President Obama Should Ignore Neo-Cons’ Advice on Iraq

This country is still paying for the mistakes of George W. Bush—the worst President in our history. That distinction is not insignificant, given the likes of Warren G. Harding, Millard Filmore and Richard Nixon. The worst decision Bush ever made was invading Iraq without cause. One can only marvel at the magnitude of this particular idiocy given his numerous other decisions—economic, environmental, foreign and domestic—that have resulted in long-term damage to our nation.

The predictable civil war that now rages in Iraq is President Obama’s dilemma. He had a remarkable record at cleaning up his predecessor’s failures, though admittedly there is still much to do. The foreboding advice former Secretary of State Colin Powell gave to then-President Bush, “If you break it, you own it,” also known as the Pottery Barn doctrine, was a vast understatement. It is not Bush who owns this mess, but also the American people who own these decisions and their consequences. It is the current President who bears the burden of making smart decisions, especially when there are no good options.

President Obama’s policy of limited military support for the government of Iraqi Primi Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose apartheid-like policies are the driving force behind the opposition, is a delaying tactic at best. It provides no real solution to the underlying reasons for the insurgency. Vice President Joe Biden proposed the only long-term answer to Iraq in 2006. The plan recognizes the deep cultural and religious divisions in a nation that was artificially created by Britain in 1916.

Hundreds of thousands of lives have already been lost in Iraq. The US has suffered more than 4,000 casualties in the country, and thousands of our troops have been wounded. The price tag is $1.7 trillion and growing. And for what? The ego of a maniac; George W. Bush.

Bush’s daddy issues, his religious fervor and his desire for unlimited oil fueled a personal fantasy of glory that led us into this catastrophe. It would be a grave mistake for the current President to move in a direction of military reengagement. He has stated he does not intend to do so.

Instead, he should send his VP to Iraq and begin to convene all the necessary parties to implement a plan that should have been rolled out in 2006.

There is no denying that we must still deal with those dangerous enemies, including the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and al-sham (ISIS), which has exploited the situation the Bush Adminisration created. But this President has shown that operations directed at key individuals instead of mass populations can be more effective than “shock and awe.” The killing of Osama Bin Laden and the capture of Ahmed Abu Khatallah, who masterminded the Benghazi attack, shows the resolve of the U.S. military.

The last people who should be giving advice are the Neo-cons, who seem more interested in getting this administration to share the blame for their failed policies than providing any constructive solutions. Dick Cheney and his crowd should crawl back under their rocks and allow reasoned adults to make the tough decisions required to solve a problem past recklessness created.

Bombing Iraq and sending troops is not the answer. We’ve been there, done that.

Rich Robinson is an attorney and political consultant in Silicon Valley. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.


  1. >President Obama Should Ignore Neo-Cons’ Advice on Iraq

    You’re about six years too late. Bush was certainly our worst and most costly president, but let’s not pretend Obama hasn’t and won’t continue to bow down to neocons and the military industrial complex.

  2. > The last people who should be giving advice are the Neo-cons, who seem more interested in getting this administration to share the blame for their failed policies than providing any constructive solutions.

    What’s a “Neo-con”, Rich?


    Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Kelly Ayotte, Paul Bremer, Richard Perle, Condoleezza Rice, Bill Kristol, and several other genius’ who thought invading Iraq was a fantastic idea in 2003 and still believe so today.

    Any questions?

  4. “For the Middle East, this treaty led to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, which strengthened the grip of the new colonial powers over Middle East nations. All promises of freedom, independence, and sovereignty were betrayed. The role of the United States, which had actually withdrawn from the League of Nations by that time, was reduced to that of lawyer for the American oil companies, Standard Oil of New York (SOCONY) and the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey”

    President Woodrow Wilson was completely aware of the arrangement that led to the modern polygot state of Iraq. Indeed, I am curious from this “historian” why Franklin Piece and James Buchanan are not included among the worst Presidents of all time. He does seem to keep people from his part out of things.

  5. Pierce, sorry

    Both Pierce, who was a raging drunk, and Buchanan, who caused the breakup of the United States are among the top 5 worst presidents of all time.

    Andrew and Lyndon Johnson were not the greatest.

    Gosh, they seem to be from one group.

    so is the “historian”

    Iraq was a failed state due to Wilson’s support of the British Mandate, which also had the first Labor Party’s backing in Britain.

