Has anyone noticed how our numerous post-Iraq military interventions – actual and proposed – have nearly always been the result of a sudden "humanitarian crisis"? The War Party – facing popular skepticism, indeed, outright opposition from the American people, who were lied into a war that should never have been fought – is now forced to come up with an "emergency" rationale, which poses the issue in terms of "if we don’t intervene immediately thousands will die."
They did it in Libya, where we were told if we didn’t intervene on the side of the crazed jihadist "rebels" as many as a hundred thousand would be slaughtered by Gaddafi’s "mercenaries" in Benghazi. That turned out to be complete BS, to put it charitably, but the War Party got their way – and you see the results in the headlines.
They tried the same act in Syria, on several occasions, coming up with a cock-and-bull story about Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of "poison gas" against the crazed jihadist rebels who were terrorizing the country – but that turned out to be yet another fabricated scenario, and the American people didn’t fall for it anyway. Instead of listening to the usual clowns who pass themselves off as "foreign policy experts," Americans rose up and said "No! No! A thousand times NO!" Our politically savvy President knew when he was beaten and so passed the Syrian hot potato to Congress – which backed down with amazing speed.
Now the War Party is trying the same stunt again, this time in – of all places! – Iraq. And it looks like they’ve succeeded, at least for the moment. Or maybe not: the fog of war is already spreading and obscuring our view of facts on the ground. What we do know, however, is that the mysterious group known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham/Syria), having invaded Iraq and taken great swathes of the country under its control, is now threatening the Yazidis, an obscure religious sect in the northern provinces that practices an exotic mix of Islam, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism.
Yes, folks, it’s another "humanitarian disaster" staring us in the face – and, we’re being told, we have little choice but to go in and save the day. Whether or not President Obama – who was reported to be "considering" air strikes – decides to go all in, we’ve already sent in hundreds of Special Forces to "advise" the nearly nonexistent Iraqi army we spent billions arming and training. The military infrastructure is there, ready and waiting.
So what should we do to help Iraq stave off an invasion by ISIS, which is now holding some 40,000 Yazidis in the northern part of the country?
The answer is: nothing. Not every problem has a solution. Not every mistake – in this case the mistake of invading Iraq in the first place – can be rectified. Our delusions of being a "superpower" have led us to believe we can do anything – but the very word has led us astray: Uncle Sam isn’t Superman, a mythical being who could fly so fast he could break the time barrier and go back into the past, preventing disasters made inevitable by human folly. We must pay for our folly – and, unfortunately, so must many others.
By the way, how much of a "crisis" is this, really? Are the Yazidis really about to be subjected to "genocide," as our hopped-up "journalists" insist? Why would ISIS murder 40,000 in cold blood? How is that going to advance their cause? Doesn’t seem like very good public relations.
In any case, the Yazidis face an ominous future under the rule of ISIS – but we should’ve thought of that before we empowered Iraq’s Sunni tribesmen during the so-called "Arab Awakening," arming, training, and bribing the very folks who are now welcoming ISIS with open arms. The victory of ISIS was made possible by the "surge," which John McCain has never stopped hailing as the high point of the war. That the same people who urged the "surge" are now demanding we save the Yazidis from the wrath of fanatic Sunnis is rich indeed. As they cry crocodile tears over the Yazidis’ alleged fate, one can only say: you should’ve thought of that before you started arming those "vetted" jihadist outfits who were going to overthrow Assad on our behalf – and instead went over to ISIS.
ISIS is using anti-aircraft and other heavy weaponry to outfight both the Iraqi army and the overrated Kurdish peshmerga. Those big guns, our journalists tell us, were stolen from Iraqi army arsenals when Mosul was overrun, but there’s good reason to believe they were armed by the US – when large sections of our "vetted" Syrian rebels went over to ISIS. Remember John Kerry praising the rebels to the skies during the congressional debate over intervening in Syria? And what about that mysterious ship that was supposed to take off from Benghazi around the same time as our Ambassador was killed by Libyan "freedom-fighters"? It was reportedly carrying a huge arms cache from Gaddafi’s looted arsenals. Those chickens are coming home to roost on the Yazidis’s doorstep.
