Prez Leaves Door Open for Air Strikes in Iraq

President Obama announced that he will send up to 300 advisers/trainers to Iraq to help the government in its struggle against ISIS militants.

We will also have continued surveillance and intelligence gathering.  The President did not announce any air strikes at this point, but left the door open for such strikes in the future.

He said that he would continue to consult with Congress, but did not say that he would seek authorization if he decides to do air strikes.

He reiterated the need for the Iraqis to unite and form a more inclusive government, saying that the solution ultimately must be political, not military.

State and Defense Need to Talk Amongst Themselves — UPDATE

As we wonder whether the U. S. will join with Iran on Iraq, we face the threshold question of whether the Pentagon will join with the State Department.

Secretary of State John Kerry says that “We’re open to discussions” on military cooperation with Iran.

But at the Defense Department, not so much.  A spokesman there says, “There are no plans to consult with Iran on military actions inside Iraq.  We are not planning to engage in military-to-military discussions with Iran.”

UPDATE — The White House is with the Pentagon on this one, saying there will be no military coordination with Iran.  So that seems to be an, um, “red line” for the Administration.

Obama to Maliki: Drop Dead

President Obama:

“We will not be sending U. S. troops back into combat in Iraq.  But I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces and I’ll be reviewing those options in the days ahead.”

[As ISIS heads for Baghdad, exactly how many days does he think he has?]

“But understand that ultimately it’s up to the Iraqis, as a sovereign nation, to solve their problems.”

[Well, it’s pretty damn obvious the Iraqis can’t do that.]

“But this is a regional problem, and it is going to be a long-term problem.  And what we’re going to have to do is combine selective actions by our military to make sure that we’re going after terrorists who can harm our personnel overseas or eventually hit the homeland.”

[I’m just going to run out the clock here, so I don’t have to get involved trying to save that SOB Maliki, and then we’ll go after the terrorists with drones, like in Yemen and Pakistan.  More drones!  More cowbell!]

 

 

 

Remember the Biden Plan?

Way back in 2006, Joe Biden said we should carve up Iraq into three parts — Sunni, Shiite, and Kurd.

That’s what’s happening on the ground right now.  If Maliki can hold Baghdad and the Shia provinces in the south (a huge if), how is he going to dislodge ISIS from the Sunni areas, how is he going to dislodge the Kurds from Kirkuk, which they’ve long claimed as their “capital,” and now completely control.

The Biden plan is being implemented de facto, if not de iure.

On his 90th birthday, let’s remember that George H. W. Bush kicked Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, but refused to kick him out of Baghdad.  Bush knew Saddam was a monster, but he was a bulwark against Iran who ran a secular regime with a strong, educated middle class.  Bush 41 knew that we were better off keeping Saddam, so long as that meant keeping him from expanding his borders and from gassing the Kurds.

What’s happening right this minute is the fault of Bush 43 for going in, not of Obama for getting out.

That Caliphate Bin Laden Promised

As the Washington Post describes Iraq as “on the brink of disintegration,” the Prez says “all options are on the table.”  Based on our refusal to help Iraq the last few months, despite their ever-more-urgent pleas for airstrikes,  it seems we’re going with the “let the whole thing go to Hell” option.

The Islamic extremists carving their “caliphate” out of Syria and Iraq, ISIS, are so radical and so violent that they were kicked out of Al Qaeda!  Think about that…

Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki refused to reach out to his Sunni population, running a purely Shiite show, so now his Sunnis won’t fight for him, and the American weapons and armored vehicles they abandon as they flee are going to the jihadists.  Your tax dollars at work…   You can train and equip soldiers, as we very expensively did in Iraq, but if they have no loyalty to their government and won’t fight for it, what are you gonna do?

We have been unable to bring Afghanistan out of the seventh century.  Now Iraq seems about to join them.

Bin Laden is dead — his vision, not so much.

Europe Really Needs to Step Up

President Obama will ask Congress for another $1 billion to improve security in Europe against the threat from Putin.  I have no problem with this.

What I do have a problem with is how little the Europeans do for themselves.  NATO’s members promised in 2006 to spend at least 2% of their GDP on their militaries, but of 28 members, only Britain, Greece, and Estonia, besides of course the U. S., have met that low standard.  Everyone talks about the great trains and inexpensive health care in Europe.  Well, that’s because they spend next to nothing on defense, relying too much on us, while our infrastructure is falling apart.  If they’re so worried about Putin, they need to stop building their houses of straw and sticks, while we get stuck providing the bricks.

I’m especially looking at you, France.  While the French can’t be bothered to defend themselves (again), they also won’t cancel their $1.6 billion sale of warships to Putin.  So they make our job tougher and more expensive.  You know, Mesdames et Messieurs, it’s your damn continent.  We just come over now and then (like 70 years ago today, when our soldiers got slaughtered on your Normandy beaches, while you all hung out in cafes in Paris) to save your sorry behinds.

Releasing Terrorists While Spying on Us

Okay, so the Prez says it’s perfectly fine to release these five top Taliban terrorists.  But at the same time, the Prez says we’re in so much danger from the terrorists that he has to gather everybody’s phone calls and emails.

So all of us average, loyal Americans who are being watched constantly are a threat, but the real bad guys aren’t?

This inexcusable, incoherent policy gives us the worst of both worlds — putting our lives more at risk while taking away our rights.

How can anyone justify both the Taliban deal and the NSA surveillance?