Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post: "The Obama administration has decided to hold any military intervention in Iraq in abeyance until it sees clear evidence that the country’s politics and governance are reforming, according to U.S. officials. After near-nonstop crisis meetings since early this week, President Obama has ordered options prepared for possible airstrikes in Iraq as well as a wide range of direct military assistance short of American boots on the ground."
This is not solely or even primarily a military challenge. The United States will do our part, but understand that ultimately it’s up to the Iraqis as a sovereign nation to solve their problems. -- Barack Obama, Friday
... Loveday Morris of the Washington Post: "The stage was set Friday for a major sectarian confrontation in Iraq after the government and the country’s most powerful Shiite cleric implored civilians to take up arms against Sunni militants — a move that would partially plug the ranks of the decimated security forces with religiously motivated volunteers. Those developments appeared directly at odds with the approach urged by President Obama in Washington, who appealed to the Iraqi government to find ways to bridge the country’s sectarian divisions." ...
There is not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and Shias, so I think they can probably get along. -- John McCain, ca. April 2003
... Paul Waldman in the Washington Post: "On Iraq, let’s ignore those who got it all wrong.... There are few people who understand Iraq less than the Republican politicians and pundits who are being sought out for their comments on the current situation.... The fact that [John McCain] has never demonstrated the slightest bit of understanding of Iraq is no bar at all to being the most quoted person on the topic.... Yet today, the media once again seek out John McCain’s wisdom and insight on Iraq, which is kind of like saying, 'Jeez, it looks like we might be lost — we really need to ask Mr. Magoo for directions.'”
Rule: where available, all 2014 Iraq punditry must be accompanied by link(s) to the author's 2002/3 Iraq punditry. -- James Poniewozik of Time
CW: If you missed yesterday's Comments on Our Excellent Iraq Adventure (& the Tour Organizers), do yourself a favor & click on them. Some excellent reminders of how incredible arrogance, stupidity AND ignorance got us into that war. Also, new word: "feculent."
The president says his doctrine is don’t do stupid stuff. Sometimes withdrawal is the stupidest thing of all. -- David Brooks
The stupidest thing of all is invading a country that hadn't attacked us, posed no real threat to us, had no weapons capable of reaching us, or any capability to produce such weapons for the foreseeable future. -- Ian Reifowitz of Daily Kos
Manny Fernandez & Eric Schmitt of the New York Times: "Sergeant [Bowe] Bergdahl ...28 landed around 1:40 a.m. aboard a military transport plane at an airfield adjacent to Lackland Air Force Base and was escorted to nearby Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Even as Sergeant Bergdahl arrived, the Army set in motion an investigation into the circumstances of his disappearance from his outpost in June 2009. The Army has selected a two-star general with combat experience in Afghanistan to determine whether Sergeant Bergdahl violated rules by apparently walking off his post...."
Beyond the Beltway
Recklessness in Service of Political Spite. Suzanne Goldenberg of the Guardian: "The coal-heavy state of Ohio rebelled against Barack Obama's climate change agenda on Friday, becoming the first state to roll back measures promoting wind and solar power and energy efficiency. The bill signed into law by Ohio's governor, John Kasich [R], puts a two-year freeze on measures requiring power companies to obtain some of their electricity from wind and solar power, and reduce demand for electricity. The move will make it harder for Ohio to meet new standards unrolled by the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month...."
Recklessness in Service of Political Spite, Episode 2. Laura Vozzella of the Washington Post: "The Virginia General Assembly adopted a long-delayed state budget late Thursday, acting after an hours-long debate among newly ascendant Senate Republicans who fought among themselves over whether the plan threw up sufficient barriers to Medicaid expansion." CW: Yep. Working overtime to make sure poor people don't get health insurance. Commendable.
Matt Flegenheimer of the New York Times: "The it is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, adding to the series of inquiries that have been ordered since the lane-closing scandal at the George Washington Bridge last year."said this week that
Jason Stein, et al., of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Ending a week of uncertainty, a federal judge Friday ordered Wisconsin officials to stop enforcing the state's gay marriage ban but then immediately put that order on hold while the historic case winds through months of appeals."