Retaking Mosul From ISIS May Pale to What Comes Next

If the recaptures of Ramadi, Tikrit and Falluja are a guide, Iraqi officials will confront devastation and unexploded bombs once Mosul is reclaimed.

Comments: 85

  1. It was President Obama who stated during the 2012 elections that he ended the war in Iraq and left it with a stable government. He also dismissed the beginnings of ISIS as the junior varsity. His claims were lies and fiction.

    HRC and Obama helped destabilize Libya to the point we have Christians being executed because of the their religious beliefs. They also managed to ignite Cold War Part 2 with the NY Times leading the drumbeat.

    What comes next? I imagine more years of Obama and Hillary blaming W.

  2. George W. Bush IS the author of the ENTIRE disaster. Obama and Clinton as just picking up the pieces of Bush's crimes.

  3. This is the legacy of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

  4. Obama and Hillary have to take responsibility for something. The dead hands of Bush and Cheney did not give IS room to grow with an advertised in advance pullout, nor are they now pulling triggers, dropping bombs, or putting American troops on the ground in combat - that is Obama's choice and his doing.

  5. The left cannot continue to blame GWB for every failed state in the Middle East. I fought in Fallujah, Iraq and the residents were more concerned with which family/tribe would be in control upon the exit of the United States.

    As Americans, we must have an end state or ultimate goal. Is it to eradicate ISIS or are we here to protect every culture that cannot protect themselves? I can't understand why the residents of Mosul, Fallujah, Aleppo, Aden, Nigeria, and Benghazi can't fight to protect their own families and way of life? Why are we sending American troops to die when these men are unwilling to? When is the Iraq government going to issue a formal, "Thank you," or a medal to the Coalition Forces for eliminating their dictator?

  6. "When is the Iraq government going to issue a formal, "Thank you," or a medal to the Coalition Forces for eliminating their dictator?"

    And destroying their country? The United States removed Saddam for its own reasons. They might not have turned out to be good reasons, but hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's were killed in the process. We can hardly expect "thanks" from their survivors.

  7. What comes to mind for a student of history, is Dresden, Berlin, Grozny, and now numerous middle east Cities. With all our precision weapons and sophisticated aircraft, and war ships, common place bombing remains the order of the day. This method at least keeps boots on the ground, to their military compounds out of harms way.

  8. Dan Green;
    Don't worry; these are smart precision weapons which only kill Da'esh terrorists. If some civilians die in the campaign ...experts call it 'collateral damage' which doesn't sound like anything to do with human lives. Grozny, Bosnia, Beirut, Kabul, Aleppo, Rakkah, Homas, Triploi, Sana, Huma...traces are all over!!!

  9. There are no other choice but to remove/eradicate the evil of ISIS. Sooner or later the world would set up a tribunal to prosecute individuals/countries guilty of helping ISIS to commit crimes against humanity and punish them accordingly. The same must be done with reference to Syria/Aleppo and Yemen. Once we decide that we must be honest and just and that Justice requires us to be impartial a lot of powerful countries and their leadership would have to be punished for Crimes against Humanity.

    Stop all wars, please. Do not kill for peace.

    PEACE

  10. "remove/eradicate the evil of ISIS.....Stop all wars, please. Do not kill for peace."- Wizarat

    This is a total contradiction. How can you eradicate ISIS without fighting a war?!

    Double-think, double-talk- this is neocon crap. The US needs to GET OUT of the Middle East. We've wasted trillions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of lives- and the situation is WORSE than when we started! We'll have peace only when we stop making war.

  11. Mosul is Obama's own personal Aleppo. Mosul will give him something to talk to Putin about, trade neighborhood bombing pictures and such, beyond just showing off his Nobel Peace prize. And American boots are on the ground pulling triggers and in the air dropping bombs. Bitter? Hell yes, I am bitter. If this was being done by a Bush or a Cheney there would be riots in the streets, but as it is progressives are sitting on their hands.

  12. Well said. What is wrong with these Times commenters that they will never boost this to the top of the picks? Answer: they read the Times, uncritically. Aleppo is all Russia's fault, but Mosul? America's "helping" as always, never evil. Vietnam wasn't an American genocide, it was just a "war."

