On “Fighting in Iraq Until Hell Freezes Over,” courtesy of Peter Van Buren @ The Unz Review:
… The staggering costs of [Iraq] — $25 billion to train the Iraqi Army, $60 billion for the reconstruction-that-wasn’t, $2 trillion for the overall war, almost 4,500 Americans dead and more than 32,000 wounded, and an Iraqi death toll of more than 190,000 (though some estimates go as high as a million) — can now be measured against the results. The nine-year attempt to create an American client state in Iraq failed, tragically and completely. The proof of that is on today’s front pages.
According to the crudest possible calculation, … America’s war of terror resulted in the dissolution of a Middle Eastern post-Cold War stasis that, curiously enough, had been held together by Iraq’s previous autocratic ruler Saddam Hussein. We released a hornet’s nest of Islamic fervor, sectarianism, fundamentalism, and pan-nationalism. Islamic terror groups grew stronger and more diffuse by the year. That horrible lightning over the Middle East that’s left American foreign policy in such an ugly glare will last into our grandchildren’s days. There should have been so many futures. Now, there will be so few as the dead accumulate in the ruins of our hubris. That is all that we won.
… And then came the Islamic State (IS) and the new “caliphate,” the child born of a neglectful occupation and an autocratic Shia government out to put the Sunnis in their place once and for all. And suddenly we were heading back into Iraq. …
… The truth on the ground these days is tragically familiar: an Iraq even more divided into feuding state-lets; a Baghdad government kleptocracy about to be reinvigorated by free-flowing American money; and a new Shia prime minister being issued the same 2003-2011 to-do list by Washington: mollify the Sunnis, unify Iraq, and make it snappy. The State Department still stays hidden behind the walls of that billion-dollar embassy. More money will be spent to train the collapsed Iraqi military. Iran remains the foreign power with the most influence over events.
One odd difference should be noted, however: in the last Iraq war, the Iranians sponsored and directed attacks by Shia militias against American occupation forces (and me); now, its special operatives and combat advisors fight side-by-side with those same Shia militias under the cover of American air power. You want real boots on the ground? Iranian forces are already there. It’s certainly an example of how politics makes strange bedfellows, but also of what happens when you assemble your “strategy” on the run.
Obama hardly can be blamed for all of this, but he’s done his part to make it worse — and worse it will surely get as his administration once again assumes ownership of the Sunni-Shia fight. The “new” unity plan that will fail follows the pattern of the one that did fail in 2007: use American military force to create a political space for “reconciliation” between once-burned, twice-shy Sunnis and a compromise Shia government that American money tries to nudge into an agreement against Iran’s wishes. …
Here we go again.
What would happen in the miasma that is the Middle East if a silly, if well-intentioned, superpower—profoundly ignorant of history, in general, and the region, in particular—quit enabling one side or the other; stopped lurching maniacally (a la “McMussolini”) from supporting one bloodletting entity or another?
What would transpire if, as I wrote in “Leave ISIS To The Homies,” the US left “ISIS to Syria, Tehran and Tel Aviv”; “let the locals take out their trash”?
Today I heard one of the interchangeable bimbos on CNN pondering—oh the sacrilege!—whether the US should talk to Iran.
However, were we to leave things be, the feuding parties might cease vying for American money and materiel and begin hammering out a strategy among themselves that would ensure longevity—an uneasy balance of power, if you will—in the region.
The Israeli government, as was noted, is already endeavoring to “radically change its tack on Syria, reversing a policy and military strategy that were long geared to opposing Syrian President Bashar Assad.”
By the way, how stupid is the American state? Look no further than that Marie Barf, that sibilant tart at State. Go Foggy Bottom …
“Leave ISIS To The Homies” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:
… Despotism and populism finally coalesced. Driven by polls and craving plaudits from the pundits, the president cobbled together a strategy. Within hours, love was in the air again. Members of a lovelorn liberal media scurried about like teens on prom night. It had been a long time since they felt the same rush about Obama. In his televised address to the nation, the president committed to increasing the ongoing airstrikes in Iraq; said he would take the fight to ISIL in Syria, too. The hormonal monitors at CNN spiked with each paternal promise of protection. “If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven,” roared Big Daddy. …
… Easily the most ludicrous aspect of Dr. Feelgood’s “plan” is the promise of “military assistance to the Syrian opposition”: “I again call on Congress, again, to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters.”
There is no telling the good Syrian opposition from the bad. If anything, there is a “growing preponderance of radical Islamists in the Syrian rebel force fighting Assad’s army,” seconds the outstanding intelligence provider DEBKAfile. Currently fighting ISIS is Bashar Hafez al-Assad, Syria’s embattled leader, whom Hussein, McCain and Clinton wanted to unseat.
The unseating of yet another extremely effective law-and-order leader, Saddam Hussein, is what unleashed ISIS. Despite what Delphic Oracle Dana Perino says in praise of her “prescient” boss’s “strategizing”; Bush 43 owns ISIS. Fidelity to historical fact demands that Bush get Brownie points for turning Iraq from a rogue state to a failed state, where mad dogs thrive. …
Read the complete column. “Leave ISIS To The Homies” is now on WND.
ISIS Is Not Islamic?
By Daniel Pipes
In a televised address this evening, President Barack Obama outlined his ideas on how to defeat the Islamic State. Along the way, he declared the organization variously known as ISIS or ISIL to be “not Islamic.”
