While the president and his administration are pointing fingers of blame at everyone and everything but themselves, let’s look at some ground truths.
- The Obama administration could have had a Status of Forces of Agreement in Iraq to protect our troops from being charged, arrested, and tried in Iraqi courts. All that is required is for us to leave a mobile Army Division augmented by its supporting logistical units, air support, selected combat teams, and Special Forces in a U.S.-controlled base strategically located in Iraq. Prime Minister al-Maliki was in no position to follow his Iranian guidance and refuse. We could have replaced him. Sometimes the development of a new democracy needs a little forceful guidance.
- When Obama pulled out all our troops, the training of the Iraqi Army with critical American combat support had reached a point where it could have defended Iraqi territory. Without American boots and eyes on the ground to detect and stop al-Maliki from critically weakening the Iraqi Army by replacing most Sunni and Kurdish officers with Shiite replacements, the Iraqi Army was no longer the force America trained. It had no chance against the ISIS invasion. al-Maliki’s leadership destroyed any faint hopes the Sunnis and Kurds had in sharing Iraq’s resources and having a real say in the governing of the country.
- The powerful Sunni tribes that fought with U.S. forces to destroy al-Qaeda in Iraq are not going to fight to defend a corrupt Shiite government in Baghdad. Many of these Sunnis joined ISIS as the better choice for them. Some of the Sunnis trained by American forces may well be fighting with ISIS now. They only thing we can offer them to change sides is the promise of their own Sunni nation with no ties to a Shiite government located somewhere south of Baghdad.
- The Kurds and their Peshmerga forces are good fighters. They will fight to the death to defend their people and their land. They will not defend the Shiite regime in Baghdad, no matter the name of the prime minister. For many decades, the Kurds have wanted control of their historical homeland. They have fought the Turks, Iranians, and Iraqis as far back as their oral history. American arms and supplies sent to the Kurds through Baghdad will never reach Kurdistan. Out of this chaos the Kurds are betting they have a good chance of winning their freedom. But they will need our help. Without assurances of a free Kurdistan, they will not fight ISIS forces very far from their own borders.
- Iran is the biggest danger in the region. Their intent is to development nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems. We don’t know when it will happen, only that it will. Probably during President Obama’s time in office. The mindset of the current Iranian Islamic autocracy is that when they have nuclear weapons, they will use them.
Here again, the president holds views that have no basis in reality. He even has a secretary of state who shares his view of peace through negotiations even when the other side only demands instead of negotiating. It is a one-sided negotiation. Iran doesn’t want ISIS on its doorstep but will not change its focus on the development of nuclear weapons. Iran does not want to be involved in a punishing ground war with ISIS. The Iraqi Shiites will be protected by Iran and become an Iranian puppet pseudo state.
- The Obama administration could have prevented the ISIS crisis if it had been more interested in the reality of foreign affairs rather than using inaction to create a make-believe, no-fault-of-Obama’a world. Inaction led to pulling all our troops out of Iraq and turning victory into defeat. Inaction led to the civil war in Syria from spreading into Iraq. Either the Obama Administration did not know or ignored indications al-Maliki was destroying the fabric of the Iraqi nation by cutting the Sunnis and the Kurds out of their share of oil revenue and a voice in the running of the national government, creating a fertile environment for ISIS forces.
- The rate of training 5,000 fighters a year in Saudi Arabia to serve as ground troops is not going to work. It creates the illusion of action but is not going to be effective. NATO countries and Sunni coalition members need to field a force of at least 20,000 combat troops, augmented by as many regional fighters as we can recruit, and declare all of Syria and Iraq as a no-fly zone for military aircraft. With the right approach the Sunni tribes we can cut them out of the ISIS recruitment pool and set up a Sunni government to rival ISIS. To do that, President Obama has to recognize the Baghdad government is over and to stop negotiating unimportant legalistic details with a government that will soon be fleeing south. He also needs to get over his anti-colonial hangups about the alleged misuse of America military power in foreign lands. It is not unusual to hear liberal Americans refer to our efforts in Iraq in the Bush years as the “occupation of Iraq.” This is the epitome of “hate America” thinking. We all deserve a better legacy than that espoused by progressives.
Written by the author of “Insights: Transforming America — Is This What We Fought For?” available now as an ebook, in paperback or hardcover on Amazon.com or BN.com. Follow the author on Twitter @factsfictions80. If you think this message is important, please share it.