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America obligated to help Iraq?
June 12th, 2014
04:15 PM ET

America obligated to help Iraq?

Iraq is going to need more help from the United States and the international community, U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday as a militant group gained control of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is threatening the takeover of more cities, including the capital, Baghdad.

ISIS wants to establish an Islamic caliphate, or state, stretching across the region.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, the President said the U.S. "will not rule anything out" with regard to the unrest in Iraq. "This is an area that we have been watching with a lot of concern," he said.

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At 6:30pm ET, Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter are joined by former Senator Rick Santorum and Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) for a debate.

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Does the U.S. have an obligation to help the Iraqis?

Vote by tweeting Yes or No using #Crossfire or comment on our Facebook post. View results below or through our Poptip results page.

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Filed under: Adam Smith • Fireback • Foreign policy • In the Crossfire • Iraq • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Rick Santorum
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Joe Bass

    What the hell is wrong with you people? I do not care how you may feel about the Invasion of Iraq, but we as a nation created this situation. We as a nation invaded a sovereign nation, abducted and murdered the leader of a sovereign nation in violation of established international law against doing so.

    Yes Saddam was a tyrant, but all that these clans and war-leaders in the middle east understand and respond to is fear. Saddam established peace by making examples, by torture, and yes by executions. But he managed to keep over 1000 clans that hold 2000 year old vendettas from wiping each other out. Saddam was a tyrant, but he was a petty tyrant by any comparison to the tyranny of ISIS.

    We went into a situation we did not understand, could NEVER understand, and let our American ignorance and ego-mania dictate a policy that could never work.

    We created the vacuum of power that has let ISIS come to power.

    Their victims are not soldiers, politicians, enemies of the US. They are just people, just like us, just like our parents, our children, our brothers and sisters.

    We have done this to them and we created this situation and if we do not stop it we are no better than the terrorists that flew the planes into the towers.

    Contrary to the endless lies that come out of Obama's mouth, contrary to the liberal media spin and suppression of the truth the media is responsible for, American soldiers want to go back. American soldiers want to do the right thing, the honorable thing, the nobel thing.

    We have a man in the white house given a peace prize that he did not deserve, now he has a chance to earn it.

    I have never been so ashamed of my country, my fellow americans, and my president as I am now.

    August 9, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Reply
  2. Minnie Mouse

    Waste of America's time, waste of our money and the risk of losing more of our lives for what? The violence will never end. Iraq needs to deal without our help. Americas assistance hasn't done any good but only harm to our country by the loss of lives, troops leaving families for extended periods at a time and the massive debt incurred.


    We have our own veterans who can't even get medical treatment when needed and some people have even died. We have our own country full of gun violence. There are millions of people homeless on the streets and millions of mentally ill who are also homeless. Almost have or nearly half of our country is on some form of state or federal aid just to survive to live day to day to just have the basic needs in life.


    June 17, 2014 at 7:12 am | Reply
  3. Tim

    Ahhh...another perfect example of 'learned helplessness'. When a person, or entire groups of people are taught to believe the power is in another and not themselves and a situation arises calling that person or group to take action, they will not. They cannot because they have been taught they are not capable. They fear the attempt and they freeze or , fight or flight, take flight. Governments employ this all the time as we have in our country here at home and now as we see in Iraq. Terrorists have learned they CAN and they attempt. Common citizens have learned the CANNOT and they do not. When anyone causes another to feel they must be taken care of because they have not the capacity to do it themselves, then that 'empathy' imprisons people in helplessness. To blame the people of Iraq for the inability to act is no different than to blame people in this country who look to government to take care of them because they have been taught and learned helplessness. Two men in the bottom of a pit, educational , economical, whatever. One believes they can and the other believes they cannot. Both may initially try to escape but upon the first failure, one will say, "I told you it was no use", and give up. They other will not and each failure will be used to improve the next attempt at success. There are many lessons to be learned. One is putting blame in the wrong place.

    June 16, 2014 at 8:26 am | Reply
  4. Mojo09

    Someone needs to say no and I think the president did. We got Bin Laden and if the GOP wants war I am sure the Iraqs would love to have some Republican volunteers from Washington the assist them on the ground. Job Opening: War Mongers and Republicans only and must have previous experience demanding war.

    June 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  5. distant observer

    You can't buy love or true freedom they must be earned and sought after with wholehearted honesty and desire. The whole Middle East is in danger of all out war it's put up or shut up for OPEC nations and even Israel.

    June 15, 2014 at 7:21 am | Reply
  6. pjoe

    Tell Iraq to make it worth our while. Pay up first.

    June 14, 2014 at 9:48 pm | Reply
  7. Al

    NO, America liberated Iraq from a mad man who was killing their own people, trained their military and now they surrender and get killed. Sounds like they have all they need to fight for themselves, if they don't want to then so be it.

