Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Politics, The Rick Moran Show — Rick Moran @ 4:11 pm

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative political talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Jazz Shaw and Tina Korbe of Hot Air, and Monica Showalter of Investors Business Daily. We’ll discuss the hot stories and important events making news today.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio


Filed under: Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 1:43 pm

The question has to be asked because the death toll now stands at 40. That’s double what it was when the first “overhyped” stories began to appear on the internet and bled into the cable net shows.

Most of the dead died in flooding after Irene had been downgraded to a tropical storm. Is it possible that residents in Vermont, New Jersey, upstate New York and other areas relaxed their guard when they heard that the storm wasn’t as bad as first predicted?

I don’t see how you can avoid reaching that conclusion.

Some of the criticism was directed at the president for apparently trying to make political hay out of hurricane response. He would have been stupid not to try. There wasn’t much he could do, but appearing to be on top of the situation and looking like a strong leader certainly didn’t hurt his image. And with his re-election campaign in full swing, and his favorable number hovering around 40, anything done to improve how the public views him is smart politics.

However, I doubt whether the White House knew the hurricane wasn’t going to be as bad as forecasters were predicting and hyped the danger to make the president look good. I’m sure they were as surprised - and relieved - as the rest of us when the worst did not come to pass. All the president had to go on was what the National Hurricane Center was telling him. He was prudent in warning of the “historic” nature of the storm when he made that statement. Irene was a category 3 and appeared to have a huge storm surge ahead of it.

But criticizing forecasters for “overhyping” or news networks and The Weather Channel for their wall to wall coverage would seem to be off base. With 40 dead, Irene should be considered a major storm by any reckoning. And the billions in damage is nothing to shake a stick at either. At times of a major natural disaster, it is the responsibility of news networks to keep the public informed with up to the minute weather information. I find no fault with networks who spent most of their air time talking about the hurricane. I’m sure there are a lot of people who were in the path of Irene when she made landfall who feel the same.

But once the conversation turned from warning the public to debating whether the storm was overhyped, it would have been natural for some people further north of the storm track - especially those far inland - to relax their guard. That’s why I’m asking the question whether the criticism - both political and media bashing - was justified, and whether it contributed to the body count.

Hard to prove, but I suspect that it did.



Filed under: PJ Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 11:59 am

I have a provocative piece up at PJ Media about the establishment’s angst over the GOP field of presidential candidates.

A sample:

[George] Will has fallen out of favor on the right wing because…well, just because. Because he’s from D.C.; because he criticizes Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and other GOP insurgents; because he refuses to acknowledge the inherent wisdom of the Tea Party in Republican politics; because he is a civilized, witty, urbane, educated, well-read, bow-tie-wearing public intellectual and Washington insider.

Any one of those crimes against the right wing would be enough to sentence Will to the outer darkness - a RINO hell where all compromisers, unbelievers, and Chicago Cubs fans eventually end up. And Tea Party Perdition is getting awfully crowded with Reagan-era conservatives like Will - the “extremists” of their day. It’s not that they’ve moderated their philosophy. It’s that these apostates don’t possess the uncompromising fervor of righteous certainty in their views and pedal-to-the-metal hate for their political opponents that grips a large segment of the right.

No matter. Will is dead wrong anyway. Of course there’s a GOP establishment and he’s Exhibit A. The existence of the Republican Party as a political entity demands there be some kind of establishment from which leaders are chosen, favors dispensed, and conduits created so that ideas can be channeled into the most productive venues and nurtured and incorporated. And the nature of political society demands that there be a conservative establishment also for much the same reasons. Whether one listens to or obeys establishment figures is another story, but whether you wish to marginalize them or ignore them, you can’t destroy them. Knock one off, another will take their place. The establishment is dead. Long live the establishment.

The establishment doesn’t refer to Obama as a “Communist” (although they may refer to his “socialist policies”), nor do they make reference to Obama as a “dictator.” What mostly defines an establishment member these days is the level of disdain exhibited toward Tea Partiers, the evangelical right, and the anti-science Luddites and anti-intellectual galoots who make up a sizable minority of the GOP base and who threaten to determine who will face Barack Obama in 2012.