  13. What in the world are you talking about? Bush/Cheney invaded the wrong country and there were still no riots in the streets. They also deleted over 1,000,000 e-mails. There should be some more coverage of that.

  14. Actually, they deleted over 22 million emails from Karl Rove's private White House server.

  15. Again, this is just a drop in the bucket. This is a never-ending operation, and ultimately while it was the West (the Bush administration) that destabilized the area, the West cannot fix this. Even if ISIS is defeated here and there, they're going to keep coming back and coming back, in one form of another. The US needs to basically move on from this perpetual disaster. The European nations paid a heavy price to rid their continent of fascism and totalitarianism. Now, the Middle Eastern nations will probably have to do the same. This is not a war against Nations. It's a new kind of warfare that the US has no clue how to deal with. It's time to move on in every sense of that phrase. Once the people who believe in the things that ISIS does come into this country, they'll use the freedoms and privileges afforded by their host country to take it down.

  16. Those of you debating whether the NYT is "biased," here's a textbook example for you. In the narrow world view of these two neo-con journalists, the destruction of Mosul will be solely the fault of the Islamic State, as if the U.S. and its proxies, but especially U.S. bombing, will have no effect on the city. Frankly, this is disingenuous reporting. I would say its sloppy reporting, but these are top-flight reporters. They know the "rest of the story" and they aren't reporting it. Just check the role of the U.S. in destroying Fallujah and Ramdi, first by Bush a and then by Obama. It is no wonder the American public is led by the nose into these perpetual imperial wars by the two-party dictatorship and virtually all of its biased supporting media.

  17. Mark, we can't even get together to stand for the national anthem. Do you think they're going to be able to mobilize the American people for the type of warfare that would be necessary for an invasion of a country like Iran?
    They're so out of touch that it's laughable. That's why they didn't see the Trump circus coming their way. They'll destroy themselves politically if they try and large military adventures. Let the neocons march on Moscow next winter. Everyone else has checked out.

  18. You make a good point, however I would refine it. The hardcore neocons, perhaps not these NYT lite-necons, are itching to overthrow Iran, but the country is just too big to invade, million man army. But a realistic scenario that could play out under neocon-lite Hillary is she rubs Tehran's nose in the nuclear deal until they pull out, she winks and nods when Israel bunker bombs the centrifuges, Iran hits back and we're in a low-level naval war in the Persian gulf with oil interruptions. Make no mistake, Hillary more than Obama, will be maneuvering for regime change however she can get it short of a ground invasion. She's already succeeded in Ukraine, Yemen and Libya.

  19. Hey Mark, I'm replying to myself. If we apply Hillary's logic, the imminent humanitarian threat posed by the U.S. to the population of Mosul justifies a Russian (or French or British or Chinese or Islamic State) air war to topple the regime in Washington, D.C.. Which is why we reject the logic, it's hypocritical, dangerous and destructive.

  20. Of course it pales.

    The corrupt and incompetent Nouri al-Maliki, put into power by Bush, destroyed Iraq and made it into a failed state.

    And to do this, the U.S. threw away hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives to make Iraq a failed state and destroyed our ability to form alliances..as evidenced by Syria.

  21. Mosul is the ancient Nineveh, a city with more history than anyone has written to date. I am sure there are sites there that should be preserved, yet nobody seems to acknowledge that. Nineveh was the city where Jonas preached! I know that Jonas' tomb was destroyed by ISIS, but surely there is more.

  22. Just who is our enemy in the Middle East ? We are helping Shiite Iraqi’s To defeat ISIS Sunni’s , & Saudi Sunni’s to defeat Shiites in Yemen.Most of the detestation shown in this article was probably done by American Air Strikes.The Sunni & Shiites have been killing each other for centuries, & will continue to kill each other until the end of time. I can understand our involvement against ISIS who have sent their killers into our country, & beheaded American citizens, but why are we helping the Saudi’s who were tacit supporters for the Sunni Terrorists that murdered over 3,000 innocent Americans in the Twin Towers ?

