Iraq: have we returned?

Maybe some of this equipment stayed behind in Iraq and is in the hands of the enemy.
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That last few days have seen the most reluctant engagement of an enemy in the history of the United States. An army-without-a-country calling itself “The Islamic State” is roaming over vast tracts of land in northern Iraq. But now, on the orders of de facto President Obama, American planes have strafed Islamic State (IS) positions, and dropped food, water, and other supplies on top of a mountain for some civilians the IS has trapped there. Now we see American troops giving arms and ammunition to Kurdish fighters, the only fighters native to Iraq who are any good.

The right thing in Iraq…

Barack Obama, his usual supporters, and his usual detractors all find themselves in strange, even unenviable, positions. None but the most persistent peace-at-any-price theorist can doubt the wisdom of doing something in Iraq today. The “Islamic State” is, as mentioned, an army without a country. But this army has American equipment. (More on that below.) Moreover they are one of the most atrocious armies in the history of warfare. For instance, they recently raided a Yazidi town and killed 500 civilians. Some of them they shoved into a pit and covered with earth, thus burying them alive.

But between American air strikes and rearming of Kurdish forces, those forces are gaining some ground. They partly lifted the siege of Mount Sinjar and took 20,000 people off that mountain. Sadly, another 30,000 to 40,000 must stay on that mountain. If they come down, IS forces will kill them.

The only problem many commentators see with what Obama is doing in Iraq, is that he’s not doing enough. “Pinprick airstrikes,” scoffs retired Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney USAF.

What kind of strategy? Five targets? No, I am not happy. That’s not a strategy. Those are less than pinpricks. We need to be hitting at least 200 targets a day. And it must be a very offensive air campaign, and it’s an easy air campaign for U.S. forces.

That aside, Obama needed to do one other thing, instead of flying off to Martha’s Vineyard. He ought to summon Congress into emergency session and ask both chambers to declare war against the Islamic State. That way no one would doubt his authority to act against that army-without-a-country, or help others to act.

Still, a broken clock tells the right time exactly twice a day. This is Obama’s broken clock moment. And he knows it.

…after the wrong thing

Maybe some of this equipment stayed behind in Iraq and is in the hands of the enemy.

MRAPS waiting to be shipped out of Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. Photo: Master Sgt. David Largent USA. CC BY 2.0 Generic License

How does he know it? Because now he’s trying to cover up doing the wrong thing three years ago.

In December of 2011, he pulled all U.S. forces out of Iraq. Now he knows what a vacuum he left. In case he thinks the country will forget, now former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, of all people, reminds him:

The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad — there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle — the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.

That’s true as far as it goes. The Islamic State recently called itself Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Today they are concentrating in northern Iraq and trying to take over Baghdad. Hillary’s point: had America dealt properly with them earlier, we should not have to deal with them now.

Obama knows he has a problem. Now he denies having yanked our forces out of Iraq. From the White House comes these words:

Under the previous administration, we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government. In order for us to maintain troops in Iraq, we needed the invitation of the Iraqi government and we needed assurances that our personnel would be immune from prosecution if, for example, they were protecting themselves and ended up getting in a firefight with Iraqis, that they wouldn’t be hauled before an Iraqi judicial system.

And the Iraqi government, based on its political considerations, in part because Iraqis were tired of a U.S. occupation, declined to provide us those assurances. And on that basis, we left.

No, Mr. de facto President. You didn’t try hard enough to get a “status-of-forces agreement” in Iraq. Because you promised your peacenik crowd you would get those troops out, by hook or by crook. And you did.

Not that Hillary Clinton is any more honorable. As John Hayward says in Human Events, Hillary Clinton stabbed Obama in the back. Hayward points out the obvious. First, she was his Secretary of State at the time. Why did she say nothing of this in public until now? Second, she said the opposite then. She supported him completely. So when she speaks of failure, she condemns herself as much as her former boss.

So as she gets ready to run for President, do not think she will be any better.

What next?

Ironically, Hillary said one other true thing, about Iraq, the Middle East, and the world. The only question is: does she mean what she says?

One of the reasons why I worry about what’s happening in the Middle East right now is because of the breakout capacity of jihadist groups that can affect Europe, can affect the United States. Jihadist groups are governing territory. They will never stay there, though. They are driven to expand. Their raison d’être is to be against the West, against the Crusaders, against the fill-in-the-blank—and we all fit into one of these categories.

Imagine a Democrat, and part of this administration, saying that. Stealing Republican lines? Most certainly. And likely wearing a mask, too. But since when do Democrats think they must wear the masks of hawks?

Maybe since they discovered the civilized world faces an enemy that would as soon cut their heads off as look at them.

That’s why America should be at war with this force in Iraq, that now calls itself a “State” to rule the world for their savage moon god. But while we’re at it, let’s remember who made the mistakes that force us to deal with this army-without-a-country. And who stood by like a bump on a log and let him do it, and now dares tell us she objected then.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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