Governing Is Hard

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Obama Administration

Juan Cole provides some perspective on the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, adding,

Obama’s hope that the so-called “Islamic State” can be stopped by US air power is likely forlorn. The IS is a guerrilla force, not a conventional army.

But one thing is certain. A US-policed no fly zone or no go zone over Iraqi Kurdistan is a commitment that cannot easily be withdrawn and could last decades, embroiling the US in further conflict.

Much of the old Chickenhawk Brigade is clucking that this proves they are vindicated! Flaming worthless idiot Paul Wolfowitz actually is claiming the U.S. won the Iraq War in 2009. I by “winning” you mean “conceding that further action is pointless and we will now extricate ourselves ourselves in a gradual manner” is “winning,” well, okay. By those standards we sort of won the Vietnam War, too.

The Chickenhawks also are doing their usual song and dance about how liberals don’t understand evil, and that people like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will never stop and will come after the U.S. sooner or later, so we need to destroy him now.

Here’s some background on what might be fueling Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. See also “The Debacle of the Caliphates: Why al-Baghdadi’s Grandiosity doesn’t Matter.” Bottom line, the certainly is a nasty piece of work. Whether he could export his movement beyond Iraq is highly speculative, however.

What the Chickenhawks don’t get is that U.S. bombs aren’t the answer to all problems, and indeed, usually just cause more problems. That doesn’t mean letting a bunch of civilians die of thirst and starvation is the answer, either. The world is a messy place. Sometimes there are no actual solutions. You gotta do what you gotta do.

But in Real World Land there are all kinds of powers beside Paul Wolfowitz and Hugh Hewitt who are keenly interested in keeping Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi contained, if not eliminated. Iran is one. I strongly suspect the Sunni leaders of other countries see a whackjob who thinks he leads a “Caliphate” is not their friend, either. Juan Cole thinks the “Caliphate” is doomed.

So it seems to me the question is not whether the U.S. will do nothing about Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or will unilaterally wage war on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The question is whether we might take smart action or stupid action. Seems to me the smart thing to do would be to contact the heads of other Muslim countries — even Iran, IMO — and say, tell us if you need help getting rid of this guy, but you have to take the lead on this. This has to be the Islamic world’s issue, not America’s.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 8, 2014 @12:03 pm

    I have nothing to add.
    That last paragraph was perfect.

  2. erinyes  •  Aug 8, 2014 @1:01 pm

    The last paragraph was perfect. The question I have is why was it necessary to depose the corrupt and brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein, when he would be replaced with another brutal asshole, and the result was the spawning of this new malignant Isis, which appears to be gaining recruits as it sweeps across Iraq and Syria. Saddam was perhaps, a regional threat at best. Now we have a metatastic cancer. Once again, we need to drop ship the neocon jack asses into Iraq, let them fight or die.

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 8, 2014 @1:18 pm

    erinyes,
    C’mon, you know NewCLOWNS and their families don’t fight the fights they want fought.
    They leave that to the children of lesser people than themselves.
    They’re too important to have their asses in the line of fire.
    They’re “idea” people.
    Yeah, idea people – horrible people with BAD idea’s!!!

  4. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 8, 2014 @1:18 pm

    erinyes,
    C’mon, you know NewCLOWNS and their families don’t fight the fights they want fought.
    They leave that to the children of lesser people than themselves.
    They’re too important to have their asses in the line of fire.
    They’re “idea” people.
    Yeah, idea people – horrible people with BAD idea’s!!!

  5. Carolyn Skye  •  Aug 8, 2014 @1:27 pm

    It was not necessary to invade Iraq! Saddam was a brutal dictator but he did protect the Christians and he would not allow any fanatic Islamic groups to stay in the country. He knew that they could gather strength and over-throw him. He did not aid Bin Laden either. Saddam had a huge ego that we could have used to our advantage. But thanks to Bush and his crew, my Christian in-laws suffered/suffer in Iraq. We must stop thinking about a country being just an individual, it is made up of many, many people. We bombed Iraq and wrecked the infrastructure under Bush = we killed people and made life miserable for them and they were scattered like leaves in a storm. Many were able to escape the hell left there by Bush, by leaving the country. They made new, successful lives but they still suffer knowing that they have friends and family still stuck in that hell.

  6. maha  •  Aug 8, 2014 @1:47 pm

    Carolyn – yes, and most of us here were saying the same thing back in 2002.

  7. erinyes  •  Aug 8, 2014 @1:45 pm

    I’m watching this new kid on MSNBC right now. They fired Keith, now we get a freaking kid ronan farrow to ask serious questions, and Tim russert’s kid can’t pronounce Iraq ( the boy says “eye rack” for christ sake) any way, the kid asks the guest expert why don’t other powers like Turkey and France help repel Isis……. the crickets chirp. The ministry of truth.

  8. uncledad  •  Aug 8, 2014 @3:22 pm

    “This has to be the Islamic world’s issue, not America’s”

    But maha, if we don’t get involved who will profit from the weapon sales?

  9. Craig  •  Aug 8, 2014 @4:53 pm

    In the buildup to the war in Iraq in late 2002 and early 2003, there were several Middle East experts in the background (I guess no media outlet dared to give them much print or airtime) who argued that a war in Iraq would do nothing more than whack the hornet’s nest. The neocons seem to be having trouble understanding the consequences of their actions.

  10. Swami  •  Aug 8, 2014 @5:26 pm

    Does this latest ISIS thing have any relationship to the old progressive battle cry of ” quagmire accomplished”?

  11. erinyes  •  Aug 8, 2014 @5:32 pm

    Hind sight is 20/20, but as maha said most of us had it right before. I just told my daughter we need to invent a really stinky goo that can be air dropped. Who could fight if they stink like hell and all gooed up. Tired of all the killing.

  12. Swami  •  Aug 8, 2014 @8:24 pm

    if we don’t get involved who will profit from the weapon sales?

    Yeah, but you have to look at it like Obama is just applying a little Metamucil to the arms industry.. We wouldn’t want them to get stopped up in their production of bombs.

  13. Dan  •  Aug 8, 2014 @11:57 pm

    Well, the Republicans have hardly tried governing for a very long time…

  14. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 9, 2014 @8:17 am

    Dan,
    Republicans aren’t interested in governing.
    They want to rule.

  15. E.A. Blair  •  Aug 9, 2014 @8:58 am

    Massive air strikes and saturation bombing did not defeat an entrenched partisan defense force in Vietnam. It also will not work in Iraq, in Afghanistan or anywhere else.

    3.4 million air fighter strikes, 126,000 bombing runs, 285,000,000 fragmentation bombs, 15,000,000,000 pounds of artillery shells (yes, that’s billion) and 14,000,000 tons of other munitions could not save Saigon.

    What was that Einstein said about insanity?

  16. maha  •  Aug 9, 2014 @9:15 am

    E.A. Blair — You do realize that the purpose of the current bombing is only to slow down the “Caliphate” and allow more time for people to save themselves, right? Your examples are not relevant. Not yet, anyway.



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