Friday, June 20, 2014

Back to Iraq Part Two: Here We Go Again

It would seem we've taken one more step down that slippery slope.

Yesterday Barack Obama announced he is sending 300 military advisers to Iraq. It means there will soon be close to 600 U.S. troops on the ground in a country which appears about as stable as a house of cards in a 7.5 magnitude earthquake.

In Washington politicians and media analysts are trying to blame the lunacy on everyone from the president to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and his dog. In the mean time that collective groan you just heard was the American public saying to itself, "Oh my God, here we go again."

The only real resistance the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham have met has come not from the Iraqi army, but the Kurds. Their fighting force, known as the Peshmerga, has taken the town of Kirkuk, the adjoining oil fields, and refinery. They're also holding onto a critical reservoir outside of Mosul which provides most of Baghdad's drinking water.

In fact, the Kurds have been so successful and the Iraqi army so spectacularly bad, Kurdish officials are now openly talking about a completely independent Kurdistan. NBC reports one went so far as to say, "The Iraq we knew has come to an end."

Of course the Iraq we knew has only been around since 1920, which in the grand scheme of things isn't all that long. The modern borders were set by the League of Nations during the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire after the first world war.

Even then the country was referred to as The British Mandate of Mesopotamia. So if we're looking to blame someone the Brits should be included in the line up with the rest of the usual suspects. They established the original monarchy and government, then manned the throne and the whole system with Sunnis.

In 1932 they granted Iraq independence, but still had considerable influence. In 1941 there was a coup led by Rashad Ali al-Gaylani. The British felt he was a little too cozy with Adolf and Benito so they invaded to protect the oil supply and re-instated the monarchy which hung around until 1958 when it was overthrown.

However, even then the people in charge remained Sunnis.

The Shia didn't turn the tables until after we got there and made sure there were free elections. And, as we've seen over the last three years, they've done a real cracker jack job of running the place.

John Kerry has stated ISIS, as it known in the media, is more extreme than al-Qaeda. Middle East expert, Patrick Skinner is quoted by NBC as saying that really isn't the case. Both groups have the same goals, just different leaders who don't particularly like each other, or anyone else for that matter.

The problem is ISIS has accomplished something al-Qaeda never could. They now have an army in the field and are gobbling up turf, creating a perverse homeland which can serve as a base for further expansion.

This past Sunday Kentucky Senator Rand Paul showed up on NBC's "Meet the Press" and told David Gregory he didn't blame Obama for the chaos in Iraq. It was a gutsy assessment given Obama bashing is not only fun, but mandatory for membership in the republican party. He also said, in far more tactful language, if we hadn't invaded the fucking country in the first place none of this shit would be happening now.

In a final moment of lucidity Rand Paul admitted there might not be an answer to the sectarian violence in Iraq.

It is a concept to mull over because there has been almost continuous violence and war in and around Iraq since Muhammad got the Divine Whisper in his ear 1,400 years ago.

To believe we can stop it simply because we're America is naive to the point of delusion.

The truth is brutally clear. If there there isn't a solution, don't go in. We won't accomplish a thing other than chewing up money we don't have and more importantly, causing the deaths of people we can't afford to lose.

Hey, let's face it, Teddy Roosevelt's big stick doesn't work against a couple of swarms of pissed off hornets.

Now, if you want me I'll be in the bar. As always the first round is on me.


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