A play on words, Jonah Goldberg calls the meltdowns in Iraq and Syria the Jihadi Spring. This is the antithesis of the Arab Spring, and the Sunni Islamic extremist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) have wrought havoc in Syria and have now taken Mosul in Iraq, and setting their ultimate sights on Baghdad.
Yesterday the city of Tal Afar was held by a U.S.-backed and trained Iraqi general. Today, it fell to ISIS. Our president, all but useless in foreign policy matters, spends his days — outside of golfing, that is — lecturing us on important matters like racist NBA franchise owners, the term “Redskins,” and why the NRA is evil. Those seldom times when foreign policy is discussed it quickly becomes confusing and contradictory. On the same day that Sec. of State John Kerry claimed that military cooperation with Iran was on the table for dealing with ISIS, the White House ruled it out.
A flabbergasted Iraq, meanwhile, is asking Iran for help. How desperate is that?
Despite what one feels about the origins of U.S. involvement in Iraq it changes nothing about our situation or responsibility today. It’s a problem now, and it requires a serious president with a serious staff. Not a band of permanent campaigners, or what Kimberley Strassel called “political Svengalis,” who are caught in an “endless loop of foreign-policy fiascoes.”
“They gave us resets, pivots and leading from behind, and in recent weeks have explained that Mr. Obama’s foreign policy is best described as “Don’t do stupid [stuff].” This is what happens when you give hacks control: Your foreign-policy “vision” gets reduced to a public-safety commercial from a vodka company.”
“Don’t do stupid [stuff]” is itself stupid [stuff] as far as foreign policy goes. Besides, it’s not even a foreign policy, it’s decision paralysis disguised as nuanced thinking. Eventually it gets boiled down to only “Don’t do.” As in nothing. Perhaps if the ISIS terrorists were advocating lower taxes, less government control and attended Tea Party rallies the president could at least sic his IRS on them.
Here’s a thought. Everyone gets that the American people might not welcome “boots on the ground.” In fact, let’s scratch that off the table right now. But we’re talking about a president who by 2012, or in his first four years in office, had already used drone strikes to kill terrorists at a rate of six times what George W. Bush had authorized in eight years! At the beginning of 2014, under five years of the Obama drone program, more than 2,400 people had been killed. So this is hardly a president who is shy about using unmanned planes and Hellfire missiles to solve problems.
You’ve all seen the pictures of ISIS trucks lined up in large convoys, driving to and fro while the black-uniformed, black-flag waiving extremists perform acts of atrocities so vulgar that even Al Qaeda has distanced itself. ISIS proudly posts pictures of their executions and beheadings of Iraqi soldiers, police and civilians — Another 1,700 dead recently. 1,700, and that’s a walk in the park for these guys. It begs the question, could President Obama not spare a few more drone missiles for such an easy target as a column of pickup trucks?
Even if you don’t agree with the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, it cannot be denied that the government of Iraq is if nothing else an ally, and certainly more so than Libya ever was. A little support from the U.S. military drone program, one that poses zero risks to American soldiers, seems like a no brainer and a quick way to give the Iraqi government support while giving Islamic extremists something to fear and consider.
The Daily Beast reported a top Kurdistan official recently saying, “Practically speaking, the country has broken apart.” At a certain point one must ask, is that the very design of the Obama Administration? He didn’t like it, didn’t agree with it, voted against it, so he’s going to do his part destroy what might have been, headless Iraqis be damned.