President Obama Compares Neocon Strategy In Middle East To Playing ‘Whack-A-Mole’


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Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s Morning Joe was able to score an interview with President Obama that aired on Monday morning. Obviously, the interview centered around the situation in Iraq and the growing sectarian violence, led by extremist group ISIS, that has rocked that country. Brzezinski asked the President several questions regarding what we should do to help Iraq, any potential changes to the planned withdrawal from Afghanistan and if the US should have intervened more forcefully in Syria. The President pointedly stated that the United States will continue to withdraw from Afghanistan and tyhat this situation in Iraq does not change that. He also said that we cannot get caught up in chasing around different extremist groups in several locations, comparing it to ‘whack-a-mole.’


Below is video of a portion of the interview, courtesy of MSNBC.



The President made sure to highlight the fact that you can’t just stay in a country indefinitely to ensure that it remains stable. The neoconservative view is that tens of thousands of American troops need to be in Iraq and Afghanistan forever, making them occupied territories rather than sovereign countries. The President helpfully pointed out that these countries have to be able to take care of themselves. We can provide training, supplies and knowledge, but the United States cannot afford, nor has the will of its own people, to occupy these countries for an indefinite period of time. If problems arise in these countries, those countries’ military forces and elected governments need to handled them. The US can provide guidance and limited assistance, but was will not be an option.

Mika tried to get the President to sweat by questioning him on the stability of Iraq. She stated that the President had claimed in the past that Iraq was stable and that al Qaeda had been decimated. The President didn’t miss a beat. He retorted that Iraq was stable four and even two years ago. Just because something is stable at one point doesn’t mean it will remain so forever. He reiterated that we weren’t occupy Iraq forever. Also, we could not keep a residual force there due to the agreement reached with the country in 2008, prior to Obama taking office. Overall, Iraq’s military and government are ultimately responsible for the stability of the country.

Finally, the President got a dig at neocons who claim that we should have American troops all over the Middle East hunting down and fighting extremist factions. The President described that plan as ‘whack-a-mole’ and pointed out that it is a fruitless endeavor that will only lead to American soldiers being killed and do nothing to make the region safer or more stable. When pressed by Mika on Syria, POTUS let her know that the situation there is not black and white, as some on the right have made it to be. Basically, what you have is a ruthless dictator being opposed by several different factions, some of whom are quite extreme (like the aforementioned ISIS.)

What the President tried to convey in the interview is that the United States can’t intervene and bring peace to regions via firepower and an influx of occupying troops. It just doesn’t work like that. Essentially, the region is going through a lot of turmoil due to various religious sects and political movements trying to establish power and influence and perhaps change the landscape there. At a certain point, the US needs to only be concerned with its own national security and not about its influence in the region.

18 Replies to “President Obama Compares Neocon Strategy In Middle East To Playing ‘Whack-A-Mole’”

  1. Essentially, the region is going through a lot of turmoil due to various religious sects and political movements trying to establish power and influence and perhaps change the landscape there.

    Sounds a lot like what is happening here with Reich wing extremism.

    Why is it that the Reich always can find money to maintain this bloated empire like some Roman Centurions but refused to pay for the Veterans health care because it cost too much as the Senator from kochistan Ron Johnson said?

    Why is it we are so broke that we have to cut back on food assistance, infrastructure and the general welfare of the people?

    Why is it we have to listen to the same policies that have failed from the beginning like those are the only options on the table?

    This is the reason why I would rather watch the white guy with afro doing his paint by numbers show than listen to these corporate stooges. At least at the end of the show the painting is done

  2. So glad we have Obama as our President. His dignity, class and intelligence have served us, We the People, well. History will be kind to this fine human being.

  3. For any of the previous charlatans to make a suggestion on anything concerning foreign policy is absurd. Just stay out of Obamas way and he will clean up the GOP mess as usual.

    I suspect he used the Whack-a- Mole statement so the dimwitted GOP would be able to understand. They aren’t real good with critical thinking.

  4. I thought that this was all taken care of in the “Project for the New American Century”. Bush/Cheney had 8 years to make this plan work. Could there have been a flaw in their World Dominion plan?