The prospect of denim-wearing, dirty-fingernail, rank-and-file activists actually having an impact on the nominating process for the GOP presidential candidate has the establishment wringing their hands and scrambling to find another candidate more in line with their idea of governance. Take their money? Sure. Direct their energies into volunteer efforts for candidates? Absolutely.

But let them decide who should represent them as a candidate for president? Perish the thought.

If this sounds like a pox on both your houses - both radical right and establishment - you are correct. I despise them all. There is a small sliver of conservatism that lives in the GOP that is rational, principled, thoughtful, open minded, and intellectually coherent. You won’t find it in the tea party, the religious right, or the anti-science and anti-intellectual right wing fanatics that are as much of a threat to America as their counterparts on the left.

Weirdly, the two ideological extremes speak much the same language. What’s more,  neither side acknowledges the similarities. Referring to the “Obama regime” is exactly how the left referred to the “Bush Regime” just a few years ago — with the right’s towering denunciations of liberals for doing so apparently forgotten. Similarly, cries of “fascist” directed against Bush are echoed by the right when talking about “Communist” Obama.  Both sides complain their members of congress don’t “stand up” to the other party and “fight” for what they believe. In fact, both sides complain that the other side wins all the time. Both sides believe their members compromise too much and too readily. Both sides believe that in the recent debt ceiling deal, they got taken. Ominously, both sides have sworn not to let it happen again.

Both sides firmly believe that only politicians who follow what their idea of  liberalism or conservatism is should hold office. Deviation of one iota from orthodoxy brands the unfortunate lawmaker as the enemy - a liberal or conservative. Thoughtfulness is seen as a sign of weakness. Open mindedness a sure sign of a lack of principle. Reasonableness, the kiss of political death.

I don’t know why what is so obvious - that excessively ideological partisans demonstrate little to choose between the two sides - is so obscure to the bases of both parties. Be that as it may, it is the right wing extremists who concern me; not as a party man since I am not a Republican in any organizational sense of the word, but as a conservative who is concerned about the bad name these extremists are giving to the political right.

I am getting hammered in the comments of my PJM piece for the usual stuff; I’m a RINO, I’m not a “true” conservative, I shouldn’t criticize Republicans, I’m only dissing the tea party so I can get a job in the MSM - the usual blithering idiots blathering about nonsense. Contrary to what they think, I have no desire to defend those in the GOP establishment whose fake conservatism - dusted off and held up before the voters every 2, 4, or 6 years - has assisted the left in bringing us to the brink of calamity. (My defense of Will is the result of that gentleman’s nearly 50 years of defending and promoting conservative principles begun long before conservatism gained any acceptance whatsoever and long before most of his rabid critics were born.)

But neither do I condemn the totality of the Tea Party. I have written numerous times of the good they have done in educating the public about constitutional precepts and first principles. It is a debate that hasn’t happened for more than 220 years when the Constitution was being ratified and it is long overdue.

It is extremism that I am against and there is a sizable portion of  Tea Party activists who are radical right wingers and who have appropriated the “conservative” label to give a patina of legitimacy to their cause.

No, you say? I found it interesting in the comments that most assumed when I wrote about “anti-science Luddites” that I was referring to right wing opposition to climate change orthodoxy. Actually, that never crossed my mind since I’m an agnostic on the matter. (My only beef is the tiresome muddle of conspiracies that are promoted to explain climate change research.) Instead, I was thinking of  a generalized disdain for science evidenced by a knee jerk opposition to anything proposed by the EPA, the NIH, and other scientific bodies. Rejecting evolutionary theory despite 99% of the rest of the industrialized world accepting it is the definition of “anti-science.” So, too, rejecting the notion of curtailing business activity to save endangered species, the reality of weakness in the ozone layer, the opposition to vaccinations - a whole smorgasbord of accepted science being rejected either on religious grounds, or belief  in some conspiracy or another.

And as far as anti-intellectualism, rejecting a critique of conservatism based not on flawed argument or lack of substance, but rather the source of the criticism is both anti-intellectual and ignorant. Beyond that, there is a general disdain among right wingers for scholars based not on what they write but because it is assumed they are “liberal.”  When critical thinking is subsumed because ideology so controls the thinking of an individual, there is a real danger that people will believe just about anything.