  23. I'd say all combatants in the Middle East are our enemies. All non-combatants aren't though.

  24. Yes, yes, yes, broken buildings with boobitraps. You appear to have missed the most important problem – demographics. Saddam engaged in relocation that resolved some ethnic tensions, but created new ones that make Iraq less than a viable state. Mosul is the western most city of Kurdistan bordering whatever the Sunnis call themselves, Anbar or whatever. But the fighting Kurds are not supposed to go into the city. Shiite troops don’t belong, but are there and will create real problems. The demographics of fled and returning populations will create ethnic tensions as the Sunnis try to take Mosul away from the Kurds, and the Shiites installed by US and controlled by Iran (thanks, Bush) try to control from Baghdad. And then you have Turk and Yazidi minorities caught in the cross fire. My guess is the suffering has not yet to begin.

  25. I'm sick of right wingers now trying to spin this as no longer being the fault of Bush / Cheney / Rumsfeld troika. It was, it is, and it always will be their colossally stupid and arrogant decision to invade Iraq and open the Pandora's box in the middle east. Sadaam was awful, but what came after has been much worse and it's principally our fault. Where we can agree is that Americans should not risk blood and treasure to fight for people who will not fight for themselves.

  26. The reasons for going to war in Iraq were Saddam’s possible use of nuclear/chemical weapons, and the crimes against humanity that he committed against the Shiites and Kurds. Historical conditions, people have always had a hard time getting along, have placed us in this global war against terror. It is the burden of this generation to create a safe and healthy international community.

  27. History is and always be the teacher of the wise. But wisdom, in this case has deserted our so-called leaders. Its of no point playing the blame-game whether this was Bush or Obama or Saddam. The powerful allies have decided to create a 'Modernised Dark Continent' out of The middle East. That's exactly what they will do and will succeed. But it going to turn horribly wrong when the natives of these dark continent decide payback. We mustn't wonder, why terror is striking back and why no one is unable to do anything. I can see the beginnings of a long long battle. As for us, we can only pray for peace!

  28. aiswarya, shouldn't you add al-baghdadi to your list of leader/destroyers? (even if you dont think arguing about blame is worthwhile - i think you're partly right about that -- it is still useful to think through why the destruction has happened in order to change paths and avoid lousy leadership at all levels.

  29. Whatever reconciliation and cooperation happening between "bickering factions" in Tikrit, I'm glad to read about it.

  30. More than the military success in Mosul what would matter the most is how the retaken city is rebuilt and returns to its earlier socio-cultural ethos shaped by its multi-ethnic plurality? Could the US expect this much from the Haider al-Abadi led Shiite ruling dispensation in Baghdad while supporting its military effort against the ISIS?

  31. I don't know. What's the point of retaking a city if it is destroyed in the process and the resources to rebuild it don't appear to exist?

  32. A good point. I suspect that the destruction is a little exaggerated--there must be something left worth salvaging.

    But in modern warfare territory is seldom the primary objective (although it plays well in the press). Body count is what really matters. And Mosul is apparently where the ISIS bodies are. If the Iraqis leave them there, they are likely to fester.

  33. Why doesn't the NYT cut to the chase on its Iraq articles. Just lead with the headline always being sold:

    Doomed. All Are Doomed.

    Don't bury the lede.

  34. The middle east conflagration is similar to "The Troubles", except that lasted decades whereas the irrational, religious-fueled hatred and warfare in the middle east has lasted for centuries and has shown no signs of abating or burning out. As such, it is not susceptible to a solution, and any foreign policy initiative there has to be limited to humanitarian relief measures and protecting national security interests. If ISIS is "defeated", it simply means those who subscribe to its tenets will simply fade into the shadows and congeal once again in another iteration, as has already happened numerous times. Any attempt at eradicating the extremists is akin to playing "whack a mole", sad to say. The sooner we grasp that fully the better off we will be.

  35. I guess we broke it, so we've gotta buy it, apparently many times over.

  36. The sound track for this should be Black Sabbath"War Pigs".

  37. Or how about Pink Floyd's "Dogs of War"?

    "Invisible transfers, long distance calls,
    Hollow laughter in marble halls
    Steps have been taken, a silent uproar
    Has unleashed the dogs of war
    You can't stop what has begun
    Signed, sealed, they deliver oblivion
    We all have a dark side, to say the least
    And dealing in death is the nature of the beast"

  38. I can't help but wonder what it would look like there if Saddam was still in power. Could it have conceivably looked or been any worse? It really is tragic, and so unnecessarily so.

