ISIS and Yazidi: barbarism’s back, and how little we are doing about it
Post-9/11, I read a quip that went something like this: “I just realized what the problem is with the 21st century. We got the numbers mixed up. It’s not 2001, it’s 1200.”
In the ensuing years, barbarism and religious wars have made a strong comeback—not that they’d ever really disappeared. But with the rise of ISIS, we now have a group giving itself over to their purest expression. Beheadings and crucifixions are part of their m.o., as well as forced conversions with the threat of death or exile looming, and now the imminent extermination of a minority religious group, the Yazidi, at ISIS’s bloody hands.
The Yazidi have one representative in Iraq’s parliament. Her name is Vian Dakhil and her recent raw cri de coeur to save her people has made her famous. The world loves a show and a dramatic story, but it no longer loves actually taking on risky rescues, and has become accustomed to relying on the Americans to do so.
Nature—and geopolitics—abhors a vacuum. The deposing of bad guy Saddam Hussein left a hole that other bad guys would inevitably try to rush to fill. Anyone who would cause the toppling of Saddam had to know it might be necessary for them to stick around at some level for at least a generation if they wanted a chance of ensuring that a new group of leaders of a different and better ilk would be substituting instead.
But quite early on it became clear that, due to the efforts of the left in this country and changes in Americans’ attitude towards war, occupation, and sacrifice, we lacked the requisite commitment.
Even the Bush administration was dedicated to that purpose only halfway, and halfway measures don’t tend to do the trick. But with the surge, our efforts finally seemed to be, if not entirely successful, then good enough. At the time of the handoff to Obama, things were at the point that if our new president had had the same focus as the old, ISIS would almost certainly not be here today (also, its Syrian genesis was facilitated by Obama’s disastrous policies there).
But we all know that Obama very much lacked even Bush’s level of commitment, and the Islamic terrorists knew it, too, right from the start, because Obama made it crystal clear. The one last chance to prevent disaster was that Obama might have left a reduced American presence in Iraq under a SOFA agreement. But he made only token and empty efforts to do that, and in fact was relieved to be able to pull out entirely:
The current horror show in Iraq, including the pending extermination of the Yazidi and the grave threat to the Kurds, follows from that sequence of events. A small residual force—which Obama never wanted to leave there—would have allowed us to retain the ability to strike in a timely fashion, when ISIS was initially massing and vulnerable. It would have given us a conduit to intelligence information that we now lack. It would have given us a flexibility in that region that we don’t have.
Obama had bet that Iraq was stable enough by the 2011 pullout that nothing too dramatic would flare up there during the remaining years of his presidency. He bet wrong.
And then for a while after ISIS began its murderous metastasis he bet he could dither until the next crisis came along to distract the ADD American people.
But yesterday evening the horror and the pressure grew too great, and Obama announced limited, targeted airstrikes for humanitarian reasons, with caveats:
Obama said he has given the green-light to the Pentagon for the limited, targeted bombing if top military officials monitoring the shifting situation on the ground believe ISIS continues to pose a serious threat to people in the northern Kurdish-controlled region or if militants threaten U.S. servicemen and personnel in Irbil, according to a U.S. official.
Is there any doubt that “ISIS continues to pose a serious threat to people in the northern Kurdish-controlled region”? Of course not. So that statement may have been put in there just to give Obama some wriggle room and the ability to postpone if he changed his mind.
Obama has waited until the eleventh hour rather than nipping this thing in the bud, and it’s not clear even now whether the bombing will actually take place. An ounce of more timely prevention would have been worth several tons of non-cure, and many innocent lives would probably have been saved.
Obama included an assurance that we will not be drawn into another war in Iraq, nor will we put any troops on the ground. ISIS will be very happy to hear that. Revealing at this point to the enemy that we have set such voluntary limits is tremendously counterproductive.
But Obama is more intent on soothing the fears of his political base than letting an enemy think, even for a moment, that he just might attack them in a more serious and sustained fashion. Obama seems determined to inform one of the most vicious and bloodthirsty enemy forces on earth that we choose to be the weak horse in this battle.
