Just in case you had a sliver of hope that the US would avoid being drawn in to yet another Muslim sectarian bloodbath, we got the following news today:
Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that the Sunni militants seizing territory in Iraq had become such a threat that the United States might not wait for Iraqi politicians to form a new government before taking military action. “They do pose a threat,” Mr. Kerry said, referring to the fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “They cannot be given safe haven anywhere.”
“That’s why, again, I reiterate the president will not be hampered if he deems it necessary if the formation is not complete,” he added, referring to the Iraqi efforts to establish a new multisectarian government that bridges the deep divisions among the majority Shiites and minority Sunnis, Kurds and other smaller groups.
So we’ve gone from 300 military advisers and a new government before any military action … to a threat of potential airstrikes regardless in less than a week. When you think how long it took to ramp up the Vietnam disaster, that’s pretty damn quick. And check out what Kerry just said about ISIS: “they cannot be given safe haven anywhere.” That presumably means that their advance must not just be checked but reversed, a massive undertaking which is about as likely as a multi-sectarian democratic government in Baghdad.
From where I’m sitting, I see no way to achieve the ends John Kerry just outlined without a new war. And who will fight it? That shoe is the one that is yet to drop. My view: not a single American soldier, not a single cent, to build an Iraq that never existed and, at this point, never can. If Obama tries to do it, there has to be an insurrection from his supporters and from all sane Americans. If the Saudis and the Sunni states cannot rein in ISIS, then let the Iranians fight them.
As for the alleged danger to the West, let’s just remember one vital achievement in US foreign policy this past year:
The final stockpile of Syria’s chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Ahmet Uzumcu, the chief of the international watchdog organization, said the weapons were loaded Monday aboard the Danish ship Ark Futura and departed the Syrian port of Latakia. “A major landmark has been reached today,” Uzumcu said, qualifying that that meant all “declared” weapons were out of the country.
They will not be able to use WMDs, which renders the one percent doctrine moot. As for training Jihadis, that will go on, as it has gone on. Either we weather that threat, keep close tabs on it, maintain our intelligence advantage, and stay out of that hell-hole, or we decide we can’t risk anything and get sucked back into it. If Obama wants to find a middle ground, he’ll be the first Westerner ever to discover it in Iraq.
Today, we noted that Rand Paul is one of the few figures on the national scene able to resist the intervention beloved of liberal internationalists and neocons alike. I’d been concerned by his recent waffling. But he’s giving me a clear reason to vote for him if he keeps his non-interventionist nerve. Not-very-gay gays got to say their piece – and got hammered by readers. I reviewed “The Case Against 8” documentary premiering on HBO tonight. I pondered the endemic sectarianism of Iraq and the post-modern nihilism of the neocons (and their cable news bookers). And we highlighted some killer male Beyoncé wannabes.
The most popular post of the day was Saturday’s Mental Health Break – the Onion’s take on a dating website ad. Next up was an argument that Led Zeppelin is the most influential rock band of all time.
See you in the morning.
(Photo: Fans of Andy Murray queue outside before the start of day one of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on June 23, 2014 in London, England. Notice that it’s the Scottish flag being painted and not the British one. By Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)