The "humanitarians" in this administration, and amongst the neocons (!), are now pointing to the conquest by ISIS of the last Christian cities in Iraq as a reason why we need to go back to Iraq. That has got to be some gruesome joke, because when Christian cities in Syria were being overrun by US-supported Islamic rebels – the same ones who are now rampaging through Iraq – we heard not a peep from any of these people.
One might argue we have a moral obligation to get the Yazidis to safety because, after all, didn’t our actions place them in danger to begin with? This argument fails miserably, however, when we ask ourselves who is in the best position to actually do something to aid them. The Turks and Iraq’s other neighbors – and, yes, I mean Iran – are in a much better position to play the "savior" role than is Washington, for reasons that aren’t just geographical.
ISIS would like nothing better than to portray themselves as taking on the Americans: it would do wonders for their recruiting around the world. It would also unite Iraqi Sunnis under the banner of ISIS.
Ever since the "dead-enders" Donald Rumsfeld disdained beat the pants off the Americans and their Iraqi allies, our strategy in the region has been to tilt back toward the Sunnis in their religious war against the rival Shi’ites. From Libya to Egypt to Syria we sought to unite the Sunni jihadists against what we imagined was the main danger: Iran, the epicenter of Shi’ism. This tactic has backfired, and badly, in Iraq – and it isn’t just the Bush administration that bears the brunt of the blame. This was the strategic conception behind Hillary Clinton’s stewardship of the State Department, as implemented in Libya, Egypt, and Syria: she quit when her scheme to intervene in Syria was aborted.
Whatever action the President decides to take, it will be the first step down the slippery slope to full-scale US re-intervention in the region. You won’t stop ISIS with a few air strikes: you need people on the ground, and the Iraqi army – as we have seen – doesn’t cut it.
Will the present administration level with the American people, this time, and tell them the truth about what US "action" in Iraq will have to mean? Of course not. Lying comes as naturally to these people as slithering does to a snake.
It remains to be seen if this "humanitarian disaster" ploy is going to deceive the American people into giving Washington yet another blank check to "save" Iraq. My suspicion is that whatever emotional-laden hysteria the War Party succeeds in whipping up will be short-lived indeed: as soon as the people of this country see the same neocons telling us why we need to re-invade Iraq an awful feeling of deja-vu will overcome them – and Congress will be deluged with protest, just as they were when Obama decided he wanted to bomb Syria.
The sickening hypocrisy of the US bombing to "save" innocent civilians is doubly underscored by the fact that Washington not only stood by and watched as their Israeli
masters allies slaughtered children and women in Gaza – they sent Tel Aviv a fresh supply of deadly weapons to carry out the pogrom. And Congress passed a resolution hailing the Israeli murder spree and declaring its unconditional support. So now we’re going to go back to Iraq to "save" the victims of our own policies?
A more revolting display of absolute moral bankruptcy would be hard to imagine. And yet there is a method in this madness….
Remember that the Kurds are Israel’s best – and only – allies in the region. Israeli trainers have been integrated into the pershmerga, and the first oil extracted from the newly-Kurdified regions of collapsing Iraq went straight to the Jewish state. As related on this episode of the Scott Horton Show, ISIS is at the gates of Irbil, the Kurdish regional government’s capital city. This is why we hear the War Party loudly demanding US military intervention – not to save the Yazidis, but to save a key Israeli ally.
As I said at the very outset of America’s misadventures in Iraq, the Iraq war was fought for Israel’s sake: our re-entry will repeat the same scenario. Their long-range plan of destabilizing the region – giving the Jewish state Lebensraum to expand and fulfill the old Zionist dream of a kingdom spanning the distance between the Nile and the Euphrates – is now entering phase two. Their amen corner is now demanding the US intervene. Will they succeed. Stay tuned to this space ….
UPDATE: It looks at the moment like the US is not bombing – yet (although there are reports the Turks are doing so) but President Obama has now authorized air strikes if ISIS gets any closer to Irbil, where US troops and diplomatic personnel are stationed. At present, the US is coordinating air-drops and US fighters are reportedly accompanying those air drops. This means there’s still time to stop the War Party in its tracks. Call your congressional representatives and tell them: we need to stay out of Iraq. Period. Be polite, but firm. We can’t let them get away with it again.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
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I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.