  39. That video and the images of Aleppo tell me all I need to know about the refugee wave coming out of the Middle East.

  40. When GWB and Cheney foisted the phony crusade against Saddam on the world, the words "freedom" and "liberty" we're used so extensively that even 13 years later I can't hear then and not think "what a hoax". I'm a longtime Republican but anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of Middle Eastern religion and politics knew then, and understands even better today, that religion, politics and ethnicity are completely intertwined. The Bush/Cheney hubris was the belief that, like the Gordian knot, it could all be untangled with a mighty sword-stroke of American military power. "What fools these mortals be" sums it all up and we will live with the effects of their foolish choices for years to come.

  41. Let's all just remember while reading about this impending bloodbath that the New York Times and Hillary Clinton both favored George W. Bush's war, and Hillary even voted for it in the Senate. That more than anything says that to me she should not be President. Over a million dead, including thousands of American soldiers, and millions more injured, traumatized, and driven from their homes. All because of some neocon fantasy of bringing liberal democracy to the least democratic region in the world.

    Literally the only positive thing about Hillary Clinton is that she's not Donald Trump. Everything that's said about her being a corrupt sycophant embedded with power is 100% true, but a majority of Democratic primary voters were blinded into believing that's not the case by a rigged primary election and incredibly biased media. Enjoy more of this over the next four years America.

  42. Oh for heavens sake. The war in Iraq was something George W. Bush and his legions of neocons wanted badly. They managed to convince a majority of Congress (and most Americans) that Saddam had massive stockpiles of chemical weapons -- and maybe even nukes. Given the information that was passed along to them, and trumpeted in the news media, Congress voted overwhelmingly in support of the war. If Hillary Clinton was fooled by the Bush/Cheney crowd she was certainly not alone, I was still a Republican at the time and they sure fooled me. To assign blame directly to her for what turned out to be a very foolish intervention is really, really stupid.

  43. The New York Times and Secretary Clinton supported George W. Bush's unjust war because they were given false information about WMDs and Saddam Hussein's attempts to purchase uranium from Africa. Everything the Bush - Cheney team cooked up about Iraq was 100% nonsense, totally false, and fed to our elected leaders giving them little choice but to support George W. Bush's unjust war.
    I do agree with you when you say, "...some neocon fantasy of bringing liberal democracy to the least democratic region in the world...." True. That neocon was George W. Bush. Give the man the "credit" he deserves.

  44. Please explain how the election is "rigged." The media may be biased, it may even be lazy, but it can hardly affect what happens in the precincts, so you must be pointing a finger at volunteers working the polling locations. As Trump might say - "nice."

    When terms like "rigged" are thrown around, it causes rational people to tune out, it invariably insults others, and moreover it has no basis in fact, so use better judgment next time you assign blame for so-called rigging.


  45. whenever i see 'reports ' such as this, im vividly reminded of orwells prescient 1984, wherein 3 nation states were engaged in permanent mutual war

    th populace never knew precisely who was at war w whom, or what it was all about

    all they were ever told was that they were winning, and victory would eventually be theirs

    so have a tall victory gin, proles, and be secure in th knowledge that big brother loves you

  46. The Islamic State bogeyman has been far more important to the US establishment and the West because the group provides the sole rationale for US 'efforts' in the region. These efforts cost many civilian lives and the US taxpayers billions of dollars that would be much better spent in the US.

    Promoting the bogeyman has been a function of the US media; if something is rigged it is the narratives that the establishment has woven around a two-bit gang whose moment in the sun lasted an entire six months.

    Six months from the flight of Iraqi government from Mosul in June, 2014 to ISIS' defeat at the hands of Kurdish YPG militia in February, 2015 in Kobani.

    There are two reasons for the destruction in Iraqi cities: one is the delay in rousting ISIS allowing them time to wire buildings with explosives. This -- along with trucks bombs -- is the entirety of ISIS 'strategy'. Another is US bombing and the indiscriminate use of artillery fires by Iraqis. Ordinarily, the US bombs the sand in the middle of nowhere but every once in awhile the aircraft hit schools or hospitals by accident. Iraqis don't care who or what they hit because there are no consequences, the Americans will justify everything after the fact.

    The US needs to withdraw from the region taking its bombers and its arrogance. Let the people who live there sort out their own problems.

