When Barack Obama became President in 2009, he immediately set out to fulfill his campaign promise to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. By the time President Bush left office, the U.S. and its allies had achieved a de facto military victory over Iraq’s Islamist insurgents giving the Iraqi government a fighting chance to build a more stable country and effective government.
Unfortunately, this opportunity was squandered for a variety of reasons. A key reason from the U.S.’ standpoint, was the Obama Administration’s inability and unwillingness to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq which would exempt our military personnel from criminal prosecution by Iraqi authorities. In his haste to leave Iraq, Obama conveniently forgot that we needed a long-term military presence in that country to help train Iraqi forces and provide an insurance policy against a resurgence of Islamist terrorist forces capable of destroying our hard won gains and turning Iraq into a terrorist state.
From an Iraqi standpoint, a key reason for the deterioration in Baghdad’s security situation was Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s refusal to work toward a multi sectarian government to try and build Iraq’s natural resources and human capital potential into something the Middle East could look up to. al-Maliki, a Shiite Muslim, condoned the worst sectarian cronyism, cozied up to Iran, and alienated significant sectors of Iraqi society. This, coupled with the vicious civil war in neighboring Syria, created conditions conductive to the rise of the militantly vicious pan-Islamist Islamic State movement. The Islamic State, which aspires to recreate a mythical caliphate from early Islamic history, is well-armed and funded and occupies significant chunks of Iraqi and Syrian territory. It is so sadistic that it has been disowned by Al Qaeda. The Islamic State has targeted Christians and any other religious group not submitting to its demonic world view. If it is allowed to triumph, it will become a nation-state whose raison d’être is promoting Islamist terrorism, not only in the Middle East, but in multiple corners of the globe due to the participation in its ranks of Islamist ideologues from multiple countries including the U.S. For instance, the presence of Australian jihadis in Islamic State ranks, has prompted Canberra to enhance its security policies.
Reluctantly compelled to tentatively recognize the manifold failings of his Iraq policy, Barack Obama has initiated humanitarian air drops to refugees from the Islamic State’s advances and launched tentative pin prick strikes against this group. As of yet, it’s debatable whether these measured assaults have had any positive deterrent effect on the Islamic State. If Obama had true cojones, he would drastically accelerate the military aid we give the Kurds, so they can protect their homeland and keep it from falling to the Islamist barbarians. Obama needs to ramp up our aerial assaults to make them round the clock carpet bombings that will create a highway of death for the Islamist pigs. He should also publicly admit the abject failings of his policy of abandoning Iraq and bluntly tell Americans that we are morally and strategically responsible for Iraq’s fate and geopolitical security. He also needs to tell the world community that the Arab Spring fantasy is over and that we are in a decades long struggle against Islamist terrorism while also publicly stating that the Bush Administration’s policy of fighting Islamist terrorism in the Mideast instead of at home is a superior strategy.
The Iraqis also need to get their act together, quit their sectarian quarreling, and their military must develop the intestinal fortitude to professionally and effectively fight and defeat the Islamic State. The consequences of defeat are cataclysmic. A Islamic State controlling Iraq and Syria would mortally threaten countries as diverse as Israel, Jordan, Saudia Arabia and other Persian Gulf states, Lebanon, and Turkey. Even evil Iran is concerned about the Islamic State’s rise. The time for sentimental delusion, isolationist withdrawal, and denial about Islamist terror’s ugly reality is over. They cannot be negotiated with and the only way to defeat them is militarily destroying them.