Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends: the eternal and ceaselessly bloody drama that is the Middle East.
A Sunni militia calling itself “the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (or ISIS) has routed the Iraqi military forces we spent years and billions training and arming. They have seized the cities of Mosul, Tikrit and Tal Afar, and immediately began doing what they do best: slaughtering their countrymen for being the wrong kind of Muslim.
Faced with a looming humanitarian crisis in Iraq, patriots like John McCain know exactly what to do: play politics by blaming the current president, and not the one who stupidly invaded the country without a clue about what to do after we beat the Iraqi Army, deposed the dictator, and took the lid off of the boiling pot of religious and ethnic hatreds that is Iraq.
“All the success we had,” McCain claimed on the Senate floor, “is torn asunder because of a policy of withdrawal without victory.”
Keep in mind, however, that McCain is also on record as saying other things, like: “the people of Iraq will absolutely treat us as liberators”; “it will be brief and we will find massive evidence of weapons of mass destruction”; “post-Saddam-Hussein Iraq is going to be paid for by the Iraqis”; and the ever-popular “there’s not a history of violent clashes between Sunnis and Shias, so I think they can get along.”
McCain also seems to have forgotten that the Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA, that set the timetable for our withdrawal was negotiated by Obama’s predecessor, the President Who Must Not Be Named. He’s also forgotten that he took to Twitter to celebrate the last American combat troops leaving Iraq, claiming, “President Bush deserves credit for victory.” You can look it up.
And yet John McCain, along with a plethora of others who were ceaselessly and consistently wrong about Iraq, remain the go-to guys for your so-called liberal media for commentary on the current crisis. People like Doug Feith (whom Gen. Tommy Franks of Central Command called “the dumbest [bad word] on the planet),” Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney are all too willing to take to the airwaves and assure us that all of this could have been averted if we’d just stayed in Iraq. And stayed. And stayed, while the body bags and maimed soldiers kept coming back.
The chutzpah of the people whose arrogance and hubris led us into the Iraq debacle in the first place is truly breathtaking. Frankly, the only question a competent media, let alone a liberal one, should be asking any of these clowns is, “Why aren’t you in prison in the Hague?”
We could have kept troops in Iraq for a hundred years (a time frame McCain said wouldn’t bother him), and the Sunnis and Shiites would still hate and be trying to kill each other while the Kurds would just want to be rid of the whole insane lot of them.
Actually, it may be the Kurds who came out as the only winners in this thing. They finally got the Turks over their paranoia at the prospect of an independent Kurdistan, largely by building a pipeline and selling them lots and lots of oil. As the rest of Iraq falls apart, their Pesh Merga militias have taken control of their strategic city of Kirkuk. At least the Kurds still like us, right?
Now we’ve learned that the Syrian government is attacking ISIS bases in the north and northeast of Iraq. They’re responding to the fact that ISIS is using tanks captured from the Iraqi military to attack Syrian forces.
So the Syrian military (which we oppose) is attacking ISIS in Iraq (who we also oppose) because ISIS has been attacking Syrian government troops (an action we also support.)
It seems that the enemy of our enemy is our friend, except sometimes they’re also our enemy. Oh, and we’ll probably be entering talks with Shiite Iran (also an enemy) to help deal with the Sunni ISIS.
Are we far enough through the looking glass yet? This is what we get for sticking our noses in what are, at their root, sectarian religious conflicts in the Middle East.
Dusty Rhoades lives, writes and practices law in Carthage. Contact him at email@example.com.