Archive for Iraq

ISIS Update

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear—when Obama said he was going to kick ISIS’s ass.

Although ISIL calls itself the “Islamic State,” the President emphasized that the terrorist group is neither Islamic nor a state.

“ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim,” President Obama said. “And ISIL is certainly not a state. … It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates.”

Isn’t one of the most important rules of warfare to know your enemy? He sounds ignorant, willfully so, and even gets the name wrong. Oh well, maybe he makes up for it later.

“Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”

So how’s that working out for you (us? them?)?

Exclusive: ISIS Gaining Ground in Syria, Despite U.S. Strikes

American jets are pounding Syria. But ISIS is taking key terrain—and putting more and more people under its black banners.

ISIS continues to gain substantial ground in Syria, despite nearly 800 airstrikes in the American-led campaign to break its grip there.

At least one-third of the country’s territory is now under ISIS influence, with recent gains in rural areas that can serve as a conduit to major cities that the so-called Islamic State hopes to eventually claim as part of its caliphate. Meanwhile, the Islamic extremist group does not appear to have suffered any major ground losses since the strikes began. The result is a net ground gain for ISIS, according to information compiled by two groups with on-the-ground sources.

And then, in a classic example of military-sepak:

“Yes, they have gained some ground. But we have stopped their momentum,” one Pentagon official told The Daily Beast.

That’s a neat trick. How do you stop momentum as they gain ground?

ISIS’s gain is a loss for gays, Christians, women, children, pigeon-breeders, and anyone else I might have left out.

During a Jan. 6 press briefing, for example, when a reporter asked “where ISIS’s relative strength is right now,” Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby replied by talking exclusively about the U.S. effort in Iraq, naming cities were the military believed ISIS’s momentum has been “halted.”

When the reporter pressed for an answer on what was happening in Syria, Kirby struggled, saying, “I couldn’t give you a—a specific point at which, you know, we believe, well geez, we’ve halted their momentum. It—it’s come slowly, in various stages. But I think it’s safe to say that over the last three to four weeks, we—we’ve been confident that that momentum has largely been blunted.”

On Friday, Kirby proclaimed that ISIS had lost 700 square kilometers since the campaign began—over half the size of New York City or about four times the size of the District of Columbia. But the Pentagon spokesman could not say what percentage that area marked of total ISIS-controlled land. Nor could he say if that loss was in Iraq, Syria, or combined in both nations. As Kirby asserted: “I’m frankly not sure how relevant that is.”

But Obama said:

“I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

Sorry, Syrians, but if you thought you could keep your country if you liked it, you’re as big a bunch of saps as we are.

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Grim Milestone Watch

Where are the protests? Why isn’t The Lancet publishing wildly-inflated figures? A more cynical person might suspect the Left of partisan hypocrisy.

Violence in Iraq killed at least 12,282 civilians last year, the deadliest since the sectarian strife of 2007, United Nations officials said.

“Yet again, the Iraqi ordinary citizen continues to suffer from violence and terrorism…. This is a very sad state of affairs,” Nickolay Mladenov, head of the U.N. political mission in Iraq, said in a statement.

Officials cautioned that “the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.” The U.N. said violence injured 23,126 Iraqi civilians in 2014.

In 2013, the U.N. reported 7,818 Iraqi civilians killed.

I guess dead civilians count only in Republican administrations.

It’s not that I think cynicism is a healthy state of mind. I don’t see another choice. Not without mind-altering drugs.

PS: Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the state of affairs in Darfur.

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Whac-a-Mullah

Blow him away here, he pops up there!

Islamic State has released an audiotape it says was recorded by its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, days after reports that he had been killed or injured.

In the recording, released via social media, the speaker says IS fighters will never stop fighting “even if only one soldier remains”.

Correspondents say the recording appears authentic and recent.

BBC analysts say the message is probably also intended to counter the claim that Baghdadi has been killed.

The IS leader was said to have been caught in a US-led air strike near the Iraqi city of Mosul last week.

