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Was it wrong for the U.S. to just walk away from Iraq?
January 9th, 2012
03:25 PM ET

Was it wrong for the U.S. to just walk away from Iraq?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Just as many predicted would happen, a civil war is threatening to consume Iraq.

On Monday, car bomb attacks in Baghdad killed at least 12 people and wounded more than 50 others.

The bombs targeted a Shiite mosque and market.

A roadside bomb earlier Monday also killed at least one Shiite pilgrim and wounded 10 others.

Hundreds of thousands of Shiites are making their way to Karbala for a pilgrimage and they've been the target of nearly daily attacks.

This spike in violence comes during one of Iraq's worst political crises since the U.S. invasion.

With U.S. military forces gone, the Iraqi government is tied up in a political gridlock along sectarian lines. Many are worried a civil war is around the corner.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, says Iraq is in the process of "unraveling" and could split into three states: Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish.

McCain blames the Obama administration for failing to secure a long-term troop agreement with the Iraqi government.

Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he supports deploying U.S. troops back to Iraq. Perry says the United States can't afford to allow Iran to come back into Iraq and take over.

To put it bluntly: Iraq's problems are too numerous to count.

There's the Shiite-Sunni warring politicians, the almost daily bombings, the power vacuum left when American troops withdrew that's now being filled by everyone from al Qaeda in Iraq to Sunni militants to Shiite militias, often backed by Iran.

And there's the turmoil in neighboring Syria. If the Al-Assad regime falls, it could send thousands of Sunni refugees, who fled to Syria after the fall of Saddam Hussein, back to Iraq. Not pretty.

Here’s my question to you: Was it wrong for the U.S. to just walk away from Iraq?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: Iraq • War in Iraq
Why after all these years can't our government bring itself to tell us the truth about Iraq?
A symbolic flag-lowering ceremony at an Army base near Baghdad marks the end of U.S. forces' mission in Iraq after nearly nine years of war that began with the invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.
December 15th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Why after all these years can't our government bring itself to tell us the truth about Iraq?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

I don't know about you, but I'm a little tired of being treated like a mushroom by my government. You know... kept in the dark and fed fertilizer.

President Obama is hailing the end of the Iraq war as though the enemy had signed the terms of surrender on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri. What hogwash.

This is the same war Obama referred to as dumb nine years ago, but now it's "Hail to the Chief," marching bands and rah-rah-rah. Look what we did.

What we did was invade a country that had done nothing to us, killed hundreds of thousands of their people as well as thousands of our own, bankrupted the Treasury in the process - all in the search for weapons of mass destruction that a cynic might suggest we knew didn't exist in the first place.

The Iraqi government told us a few months ago to get the hell out of their country. That's why we're leaving. We're being kicked out. Nothing noble about that.

Before we were told to take a hike though, we built the largest embassy in the world along with more than 500 military bases at the height of the war. All at taxpayers' expense.

We had every intention of occupying. We had no intention of going anywhere. See there's all that oil over there.

As it is, we will leave behind some 17,000 people at that embassy compound. Yes, some will be members of the diplomatic corps, but there will also be contractors and intel folks who can keep an eye on things. Just in case those weapons of mass destruction turn up. Or Iran tries to fill the power vacuum, which it will.

What garbage. And the government has the gall to paint this as some sort of military triumph.

This isn't the end of anything. It's the beginning of a long-term occupation not unlike Japan and Korea and Germany.

Here’s my question to you: Why after all these years can't our government bring itself to tell us the truth about Iraq?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Government • Iraq
July 7th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Should the U.S. leave troops in Iraq past the deadline for leaving the country?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In 2008, President Obama promised over and over again to get all U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011. After winning the presidency, he vowed to keep that promise.

Now as that deadline for military withdrawal from Iraq approaches, he's apparently prepared to break that promise. Gee, what a surprise.

The President announced this week that he's offering to leave 10,000 U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely, beyond the scheduled December withdrawal date. The White House says it's concerned that the planned pullout of nearly all U.S. troops at the end of the year could spark violence and trigger militant attacks there. Oh, and don't forget the oil.

Any extension of U.S. military presence depends on a formal request from Iraqi government, and so far no request has been made. But the Pentagon wants to give Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his government time to decide so if they need the help, there is time to plan. The Iraqi government is reportedly divided on whether the U.S. should leave additional troops behind and al-Maliki is facing pressure from hard line members of his own party to let the troops leave on schedule.

There are about 46,000 U.S. troops in Iraq right now. Only about 200 were supposed to remain in the country in "advisory" roles beyond December to train security forces there. The White House said yesterday that's still the Pentagon's plan and that time for the Iraqi government to ask for the troops to stay is running out. What'll you bet they ask.

Meanwhile there are discussions about cutting Social Security and Medicare to deal with a ballooning national debt and deficit caused at least in part by the war in Iraq which so far has cost an estimated $1 trillion. Makes a lot of sense.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. leave troops in Iraq past the deadline for leaving the country?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Iraq • Troop Withdrawals • U.S. Army • United States Military
December 7th, 2010
04:06 PM ET

Lowest pay raise for military in nearly 50 years?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As our government plans to extend tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, they're also proposing the lowest pay raise for the military in almost 50 years.