    June 13, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  8. Tom1940

    Like dealing with the devil. The devil says: "Pay me now. Or, pay me later!" "The fact is, your going to pay me!" WWII was a prime example. It was said if Britain and it's French Allies, would have confronted Hitler in 1937 or 1938, there would have been time for them to build up their armed forces, etc. Hitler may not have started WWII, if he would have been stopped earlier. Pure speculation, as he completely destroyed Germany in his quest for world domination. So it is all speculation. Now when the ISIS is marching against cities in Iraq and 100 miles from Baghdad, U.S. Air Cover would stop them cold. However, if we wait until the government topples, and a Jihadist Government takes over, there will be absolutely no "legal" way the U.S. or it's allies can intervene. Then a catastrophic event such as 9/11, (which will surely come), will have to be the "legal" basis to make war on them. That will be a much larger, more expensive and costly venture in both blood and national treasure. So. "Deal with me now!" (quote the Jihadists), or "Deal with me later!" But you (the U.S. and it's allies), will have to engage and "deal".

    June 13, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  9. Norma Vessels

    If all the American soldiers, and all the millions of dollars, and all the bloodshed, all the help we gave Iraq during the past two or three years didn't help them, I don't think another round of soldiers, money and bloodshed of Americans are going to change a thing the second time around, or the third time around, or the fourth. They will fight, because they want to fight, no matter what.

    June 13, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Reply
    • Stone

      You cannot help people that cannot or will not help themselves.

      June 14, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  10. GatorDude

    If the Iraqi government did away with the Sunni "Awakening" movement and marginalized the Sunnis throughout the government in favor of the Shiites, then "No" we need to stay out of this mess. With the possible exception of the Kurds and Israel, I'm not sure that we have any allies in the Middle East. The key is to let these countries sort themselves out and then identify as countries whether they want to be friends or not.

    June 13, 2014 at 11:03 am | Reply
  11. ProtectAmericanJobs

    There is no reason that our American men and women should be sent over there to risk their lives for another one of these totally messed up countries.
    We should start using our military to Start Keeping ILLEGAL Aliens Out of our own country.
    Bring our troops home from the mindless Middle East and deploy them on our southern border.
    Let's use our troops here in the USA to Protect Our Country from the Incursion of Illegal Aliens here at Home, instead of keeping them in the Middle East, which is just going to continue to be a never ending region of stupidity and violence.
    Let's face it, over the last 2-3 decades, both parties have been selling out the bulk of the American citizens, who they're supposed to represent, by allowing the incursion of illegal aliens (cheap labor) and the "outsourcing" floodgates to open wider and wider without taking any sensible measures to stem the tide.
    Hey – How about hiring some of our unemployed veterans as additional border patrol officers, ICE and INS agents? Cause Lord knows, we need to do a better job of protecting our southern border and getting control of our illegal alien problem.

    June 13, 2014 at 10:23 am | Reply
  12. Reality Check

    I have an idea, lets get drilling on Federal land, lets get the LNG ports up and running, lets STOP the war on coal, lets get Keystone built and lets get the hell out of the cesspool of the Middle East!!

    June 13, 2014 at 10:11 am | Reply
  13. kurt

    Let's not forget Iraq essentially kicked us out. We wanted to have some force of troops remain in their country but they wanted us gone.

    Because of that, we're absolved of any obligation to step in now. We may provide some aid... perhaps even air strikes... but not because of obligation. It will be because they requested help and we decided it was in out best interest to provide it.

    Those claiming this was an issue with Obama... let's not forget who's decision it was to exit completely. It was NOT obama's. It was Iraq's. Afghanistan is making the same decision now. They want us out. They don't want a security force to remain to help them.

    And if that happens, then we're off the hook.

    June 13, 2014 at 9:52 am | Reply
    • Brooks

      The US cann't fix Iraq, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Lybia or any other of those countries with bombs bullets and body bags. Let them figure it out. 10 + trillion dollars and thousands of lives were spent in the last two wars for what. That is the debt that is cripling us. If they ask for help either send our best negotiators or send in the senators who seem to like wars.

      June 16, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  14. ProtectAmericanJobs

    Unfortunately the Middle East is going to continue to be a never ending region of stupidity and violence.

    This is a shame, but I'm really sick of us spending so much of our money, time and resources in these totally messed up Middle East countries. There is no reason that our American men and women should be sent over there to risk their lives for another totally messed up country in this never ending region of stupidity and violence.

    The people in the whole Middle East region are just out of their frigging minds in general.

    Let's start bringing our troops home and start using them to protect our country from the incursion of illegal aliens here at home.

    And we really need to start increasing the safe harvesting, production and distribution of our own natural energy here in the USA, rather than paying for fuel from countries where they hate us. Let’s keep that money and those jobs here in the US.