Like Catherine of Aragon, I shall now return to my exile and continue work on my tapestries.


Gaddafi on the Run

Filed under: FrontPage.Com, Middle East, Politics — Rick Moran @ 7:45 am

My latest from FPM is up and I look at Libya as the nation transitions from Gaddafi’s murderous rule.

A sample:

How much more fighting needs to be done is unknown, but despite the army’s disintegration, there is still a hard core of several thousand militiamen bound to Gaddafi by tribal and clan ties who might be expected to fight to the end. Most have left Tripoli and either melted back into civilian society, blending in among their relatives and tribe or, as some have speculated, headed toward Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte where clashes between loyalists and rebels broke out following the apparent capture of Tripoli.

The Tripoli operation had been in the works for months. Ex-pat Libyans who fought in the war with Chad back in the 1980s, but had a falling out with Gaddafi, formed “The Libyan Salvation Front,” taking raw recruits, training them in the western mountains, and then deploying them along the road to Tripoli. Qatar also sent troops to train these “Tripoli Brigades,” who were the vanguard in the assault on the capital.

The NTC, with NATO’s help, also formed irregular armed units inside the city limits of Tripoli itself. They were activated when the Tripoli Brigades approached the city, probably using mosques to pass messages from the TNC to the “sleeper cells.” An amphibious assault from Misrata delivered hundreds of the rebels’ most experienced fighters. The months-long siege of that port city forged troops experienced in urban fighting, and this stood the rebellion in good stead when it began to systematically clear neighborhoods of armed resistance.


But regardless of what fate befalls Gaddafi, the TNC has a monumental job ahead of it. The council announced that several TNC officials had arrived in Tripoli to oversee the transition. Meanwhile, the US will ask the UN Security Council to immediately release $1.5 billion in frozen assets by the end of the week. This should set the stage for the release of another $5 billion requested by the TNC who face a humanitarian crisis without an immediate infusion of cash.

Surprising opposition to the release of more funds is coming from South Africa, which does not object in principle to releasing money for humanitarian concerns, but is balking at recognizing the TNC as a legitimate government. The South Africans want to confer with the African Union and wish to delay the release of the bulk of the funds. “Every other member of the council is supportive so we’re hopeful things will progress,” one Western diplomat said. All told, there are $160 billion in frozen assets being held up by the UN and Western banks.

But the major immediate concern for the TNC is security. To that end, they have asked the police to remain at their posts, although those wanted for crimes during the crackdown will be arrested and tried.

Of great concern is the fact that there are thousands of ill-trained young men walking around the city of Tripoli with automatic weapons and setting up make-shift checkpoints. The task of organizing security will be done in conjunction with several other nations including Jordan, Britain, France, and Qatar. Western troops are not expected to take part in securing the country.

The really big challenge facing the TNC is unity. Secularists, Islamists, democrats, socialists - they don’t seem able to agree on much of anything. How that shakes out over the next few months will determine Libya’s ultimate fate.



Filed under: The Rick Moran Show — Rick Moran @ 5:03 pm

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative political talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Jazz Shaw of Hot Air, Vodkapundit Stephen Green, and Yid with a Lid’s Jeff Dunetz. We’ll discuss Libya, and the electability issues facing the GOP field.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio


Egypt’s Venom Toward Israel

Filed under: FrontPage.Com, Israel vs. Hamas, Middle East, Politics — Rick Moran @ 12:09 pm

My latest at FPM is up and its about the Egypt-Israel diplomatic row over the border incident last Thursday where 5 Egyptian policemen were killed by the IDF as the Israelis were in hot pursuit of Hamas terrorists who killed 8 civilians near Eliat. The subsequent rocket attacks by Hamas and air strikes by Israel in Gaza is also discussed.

A sample:

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said on Friday, “The border with Egypt is no longer a peaceful border and we need to change the way we treat it.” Egypt denies claims that the terrorists infiltrated into Israel from the Sinai, and also scoffs at the notion that the border security has weakened in the region since the fall of Mubarak. Israel thinks that the Egyptian army doesn’t see guarding the border with Israel as a top priority anymore. Indeed, attacks on the gas pipeline that supplies Israel and Jordan proves the Israeli’s point. No doubt, the government will be forced to address this additional threat to Israel by beefing up security along the 250 mile-long border.