You heard right. As our servicemen and women return to the battlefield for their third or fourth tours of duty, the people who represent us think it's a good time to cut corners there. Extend tax breaks for millionaires and the middle finger for the armed forces.

The Obama administration has proposed a 1.4 percent pay raise for the military in 2011 – the lowest since 1962, when they got no raise.

The administration claims a 1.4 percent raise would match the average for the private sector, and they say it's on top of other increases in housing and food subsidies.

But many in the military aren't buying it. And it's easy to see where they're coming from when rich Americans will be saving billions in tax breaks.

One Marine Corps sergeant who just got back from his fourth deployment in Afghanistan calls it "absolute garbage."

He asks USA Today how the government can bail out the auto industry and other major corporations, yet not give a larger pay raise to those putting their lives on the line for the U.S.

Some senators want to give bonuses to troops doing the most fighting. And an organization representing 32 military groups is pushing for a 1.9 percent pay raise.

It's estimated that an increase from 1.4 to 1.9 percent would cost taxpayers $350 million next year – compare that to the tax break deal which some say will cost $900 billion.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the economy, do members of the military deserve the lowest pay raise in nearly 50 years?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Economy • Iraq • United States Military • US Military • War in Iraq
September 1st, 2010
04:18 PM ET

What exactly did U.S. gain by going to war in Iraq?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Despite President Obama's speech last night, the war in Iraq is not over.

In a somber address from the Oval Office, the president thanked the troops and formally ended America's combat role in Iraq after seven years.

Mr. Obama said the U.S. "has paid a huge price." And we have: including the lives of more than 4,400 troops, another 35,000-plus wounded, and a cost of more than $700 billion.

But even after all this - our commitment is not through. There are still 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq for support and training. They're set to be there through next year, and sadly more of them will likely die.

In many ways, Iraq is still a mess. The country is wracked with violence and political instability. They haven't been able to form a government five months after recent elections. And they regularly suffer from shortages of things like electricity and water.

Meanwhile - George W. Bush's closest ally when it came to Iraq, Tony Blair, is out with his memoir containing emotional passages on the war.

The former British Prime Minister admits that the U.S. and britain didn't anticipate "the nightmare that unfolded" after Saddam Hussein was toppled, or the role Iran and al Qaeda would play. Blair writes he has shed many tears over the loss of life, yet "I can't regret the decision to go to war." Blair says he's devoting "a large part of the life left to me" to Middle East peace.

The thing about the war in Iraq is it seems nearly impossible to put your finger on what exactly was accomplished. The population remains divided and likely will be for centuries to come. Of course there's all that oil.

Here’s my question to you: What exactly did the U.S. gain by going to war in Iraq?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: Iraq • War in Iraq
August 16th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Iraq's army: not ready until 2020; should U.S. forces leave next year?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Iraq's top army general says his troops won't be fully trained and able to take control of security until 2020.... another 10 years from now.

The warning comes as the U.S. says it's on target to end its combat mission and pull thousands of troops out of Iraq by the end of this month.

The White House says it's pulled out 80,000 troops from Iraq since President Obama took office... and that thousands more will leave at the end of August.

The U.S. plans to keep about 50,000 troops in Iraq - for support and training - but they, too, will leave by the end of next year.

But Iraq's military brass don't think this is such a great plan. And Iraq's top army general may have a point. Iraq's political leaders still haven't been able to form a new government 5 months after holding elections.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jim Jones said despite this assessment by Iraq's army, there will be no significant U.S. troop presence after next year... and that, "the mission is on the way to being accomplished" in Iraq.

The U.S. better hope so... now that it's focusing a lot of money and military resources on the war in Afghanistan, where insurgent attacks are at record levels.

It doesn't look like Afghanistan will be in any shape to see U.S. troops leave as soon as next summer, which is what President Obama wants.

Here’s my question to you: Iraq's army says it won't be ready to take control until 2020. Should U.S. forces still leave next year?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Iraq • Troop Withdrawals • U.S. Army
October 27th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

What's the right strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan seem to be blowing up in President Obama's face at the same time. This month has become the deadliest for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion. Two insurgent attacks there have killed eight more U.S. troops, bringing the October death toll to 58. This follows two helicopter crashes yesterday that killed 14 Americans.

An Iraqi woman and her two little boys survey the damage after a suicide truck bomb struck in central Baghdad over the weekend. The near-simultaneous twin suicide vehicle bomb attacks were the deadliest in the violence-wracked country in over two years.

An Iraqi woman and her two little boys survey the damage after a suicide truck bomb struck in central Baghdad over the weekend. The near-simultaneous twin suicide vehicle bomb attacks were the deadliest in the violence-wracked country in over two years.

President Obama is trying to decide whether to send up to 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. He is scheduled to meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Friday.

Here's something else for the president to consider: A foreign service officer and former Marine Corps captain who fought in Iraq has become the first U.S. official known to resign in protest over the war in Afghanistan.

