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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
Ten years after 9/11, did the terrorists win?
An American flag was planted in the rubble of the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the attacks.
September 8th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Ten years after 9/11, did the terrorists win?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As our country prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, there's no doubt we were forever changed on that sunny Tuesday morning in September 2001.

One of Osama bin Laden's biggest victories was to make millions of Americans afraid.

So afraid that most of us stopped questioning our government – whether it meant launching unnecessary wars, removing some of our civil liberties, eroding constitutional rights, ignoring international treaties like the Geneva Conventions or torturing detainees.

So afraid that intrusive government security, especially invasive pat-downs and X-rays at airports, became the norm.

So afraid that we let politicians manipulate our fear to win elections and use Americans' deaths to advance their own agendas.

So afraid that in the name of national security, we've allowed the ill-defined wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to drag on. Thousands of lives and trillions of dollars gone. Along with our once dominant position as the world's biggest superpower.

Bin Laden is, fortunately, dead and gone now, but not before accomplishing much of what he set out to do on 9/11.

On Thursday, a USA Today/Gallup Poll shows almost 1 in 5 Americans say the terrorists have won. Have they? Or have we defeated ourselves?

How much of the way our life has changed in the last 10 years is a result of that single act of terrorism on 9/11, and how much of it is because we allowed ourselves to succumb to our fears and in the process surrender much of what we have always been most proud?

Here’s my question to you: Ten years after 9/11, did the terrorists win?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Osama bin Laden • September 11 • War in Iraq
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
October 6th, 2010
05:41 PM ET

Bar people from protesting at funerals?

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Protesters demonstrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court while justices hear oral arguments in the First Amendment case of Snyder v. Phelps. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Supreme Court is deciding a case involving the disgusting behavior of protesting at funerals.

The case focuses on a Baptist Church from Kansas whose anti-gay protests have targeted the funerals of soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The church claims the soldiers' deaths are God's revenge for the United States tolerating homosexuality. Members of this church have traveled around the country, showing up at funerals and shouting at grieving family members.

They also display signs with messages like, "Thank God for dead soldiers," "God blew up the troops" and "AIDS cures fags."

The Snyder family sued the church in 2007 after protests at their son's funeral. Their suit claims invasion of privacy and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. A jury awarded them more than $10 million, but that amount was cut in half by a judge and then overturned by an appeals court.

The judges said although the church's message was offensive, the speech was protected.

The soldier's father, Albert Snyder, said his son was not gay and the protesters shouldn't have been at his funeral, calling their actions "inhuman."

The attorneys general of 48 states and the District of Columbia, along with a bipartisan group of 40 senators, support the Snyders. So does common sense.

The church insists it has the right to protest at funerals. It is backed by First Amendment and media groups, which denounce the church's message but defend its free speech rights.

The Supreme Court's decision in this case isn't expected for months.

Here’s my question to you: Should people be barred from protesting at funerals?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • U.S. Army • 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
May 18th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Complete investigation of Bush admin and Iraq war inevitable?

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Pictured here is one of multiple cover sheets for intelligence briefings prepared for Defense Sec. Rumsfeld in the early days of the Iraq war. The sheets featured biblical quotes and battle images. (COURTESY: GQ MAGAZINE)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's been almost four months since former President Bush left office, and many would like to leave his administration in the past. But that may not be possible since there's a constant dripping of information about what really went on during those eight years.

The latest comes by way of GQ Magazine, which has released a series of cover sheets for intelligence reports written for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top Pentagon brass during the early days of the Iraq war.

They featured "triumphant, color images" like soldiers praying or in action or a tank at sunset along with Biblical passages. For example: "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."

Besides the obvious question of appropriateness, what if these covers had leaked out at the time? The Muslim world could have interpreted the war as a religiously-driven battle against Islam. You think they were upset about Abu Ghraib?

But the general who thought up the covers told anyone that complained about them that his seniors, including Rumsfeld and President Bush, appreciated them. In fact, GQ says Rumsfeld hand-delivered many of these reports to President Bush.

The magazine suggests the mixing of Crusades-like messages with war imagery might not have been Rumsfeld's style - but he likely saw it as a way to connect with the deeply religious President Bush.

This is just another in a growing list of questions, and just like torture and the reasons for invading Iraq, they don't seem to be going away.

Here’s my question to you: Is a complete investigation of the Bush administration and the Iraq war becoming inevitable?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Bush Administration • War in Iraq
September 2nd, 2008
05:58 PM ET

Will the Iraq War be an important issue come November?

U.S. Marine Maj. Gen. John Kelly and Anbar Province Governor Maamoun Sami Rashid al-Alwani sign papers during a handover ceremony in Ramadi, Monday.

U.S. Marine Maj. Gen. John Kelly and Anbar Province Governor Maamoun Sami Rashid al-Alwani sign papers during a handover ceremony in Ramadi, Monday.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There was more good news from Iraq over the holiday weekend. The United States military has ceded control of Anbar province, once one of the deadliest places in that country, to the Iraqi military.

American casualties continue to be way down from their peak, and there seems now to be a growing consensus that the American military is going to be able to leave that country sometime in the next couple of years.

