Admitting The Obvious
by Deacon Blues
I’ve been meaning to write a short blurb on what I think our strategic policy should be in Iraq and Syria, given that the Obama administration’s plans are already failing. Sure, we have drone strikes that kill senior leaders of various Al Qaeda cells or ISIS, but that doesn’t constitute an overarching policy. When the two key pillars of your policy rest upon training hundreds of Syrian opposition fighters, and waiting upon the Iraqi government and military to better integrate with Sunnis and fight for themselves, then no one should be surprised that your policy is flailing.
As such, I can only assume that the Obama “policy” represents nothing more than marking time until you can dump the mess upon your successor.
Much of my own thoughts on the correct approach are contained in a piece by Charles Krauthammer in today’s Washington Post. Yes, Krauthammer espouses some of the typical right-wing tropes about Iraq, but he gets paid to blame everything on Obama. Having said that, the United States needs to give up the fiction that an Iraqi state exists or is the vehicle for any solution. We need to be:
--Arming directly and working to support the Sunni tribes in Anbar;
--Doing the same with the Iraqi Kurds, and
--Helping Jordan and Turkey with strengthening the Free Syrian Army and Southern Front in that country.
Giving lip service to the Iraqi government may be necessary for political reasons, but relying upon them to be a military vehicle to combat ISIS in Iraq is a sign of futility, when Iran has no interest in having the Iraqi government help the Sunni tribes in Anbar. And if you believe that allowing ISIS to set up a militant Islamic state in the region is a threat to the national security of the United States, then doing nothing is not a solution either.
But that doesn't mean it makes any sense for America to send ground forces back into Iraq to fight for a country that no longer exists, or for a country that can't assemble a national army that represents all the people. If Lindsay Graham wants to argue for such a commitment, he should be forced to tell America where the money is coming from, and how long America’s sons and daughters should expect to fight and die for an Iraq that doesn’t and can’t fight for itself.