacked on by Congresswoman Miller. You tell me, does this sound like an Obama program?

So, because this is an confusing enough, Donald Trump said, “My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.” Um, this is not exactly true either. So, in response to the May 2011 arrest of two Iraqi refugees on terrorism charges in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Obama administration decided that immigrants from Iraq deserved increased scrutiny. This was not a ban. It was increased scrutiny. So, on one hand, Donald Trump was right President Obama did do something in 2011 and his policy was relatively similar… Kind of but not really.

This is not the kind of thing you should NOT be arguing over at the water cooler. It just is not worth it. There are tons of details and for the most part, when you are arguing over water cooler nobody knows the details. The reason I bring this up was because I heard the argument in the emergency room. Two doctors were going at it. One was accusing the other of hypocrisy because “Obama did the same thing.” No, Obama did not. Go back and read. While it is important to engage our fellow Americans. It is not important to discuss the details of a ban that is a ban verses Obama’s ban that was not a ban. Got it.

Finally, I think that the President has the power to control who is coming into this country. I think that’s in the Constitution. I don’t think that we can argue that. Instead the argument is what kind of convoluted nonsense did Trump put in his executive order.  Oops. I just got an email from my (our) constitutional scholar Linda Monk. I was wrong!!! Article I gives the power of immigration to Congress and NOT the president.  Article I, Section 8 – The Congress shall have Power to establish as uniform Rule of Naturalization. There it is in black and white.  Article II deals with the President. It says in Section 2 – The President shall be Commander in Chief of the  Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States. The president’s powers with regard to immigration are implied. So, Congress needs to pass a law restricting immigration from those 7 countries. That would be lawful!

Iraq War – (more than) 10 years later

With Jeb Bush fumbling an easy question from Meghan Kelly and Marco Rubio doing his Jeb Bush impersonation in front of Fox New’s Chris Wallace… I thought that I would repost this. It is a basic summary of why we went to war and how each one of those assumptions was wrong. 

I will not say anything new in this post. I will not say anything that is outrageous or over the top. The Iraq War was one of the many reasons that caused me to start writing a book and to start a blog.

I think that the Bush Administration had four main reasons for going to war in Iraq. Yellowcake from Nigeraluminum tubes to concentrate uranium, mobile biological labs and the Al Qaeda (Mohamed Atta) – Saddam Hussein connection.  It is now clear that none of these lines of argument were based in fact. I will not go into any of the details of why the above claims were lies. It should be clear to everyone by now. I will point you to Hubris and 500 Days as two very good books that go into detail about what happened and why. Also check out James Risen’s book State of War.

Cost of the War in Iraq

I guess the big question concerns what we gained from the Iraq War. Some will say nothing. Others will argue that we got rid of Saddam Hussein and that was worth it. I would argue that we squandered international good will. We fanned the flames of Muslim extremism. We played into the hands of Bin Laden by invading a country that was no threat to us or our allies. I would say that we turned a very backward nation into a battleground where there seems to always be war.

Jeb Bush fumbles and stumbles his way through the week

Someone please explain this to me… Jeb Bush? What the hell?

Jeb Bush is a career politician. He has been planning on running for president for years, if not decades. He has been studying. He has advisers. He knew he was going to get the question about Iraq. This was a no-brainer. This was an easy softball down the middle of the plate from someone who throws nothing but softballs to conservatives – Megan Kelly.

I don’t believe for one minute that he misheard the question. But let’s go with that. Let’s assume that Jeb Bush misheard Megan Kelly’s question. Remember, the question was whether he would have gone into Iraq knowing what we know now. So, Jeb Bush calls into Sean Hannity’s radio show the next day. This is another friendly environment. No reason to be nervous. There’s no reason for the misspeak. As a matter fact, because this is radio show, you could have a script in front of you and read from it. Sean Hannity gives him the benefit of the doubt and asks him the exact same question again. Jeb Bush’s brain dead answer, “I don’t know what that decision would’ve been. That’s a hypothetical.”

This has little or nothing to do with the legacy of George W. Bush. Instead, this was a hypothetical question which anyone running for president should’ve anticipated. What Jeb Bush did was worse than fumble the ball. He basically got nervous and messed in his pants – multiple times. The only answer to the Iraq question has to be no. I would not have ordered the invasion. Then you can put whatever spin you want on that answer. Why? We now know every single premise that was put forth to go into Iraq was wrong. We know they were all wrong. Iraq was not developing nuclear weapons. We know that the aluminum tubes were not to be used for centrifuges, but instead were going to be used for missiles. Iraq had but was not currently developing chemical weapons. We also know that Iraq was not working with Al Qaeda. The three premises for the war were wrong. We know that now in 2015. We have the clarity of 20/20 hindsight.

I don’t blame Jeb Bush or any politician for an on the spot error. When you’re in these television or radio interviews, some of the questions can come out of left field. Yet, this was not a question from left field. This was a question that he should have planned for and he should have had a pat answer ready. Even if you give him the benefit of doubt that he screwed up on Fox News with Megan Kelly, what’s the excuse for calling in to Sean Hannity’s show only to do the equivalent of Roberto Durrant’s, “No Mas” (in the title fight versus Sugar Ray Leonard) and then cop out and say it was hypothetical? Of course it’s a hypothetical question.

Here’s how many thoughtful conservative should’ve answered that question – Megan, of course, this is a hypothetical question in which we can use our perfect 20/20 hindsight. We now know there were no weapons of mass destruction. We know there was no meeting in Prague. We know that the aluminum tubes were going to be used for missiles and not centrifuges. We know that there were no mobile chemical weapon stations. Therefore, there was no reason to invade Iraq. Using our perfect vision, we should have continued the UN inspections and expanded the no-fly zones in both northern and southern Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a wildcard. We needed to keep him boxed in.

The good news for Jeb Bush is that he fumbled the ball very early in this campaign. The bad news is no one is going to let him forget it.