Friday, August 8, 2014

Once More Into the Breach

Help the Peshmerga, Save the World
Annnnd, with that, American forces are once again in combat in Iraq. Unsurprisingly, there is much sturm und drang and gnashing of teeth over this development, but I'm quite a bit more sanguine than my fellow lefties.

First of all, my position on international humanitarian military intervention has been and remains consistent. When military forces armed with heavy weapons act to intentionally kill large numbers of civilians, it is the role of the so-called 'Civilized World' to bring superior firepower to bear to prevent the massacre and to deter any further intentional slaughters. War is bad enough, but events like Rwanda, Srebrenica and Misrata call for action. It's an imperfect solution, certainly, but far better than once again standing aside and shouting 'condemnations' as some third world strongman uses his air and artillery on cities full of helpless civilians.

Second, I'm not at all concerned about mission creep in this case. There's no way Obama is going to take the political heat for putting America back in an active combat role in Iraq beyond the small scale support for the Kurds against the ISIS madmen. Which could be problematic, because if it took a Ranger Batallion or a Marine Expeditionary Force to hold the line between Kurdistan and the Iraqi refugees and the marauding bands of 12th century sectarian murderers I'd be fine with that. And I'd still have no concerns about getting drawn back in to the larger Iraq conflict.

This battle is happening RIGHT NOW.  You ACT or once again you find you have done nothing and let horrific things - preventable horrific things - happen on your watch. This will be over by next week - either the Kurds will have a perimeter they can hold south of Erbil or they will have been overrun and the bloodletting will be well underway.

In the larger picture, outside of protecting the refugees and making certain there is a safe place for them to go, the US has no real interest in the IS Caliphate. This is ultimately a sectarian proxy war, with the Saudi/Wahabi led Sunnis seeking to eliminate the Persian/Iraqi led Shiites, and vice versa. There is no side, from al-Assad to Malicki to Khamenei to the House of Saud to the Egyptian Generals that the US should even consider supporting. The battle for supremacy in the Islamic world will grind on for years, and will get increasingly ugly as the real savagery comes out. All we can do is keep an eye on these Jihadi nutballs, especially the ones with US and European passports, and try to protect the people of the region from the worst of the hatred.

That will have to be enough.


  1. I don't see why we can't call for airstrikes on Fred Hiatt. File it under 'regime change'...

  2. Yeah, very sanguine myself. It's not as if any of this isn't the result of U.S./Bush bullshit anyway.

    Guessing we won't see any ground troops though.