Dither and delay, while ISIS grows stronger and becomes a larger threat
You know you’ve lost respect in the world when the French Foreign Minister calls you out and tells you to do your job:
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has a message about Iraq for Barack Obama: Get back to the White House and do something.
‘I know it is the holiday period in our Western countries,’ Fabius told a radio interviewer Tuesday in France,’ but when people are dying, you must come back from vacation.’
This is just another in a series of disrespectful utterings from foreign leaders about our current resident of the White House. And yes, it’s about leadership, something our current president does his best to avoid.
Senior U.S. officials describe the threat posed by the Islamic State in chilling terms, but they have mounted a decidedly modest military campaign to check its advance through northern Iraq.
The radical Islamist organization has attracted more fighters, controls more territory and has access to a larger stream of money than al-Qaeda did before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to U.S. officials and terrorism experts. Its refusal to rein in its brand of rampant violence accounts in part for its break from the better-known terrorist group.
“This is serious business,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry told reporters earlier this week. “I think the world is beginning to come to grips with the degree to which this is unacceptable.”
I think much of the world came to grips with it on 9/11. It is primarily our current leadership that has yet to come to grips with it, attempting to play down the seriousness of the situation by characterizing ISIS as the “jay vee” squad of terrorists. Of course, that’s just ignorant rubbish.
So far, though, the Obama administration’s response to the group’s blitzkrieg through northern Iraq has been defined primarily by the limits it has placed on the U.S. military’s intervention.
The disconnect between the unnerving assessments of the Islamic State and the apparent lack of urgency in confronting it reflects a mix of political and military constraints. Among them are no clear military strategy for reversing the group’s recent territorial gains, a war-weariness that pervades the Obama administration and the country, and significant uncertainty about the extent to which the Islamic State is prepared to morph from a regional force into a transnational terrorist threat that could target Europe and the United States.
This goes back to my previous post about the West’s unwillingness (and certainly this administration is clearly unwilling) to do what is necessary to confront and defeat radical Islam. In the case of a growing and violent ISIS, this is the time and place you do that. It is a “nip it in the bud” moment.
Instead we have President Dither talking about what he won’t do. And what he has done, a couple of airstrikes, is about as impressive and daunting to ISIS as taking a BB gun to a charging grizzly.
But the ongoing U.S. airstrikes are equally notable for what they have not tried to do. U.S. military officials have emphasized that the strikes are not designed to reverse the gains Sunni extremist fighters have made.
“We’ve had a very temporary effect,” Lt. Gen. William Mayville, a senior Army officer on the Joint Staff, told reporters this week.
It’s called “weakness”, boys and girls. And in the anarchy of the international arena that sort of weakness creates opportunities for other power brokers. In this case, ISIS continues to thumb its nose at all, brutally butcher all those who it finds that live outsides its narrow, radical creed and cares not a whit what the West thinks, since it is pretty darn sure it won’t do anything about it.
In fact, Obama’s “plan” is a lot like his plan for the SOFA agreement that failed. Offer help only if certain political conditions are met that are, frankly, not going to happen – at least not in the near future (the CIA says it would take “years”):
President Obama, who campaigned on ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has repeatedly said that a U.S. presence of that size in Iraq isn’t under consideration. “American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq,” he said.
With that in mind, the Obama administration has held off on more aggressive intervention plans, pledging in recent days to expand U.S. military involvement if the Baghdad government can show progress on including Sunnis and Kurds.
So he’s effectively put himself in a position to blame his inaction on the Iraqis, just as he did with the SOFA agreement.
Meanwhile the sycophants here claim that Obama is acting with restraint and wisely. In fact, he’s in his usual mode of indecision and dithering. He stands around with his thumb up his posterior while his buffoon of a Secretary of State states the obvious – this is “unacceptable”. But apparently not unacceptable enough to actually do something about it.
But, as we’ve all learned, in Obama’s world, words equal action, so calling it “unacceptable” is about as good as it gets.
“Time is of the essence,” said Adm. James Stavridis, a former supreme allied commander of NATO and now dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University. The longer the airstrikes drag on, the more time Islamic State fighters will have to learn how to survive them. “Without a fast and serious response, including Special Operations forces on the ground, the chances of reversing IS gains or even breaking their evident momentum is very low,” he said.
And if we don’t do it now, we’ll have to do it later – guaranteed. Of course that will be when they’re stronger, better armed, control more territory and have even more revenue and fighters than they do now.
Sometimes you’re stuck doing things you really don’t want to do but know innately that if you don’t act, that which you don’t address will only get far worse. This is one of those situations.
We should act – decisively – but we won’t. And the problem will only get worse.
I guess the next president can take solace in the fact that when faced with an even larger threat from ISIS, he can blame Obama.