Matthew Hoh says he no longer knows why we're fighting; and he thinks the U.S. is asking its troops to die for what is a far-off civil war.

As for Iraq - those two weekend bombings in Baghdad killed at least 155 people, including 20 children, and wounded more than 500 others. Al Qaeda in Iraq has claimed responsibility for these attacks - the deadliest in that country in more than two years.

The bombing of government buildings in Iraq raises some serious questions about Iraq's security and the national elections planned for January. Earlier this week - President Obama repeated America's commitment to withdrawing our troops.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan, what's the right strategy?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Iraq
August 20th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

How should U.S. respond to escalating violence in Iraq?

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People gather at the scene of a massive explosion outside the foreign ministry in a residential area close to the Green Zone in central Baghdad yesterday. (PHOTO CREDIT: ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The increasing violence in Iraq is raising new questions about the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Insurgents launched six-bombings that struck Baghdad within an hour yesterday - two of them targeting official buildings. The attacks killed at least 100-people and wounded more than 500-others. It was the deadliest day since U.S. troops pulled out of Iraqi cities on June 30.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is blaming Sunni insurgents linked to al Qaeda in Iraq... and the government is making quick moves to crack down on security.

They're adding more checkpoints in Baghdad, tougher vehicle searches and random security stops. Also - they arrested 11 high-ranking security officials from the Iraqi army and police... detaining them for questioning.

The attacks - followed today by a bicycle bomb at a restaurant killing two more people - are a huge blow to the government's attempt to return life to normal. Al-Maliki had just recently ordered the reopening of streets in Baghdad and the removal of concrete blast walls from the capital's main roads.

Meanwhile - there are worries about what these coordinated attacks say about the Iraqis' readiness to keep the country secure... especially heading into the upcoming elections. It's exactly what everyone feared would start happening once the U.S. role in Iraq was reduced.

Pres. Obama has ordered all U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by next August... and all remaining troops out by the end of 2011.

Here’s my question to you: How should the U.S. respond to the escalating violence in Iraq?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Iraq • United States
July 10th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

What should U.S. do if violence continues to escalate in Iraq?

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Iraqis stand outside a destroyed building the morning after two car bombs were detonated within minutes of each other on the outskirts of Mosul. Nine people were killed and 22 wounded in the blasts that came just over a week after U.S. forces pulled out of Iraqi towns and cities. (PHOTO CREDIT: MUJAHED MOHAMMED/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

This has been a particularly deadly week in Iraq.

Today was the third day of deadly violence in a row. Bomb blasts and even a drive-by shooting have left 75 people dead and more than 200 wounded across the country. This is the worst violence there since U.S. troops pulled back from major cities on June 30th.

It only took one week for the violence to flare up, and some say it was expected. The U.S. military wanted to keep combat troops in Mosul past the deadline for withdrawal but the Iraqi government said no. There would be no exceptions to the security agreement they had with the U.S.

The State Department also raised concerns following the handing over to Iraqi authorities by the U.S. military of five Iranian officials, who have been held since 2007 for allegedly helping Shiite insurgents. They are seen as potential troublemakers.

There are still 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq but most of them are on bases outside the major cities with only a few assigned in the cities for training Iraqi personnel. All American military forces are scheduled to be out of Iraq by the end of 2011. Then what?

While some Iraqi's are glad to no longer have U.S. troops patrolling their streets, others fear the kind of violence that has reappeared over the past few days.

Here’s my question to you: What should the U.S. do if violence continues to escalate in Iraq?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: Iraq
June 29th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Life in Iraq once U.S. troops leave cities?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Tomorrow marks an historic day for Iraq - the deadline for U.S. combat troops to pull out of its cities - and Iraqis are reacting with mixed feelings. The government has declared it a national holiday, with celebrations and military parades planned.

An Iraqi girls looks up at a U.S. soldier in the village of Khan Bani Saad, near Baquba. U.S. combat troops will pull out from Iraq's cities and main towns tomorrow as Iraq takes sole charge of security in a major stepping stone to American withdrawal.

Many Iraqis say they're glad to see Americans gone... that they will feel freedom and liberation. But, others aren't so sure... One Baghdad resident says she feels "fear and horror"... and says many Iraqis will be "afraid of each other." Others say they have come to depend on U.S. troops.

More than six-years after the invasion - the U-S says Iraqi forces are ready to take control of security in the cities. We'll see soon enough. The last 10 days have seen several bomb attacks and assorted violence which has left more than 200 Iraqis dead and hundreds more wounded. Iraqi and U.S. officials had warned of an expected rise in attacks around this withdrawal date.

After the handover - U.S. forces will have to get permission from Iraq to go into cities or carry out operations in urban areas. There will be a small number of U.S. troops remaining in cities to train and advise Iraqi forces - but most of them will be in bases outside city limits.

There are about 131,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq. Most are supposed to leave the country by next summer, with all forces gone by the end of 2011.

Here’s my question to you: What is life likely to be like in Iraq without the presence of U.S. combat forces in its cities?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Iraq
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