  47. But we invaded and caused the civil war in Iraq.

  48. There's no "may" about it really, rebuilding and securing Mosul will be far more expensive and time-consuming than the battle to retake it. It's pretty doubtful that a city that size, being destroyed and seeded with explosives as much as it is, will be able to be rebuilt before the dwindling water makes it uninhabitable anyway.

  49. Any assistance given Mosul will only find its way into a few pockets that have no need, it has been that way in every mid-east country we have invaded. With corruption rife and the usual way of life in these barbaric lands and the unbelievable naivety and fecklessness of our Administration, our State Dept. and Aid organizations, there is absolutely no hope of any change from this vile stupidity in the near or distant future.

  50. After the last and largest of their cities is ruined, the Sunni's may have to find a different country in the Middle East to live in. They and the City Father's of Mosul brought this on themselves when they allowed ISIS in without firing a shot. It was the Mother of all bad decisions.


  51. how long before th Iraqi troops drop their weapons and unis and run away leaving you holding th bag

    again ?

  52. Thank you George W. and Dick C. For destabilizing the entire Middle East, what a great legacy to leave for the world.

  53. And in turn destabilizing Europe.

  54. We always have the budget, wherewithal and manpower to make war.

    We always seem to be derelict with the reconstruction ( if there is any at all ) in the aftermath. We seem to be exceptionally inefficient at rebuilding when we try to in our own image.

    How arrogant we are.

  55. Today's solutions create tomorrow's problems.
    Civilians in Iraq and Syria need food, shelter, clean water and peace of mind.
    Collectively, we have destroyed everything they had.
    We can't rebuild the basement of a home when the attic is in flames.
    Containment of the conflict requires a dialog. A hand that holds a gun can't reach out to a handshake.
    Social Media of yesteryear made Arab Spring possible. The social media of today from all over the world should initiate the discussion to end the violence that has engulfed the middle-east.
    Peace is possible, most of the human beings appear to yearn for it but very few are willing to sacrifice their lives for it. War is destructive but many are willing to sacrifice their lives for the war-effort!

  56. I sense a new benchmark or standard for war reporting: are military objectives worth the cost of destruction and loss of life? No doubt Mosul will be largely leveled, and those who aren't killed or wounded in the crossfire will have to flee to survive. However, that's what war is, so speculating about the costs of retaking Mosul or Ramadi or Tikrit or Aleppo is rather specious. Yes, war is hell.

  57. The middle east is a cesspool of tribal religious fanaticism. What we take this month - or this decade - in Iraq and Syria and Libya and Afghanistan - will revert back the minute we leave (if we leave?) I believe something similar happened in Saigon. I mean Ho Chin Minh City. Do we ever learn? The several trillion dollars that we've spend would have better used for our own roads, educational infrastructure, health care, etc. I have zero confidence that HRC will be any different than the rest of the political establishment class.

  58. And we invaded Iraq.

    And we, along with the French and the UK, overthrew the state in Libya.

  59. Isolate Mosul and starve ISIS out.

  60. As long as it does not bother you that HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of your fellow humans, apparently disposable, will also starve, this is a great idea. I guess you have never lived through a war. I have not, but the notion that it makes sense to condemn huge numbers of bystanders and the innocent to lingering vastly death seems an odd plan. We seems to be on our way to losing the sense of fairness and feeling for others that was once considered (maybe wrongly) a quality of Americans. By the way, who do you want to do this action? Americans?

  61. They should change the word liberation to obliteration. They destroyed these cities in order to save them. Clearly the debacle of the Maliki's regimes effort to take back Mosul from ISIS enabled this disaster to occur. Its hard to say what the future holds for these places. Shia Iraqi misrule doesn't bode well.

  62. Taking Mosul is easy. Governing Mosul is hard.

  63. And walking away from Mosul, never to worry about it again: priceless.

  64. The problem is that if we do not remain in Iraq indefinitely, then Iraqis always have in mind that after we leave, the “real” fight will begin. Americans rejected the idea, advocated somewhat differently by Kerry in 2004 and McCain in 2008 (and in 2011), of a small-scale American “constabulary” or “fire brigade” defense force permanently stationed there, not unlike as in Germany, Japan, and Korea, which Iraq neither wanted then nor wants now. Yet, I suspect most Americans would reject that again today! I guess old sailors (and soldiers) get used to people declining their advice and then resurfacing later to say, “You know, you were right.”

