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June 23, 2014

Bogeying Iraq

The metaphor has been ubiquitous: Nero fiddled while Rome burned, and Obama dithers while Iraq implodes. With their black flags flying, the Sunni terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, have overrun much of Iraq, leaving mass graves in their wake. President Obama has been busy with fundraisers and golf.

President Obama may be the first golfer in history to find himself simultaneously in two different sand traps. There is no easy wedging out of the bigger one, but at least he won’t have to rake away our footprints; that was done for him by those “on-the-run” extremists running straight for Baghdad in our Humvees.

Soccer balls are rolling in Brazil on ESPN, and heads are literally rolling in Iraq on CNN. Our billion dollar embassy may soon be under siege, and President Obama has promised no boots on the ground in Iraq. The military advisers he is now dispatching will presumably be wearing flip flops.

Set aside the lunacy of fighting over the rightful heir to a long-dead prophet. Set aside that the “country” of Iraq is a concoction doodled on a map by a handful of Europeans after World War I. Set aside the Bushworld dream of making Jeffersonian democrats of a diverse, tribal nation. Set aside the sketchy expectation of self-rule in a people raised on brutal dictatorship and no experience in the Rule of Law. Set aside that we merely shook the bottle and popped the cork, otherwise known as Saddam Hussein. Our troops served with honor and won their war.

But winning wars also means winning the peace. After blowing over a trillion dollars and killing almost five thousand Americans, not to mention the Iraqi suffering, we might have stopped to consider the fitness of the newly-installed leader. It was clear that Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki was no Nelson Mandela long before we bugged out.

We are still in Germany and South Korea, but the President and the Iraqis could not wait to get us out of Iraq. The President’s words and deeds are this country’s foreign policy, but in Obamaworld the world is what you want, not world that is. In Obamaworld, you draw “red lines” in disappearing ink and warn of “consequences” that never come. In Obamaworld, you glibly speak of world leaders that “must go” and of meaningless “pivots” and “resets.” You talk loudly and carry a noodle.

John McCain, who seemingly likes all wars, once advocated arming the Syrian rebels. Now that they have crossed into Iraq, he wants to fight them. Flush with loot from banks and military supply depots, they are now properly equipped. He should be pleased. All he has to do now is convince them to go back to Syria and fight Assad. While he is at it, he should also beg them not to smuggle any weapons into New York City, the place the leader of ISIS vowed to visit when we released him a few years ago.

It is said we now have shared interests with Iran. That is the country that floats on a sea of oil yet somehow needs nuclear power. That is the country that we have strengthened by killing its worst enemy, Saddam Hussein, and by scattering the Taliban in Afghanistan. Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism, its Quds Force killed our troops in Iraq, and it wants to wipe Israel off the map. We may now work with Iranian terrorists to kill other terrorists so that Iran can keep its own Crimea, otherwise known as Southeastern Iraq. Terrorists fighting terrorists might be too busy to build nukes.

Vice President Biden, whose career has been marked by being wrong about nearly every foreign policy question, once suggested the partition of Iraq. He was widely ridiculed, even by Iraqis, who are now busy partitioning Iraq. In turns out that people like to live with their own kind. Imagine that. Perhaps a better idea would have been to give every Iraqi citizen one share in the country’s oil revenue. Then everyone would have had a financial incentive not to torch the place.

When we elect a President, we are buying a sword in a scabbard. We don’t want it unsheathed unnecessarily, and we don’t want it wielded by a dreamer. We rely on the press to speak not of the beauty of the scabbard, but to reveal the character and the quality of the steel it hides. Only a fool buys a sword without examining it.

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