So ISIS is at the top of the news but, of course, for all the wrong reasons.
The buffoonery around this allows the media to ignore the reality of the situation and focus on the cosmetics. Rather than looking at substance, the public can be distracted with horse-race type stories about who said what and how it hurts their campaign. Meanwhile, Obama and Hillary’s culpability in allowing the rise of a murderous threat to the entire West through their inaction and inept action, slips from the collective consciousness.
To begin with, the first popular lie we must break through is the notion the Iraq War was a Vietnam style disaster which the US lost because of Bush, Cheney, Haliburton, Blackwater, oil, and who knows what other fact-less buzzwords. The Surge worked. It represented a shift in strategy as well as an increase in forces. It was also aided by local forces as General Petraeus relates:
“We were fortunate to be able to build on what ultimately came to be known as the Sunni Awakening, the initial increment of which began several months before the surge, outside the embattled Sunni city of Ramadi in violent Anbar Province, some 60 miles west of Baghdad. There, in the late summer of 2006, during the height of the violence in Anbar, Col. Sean MacFarland, a talented U.S. Army brigade commander, and his team agreed to support a courageous Sunni sheikh and his tribal members who decided to oppose Al Qaeda in Iraq, which the tribesmen had come to despise for its indiscriminate attacks on the population and implementation of an extreme version of Islam that was not in line with their somewhat more secular outlook on life.”
Importantly, those who were suffering horrors at the hands of a barbaric terrorist group were able to stand up and push back because US forces were on site and willing and able to assist. For The Surge, Victor Davis Hanson counts Petraeus as one of the great military commanders of all time for winning a war which otherwise seemed lost. On the results of The Surge, Hanson writes:
“The surge engineered by General David Petraeus worked so well that Iraq was not much of an issue in the 2008 general election. President-elect Barack Obama entered office with a quiet Iraq. For example, about 60 American soldiers died in 2010 in combat-related operations in Iraq — or roughly 4 percent of all U.S. military deaths that year (1,485), the vast majority of these due to non-combat causes (motor-vehicle and training accidents, non-combat violence, suicide, drugs, illness, etc.). Although Obama had once stated that Iraq was the unwise war (in comparison to the wise Afghan war that he supported during the 2008 campaign), the relative post-surge quiet had changed somewhat, for a third time, popular attitudes about the war. Indeed, Afghanistan by 2010 was the problematic conflict, Iraq the apparently successful occupation.”
American troops, taking the fight directly to the enemy, destroyed Al Qaeda in Iraq as an effective fighting or terror force. They were driven out of their previously secure bases of operation, their material capabilities were destroyed and interdicted, and their ability to plan operations was severely hampered as leaders were killed or captured. In short, AQI learned the hard lesson that for all the talk of paper tigers, no one can stand up to the determined efforts of America’s fighting forces. Cue the marching bands and plan the parades.
But of course don’t stop fighting until the fight is done, don’t fall asleep at the wheel, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line. WWII and Korea ended over 60 years ago yet there has never been a resurgence of Nazism, Japan has not terrorized its neighbors again, and North Korea is an insular hellhole. All because we left troops on station and remained vigilant against a return of those threats. And not just those threats, but new ones as well. Forward deployed troops kept an expansionist USSR at bay and kept a rising China limited in its militarism. But Obama had more important things to do than keep the quiet Iraq he inherited quiet.
Yet as things began to spiral out of control, as it became obvious to everyone else that a real danger was rising, Obama inexplicably dismisses ISIS as a JV team. This is well after ISIS had already become a serious force in Syria and had just taken control of Fallujah in Iraq. Yet more inexplicably, and seemingly missed with the focus on Obama’s inept analogy, in the same New Yorker interview, Obama admits to the larger threat by noting sectarian violence is being “directed or abetted by states who are in contests for power there.” Iran was using the rise of ISIS as a tool to achieve influence and control in the region and our President shrugged his shoulders and washed his hands of the affair. Meanwhile, ISIS takes Raqqa and declares it the capital of a new caliphate, capture Mosul, then Tikrit, and all while committing ever more barbaric and ever more publicized acts upon the people in the region.
On the one hand Obama ignored the rise of ISIS, but on the other hand when he did act it was so inept it actually aided ISIS and its affiliates. Tepid attempts to assist the rebels in Syria were bogged down by indecision in DC while those on the ground had to run a gauntlet of bureaucracy and political considerations. Who exactly to get aid to was always something of a mystery with Syrian rebels sympathetic to or outright joining groups like Al Qaeda. A number of outlets have reported that weapons were being run through Libya, specifically Benghazi, to the Syrian rebels and it was this operation which sparked the attack on our consulate.
The threat from ISIS is very real. To say otherwise is to deny the weekly news of terror committed by the group either directly or through inspiration. Yet it is a threat which could have been stopped in its infancy. Now we must deal with a rising power which strives “ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.” ISIS tells us directly who they are and what they want, yet too many in the West seem all to eager to argue with them, tell them no, that’s not really who you are or what you really want. Meanwhile, the death toll rises on the ground and is spreading to the West. And under the cover of all this chaos, Russia and Iran are allowed to embed themselves in the region. Yet instead of focusing on all of this, on the past and present ineptitude of Obama, Hillary, and the entire Left when it comes to foreign policy and keeping America safe, we’re trying to defend and deflect inarticulate comments which only serve to distract from the real issue and feed fringe conspiracy theories.