September 16, 2014

The Non-War Against ISIL and the Diversionary Fight Against Ebola

While Obama assembles an unwilling coalition, he launches a major distraction.

Obama is putting “boots on the ground,” but in Africa, not the Middle East – more on that political diversion in a moment.

The international coalition the Obama administration is attempting to cobble together to take on ISIL is alarmingly pitiful. The reason is simple: This president has done everything possible to avoid making tough foreign policy decisions since he took office. Now, after years of downgrading America’s military, downplaying America’s necessary role in world affairs, and down-talking America’s exceptionalism, Barack Obama wants to be taken at his word that he will destroy this threat. Mr. Lead-From-Behind may be in for a rude awakening.

The strategy the administration has concocted for dealing with ISIL is clearly negligent. Though to be fair, Obama still had no strategy just two weeks ago. Last minute homework is bound to be filled with problems.

For starters, Obama’s plan centers on training and arming “moderate” Syrian rebels who have been fighting Bashar al-Assad. But there are no moderate Syrian rebels unless you’re grading on a curve. These fighters have been trained and supported by the likes of the radical Muslim Brotherhood based in Egypt. Should they ever win against Assad, they would likely turn Syria into an even more dangerous nation than it is now, motivated by the subjugation and murder of its citizens and exporting terrorism across the region, often directed at American targets. (See also: Libya.)

Another reason the Syrian rebels are no help is because they have reportedly signed a cease-fire agreement with the Islamic State. ISIL has been engaged in a number of battles across Syria and Iraq, looking to expand its territory. Essentially, they don’t care who they fight with as long as it adds land to their caliphate. But they have struck a deal with Syrian rebels to avoid conflict for the time being.

To further complicate this tragic comedy, Iran revealed a back-channel offer from the U.S. to join in the campaign against ISIL. Naturally, the world’s leading terrorist state refused. Is it possible that Secretary of State John Kerry actually reached out to the mullahs? Does he not realize that Iran is often pulling the strings? Iran supports both Sunni and Shiite terrorist groups that hold the U.S. as their prime target. It supports Assad in Syria, it sows chaos in Iraq, offers aid to anti-American fighters in Afghanistan – the list is almost without end. If Obama and Kerry want to treat Iran as a stabilizing influence in the region out of some misguided view that doing so will lead Iran into their so-called community of nations, it’s not going to happen. All that will come out of such behavior is Iran gaining hegemonic power to go along with its nuclear program.

Given the glaring ignorance at play, it’s no wonder the president can’t pull together a coalition. Kerry emphasizes this is not going to be a military invasion, but is asking countries to offer military support. Which is it? Obama steadfastly refuses to put boots on the ground (as if flying air missions over Iraq is not dangerous business), so we can’t possibly expect any other country to do the same. And how serious is any campaign that declares at the outset it will not use troops? The only European ally to offer support is France. Turkey refuses to allow its bases to be used for any airstrikes. And the several Arab nations that have pledged support have yet to indicate just exactly what kind of support they will offer and under what conditions. But White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest assures us, “[T]his coalition is coming together very nicely.”

Consider also how the Obama White House has been twisting itself in rhetorical knots trying to decide what exactly to call its campaign against ISIL. Obama went to great pains to avoid using the word “war” in his speech last Wednesday calling for the degradation and destruction of ISIL. When pressed by CBS’s Bob Schieffer about whether we are now at war, John Kerry said “war” is the wrong word to use. But as the flip-flopper is wont to do, he then offered this gem: “In terms of what we did in Iraq originally, this is not a war. … It’s not that kind of mobilization. But in terms of al-Qaida, which we have used the word war with, yeah, we’re at war with al-Qaida and its affiliates. And in the same context, if you want to use it, yes, we’re at war with ISIL in that sense.” Got that?

Would that make this part of the War on Terror? Well, according to State Department spokesman Marie Harf, that term is out of style. And National Security Advisor Susan Rice added to the linguistic gymnastics by pointing out that this “sustained counterterrorism campaign” would not be a war like Iraq and Afghanistan in that no American troops would be engaged in combat. That was a promise Obama made, and Rice, Kerry and members of the White House staff have repeated it ad nauseum.

In sum, the Obama White House doesn’t know who it is fighting, how to fight them, what to fight them with or even why the fight is needed.

What to do?

The heavy price our nation is paying for Barack Obama’s charade as CINC is now grossly evident, given that he squandered all the blood and treasure we expended in Iraq to establish republican government in the heart of Islam, and consequently, left a vacuum to be filled by the rise of ISIL. Now, desperately trying to retain his Senate majority in the upcoming midterm election, Obama is putting “boots on the ground” – to fight Ebola in West Africa – in a thinly-veiled attempt to recast himself as the “humanitarian president” in the rubble of his domestic and foreign policy failures.

Obama claims, “Faced with this outbreak, the world is looking to us, the United States, and it’s a responsibility that we embrace. It’s a potential threat to global security if these countries break down.” Meanwhile, there is a Middle East meltdown underway with far greater implications for “global security.” It is tragic that 2,500 people have died from Ebola, but where were the boots on the ground to stop the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Christians throughout Africa?

There is a clear and present national security bio-hazard threat to our homeland, and that is the potential for “Islamic bio-bombers” to enter the U.S. Meanwhile, the Obama Ebola deployment is a purely political diversion.

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