In a small town in Pennsylvania, parents and friends of Americans killed in Iraq are joining the ranks of Cindy Sheehan and asking what possible reason could there be for the sacrifice of soldiers from their town in the war in Iraq?
They are reacting to the swift collapse of Northern Iraq in the face of aggression from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forces...attacks which resulted in Iraqi army personnel refusing to fight, running away, stripping off their uniforms and banging on doors begging for civilian clothes to disguise the fact they were in their own nation's army. These are the same Iraqis that American taxpayers spent billions training and equipping only to see them fold like a house of cards at the first sign of danger.
It would appear Americans died to set up a sham-democracy so corrupt and venal that Sunni citizens would rather be conquered by al Qaeda-like forces than be governed by the central authorities in Baghdad led by Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki.
Ironically, all of this was predicted by President George Herbert Walker Bush (Bush 41) when he rejected pleas by national security advisors like Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearl, Douglas Feith and politicians ranging from John McCain to Lindsay Graham to Mitch McConnell who all wanted him to keep American tanks rolling into Baghdad in the first gore in the Gulf. Bush famously proclaimed Saddam Hussein wasn't worth one more American life and added taking Baghdad would leave a power vacuum which America would have to fill to prevent civil war. Unfortunately for almost 5,000 American soldiers, those same voices were able to con Bush's son (Bush 43) into thinking he was wiser than his daddy and America could impose democracy in an area where Sunnis and Shiites had not shared power since 950 CE.
Now these same American parents and friends, who lost sons and daughters in a war to prevent Iran from controlling the entire region, face the prospect of America coordinating and cooperating with Iran to try and save Iraq. They have to watch as Iran increases its influence over Iraq, and at the same time props up the Assad government in Syria and attempts to control Lebanon, while pursuing a nuclear weapons program and yet might end up as an ally with America in an attempt to stabilize a nation on the brink. What? We are imposing crippling economic sanctions on Iran to force it to give up its nuclear ambitions yet now want, or have to beg? for their help? This is through the looking glass sort of stuff.
While Iraq is in crisis, in this country the same voices who got us into this situation...who cost America over $ 1 Trillion, 5,000 dead, hundreds of thousands wounded...who created a deeply divided nation which is now decisively isolationist...are at it again. John McCain wants airstrikes and boots on the ground now. Cheney attacks a weakened President Obama as Lindsey Graham accused the president of being soft on terrorism, all laying the current disaster, one of their creation, at Obama's feet.
Columnists in the Wall Street Journal are harkening back to the scare tactics of Vietnam creating a new "domino" theory which goes if Iraq falls there goes Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and eventually ISIS will be on the border with Texas.
A new poll says the majority of Americans disapprove of Obama's handling of foreign policy. So, are these Americans saying he shouldn't have ended our involvement in Iraq? Do they want a continued military presence in Afghanistan? Do these recently polled Americans want U.S. military forces introduced into the Syrian civil war and are they also in favor of a military strike and war with Iran? Aren't these the same Americans who tell pollsters America should fix problems at home and stop trying to be the world's cop and stay out of foreign adventures? House Speaker John Boehner accuses the President of napping while Mosul burns, but when asked what he would do differently, he runs for cover saying he doesn't have enough information to offer a solution. What? This is the mantra of all the regressives and the regressive corporate media...Obama is a weak-kneed sissy-boy, a modern Chamberlin presiding over a new Munich, but when confronted with questions about what the foreign policy of the GOP would be, the silence is deafening from most and positively frightening from McCain, Cheney and Graham among others who want to use a broken military and young Americans as cannon fodder to prop up a government in Iraq so hated and corrupt people would rather be conquered than continue to live under Maliki's oppression.
Maliki has been told unless he reforms his government...unless he includes Sunni officials in key positions...unless he stops persecuting minorities...unless he puts Sunnis and Kurds in top positions in the military, America will not act. So far he has refused to do any of it. Now, Obama is saying Maliki needs to go even though he was just re-elected. This is nuts. Iran is sending troops into Iraq to fight and diverting more from Syria while refusing to yield on its nuclear program. Should American military assistance be used to help Iran solidify its control over this Islamic crescent?
Critics of Obama want airstrikes in Iraq and the use of American Special Forces. (boots on the ground) They want America to arm "moderate" rebels in Syria even though no one can define what is a moderate and the so-called moderates in Syria can't fight any better than the Iraqi army.
To his credit, Obama refuses to be stampeded like Bush 41, and perhaps can avoid another disaster. He is actively listening to his constituents who tell him they oppose the use of military force in foreign adventures while at the same time knocking him for listening to them. America is schizophrenic right now on this subject and Obama knows it. Whatever he does it has to be measured and limited and not capable of drawing us back into the quicksand which is Baghdad.