Why Iraqis won’t fight
Tom Ricks at his Foreign Policy blog: “The problem with the Iraqi army isn’t lack of training, or command and control structures, or insufficient counterinsurgency training. The forces they are fighting — and losing to — don’t have any of that. The reason the Iraqi army won’t fight is that it lacks a reason to do so. This is a problem of governance. Their enemies are willing to fight and die for their cause. They advance in Toyota pickups, probably communicate via cellphone and apparently have found little opposition from Sunni inhabitants. The problem is that many Iraqi government soldiers are not willing to die for [Prime Minister Nouri] Maliki’s version of Iraq.”
Confused about Iraq
Sharif Nashashibi at Al Jazeera on Iraq: “One can hardly be blamed for finding the Iraq crisis perplexing when even its main participants seem to be confused. The word ‘policy’ may be too generous, given that decision-makers seem to be making things up as they go along, struggling to keep up with developments and to make sense of them. . . . The U.S. has sent out mixed signals from the outset about what — if any — military action it would take. U.S., Iranian and Iraqi officials have been woefully unclear and inconsistent regarding the crisis and their roles in it. This makes it extremely difficult to formulate coherent policies, which will hinder the possibility of resolving the conflict, to the grave detriment of all Iraqis.”
The United(?) States
From The Borowitz Report: “BAGHDAD — In a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry stressed the importance of forming a unity government in Iraq but refused to commit to a timetable for creating one in the United States.
“The sensitive topic of a unity government for the United States came at the end of a 30-minute meeting, during which Secretary Kerry lectured the Iraqi prime minister about the value of a government ‘where people of different parties put aside their differences, make meaningful compromises and work together for the good of the nation.’
“Taking this in, al-Maliki agreed that it was an excellent idea and politely asked Secretary Kerry if the U.S. had ever considered forming such a government. According to observers, Kerry appeared to be caught off guard by this question and blurted out, ‘You first.’ ”
Ed Rogers at the PostPartisan blog: “All the talk about impeaching President Obama is crazy. Notice that most of the commentary about impeachment actually comes from Democrats, not Republicans. Forget about whether or not there might theoretically be a technically valid legal case for impeachment; it won’t happen.
“But the usual suspects on the left would like for Republicans to try. It is in the Obama forces’ best interest to pretend that the Republicans might really try to impeach the president. It is easier for them to motivate their base when it appears they are dealing with a dangerous, reckless foe. The fact that a few conservative outliers bring up impeachment from time to time and GOP leaders have to pacify them is enough to allow the Democrats to declare that impeachment is a real possibility. They wish.
“The Obama presidency is such an ongoing disaster that the Democrats need to change the subject any time and any way they can. They cannot defend what the administration is doing, so they have to invent straw men and sound the alarm over the non-existent extreme actions they wish Republicans would try.”
Wrong about Obamacare
Via Atlantic Wire: Jonathan Chait at New York on the real reason Republicans hate Obamacare: “Conservatives spent years predicting Obamacare would collapse in all manner of gloomy scenarios. But those predictions all occurred in the run-up to the law coming on-line, on the basis of sketchy, preliminary data or pure conjecture. But in the months since the law has come into effect, a steady stream of far more solid data has come in, and the doomsaying predictions are being hunted to extinction. The right’s ideological objections to Obamacare remain, but I can’t think of a single practical analytic claim they made that still looks correct.”
Mr. Chait then ticks off predictions that turned out not to come true, including that Obamacare would not significantly reduce the number of unisured.
Compiled by Greg Victor (firstname.lastname@example.org).