    We need to start keeping more of OUR money here at home in the USA versus spreading it all over the world.

    June 13, 2014 at 9:47 am | Reply
  15. The GOP Solution

    The GOP Prayer/Mantra/Solution: Dear God...With your loving kindness, help us to turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Female, and Gay people into slaves. Then, with your guidance and compassion, we will whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Male, and Straight. Or until they are dead. God...Grant us the knowledge to then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military during the next "unfunded/off-the-books" war. God...Give us the strength during our speeches to repeatedly yell........TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH!!!..........and........GET RID OF SS AND MEDICARE!!!
    In your name we prey (purposely misspelled, or is it?)........Amen

    June 13, 2014 at 9:32 am | Reply
  16. alucientes

    It is worse than that. We have completely destroyed that country.. and they knew it going in. And the media just cheered them on. We are guilty of crimes against humanity for launching a war of aggression. If Nuremberg serves as any kind of precedent, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et. al. should be tried and if guilty, executed. They are certainly guilty of launching these wars on premeditated lies, torture, of using chemical weapons (phosphorus and depleted uranium) so much so that today in Fallujah they have previously unheard of levels of grotesque birth defects. Think of the crimes their lies have wrought on countless millions of innocent people, the scope of the horror is just incomprehensible.

    June 12, 2014 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  17. s

    No, No and NO. We offered last year Iraq said get out so we did. This is a Muslim vs Muslim fight between two factions, exactly what side will we pick and what will the consequences of choosing a side be?

    June 12, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Reply
  18. Shawn McFadden

    Before I answer this question, I'm going to say this. First, Rep. Adam Smith was SPOT ON when he commented on the security agreement we was supposed to have with Iraq. The Iraq government wanted the U.S. troops out of the country. Without the security agreement, we had no choice but to leave. Next, this mess is the fault of Nouri al-Maliki, and Muqtada al-Sadr, NOT PRESIDENT OBAMA!!!! Let's understand this, al-Maliki, once assuming power, reconciled with Iran, and allowed his fellow Shietie's to flourish while the Sunni's were persecuted. Al-Sadr led a jihad against U.S. troops because he believed the U.S. was trying to take over Iraq, and after the troops left, what did Mr. al-Sadr do when violence erupted in Iraq? NOTHING!!!! Senator Obama did indeed vote against the Iraq War, however President Obama sought to end this war in a responsiable manner, which he did. Now, you have almost half the country of Iraq besieged by ISIS, and the Iraq military has so far proven incapable of fighting this group. Now to answer the question: Is the U.S. obligated to help Iraq? I say NO!!! Why? Because the U.S. liberated Iraq and gave it back to the Iraqi people. It's their country, THEY NEED TO FIGHT FOR IT!!!!!!!!

    June 12, 2014 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  19. Nobody

    Limited wars get limited results, you either divide and conquer or do nothing

    June 12, 2014 at 6:57 pm | Reply
  20. pinebuffalo

    We should emphatically NOT involve ourselves in this region any further. Our prior involvement was an ill considered error that cost us dearly, a cost paid mostly by our military, honorable people used without due prudence.

    June 12, 2014 at 5:48 pm | Reply
  21. pinebuffalo

    We should emphatically NOT involve ourselves further. Th region will have to find its own path. It's been messed up since the British empire piddled around with nation building in its waning days. Our prior involvement cost us and many of those in Iraq treasure, lives and grief. It was a gross error and costly, the cost mostly being born by our military and Iraqi civilians. Enough is enough.

    June 12, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  22. O'drama ya Mama

    "I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks, or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that."
    –Donald Rumsfeld, November 14, 2002

    "I think it will go relatively quickly. Weeks rather than months."
    - Dick Cheney, March 16, 2003

    Please just send Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    June 12, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Reply
    • Shawn McFadden

      I agree. THEY were the main architects, of this war. THEY wanted an oil empire. JUST SEND THEM!!!!!

      June 12, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  23. Miguel Serda

    why should we lose anymore troops helping those people in that country when they don't want to help themselves. reports are coming into our news agencies that many government soldiers are throwing down their weapons and running away. and didn't we lose enough good men and women because of bush and Cheney's greed for that country's oil deposits? this country has lost enough blood and treasure already, enough is enough!

    Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2014 20:15:38 +0000 To:

    June 12, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Reply
    • ProtectAmericanJobs

      I agree – There is no reason that our American men and women should be sent over there to risk their lives for another one of these totally messed up countries. Because the Middle East is just going to continue to be a never ending region of stupidity and violence.

      Let's start bringing our troops home and start using them to protect our country from the incursion of illegal aliens here at home.

      June 13, 2014 at 9:57 am | Reply

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