Monday, August 17, 2015

OPINION - Brooks and Corn 8/14/2015

"Brooks and Corn on Cuba as campaign issue, Jeb Bush on Islamic State blame" PBS NewsHour 8/14/2015


SUMMARY:  New York Times columnist David Brooks and David Corn of Mother Jones join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, why Jeb Bush is calling out the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton for the rise of the Islamic State, including how 2016 candidates are responding to renewed relations with Cuba, whether Hillary Clinton is losing ground in the 2016 race, plus the appeal of Donald Trump.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Well, something else Jeb Bush brought up this week was — as an issue in the race was going after Hillary Clinton, blaming her and the Obama administration for — essentially for helping create ISIS.

And he said that with the Obama administration did under her leadership as secretary of state was to leave an opening, pulling the troops out, he said, too early in 2011.  Is this something, David Corn, that he can get some mileage?

DAVID CORN, Mother Jones:  I mean, I have to laugh a little bit, because I think he was setting a record for chutzpah.

I mean, it wasn’t until after his brother’s invasion of Iraq that you had something called al-Qaida in Iraq.  And that was the group that morphed into ISIS.  So ISIS is a direct result of the war in Iraq right there.  And so he’s wrong on the history.

But then he said what happened was that Obama and Hillary Clinton orchestrated this quick withdrawal after everything was secure.  Nothing was really secure in 2009-2010.  You can ask Tom Ricks about that.  But it was George W. Bush in December 2008 who created the agreement with Prime Minister Maliki that said that U.S. troops had to be out by 2011.

And then Obama didn’t renegotiate that.  And there is a lot of question as to whether he could even have, given the political situation in Baghdad itself.  So Bush is totally — Jeb Bush is totally rewriting this.  And my question is, why is he even talking about Iraq?

DAVID BROOKS, New York Times:  Yes.  He wants to have an anti-terror foreign policy.

I give him a little more credit, of course.  I think the war did help create al-Qaida in Iraq.  So, both parties have something to answer for.  Ultimately, ISIS created ISIS.  It wasn’t us, but allowing the environment — so the Bush administration, the failed war, that had a — some contributory factor.

I do think that we abandoned Iraq too quickly, left too quickly, left a void in the Sunni areas, which ISIS was completely happy to fill.  But more important — and this is a bigger indictment of the Obama administration — we did nothing about the Syrian civil war.  And that created the biggest void.

And that’s not necessarily Hillary Clinton’s fault because she was arguing for a more aggressive policy.  Nonetheless, we did nothing.  Even today, our attacks on ISIS are paltry, and we have continue to do nothing.  And there are strategic issues.  There are just moral issues.

Today, my newspaper had a front-page story on just rape academies, this institutionalized rape.  And the fact that we can stand by and do nothing while this is happening, to me, that’s an indictment of the sitting administration.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Extraordinary story.  We interview the reporter, Rukmini Callimachi, last night.  It is just such a disturbing story.

But does he have a point, though, David?

DAVID CORN:  I think you can have a policy dispute or debate, a discussion about what should be done, what has been done in the last three, four years regarding ISIS and Iraq.

You can’t blame Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for giving us ISIS, which is what Jeb Bush did.  And if he wants to get to brass tacks and talk about what he’s willing to do in terms of putting in troops and taking on targeting that hasn’t been done already — I mean, Barack Obama has mounted thousands of airstrikes.

And the real question is, at the end of the day, can the U.S. go in and make a difference?  We have learned with the invasion of Iraq that military might doesn’t always give us what we want in this region.

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