The deaths of the Egyptian policemen who engaged Israeli forces in hot pursuit of the terrorists has angered the Egyptian people and government. The Egyptian government threatened to recall its ambassador to Israel if the Israelis didn’t apologize for the killings. Late Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak issued a formal statement saying, “Israel is sorry for the deaths of Egyptian policemen during the attack along the Egyptian-Israeli border,” while a foreign ministry spokesman said in another statement that “Israel expresses deep regret” over the incident. Barak also called for a joint investigation of the incident with the Egyptian military.

The Egyptian cabinet refused to accept the apologies because it was “not in keeping with the magnitude of the incident and the state of Egyptian anger toward Israeli actions.”  But even though it appears Israel’s statements of regret was rejected, there are conflicting reports whether or not the Egyptian ambassador has been recalled. The Israelis claim they have received no information from the Egyptian government that any kind of rupture was imminent.

A statement issued after a second cabinet meeting on Saturday was much more provocative, saying in part, “Egyptian blood is not cheap and the government will not accept that Egyptian blood gets shed for nothing.”

The incident provided a ready pretext for venomous street demonstrations, as thousands of protesters gathered in front of the Israeli embassy. In an incident illustrative of the Egyptian military’s changed attitude toward Israel since the fall of Mubarak, a young man climbed to the roof of the Israeli embassy, tore down the Star of David flag and hoisted an Egyptian standard. The act electrified the crowd of demonstrators and, soon thereafter, the entire Arab world, as the news was spread via Twitter and other social media. The incident occurred despite hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police watching the demonstrators and supposedly guarding the embassy.

As the crowd cheered the act and fireworks went off, the symbolism could not be ignored; the Egyptian people, having thrown off the despotic yoke of the Mubarak regime, felt free to give full voice to their anti-Semitic sentiments without fear of repercussions. The burning of Israeli flags, the protesting in front of the embassy, and outward shows of animosity to the Jewish state, were unheard of in Mubarak’s time. And the military government, cognizant of deep-seated Egyptian Jew-hatred and what was seen as the weakness of the Mubarak regime in not being more hostile to Israel or the United States, feels obliged to allow the outward manifestations of this sentiment.



Filed under: Government, Politics — Rick Moran @ 10:21 am

Nancy Pelosi was seen at an ATM in downtown Washington withdrawing cash from her bank despite heavily criticizing banks for being greedy and having too much influence on Republicans.

The hypocrisy extends to the fact that the House Minority Leader also has a mortgage with the institution, and has been seen on numerous occasions entering the Capitol Hill branch of the bank to make deposits. No word on whether she accepted a toaster for opening a savings account.

Pelosi has raged against banks in the past, accusing them of causing the financial meltdown of 2008 and of buying off politicians with campaign contributions. How she, in good conscience, can do business with an industry she has so heavily criticized might be an issue in her re-election campaign.

* * * * * * * * *

I am sick to death of idiot liberals and stupid pundits making a big deal out of Republicans who rail against big government somehow benefiting from government services or even routine government policies like mortgage deductions.

It’s both inane and indicative of the fact that liberals just don’t get it; it is not government that conservatives oppose, it is big government that is at issue. The fact that the left has no clue as to the difference classifies them as first class morons. One can support Medicare, Social Security, and even some subsidies that are designed to encourage beneficial economic activity and still oppose Obamacare, FinReg, card check, and heavy handed interference in our schools from the Department of Education.

There is no hypocrisy. The issue is the lack of intelligence demonstrated by liberals who see no limits for the growth of government, believe the Constitution is an optional document, and think that cutting $2.7 trillion over the next 10 years when government will be spending close to $50 trillion is tantamount to murder - not to mention stating that anyone who advocates such a course of action is a terrorist.

This nonsense in an article by Michael Fletcher in WaPo today is typical:

With a young and fast-growing population, a large and expanding military presence and an influx of federal stimulus money, the number of government jobs in Texas has grown at more than double the rate of private-sector employment during Perry’s tenure.

The disparity has grown sharper since the national recession hit. Between December 2007 and last June, private-sector employment in Texas declined by 0.6 percent while public-sector jobs increased by 6.4 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, government employees account for about one-sixth of the workforce in Texas.