  65. Encouraging to read that Shia soldiers are providing basic needs to Sunni citizens in Mosul. How else can civil order and trust be restored? The Bush administration had few or no plans to reconstitute Iraqi society after ripping away its totalitarian regime. I assume we have learned something from that awful naivete.

  66. It's doubtful that Iraq can recover like Germany and Japan:

    1) The Curse of Oil - too many different parties, both in and outside the country, will keep fighting for oil control.
    2) Brain Drain - the best and brightest are either dead or fled
    3) Climate Collapse - poor planning and global warming will make it hard to come back from drought and loss of arable land.
    4) Easy-Bake War - multi-national corporations specializing in the machinery of war make it very easy for war to continue indefinitely as there is an endless supply of arms, explosive chemicals, and mercenaries from around the globe.
    5) Greener Pastures - there are many other places in the world that are currently functioning; the internet makes this obvious; so anyone with means (money; feet; etc.) will be tempted to leave and go somewhere that doesn't need to be rebuilt.

  67. Death and destruction at the hands of Americans is so much less interesting than Donald's sexual misconduct and his claims of rigging the election.

    I am sure there will be lots of questions concerning how Donald & Hillary will handle this issue at tonight's debate.

  68. May it be, like with Nazi criminals, that the ISIL criminals will for ever be hunted down and pursued wherever they may hide after their slaughter frenzy has finally been stopped. And may every ruler or country that gives them shelter be exposed, shamed, and punished too.

  69. 'Once recaptured, Mosul could pose a far more complicated rebuilding challenge, given that it is so much bigger than other Islamic State conquests and was much more diverse, with Christian, Kurdish and Shiite minorities.'

    Mosul, the heir to Nineveh and Nimrud, always has rejected the suzerainty of now Shiite-dominated Baghdad, which is precisely why the Ba'athists steadily Sunni-Arabised Mosul, dispossessing the traditonal non-Sunni-Arab inhabitants.

    The 'Christians' are for the most part the Assyrians, an ethnic group every bit as distinct and ancient as the Kurds, who deserve recognition by the international media just as much as do the Kurds.

    Most Iraqi Assyrians belong to one of the many Christian sects, which are the oldest and, in my view, some of the most interesting Christian sects in the world. (There are also non-Assyrian Mosul Christians such as the Iraqi Armenians of Mosul).

    Most Iraqi Kurds are Sunni, but some are Shiite, some belong to one of the Christian sects, some are atheists, etc.

    Many Iraqi Shiites belong to the Arabised Mesopotamian tribes, some of whom can trace their clan lineage back to forebears who marched with Mohammed's armies, but many others are non-Arabs who migrated into Mesopotamia from the North and East: Turkmen; TurkoPersians; Persians (or their descendants).

    Including tribes and major clans, there are at least sixty-nine ethnic groups in Mosul and the surrounding Governate. Almost all the once many Jews are gone.

  70. Push what's left into a big hole and start over. get funding from Arab neighbors.

  71. Fallugah wasn't without devastation when the official (US installed) Iraqi government "retook" it from ISIS.

    The US had destroyed the place back in 2004--likely using white phosphorus.
    So again the NY Times is ignoring US war crimes in Iraq.

    As for "retaking" Mosul, I'm sure that will kill civilians just like the actual Syrian government retaking east Aleppo will kill civilians. But the Times has been marketing the deaths in Syria as somehow unjust.

  72. At what point and when does our responsibility for the Middle East end? I say now.

  73. A mess. And yet we never learn. At Secretary Clinton's urging, we deposed Gaddafi, causing an even worse outcome in Libya (which also just happens to be oil-rich), and creating another haven for ISIS. As a result, we have special forces Libya today. In New Speak, special forces do not count as boots on the ground. Maybe those guys wear loafers?

  74. We have stepped into a war that has been going on for over 1,000 yrs. All we have done is make the slaughter more efficient. It used to take a lot of time to put even a small city to the sword; we can now level whole blocks in seconds. We are not helping bring peace to the region, we are making things worse. Our withdrawal (sort of) from Iraq showed that even after years of occupation (I mean assistance and training), attitudes did not change. The people reverted to their tribal wars immediately after we left.