  6. “There is no doubt that … Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.” Letter to President Bush, Signed by: — Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), and others, Dec 5, 2001

    “We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.” — Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

    “We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.” — Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

    “Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.” — Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

    “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.” — Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

    “The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…” — Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

    “I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.” — Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

    “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years … We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.” — Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

    “He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do” — Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

    “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members … It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.” — Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

    “We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction.” — Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

    “Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime … He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation … And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction … So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real…” — Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003


    I got your point and it’s a good one. You chose to list culpable politicians, but it would’ve been just as easy to list culpable newspapers and syndicated columnists. The bottom line: America invaded Iraq because its elected leadership, and its joke of a Fourth Estate, failed to responsibly serve the American public. Someone’s interests were being served, but certainly not yours, mine, or those of our brave fighting forces.

    I still sometimes close my eyes and picture a vast array of gallows lining the front of the Lincoln Memorial. Politicians, pundits, and publishers, wiggling their last.

    I guess we all have our dreams.

  8. Hey Rich, please tell me how under Obama administration, the IRS lost all their emails in the last 6 months, and how we are sending “advisers” special forces to Iraq under some BS when we will bomb them saying no boot on the ground.

    What a joke, we are going back to a worthless war. And you know it.

  9. …and this county is still paying and will continue to pay for the mistakes of Sheriff Laurie Smith, but that doesn’t seem to bother you at all. Of course it wasn’t ever your kid in need of assistance from law enforcement either, was it Rich, so that makes the horrible things she did okay in your book. Tell us again how you support labor, I need a good laugh.

  10. I would agree that GW Bush was the worst President in our history for many reasons, not the least of which is for paving the way for our first socialist President.
    Liberals may indulge in blaming Dubya for dragging us into Iraq, but he couldn’t have done it without the cooperation of liberals. He played the Democrats like a fiddle, using their political correctness to his own advantage and ultimately to our and the world’s detriment. By trotting out Colin Powell before the general assembly of the U.N. to “make the case” for invading, he cleverly backed the Dems into a corner, knowing that their insane liberal ideology would compel them into going along with the opinion of an African-American. Powell didn’t present any more compelling evidence of WMD than was already available. But Democrats predictably did their 180s and signed off on the invasion for purely political reasons. Bush may have been an idiot but an idiot doing something because he believes it’s the right thing to do deserves more respect than all these genius liberals caving in and, for the sake of their own insane ideology doing what they know is wrong. But then, I’m giving way too much credit to most Democrat Congressmen for knowing the difference between right and wrong in the first place.

    But I would also agree that U.S. involvement has practically zero chance of improving the complicated mess that is the middle east.
    About as much chance as it has of improving our health care system.

    • > By trotting out Colin Powell before the general assembly of the U.N. to “make the case” for invading, he cleverly backed the Dems into a corner, knowing that their insane liberal ideology would compel them into going along with the opinion of an African-American.

      Probably true. But the Dems returned the favor and cleverly backed Repubs into a corner by running and electing “the first black President”, knowing that the Repubs insane gutlessness and cowardice “would compel them into going along with the opinion of an African-American.”

      • Not sure I understand you.
        Which Republicans have gone along with Obama? Seems to me that they’ve been vocally opposed to him.
        But with the press covering for Obama, the balance of power being on the side of the Democrats, and the sheeple looking to Jon Stewart for their marching orders, there’s not a lot the Republicans can do to stop the Marxist in Chief.
        Can you elaborate on your remarks?

  11. Obama should quit lying about sending “advisers” to the “region” when in fact he is sending in special forces! “No Boots 0n The Ground” when he lied to us all, and about all the support necessary to do so. We are putting troops back for another round of combat. An air attack is also a weak excuse. Time to pull ALL troops out of the “Region”.

  12. obama is a moron lets not forget his red line in syria,or trying to act tough to russia,he is completely inept at foreign policy,freeing terrorist for one traitor,alienating our friends israel,and letting iran nuke program run,you rabid obama loving morons are still trying to blame bush ,when this idiot took office i recall him swearing he could fix everything in his first term,he will go down in history as the worse foreign policy president ever thats a fact,2nd fact he is going to be the first president to witness the birth of a jihadist country and all your bush bashing will not change that

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