The significant role of government in Texas’s relative prosperity stands in stark contrast to the “go-it-alone” image cultivated by Perry, who credits a lack of government interference for fostering a business-friendly environment in Texas.

“The fact is, government doesn’t create jobs, otherwise the last 21 / 2 years of stimulus would have worked,” Perry said this month in a speech to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Government can only create the environment that allows the private sector to create jobs. The single most important contributor to our jobs-friendly climate here in Texas is our low tax burden, because we know dollars do far more to create jobs and prosperity in the people’s hands than they do in the government’s.”

Don Surber performs the necessary lobotomy on Fletcher:

Once again, fun with numbers by partisans. The dates selected - December 2007 and I assume June 2011 (although last June could refer to June 2010) - are arbitrary but they correlate to the height of employment nationally and the most recent state data (although on Friday, the government released the state-by-state July 2011 numbers).

Here is what the Washington Post left out: Nationally private-sector employment fell 6% in that period, dropping from 116 million employees to 106 million employees.

The loss in Texas was 90% below the fall nationally. The population increase - Texas gained 4 congressional seats on Governor Perry’s watch - comes as p[people leave economic dead zones for a place that is, indeed, growing jobs.

Newspapers such as the Washington Post pride themselves on fact-checking politicians. Perhaps they should fact-check themselves.

Government is a utility, not a living entity. Tapping resources supplied by the utility while decrying how big and out of control it has gotten is perfectly reasonable and logical - two attributes that are in short supply on the left.


Syria and Obama’s ‘Lead from Behind’ Doctrine

Filed under: Ethics, FrontPage.Com, Middle East, Politics — Rick Moran @ 11:52 am

You don’t have to advocate for military intervention to be terribly disturbed by our Syrian policy these last few months. The UN report detailing what’s been going on in Assad’s charnel house shows the moral bankruptcy of a policy that isn’t predicated on preventing civilian deaths but rather the cynical notion that the rest of the world hates us because we can be too aggressive in standing up for what we believe is right.

That is the essence of a “lead from behind” foreign policy. I might add that there is nothing inherently wrong with such a policy. The last 2 decades of American nation building and military intervention actually recommends that we walk a little softer and are more cognizant of the interests of other nations.

But events in Syria demanded we go it alone if necessary. And I don’t think we would have. History has shown that America can make a difference in bringing the rest of the world around to a specific moral position if we take the lead. Besides, the administration explanation that it took time to line up support for Assad’s ouster rings hollow and borders on fabrication. As I point out in my latest at FPM, the administration dilly dallied for 5 long months before even beginning the process of lining up support in the international  community to demand Assad step down. Then, it took less than two weeks to do so:

Why did it take so long? When the protests started in March, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying, “There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.” The administration believed at the time that the protests would put pressure on the Syrian dictator to initiate changes in Syrian political society, forcing him to open a dialogue with the opposition.

This attitude turned out to be a product of wishful thinking rather than reasoned analysis. No sooner had Clinton made that curious statement did Assad begin his butchery. It wasn’t until late April that the administration issued its first set of sanctions against the Syrian regime. The second set, targeting Assad and his cronies, came two weeks later. It was shortly after that, on May 19, that Obama delivered his speech on the so-called Arab Spring, saying, “President Assad now has a choice: He can lead that transition, or get out of the way.”

Still short of calling for the Syrian strongman’s ouster, it wasn’t until July that Hillary Clinton claimed that Assad had “lost legitimacy.” This milquetoast statement by the administration stood until the beginning of this month — after 1,500 Syrians had already been massacred — when the US finally began to gather international support for Assad’s resignation.

Much has been made of the statement by an Obama national security staffer in a New Yorker article that the president was “leading from behind” on the Libya issue. The statement encompasses the worldview of the president and most of his advisers, who believe that the status of the United States as the only superpower in the world is detrimental to international relations and that we should be “first among equals” when it comes to building coalitions and consensus on world issues.