  5. War is easy money; a cash cow. It’s real hard to give that up, but thanks to our fine President, neocons will have to learn a new way to rape America for cash…

  6. The core problem of the modern Middle East is that foreign interests, backed by military force, divvied the region up to suit their own agendas. Iraq is a case in point, lumping three hostile groups, Sunnis, Shia and Kurds, in one country for the benefit and convenience of the British government and international oil interests. Ultimately the people of the Middle East are going to sort out where the boundaries should be. And we’d better come up with a way to accommodate them, because it’s not going to be pretty or easy and outside military force will only make it worse.

  7. The Reich Wing can find money for the active military budget because they own the companies that build the war machines.

  8. Why are we so broke?
    1. Balanced budget and surplus in 1999.
    2. GW Bush stole the election.
    3. GW Bush refunded the surplus
    4. GW Bush cut taxes.
    5. GW Bush started two wars, costing more than $1.7 trillion.
    6. GW Bush presided over the collapse of the economy and almost ruin of the American Middle Class.
    7. The neo-cons and rest of the GOP championed the doubling of the US military budget and huge expenses.
    8. The neocons and the GOP/Tea Party are totally against raising taxes to pay for their wars…..

    So – that means they want the poor, college kids, seniors and children to have all programs for them cut to pay for this budgetary folly (never mind the moral slime they crawled out of…)…

    Other advanced nations spend very little on defense, and channel their resources into bettering the lives of their people. They now lead the world economically. A notion that used to be embraced here – even by Republicans.

    Reagan and the neo-cons he enabled…

  9. Funny you should say this about the Romans, because it was the Romans stiffing it’s almost entirely foreign born army that caused Rome to get sacked and caused the empire to fall. And fall it did. Spectacularly.

    It fell so hard that it took 1500 years for people to figure out how to have indoor flush toilets, central sewage system, public fire, public cleaning crews and the other infrastructure that Romans took for granted. In other words, Europe had to reinvent the wheel.

    And to think America was founded on a failed empire.

  10. The parallels are scary. In Rome the rich didn’t want to pay their fair share and instead took from the people. Same here. The Romans over extended themselves just like we are doing and finally the Romans embraced Christianity and that started the downfall of thinking and everyone was waiting for Jesus to return. Ok that last one might be stretching it but just look at what the holier than thou has done to critical thinking right now in the US

  11. People have been fighting over the Eastern Mediterranean shore and Mesopotamia since it was Mesopotamia! Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Egyptians, the list of kingdoms, tribes and nations is pretty big, and even since the foundings of Catal Huyuk and Jericho they still can’t find the common ground to get along, and it seems they never will.

  12. Do you ever wonder what Iraq would be like if we had not violated international law by invading Iraq and Saddam Hussein were still in power there? Do you believe the loss of lives, livelihood and displacement of millions would have occurred? I’m confident it would have been on a MUCH smaller scale had we remained uninvolved. I personally believe there would have been a civil war and Saddam Hussein assassinated. New lines would have been drawn dividing the country in to 3 or 4 independent nations. They would have done it their way. Most importantly it would not have cost a single American life, the maiming and psychologically traumatization of Americans nor a couple of trillion dollars.

  13. If Iraq never invaded Kuwait we would still be having selfies with Saddam and providing him with all sorts of toys to keep the Iranians in check

  14. Not to be out done. Israel and Saudi Arabia are funding ISIS. We won’t hear about that from the five or six men that control the main stream media. Wonder why? Look up the names at the top of those companies.

  15. I wonder why those two countries would support a violent element over a nonviolent element? It is definitely not in israel’s best interest to have ISIS in control of Iraq.

  16. The official story is no one is funding them, they are now bank robbers BUTTTTTTT……… who was funding them when they were in Syria? My belief has always been Saudi Arabia. Now Israel is interesting. Seeing that Hezbollah is fighting in Syria on Assad side it is not out of the realm of the possibility that Israel under the table is arming them through Turkey just to keep Hezbollah busy.

    Realpolitik, O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!

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