In making this preposterous claim, Obama joins his two immediate predecessors in pronouncing on what is not Islamic. Bill Clinton called the Taliban treatment of women and children “a terrible perversion of Islam.” George W. Bush deemed that 9/11 and other acts of violence against innocents “violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith.”
Word magic permits Obama to turn ISIS into a “not Islamic” organization. None of the three has any basis for such assertions. To state the obvious: as non-Muslims and politicians, rather than Muslims and scholars, they are in no position to declare what is Islamic and what is not. As Bernard Lewis, a leading American authority of Islam, notes: “it is surely presumptuous for those who are not Muslims to say what is orthodox and what is heretical in Islam.” (That Obama was born and raised a Muslim has no relevance here, for he left the faith and cannot pronounce on it.)
Indeed, Obama compounds his predecessors’ errors and goes further: Clinton and Bush merely described certain actions (treatment of women and children, acts of violence against innocents) as un-Islamic, but Obama has dared to declare an entire organization (and quasi-state) to be “not Islamic.”
The only good thing about this idiocy? At least it’s better than the formulation by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (known as CAIR) which has the nerve to call ISIS “anti-Islamic.”
In the end, though, neither U.S. presidents nor Islamist apologists fool people. Anyone with eyes and ears realizes that ISIS, like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda before it, is 100 percent Islamic. And most Westerners, as indicated by detailed polling in Europe, do have eyes and ears. Over time, they are increasingly relying on common sense to conclude that ISIS is indeed profoundly Islamic. (September 10, 2014)
© 2014 Daniel Pipes
The media-military-industrial-congressional complex has won. Non-stop propaganda from this monolithic lot has convinced Americans of the necessity of another offensive in Iraq. According to a NBC/WSJ poll:
… 61% of American voters believe that the United States taking military action against ISIS is in United States’ interest, versus 13% who don’t. (Another 24% said they don’t know enough to have an opinion.) That’s a significant change when a similar question was asked last year about the U.S. taking possible action against Syria’s government after its reported use of chemical weapons. Back then, only 21% said action was in the nation’s interest, while 33% said it wasn’t.
As the political winds blow so does Rand Paul. Rand has now reversed course to please the opinion-shaping Idiocracy—Republicans, Democrats, and their attendant enablers in media, having previously exhibited some insights as to the US’s “unhinged” foreign policy:
… We aided those who’ve contributed to the rise of the Islamic State. The CIA delivered arms and other equipment to Syrian rebels, strengthening the side of the ISIS jihadists. Some even traveled to Syria from America to give moral and material support to these rebels even though there had been multiple reports some were allied with al Qaeda. …
… A more realistic foreign policy would recognize that there are evil people and tyrannical regimes in this world, but also that America cannot police or solve every problem across the globe. Only after recognizing the practical limits of our foreign policy can we pursue policies that are in the best interest of the U.S.
The Islamic State represents a threat that should be taken seriously. But we should also recall how recent foreign-policy decisions have helped these extremists so that we don’t make the same mistake of potentially aiding our enemies again.
Since August 27, a mere days, Rand has change course, “announcing that he supports military action to eliminate the Islamist group”:
“The military means to achieve these goals include airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria,” the Kentucky Republican and likely 2016 presidential hopeful wrote in an op-ed in TIME. “Such airstrikes are the best way to suppress ISIS’s operational strength and allow allies such as the Kurds to regain a military advantage.”
Paul’s hawkish turn comes after months of hedging and skeptical comments regarding U.S. involvement in Iraq and Syria. Yet Paul boasted on Thursday that as president he would have committed to a grand plan to eliminate ISIS earlier and more effectively than President Obama.
“If I had been in President Obama’s shoes, I would have acted more decisively and strongly against ISIS,” Paul said. “I would have called Congress back into session—even during recess.”
Paul’s new position challenges his longtime reputation as a champion of non-interventionism
Meantime, RT reports that Steven Sotloff, beheaded by ISIS, “was sold to ISIS by ‘moderate’ Syrian rebel group.” The ones we are assisting, presumably. We “don’t know Shiite from Shinola.” We’re dangerous at foreign policy.
Better that the US stops degrading the Syrian Army; leaves the Islamic State In the Levant to Syria and Iran and the Arab League. If the players in the region are unconcerned about curtailing this ghastly gang, it is probably because the US keeps enabling their inertia with futile interventions.
Hussein doesn’t have a strategy to police the world. Good. I have one for him: First do no harm. The chicken hawks at Fox News, however, are hot for war. The headlines there practically scream:
Obama on Syria: ‘We don’t have a strategy yet’
Krauthammer: Obama’s strategy ‘is to do absolutely nothing’
What precisely did Obama say that has chicken hawk Chucky so cross with the president: He “told reporters Thursday that ‘we don’t have a strategy yet’ for confronting ISIS on a regional level.”
Megyn Kelly, whose show has degenerated into a rah-rah, flag-waving, hour-long session, bemoaning outrages over diminished US world hegemony, shook her head in dismay at Mike Huckabee’s excellent suggestion: Let the Arab League deal with ISIS.
Yeah, the neighborhood, Israel included, doesn’t seem particularly concerned about ISIS. Or perhaps the US has enabled inertia and apathy with its interventions.
The illogic I don’t get is this: How can media members worry about ISIS in the Levant, when America’s southern border is utterly open? Can they be that stupid? Why not challenge the president about the real danger of failing to defend the homeland’s borders?
Related: “How U.S. Interventionists Abetted the Rise of ISIS.”