ISIS certainly won’t be stopping with the Yazidis. Every religious and ethnic group in Iraq other than fundamentalist Sunni Muslims faces grave danger, actual and potential, at their hands. Why should we care, other than for humanitarian reasons? Increasing instability in the region threatens us all, as does the rise of the strongest, most well-armed, and richest Islamist terrorist group the world has known so far. Islam has bloody borders, but in recent decades the world has shrunk—and we all know how little borders seem to mean these days.
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]
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“Obama said he has given the green-light to the Pentagon for the limited, targeted bombing IF top military officials monitoring the shifting situation on the ground believe ISIS continues to pose a serious threat to people in the northern Kurdish-controlled region or IF militants threaten U.S. servicemen and personnel in Irbil, according to a U.S. official.”
Whew…!!! I’m sure glad we aren’t going in there to launch an unlimited bombing campaign where we don’t do any targeting.
Plus, it’s a good thing we’re only gonna do it if “officials”…er, excuse…”TOP officials” say we should, or IF the sun comes up…or something.
What a stooooOOOooOoopid statement…!!!
Barak Obama – WARRIOR PRINCESS!
Heeeeeeeeee hehehe, good’n!
when has Barry Soetoro said anything that is other than stupid?
Grotesque. The victims in this are Christians. Send the kids away for a minute and watch this. Watch it. Do not just pass it by:
I forgot to note in the above that the shooters are ISIS.
Any on the ground combat commander worth their salt could find lots of wiggle room in those ROEs.
And air power does not commit us to a long term stay in Iraq like boots on the ground do. Just look at what I refer to as the “Kosovo Crisis Bombing Range Exercise.” We came, we bombed, we left.
Obama might not like a good commander’s interpretation of the ROE, but he would be pleased with the results.
He ALWAYS bets wrong.
Somebody should explain to His Highness that leaders don’t bet.
Leaders make well thought decisions.
Leaders listen to advice.
Barack Obama is no leader. Never was. Never will.
Bill Clinton used to ,figuratively, stick his finger up to see which way the polls trended and governed that way.
Obama, on the other hand, sticks his finger up to see which way the media trends and then waits. Waits a little more. then he might give a speech.
Waits a little longer.
Blames prior administration.
Send out his people to float a few ideas.
Waits some more.
Then reluctantly starts to try and figure out what to do.
Then he does something. But only half a$$ed and keeps the getaway cars engine running.
Obama, President to little to late. Why doesn’t he just take early retirement and go play golf every day with his Presidential retirement?
Would a volunteer from the LI cadre of writers please post a fake article claiming that ISIS is systematically destroying every golf course in its path?
Heaven FORE fend.
Maybe someone should write a post noting that a missing State Dept. email has just been recovered from among the shredded waste land around Hillary Clinton’s former State Dept. desk. The subject of the email: “ISIS gophers are ruining golf courses everywhere.”
Then, immediately, Obama will want to play Whac-A-Gopher.
After that he will want to blast those furry little suckers out of their holes and into the sky.
Caddyshack, Stripes….. BILL MURRAY, YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU.
If those Iraqi’s would promise to enter the US illegally from Mexico and vote Democrat I’m sure he’d send 5 regiments of Marines to secure their safe passage. President To Little, TO Late Obama.
…too little too late…
Thanks, forgot my proper English in my anger.
The Obama foreign policy: Effete – ism.
I’m sure that if the situation deteriorates, we will move from expressing ‘concern’ to expressing ‘grave concern’.
Soon the strategic hash-tag bombardment will begin, and these terrorists will tremble at our mighty tweets.
as a foreigner, I sure love that tweet hash tag diplomacy… yes that is deliberate to space out the word… NOT
Tweeting does nothing. It makes the White House look ridiculous.
Never, ever have I seen anything this bad.
As I posted earlier, the ISIS beasts have kidnapped 400 Yazidi women to distribute among their warriors for gang-rape and entertainment.
These same beasts are beheading and crucifying children. But that’s nothing new in Iraq – Sadaam Hussein had a special prison just for children of his enemies…toddlers were tortured under Hussein.
Islam is institutionalized, systematic, conditioned inhumanity aka sociopathology.