Last Thursday I asked Obama to speak out on Iraq. On Friday he did. I don’t suggest the one is connected to the other but who knows. After reading what he had to say I wash my hands of all responsibility, if there is any to be had, for bringing about his talk on Iraq.
He calls the group that is threatening the well-being of Iraq: ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) but most of the rest of the world calls it ISIS. I’ll call it ISIS except when I quote the president. Why he has to be different escapes me. It reminds me how most of the world calls the Mafia “the Mafia” while the FBI calls it the LCN for La Cosa Nostra which is translated from the Italian as “The Our Thing.” Do Mafia gangsters talk like that?
Obama explained why we must get back involved in Iraq. He said ISIS poses a threat “to the Iraqi people, to the region and to U.S. interests.” Hmm! He doesn’t say it is a threat to the U.S. Just our interests. Is it we now war even if our country is not endangered but when our interests are threatened? Is one of our interests keeping our oil companies solvent?
He told us what he plans to do. (1) Reinforce our embassy with troops and evacuate some of its occupants; (2) increase “our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets” in order to get “a greater understanding of what ISIL is doing;” then we will “increase our support to Iraqi security forces” by preparing “joint operation centers” and even though “we have had advisors in Iraq through our embassy” we will send up to an additional 300 to “assess how we can best train, advise and support Iraqi security forces going forward.”
You do know we already spent ten years and ten billion dollars to “train, advise and support Iraqi security forces.” It seems that has been one big failure. So we’re going to get back on the merry-go-round and do it all again. Does that make any sense?
He then told us that “American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq” but continued by saying we are positioning “additional military assets” to “take targeted and precise military action.” It seems to me that if you are planning to use your military to attack ISIS then I’d suggest you are returning to combat. Am I wrong about that?
President Obama went on to suggests that the present government of Iraq under Maliki must be thrown out and a new unity government be installed but adds it isn’t our place “to choose Iraqi’s leaders.” It seems to me in calling for Maliki’s ouster that is exactly what we are doing; for those aware of our history this changing governments by us during war time should bring back to memories of what we did in Vietnam.
He added that the U.S. won’t support one sect over the other which is exactly what we are doing. Does Obama not understand this is a civil war between the Shiites and the Sunnis? When we enter on the side of the Maliki, a Shiite, who is fighting against the ISIS, a Sunni force supported by other Sunnis we are supporting one sect.
Then Obama sort of went onto a different topic. He remembered our war that just ended in Iraq. He said we lost “nearly 4,500 American patriots.” I thought we lost members of our armed forces: mostly soldiers and Marines with some Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard members. In recent years we’ve called them warriors. I never heard our service members called patriots? Many Americans who have never put on a uniform like most members of Congress and Obama himself we can call patriots and even members of a football team are called that. I’m surprise the president is diminishing the value of those who joined the armed forces by lumping them in with everyone else.
Obama ended by saying the “issue I keep front and center, is, what is in the national security interest of the United States.” Yet, he never said in his prepared speech that anything happening in Iraq threatened our “national security interest” but only our interests; there’s a major difference between the two.
I called for Obama to speak but I was hoping he would not double talk us. Reading his speech it is like we didn’t spend ten years in Iraq losing lives and suffering large casualties while spending billions of dollars. He didn’t tell us how it would be different this time or why it would be different or how we won’t be whipsawed by Iraq forever. Going back in like he is doing is opening the sluice gates for endless involvement with us never having an exit.
After his speech he took some questions. Near the end of the question period he said: “my job is to make sure . . . that we’re recognizing the dangers of ISIL over the long term and developing the kinds of comprehensive counterterrorism strategy that we’re going to need to deal with this issue. And that’s going to involve some short-term responses to make sure that ISIL is not obtaining capacity to endanger us directly or our allies and partners, but it also is going to require some long-term strategies as well . . . .”
I find that shocking. President Obama has no long-term strategies for dealing with the problem in Iraq. He says he’s going to develop them. In the meantime he’s going to go back ten years and figure out how to train the Iraqi army; he will urge the Iraqis get along with each other as if they are children; and again use our military assets to bring us back into war. All this with no idea what we expect the outcome to be.
He’s been in office over five years. His casual approach to foreign policy is clear when he admits that the trouble in Iraq came as a surprise and only now is he planning to start trying to figure out what we should do. Our country is being poorly served. Despite the billions spent on Homeland Security, the Armed Forces, the CIA, and the biggest embassy in the world in Baghdad staffed with CIA and other intelligence services we’ve been caught with our pants down. As I said earlier, I guess that happens when you fly by the seat of your pants.