Between Iraq and a Hard Place: In Which I Bail the President Out From His Bad Middle East Optics

ISIS-truck-convoy-Anbar-Province

ISIS column in Anbar Province, Iraq.

After an early enthusiasm for the Viet Nam war, other than Grenada, I have not supported any American intervention overseas in my lifetime. So for once, I find myself in agreement with the 44th president.

Mr. Obama has some bad optics with the ISIS assault in Iraq. Sure, it wasn’t his war, but his Vice President did say this in 2010:

(Iraq )”could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You’re going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.”

The rout of the Baghdad government from large parts of the country looks bad, and calling it Bush’s war will resonate with the faithful, but others are a bit jaded with the” Bush did it” excuse six years in.. No matter who may be seen to “own” Iraq politically, the ISIS advances represent at the very least, a massive intelligence failure – or perhaps failure to act on intelligence. Coming so soon after the Crimea takeover, it just looks like crap.

As senator, Obama did not vote for Iraq, and rather than his frequent custom of listing himself “present,” voted against it. Others in his party cannot say the same. Mrs. Clinton was in, and both her husband and his VP, Al Gore, are on record long before the war, pointing to the danger posed by Saddam. Many other Democrats joined in the war vote, including the current Secretary of State, John Kerry.

nissan

Shiite militia parade, Baghdad, June 20, 2014. Despite the Nissan in the lead, from the headlights, it looks like Toyota has the conflict sewed up,truck-wise.

So how can Mr. Obama clear up his Iraq optics?

Embrace the Iraq war, and then kiss it goodbye.

Here, Barrack, let me show you how to do it.

“Good evening.

My fellow Americans, I am asking for your time this evening to speak on the recent and ongoing events in Iraq. This country has cast a long shadow on American politics and foreign policy, across administrations and parties, long before I became President.

Mehdi Army Women loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr march during a parade in Najaf

These Shia ladies are on our side, sort of.  In Syria and Lebanon, their veiled sisters are on the other side. Got it?  I don’t. Did American really think it could handle this place?  What were we thinking?

It is no secret that I voted against the Iraq War as Senator and ran against it when I first campaigned for the office of President. I promised an end to ur role in the conflict, and I kept that promise. As President I have learned much, and I have come to know this about America’s role in Iraq.

The men and women, in both parties, who voted for, and worked towards the ouster of Saddam, l believe, especially in view of Iraq’s present agony, were wrong.

But they were not, and are not, selfish or evil. There was no war for oil. Those who supported the war policy had two things in mind:

The national security of the United States, and, along with a hatred of Saddam’s tyranny, a sincere wish that Iraq be stable and free, and in time, lead the region out of its sad history of conflict and deprivation.

They should not be vilified for misplaced hope.

I, they, and all Americans honor the courage and sacrifice of the many thousands of our forces who served, died, and were maimed in Iraq. We also recognize the contributions of our civilians there, the diplomats, engineers and technicians, doctors and nurses, educators, and the whole range of specialists who worked to bring Iraq back from ruin.

In 2010, when we finally withdrew our forces it seemed we had succeeded.

That we have not is not the fault of any administration. America expended massive amounts of her treasure and expertise, and above all, the precious lives of our best and brightest young people, to give the Iraqi people a chance at a future of freedom and progress.

We are deeply saddened that ancient hatreds should make this unlikely for the foreseeable future.

But we have done enough, and can do no more. Nor would we if we could.

Self reliance is a core American value. While we cannot instill such a value where it is not, we understand that it must exist for any nation to succeed.

Therefore, while I will take such action as may be necessary to our immediate security needs, and may provide assistance where it can be used efficiently and honestly, the United States under my administration will not intervene in Iraq. Our time in Afghanistan is also coming to an end, and I hope profoundly hope that our friends there will look to Iraq and resolve to do better.

That so grand an undertaking has failed is a tragedy, but I urge you all tonight and in the days to come, to look back upon this chapter in our history as one of many times when America has given much, in return for little.

God Bless America

God bless our veterans

Thank you, and good night.”

 

C’mon, Mr. President. I guarantee you a 5% overnight bounce in the polls.

But for Barrack Obama to make such a statement would require both humility and magnanimity, two qualities in which he is signally lacking.