Thursday’s 17-minute recording makes no direct reference to that air strike, but does mention some developments that have occurred since then.

He said he didn’t believe that space probe landed safely on Kim Kardashian’s heinie. The gravitational pull of that massive orb would have led to an inevitable crash.

Take one win out of the US column, one claim that the air war is working. Al-Baghdadi’s would have been a very good scalp to claim, but we missed. Better luck next time.

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OUT: Boots on the Ground, IN: Choppers in the Sand

Oh [bleep]:

The U.S. military is flying Apache helicopters against Islamic State rebels in Iraq for the first time, exposing U.S. troops to greater risk from ground fire as they help Iraqi forces battle the Islamist group that has overrun parts of the country.

U.S. troops flew helicopters against Islamic State fighters on Sunday and again on Monday as they struck at mortar teams and other units near Fallujah, said a spokesman for Central Command, which is responsible for U.S. forces in the Middle East.

“This was the first time rotary wing aircraft were used in coordination with and in support of ISF (Iraqi Security Force) operations,” Army Major Curtis Kellogg said in an email. “The Iraqi government asked for support with this capability near Fallujah to push back (Islamic State).”

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the helicopters that were used were Apache attack helicopters.

Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for a New American Security think tank, said the military’s decision to use Apaches “demonstrates that they’ve only achieved limited results with the air strikes from fighters and bombers and drones.”

Christopher Harmer, a former Navy aviator who is an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War think tank, said it was a significant escalation in the level of risk being taken by U.S. troops assisting the Iraqi military.

“Fixed-wing aircraft flying at 30,000 feet (9,000 meters) are completely immune from the type of weapons that Islamic State fighters have, but a helicopter is not,” Harmer said.

“When you’re flying a helicopter 150 feet (50 meters) above the ground, that helicopter can be shot with a rocket-propelled grenade or a heavy machine gun … so, yes, it is much more dangerous,” he added.

Obama channeling his inner Jimmy Carter.

Or his inner Bill Clinton:

What will we call the movie of this disaster, Black Chickenhawk Down? Obama swore that he wouldn’t put boots on the ground against ISIS. Chopper pilots will be issued Nike sneakers before every mission.

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Losing Our Heads

We’ve got ISIS desperate and on the run!

As it has lost battleground in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State group has ramped up its propaganda campaign by beheading hostages.

U.S. officials call it a sign of weakness that shows the militants are trying to use whatever they can to maintain support and inspire recruits, even as the group suffers military setbacks in its push to create a religious empire across the two countries.

Uh, no we don’t:

Islamic State militants have taken control of key cities in Iraq’s western province of Anbar and have begun to besiege one of the country’s largest military bases in a weeklong offensive that’s brought them within artillery range of Baghdad.

The Islamic State and its tribal allies have dominated Anbar since a surprise offensive last December, but this week’s push was particularly worrisome, because for the first time this year Islamist insurgents were reported to have become a major presence in Abu Ghraib, the last Anbar town on the outskirts of the capital.

“Daash is openly operating inside Abu Ghraib,” according to an Iraqi soldier, who used a common Arabic term for the Islamic State. “I was at the 10th Division base there two days ago, and the soldiers cannot leave or patrol,” he said, asking that he be identified only as Hossam because Iraqi soldiers are barred from speaking with foreign reporters. “Daash controls the streets.”

Hundreds of miles to the west, Islamic State forces continued their push into the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane, where it appeared unlikely that Turkey would intervene to stop the advance. Kurdish officials from the town said the Turkish government had yet to respond to their pleas for weapons, and reports from the Turkish-Syrian border said there was no evidence Turkey was preparing to take action.

Hossam, whom a McClatchy special correspondent interviewed in Baghdad, said he’d had a difficult time leaving Abu Ghraib for Baghdad to mark the Eid al Adha holiday Saturday. “I had to use a fake ID card that said I was Sunni,” he said, reflecting the concern among Shiite Muslim Iraqi soldiers about the Islamic State’s execution of Shiites it’s captured. “Daash controls the entire area except the army bases and prisons. They’re just a few (miles) from Baghdad.”

