Once more unto the breach, dear friends...
From the play, Henry V, by Wild Bill Shakespeare
Yes, it appears we are headed back into that black hole known as Iraq. Even as Barack Obama assures us, "As commander in chief I will not allow America to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq," he has given the go ahead for deadly force to be used against the loons who call themselves the Islamic State. It is, as they say, the first step down a slippery slope.
MSN reports early this morning a couple of American F/A-18 fighter bombers launched from the carrier George H.W. Bush dropped two laser guided five hundred pound bombs on an IS artillery piece and the truck towing it. There isn't a soul on this world, or any other who doesn't know this is just the beginning.
The ruthless mutants in the Islamic State forces certainly know it. CNN is reporting, one of their spokesmen, Abbu Mosa issued a statement which said, "I say to America that the Islamic Caliphate has been established. Don't be cowards and attacking with drones. Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq. We will humiliate them everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House."
Yeah, yeah--as we say here in the southwest, small dogs bark the loudest. However at least Mosa knows, despite what Obama says, we're on the way and it is just a matter of time before American boots hit the ground. Look at it this way, Mr. Mosa is simply firing up the good ol' boys in the backs of all those Toyota pickups to the reality of it. It is his version of some demented pre-game speech given by the inmate coach of a state prison football team.
What precipitated this latest nightmare was a major defeat suffered by the Kurdish Peshmerga and the suddenly quite real possibility the IS could move into Erbil. Erbil, spelled in some quarters as Irbil, is the home to an American consulate and 400 some odd U.S. troops who are there to protect it. While Obama might say he doesn't want another war in Iraq, he certainly doesn't want the capture, or massacre of hundreds of American servicemen and women. On MSNBC this morning, correspondent Chuck Todd asked a White House spokesperson the obvious question. Given the threat, why don't we evacuate U.S. personnel from the city? The response he received was basically, "because we don't want to."
Ah, there is a reasoned diplomatic answer. In a lot of places such a statement would, or, at least could, be called drawing a line in the sand.
Complicating things further, during all the madness, the IS has managed make even the Taliban look civilized when it comes to the civilian population in the areas it has wrested from the Iraqi government. Reports and videos of beheadings are becoming common place as the militants move through towns and villages. The situation is so dire for religious minorities, the word genocide is now being tossed out to the media to justify intervention. And, honestly, given the IS tendency to brag about and air its barbarity on the internet, such a charge doesn't seem far fetched.
At the moment there are around 40,000 refugees surrounded by militant troops on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq. They are there because they're either Christian, or Yazidis and collectively were given the offer they couldn't refuse by the troops of Islamic State--either convert to our version of Islam, pay some sort of extortion fee to be left alone, or die. Given the gruesome options they fled from the extremist's advance with little more than the clothes on their back.
On Thursday America transport planes delivered 8,000 meals and 5,300 gallons of water to those stranded there.
Republican senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, two guys who never saw a war they didn't want us to fight, are hot to trot to send in the marines. A number of months ago McCain and Graham also wanted the United States to intervene in Syria and aid the rebels fighting president Bashar al-Assad. At the time, Islamic State, then going by the name, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, were fighting on the same side both these distinguished statesmen wanted us to commit American material resources and lives to.
Indeed, irony by any other name is still irony.
We know a few things. One of them is Islamic State is everything the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas wants to be, except they have more people, guns and, because of the incompetence of the Iraqi army, tanks. Two, a couple of bombs and one destroyed artillery piece isn't going to stop them. Three--and this lesson goes way back to the 1940's--unless you are willing to use nukes, air power alone won't defeat someone who is convinced his, or her cause is right. You can kill a lot of people from the air with conventional weapons, but the survivors really get pissed off. Just ask people everywhere from London to Hanoi.
Barack Obama can say he is against another war in Iraq. However, if we are going to really save religious minorities and the Kurds from the evil fucks running this monsterous pogrom, he knows. deep down, we are in for the long haul and--tragically-- many more American and Iraqi casualties can be expected in a place we should have never gone to in the first place.
sic vita est