Not a chance.

 

 

HuffPoofery: My Response to Ariana’s 9/11 Piece

I wouldn’t expect other than fatuous nonsense from this source.  What is disturbing is the many who agree with her.  So I put my two cents ( actually around 750 words in four sections due to 250 word limitation per post).

Here it is in its entirety:

I of course expected Ms Huffington to make no mention of Islam in her 9/11 piece, and after scrolling through the first six pages of comments I find it almost completely absent from the the  thoughts expressed.  One commenter viewing American foreign policy as a “root cause,” mentioned Iran in 1957.  I would be rather surprised  if Osama Bin Laden  had ever heard of Mussadegh, and if he had it would be ludicrous to assume this Sunni  Salafist would care about a Shia secularist from the left in Iran.  This is typical of  the logical gyrations in which some  people  engage so as to  exonerate Islam.

Whatever one thinks  of the “Wars to Help Muslims” (Beginning with the Gulf war, I have I opposed all five – count them – other than taking out the Taliban in Afghanistan, which was fumbled) and the growth of the National Security State, these developments have their origins in a total lack of understanding in the US of what Islam is, and how it affects statecraft in nations that profess it.

The absurd lengths to which people will go in order not to mention Islam stuns me at times.  Israel, or US foreign policy have nothing to do with the ongoing  murder, oppression and violence against Christians and other minorities in parts of Nigeria, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh,  Sudan.  They have nothing to do with the internecine Muslim violence endemic in Iraq and Afghanistan,and the persecution, suppression and murder of Ahmadis in Indonesia.

One simply has to look at the rest of the world to see that there is no other belief system giving rise to such persistent and high levels of violence, not to mention appalling human development indices, outside the rich Gulf nations, and a general disregard for basic freedoms, most especially manifested  in low status for women, and in places, outright gender apartheid. Simple logic dictates that this is no coincidence.

On 9/11 we were attacked by Islam, a renascent Islam fueled by petro-dollars, another term  for our money. There have been other such  attacks throughout the history of Islam, starting from its base in the Arabian Peninsula,  sweeping hence to  rapid  dominance of the southern Mediterranean littoral and on into Western Europe

Tarik ibn Zayid, Arab conqueror of Spain. Artist's rendition, as no true portraits exist due to Islamic restrictions on depicting living being. He landed at Gibraltar, which is a corruption of Jebel Tarik, "Tarik's Mountain.".

Charles Martel, King of the Franks, who decisively broke Muslim power in France, at the Battle of Tours, 732.

from Africa, and later from Turkey into Southeast Europe .  These waves were beaten back, but never has a country or region relinquished Islam voluntarily, or more accurately, has Islam peacefully relinquished territory.  The secular experiment of Ataturk in Turkey is at an an end, and Malaysia and Indonesia( where I live) may follow. We are, in a sense, experiencing the Third Jihad.  It will be the last.

The_Battle_of_Lepanto_by_Paolo_Veronese

Despite continuing attempts, increasingly from lone actors, and of fairly amateurish nature, the US will most likely not see another 9/11 in my view.  This hardly means the danger is past.   We must prepare for an Islamic World from the Mediterranean to Southeast Asia that, while chaotic and disunited, will be unified in its hatred of us and our values.

On September 11, 1683 King Jan Sobieski III Of Poland joined battle with the Ottoman Turks to lift the Siege of Venna, begining the roll back of muslim power in Central and Southeastern Europe

One commenter here suggested withdrawing form the region( the Middle East and Afghanistan.  I would agree, and extend this withdrawal to ceasing any attempt to reach out to, understand, interface with, or influence developments in  the Islamic world.  Withdraw, but maintain our guard toward both external and internal threats. This would make as safer, and perhaps afford us the time and resources to heal  ourselves.

Finally, I exhort one and all: read the texts of Islam!  I sincerely doubt Messers Bush the elder and younger, Clinton or Obama ever have.

September 13: It is noteworthy that the anniversary of the two day battle outside Vienna in 1683,  in which the advance of Turkish Muslim power in Central Europe was stopped, is September 11/13.  Now we have no captains to fight the crescent, and Europe lies supine, while America slumbers.