“But when we err with our eyes wide open and involve ourselves in great tribulations through sheer lack of judgment, then everyone agrees we have no one to blame but ourselves. It follows therefore if a people’s failures are due … to their own folly, then all men of sense will blame and reproach them.” Polybius
Listening to President Obama speak of Iraq on 18 August 2014 underscores the point made above by Polybius, and it also validates the brilliant diplomat George F. Kennan’s argument that America is virtually incapable of conducting an effective foreign policy because of our leaders’ minimal knowledge of how the world works and the dominance of domestic considerations on the policies they pursue overseas. In Obama’s short statement on Iraq both of these negative factors were clearly evident.
–Obama — as well as his lieutenants, the leaders of both parties, and much of the media — continue to call the Sunni Islamic State (IS) organization a “terrorist group.” In the 25-plus years since al-Qaeda initiated what has become a worldwide armed Islamist movement, U.S. leaders have never once tried to explain to Americans that we are fighting a growing international insurgency that can never be defeated by using counter-terrorism tactics such as Special Forces raids, drone and aircraft strikes, and capture and interrogation operations. If you use these tools to kill the insurgents one at a time you end up where we are today; that is, with a nice and well-publicized body count but also with an enormously bigger threat than we faced in 2001. Indeed, Americans ought to be told that there are indications that the IS insurgents are evolving into what the great guerrilla-war theorist Mao Tse Tung called the final stage of insurgency, the point at which elements of the insurgent forces begin to transition into units that are battle-hardened, well trained and led, well armed, and resemble conventional force units.
–Obama, McCain, Graham, Hillary Clinton, and much of the media continue to talk the absolute rot of building an “inclusive government” in Iraq in the place of Maliki’s regime. This is not going to happen in the lifespan of any of our leaders, nor even in the lifespan of their children. Despite impressive educations, these men and women seemed to have missed the class where the teacher described the intense, violent, evergreen, and millennium-plus-long hatred of Sunnis for Shias, and vice versa. The current bout of this sectarian war is occurring because George W. Bush sought to make Iraq safe for democracy and instead opened the doors there to slaughter, anarchy, sectarian civil war, and regional destabilization. The current IS offensive is only the most recent and bloody episode of a civil war that began in March, 2003. The post-Maliki government and the Kurds may extort more money and weapons from the United States and its equally brain-dead allies, but there will be no peace and no inclusive government. When the West pulls the plug on another lost war in Iraq — and it will — the Sunnis will have more reason than ever to kill Shias who begged for help from the hated and perceived-to-be-Christian Americans and Europeans to kill Sunnis.
–Obama and the above named leaders likewise seem to believe they have an “Iraq problem,” when that country is nothing more than one part of a world war now being waged against the United States and its allies by the vastly bigger, post-9/11 Islamist movement. Obama, Bush McCain, Graham, Clinton, and others in both parties too numerous to count have yet to begin to tell the truth to Americans about the size, motivation, and intentions of the growing Islamist enemy they face. But, at the same time, they are following an interventionist foreign policy that supports Israel, the Saudi tyranny, and Iraq’s Iran-allied Shia dictatorship and so cultivates Sunni enemies for America around the world. Because most politicians in both parties are owned by either the Fifth Column of Israel Firsters or by the combined policy of the Saudis and U.S. arms and oil companies to “take care” of their political and federal civil service friends after they retire, Americans can expect no truth from their political leaders. What they can expect, however, is that those leaders, by abiding by wishes of their disloyal domestic and foreign paymasters, will ensure our that Islamist enemy keeps growing and killing U.S. civilians and military personnel.
Today the United States government cannot be said to be back on square one — which is dated August, 1996, the date bin Ladin declared war on America — but only because it has never moved from it. Eighteen years into our war with the Islamists, the U.S. government has given no public sign that it has the slightest awareness of what its enemies are fighting for and why, and so it has developed no strategy with which to prevail against them. The policies and actions of Republican and Democratic administrations have yielded a few tactical victories, but, overall, they have produced strategic disasters: The anti-U.S. jihad is now self-perpetuating; U.S. military forces have lost wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; the U.S. treasury is bankrupt; our senior political leaders have only lies to tell the citizenry about the Islamists’ motivation; and the Islamist movement has grown spectacularly in geographic reach, trained and eager-to-be-trained manpower, and sophisticated armaments. The hard but indisputable truth is that America’s strategic position in the Middle East, its political influence there, and its military effectiveness have deteriorated massively since 9/11.
Our Islamist enemies know this and are turning it to their advantage. Even now they are playing with us. The beheading of the American journalist is a good example. After the killing, the Islamists demanded that Obama stop U.S. air attacks in Iraq. Not only did the Islamist leaders know that Obama would not stop the strikes, they did not want him to. As always, the Islamists could not possibly acquire a better recruiting and fundraising tool for use in the international Sunni community than a U.S-led Western intervention in a Muslim country, especially one that is perceived as an intervention to attack enemies of Israel and to keep the hated Shia in power.
The Islamists believe — and history is on their side here — that they will benefit in the long-run from the current U.S. intervention in Iraq, and will benefit even more if the size of the intervention increases. They are confident — and should be — that neither Obama nor any other Western leader intends to annihilate the IS forces and so absolutely nothing suits their purposes better than to have another chance to drive the doomed-to-defeat-by-U.S.-politicians American military forces out of Iraq. And Obama and other Western leaders again seem set to do their best to exceed the Islamists’ requirements.