    We need to walk away, these folks are insane, and will probably not stop until there is no one left. Their tragedy does not have to be ours, come home.

  75. I wonder if these people still think fighting for "their honor" against the US, the only country involved in any of this that they've shown any interest in living in, was such a good idea after these years of living with each other.

  76. Give me 10,000 remote-operated combat robots and an equal number of 13-year-olds, and I'll have that city cleared in 6 hours.

  77. "Retaking Mosul From ISIS May Pale to What Comes Next"

    retaking aleppo from rebels will pale to what comes next. retaking homs from rebels will pale to what comes next. retaking raqqa will pale to what comes next.

    this is why diplomacy is important. it will take at least a generation or two to recover. grandparents will tell their grandchildren about war stories, and about the enemies from the wrong tribe or the wrong religious sect.

  78. It's tragic how we utterly destroyed that country with our pointless wars

  79. So, doesn't anyone find it a bit odd that the US can support to the Iraqi government to oust IS in Mosul, but cannot offer one shred of support to the Syrian government to oust IS in Syria? Instead, it supports the so-called 'rebels' who, since the outset, have been well known to be all affiliated with al-Qaeda. None of them are Syrian, but instead, are Saudi, Yemeni, Libyan, Afghani, etc, etc, etc. and all are jihadis of the worst order. Regime change is an ugly business and one in which the US should not be involved.

  80. Why do the Times and other media outlets fail to mention there are 5000+ US troops on the ground, taking part in this offensive.

  81. The U.S. needs to extract itself from the Middle East - including Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The picture in the article tells the story - a rubble that will continue to deteriorate over time. Corruption on both sides will repeatedly cripple an already fragile infrastructure. Saudi led coalition forces bombings killed another 100 civilians 2 days ago in Yemen - we're killing innocent people. If the siege in Mosul continues, hundreds if not thousand more will be killed and or driven from their homes. We don't belong there - we need to let the Arabs figure out how to manage the jihad and ISIS.

  82. Ok Fine- They recovered Mosul.. Now what?

  83. Its interesting when folks talk about 4000 US troops/contractors deaths in Iraq war whereas 1.5 to 2.8 million Iraqis are already dead after the most ‘foolish’ war in current human history. And so-called experts should stop ‘whining’ about US trillion dollar treasure losses in this war ignoring the fact that US is extracting/drilling trillions of dollars of oil from Iraqi oil fields for the last 13 years. And the continuous turmoil/conflict in Iraq keeps the things ‘fuzzy’. Sometimes its Zarqawai’s ruthless insurgency and for another few years ‘fear mongering’ by dreadful Da’esh which is the product of US failed foreign policy in the ‘middle east’.

    There are no easy solutions but getting peace in Iraq after all the blood being spilled is ‘wishful’ thinking on the part of Washington. And Putin uses all these excuses of US war machine in ‘middle east’/north and west Africa to kill tens and thousands of Syrians in Aleppo and certain other cities!!!

    Stop all wars....

  84. It is saddening to read these accounts of the wanton loss of human lives and destruction of property and the resulting misery of the survivors. As we prepare to exult (as we must) the soon to be liberated Mosul, I am reminded of a late 18th century poem by English poet Laureate Robert Southey of the mindless devastation wrought by war with its refrain "....'twas a famous victory". The defeat of ISIS is crucial for peace in troubled Irag and war torn Syria and further export of its brutis global terrorism. However, Americans must pause a moment and reflect that we had a role in creating unstable conditions in Iraq after toppling Saddam Hussain in 2004. That famous victory has been obtained at enormous cost to Iraqi and American lives and plunged our country into trillions in deficit. The brute Saddam as also the autocrats Assad and Gaddafi maintained order within their boundaries and as far as we know the middle classes unlettered in the high principles of liberal democracy were nevertheless leading generally peaceful lives. Hopefully, the victory in Mosul will be followed by a planned restoration of order and economic well being. The Middle East is best left alone and outside of Israel's security we should keep out of these militaristic pursuits based on shoddy intelligence and misguided high principles.

  85. Shortsightedness by the local population has played a huge role. The utopia promised by the genocidal murderers of IS was believed by the locals who also believed in their ultimate victory and joined them without resistance. They prayed together daily after slaughtering all non-believers. Now all communities that welcomed IS will see - "IS was here" - when they survey what is left around them.