Clearly, our actions relating to Syria is another example of that policy. Rather than getting out in front of events and trying to influence them, the administration hung back, watching to see if other nations would take the lead in advocating what is clearly the moral course of action: putting pressure on Assad to leave. That it took five torturous months with Syrian tanks blasting their way into dozens of cities and towns killing thousands does not speak well of the “lead from behind” policy nor the president who oversees it. Obama’s statement roused analyst Michael Ledeen to write, “After months of slaughter, as jaws dropped all over what used to be called The Western World at the spectacle of an American leader who danced all around one of the clearest moral and strategic imperatives EVER, we finally get this [statement].”

Decline by choice? I think there’s something to that. As I’ve said on numerous occasions on this site, if America didn’t exist, the international community would have to invent us. We are a convenient whipping boy, as well as being a tremendous force  - perhaps the only force in the world - for selfless good. Nobody thinks it unusual when we send aircraft carriers to the sites of natural disasters, saving thousands of lives. And while the world might frown on us taking out a dictator like Saddam, or unredeemed mountebanks like the Taliban, they always leave a small place in their hearts where they cheer us on.

No, we shouldn’t take out a thug like Assad with our military. But our actions can create the conditions where he cannot survive in power. Yesterday, the administration finally took the first step toward that goal. That thousands of innocent Syrians died before they managed to rouse themselves and reach that conclusion is a moral failing.



Filed under: Politics, The Rick Moran Show — Rick Moran @ 5:08 pm

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative political talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Ed Morrissey and Jazz Shaw of Hot Air, and Doug Mataconis of Outside the Beltway. We’ll discuss the results of the Ames straw poll and the state of conservatism in America today.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio


Filed under: FrontPage.Com, War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 10:21 am

My latest at FPM is about the shocking series of bombings and attacks yesterday in Iraq that claimed at least 90 lives and wounded hundreds.

Can we afford to leave Iraq? A sample:

The growing extremism is a consequence of Iraq’s drift into the orbit of Iran. If any evidence is required regarding how close that relationship is getting, one need look no further than the shocking statement by Prime Minister Maliki last week taking the side of Syrian President Assad against the protesters seeking to bring him down. While every other Arab government in the region has condemned Assad’s brutal crackdown, only Iran and Iraq have offered words of support. Maliki accused the protesters of trying to “sabotage” the state while hosting a Syrian government delegation. Maliki also welcomed Syria’s foreign minister last month. A Shia ally of the prime minister was quoted in the New York Times saying that the goal of Israel and the Gulf States “is to use the sectarian differences between the Shiite ruling family in Syria and the Sunni majority” for their own purposes. He said that if the protesters win, al-Qaeda will rule in Syria — a parroting of the official Syrian government line justifying the crackdown.

But Maliki owes everything to the Iranians and Syrians. They engineered his selection as prime minister following elections last year despite his secular rival, Ayad Allawi and his Iraqiya party, winning the election. “Maliki is very reliant on Iran for his power and Iran is backing Syria all the way. The Iranians and the Syrians were all critical to bringing him to power a year ago,” said Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group.

The real disease that afflicts the Iraqi government is indecision. With 40 ministers in the cabinet, a fractious parliament, and beset on all sides by extremists, the Maliki government gets very little done. For example, the speaker of the Iraq parliament — a Sunni — is not following the government line on the crackdown in Syria, issuing a statement saying, “For the sake of the Syrian people we demand the government, out of its responsibility to safeguard the lives of its people and their property, take the bold and courageous steps to stop the bleeding.” Indeed, as Hiltermann points out, the Syrian crackdown is serving as a wedge issue, with Shias supporting Assad, and Sunnis sympathizing with the protestors. Maliki is caught in the middle, making feeble attempts at reform, but as the bombings today show, he has very little room to maneuver. People are angry and are laying the blame at his doorstep.

There is also the depressing reality that questions the loyalty of the Iraqi army to the state, and the machinations of the Interior Ministry that has always been a hot bed of Iranian influence in the government. A professor of political science at Baghdad University, Hamid Fhadil, points out that the security forces are often more loyal to al-Qaeda or the Shia militias. “It’s hard to talk about the existence of an Iraqi Army and a Ministry of Interior without them being loyal to Iraq,” he observed.

Iraq is broke and we can’t fix it. Time to leave and accept the consequences of a failed policy and failed experiment.

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