The situation has come a long way from the darkest days when millions of Iraqis became refugees, hundreds of thousands were killed and nothing approaching political stability was anywhere on the horizon.

The oil is flowing once again from Iraq – they have an $80 billion surplus sitting in banks now, and something resembling stability is threatening to return. With the tribal animosities that go back thousands of years however, it's too soon to declare victory. But there's no doubt about it: things are looking up. As evidence of this – a recent CNN poll indicates only 18% of Americans consider the war in Iraq to be the number one issue in November's election. 48% say it's the economy.

Here’s my question to you: How important will the Iraq war be to voters come November?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2008 Election • War in Iraq
August 5th, 2008
04:58 PM ET

Book claims President Bush ordered forgery to justify Iraq war

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Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A new book says President Bush committed an impeachable offense, ordering the CIA to forge a letter to bolster his case for war in Iraq.

These explosive charges are contained in a new book, "The Way of the World" by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind. He says he spoke on the record with U.S. intelligence officials who said that President Bush was informed in January 2003 that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. The president's response to this information was reportedly "F- it. We're going in." Three months later, the U.S. invaded Iraq using a forged document as its rationale, according to Suskind.

He writes that the White House called on the CIA to concoct the forged letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein. It was backdated to before 9/11 and indicated that one of the hijackers, Mohammed Atta, had trained for his mission in Iraq, according to Suskind. The phony letter, he writes, was designed to prove a non existent link between Hussein and al Qaeda.

Watch: Cafferty: W.H. forged letter?

Meanwhile, that head of Iraqi intelligence, who told British intelligence sources that Iraq had no active nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and no WMD was "resettled" in Jordan with the CIA's help and paid $5 million in hush money, Suskind writes.

Suskind calls Mr. Bush's actions "one of the greatest lies in modern American political history" and suggests they constitute a crime worse than Watergate.

The White House is pushing back hard, calling Suskind's claims "absurd" and describing his work as "gutter journalism" including "wild allegations that no one can verify." Former CIA director George Tenet ridicules the credibility of Suskind's sources and calls the White House directive to forge a letter "a complete fabrication."

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if the White House ordered the CIA to forge a letter in order to bolster its case for war in Iraq?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: President George Bush • War in Iraq
July 21st, 2008
04:50 PM ET

Iraqi leader backs Obama’s schedule for withdrawing troops

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Senator Barack Obama meeting with Nouri al-Malaki in Iraq. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

While John McCain goes on and on about the surge and winning in Iraq – whatever that means – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says Barack Obama has the right idea: get U.S. troops out of his country within 16 months.

Talk about a blow to President Bush and John McCain. President Bush wants everything to be up to him, and John McCain says we could be in Iraq for 100 years. Nuri al-Maliki told the German magazine "Der Spiegel" that he'd like U.S. troops to withdraw "as soon as possible", adding that Barack Obama's talk of 16 months "would be the right time frame for a withdrawal."

The Bush administration immediately said that can't be right: the statement was out of context, it was mistranslated, that isn't what he meant blah blah blah. But the translator for the interview with the German magazine was Nuri al-Maliki's translator. And al-Maliki brought the subject of Barack Obama's timetable up on his own, voluntarily. The New York Times obtained a copy of the audio recording in which al-Maliki stated clear support for Obama's ideas for ending the war. The German magazine says it stands by its interview.

This follows a capitulation by President Bush last week in agreeing to talk to Iran about its nuclear program, something the president said he would never do unless they stopped enriching uranium. McCain, of course, goes along with President Bush, but Obama said all along we should talk to them. What could it hurt?

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when the Iraqi prime minister endorses Barack Obama’s schedule for getting U.S. troops out of Iraq?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama • Nouri al-Maliki • War in Iraq
July 14th, 2008
03:21 PM ET

Would faster troop withdrawal help McCain or Obama?

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Marines patrol in the town of Garmser in Helmand Province of Afghanistan. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP PHOTO)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Bush is thinking about speeding up the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq starting in September.

Reports say no decision has been made yet, but anywhere from 1 to 3 of the 15 combat brigades now in Iraq could be withdrawn by the time Mr. Bush leaves office in January. That would leave between 120,000 and 130,000 troops in Iraq, down from a peak of 170,000 last year.

One reason for an accelerated withdrawal is because more U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have been making a comeback. Yesterday, 9 U.S. troops died in an insurgent attack there – the deadliest for U.S. troops in 3 years. In the last two months, more American and allied troops have died in Afghanistan than in Iraq.

The White House says that although the president hopes to bring more troops home, he will wait to hear what General David Petraeus says in September. If President Bush decides to announce troop reductions, it could impact the presidential race. John McCain could say that the surge, which he was in favor of, worked, and therefore troops can now be withdrawn.

On the other hand, Barack Obama has been against the Iraq war from the outset and has said he would immediately look at getting our troops out of Iraq if he's elected. Obama has said the war in Afghanistan has suffered because of the administration's misguided policies in Iraq. He says he would be in favor of deploying up to 10,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

Here’s my question to you: Would faster troop withdrawal from Iraq help John McCain or Barack Obama?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Troop Withdrawals • War in Iraq
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