With weakness like that, who needs strength?

Without “boots on the ground”, we can know very little of what’s going on. The Obama regime may know more than it’s letting on, but I wouldn’t believe a word they said even if they were reading from the Bible.

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He Changed His Nonexistent Mind

Everyone’s a critic:

The Obama administration said on Monday that it has accepted from the Iraqi government the same sort of immunity agreement for newly dispatched Special Operations troops that it refused to accept in 2011, when it opted to withdraw all American troops from Iraq rather than keep a residual force behind.

Iraq’s government provided assurances in a diplomatic note that American troops being sent to help combat a growing Islamist insurgency will be exempt from Iraqi law, officials said Monday. But in 2011, American military lawyers deemed such assurances insufficient and insisted troops stay only if legal immunity was approved by the Iraqi Parliament.

By accepting the same sort of deal he turned down nearly three years ago, President Obama opened himself to further questions about whether he made the right decision to pull out all American troops at the end of 2011, a decision drawing fresh criticism in light of the rapid advances of Islamist extremists now threatening Baghdad.

Yeah, well, so?

Islamic State militants have carried out mass executions, abducted girls as sex slaves and used child soldiers in what may amount to systematic war crimes in Iraq that demand prosecution, the UN said today.

It said ISIS fighters had committed gross human rights violations of an ‘increasing sectarian nature’ against groups including Christians, Yazidis and Shi’ite Muslims in a widening conflict that has forced 1.8 million Iraqis to flee their homes.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said: ‘The array of violations and abuses perpetrated by ISIL and associated armed groups is staggering, and many of their acts may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity.’

The report said the ISIS atrocities ‘include attacks directly targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, executions and other targeted killings of civilians, abductions, rape and other forms of sexual and physical violence perpetrated against women and children, forced recruitment of children, destruction or desecration of places of religious or cultural significance, wanton destruction and looting of property, and denial of fundamental freedoms.’

In a single massacre on June 12, about 1,500 Iraqi soldiers and security officers from the former U.S. Camp Speicher military base in Salahuddin province were captured and killed by Islamic State fighters, according to the 29-page report by the UN Human Rights Office and the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Women have been treated particularly harshly, the report said: ‘ISIL (has) attacked and killed female doctors, lawyers, among other professionals.’

In August, it said, ISIS took 450-500 women and girls to the Tal Afar citadel in Iraq’s Nineveh region where ‘150 unmarried girls and women, predominantly from the Yazidi and Christian communities, were reportedly transported to Syria, either to be given to ISIS fighters as a reward or to be sold as sex slaves’.

I asked yesterday how many had died from Obama’s unconditional surrender of Iraq and Syria. We’re getting closer to the answer.

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Grim Milestone Watch

Boy, it’s been a while since we had one of these.

Good times:

The United Nations said Wednesday that at least 1,119 Iraqis died in violence in September but that the real figure was likely much higher since the reported death toll did not include killings in areas controlled by the Islamic State group.

So, the 1,119 dead Iraqis are only those killed by non-ISIS forces. Well, that sucks.

Iraq has been facing an unprecedented crisis — the worst since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011 — after the Sunni extremist group seized a third of the country in a lightning offensive over the summer.

Bush’s invasion of Iraq led to many deaths, American and Iraqi. Can’t the same be said of Obama’s surrender—at least of Iraqis? I realize no number of Iraqi deaths justifies one American death, but we had Iraq won. They had an ineffectual army, crooked politicians, sectarian violence—all you need for a modern Arab state. And Obama pi**ed it away.

The August death toll stood at 1,420. In June, 2,400 were killed as the Islamic State fighters launched their blitz. It was the highest figure since at least April 2005.

Silly me! If I had only read further, I would have noted that 1,119 is a marked improvement. My apologies. Carry on.

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Why Boots on the Ground Matter [UPATED]

Because boots on the ground lead to heads on the ground:

[N]ew details emerged about the killing of up to 300 Iraqi soldiers in Iraq’s western Anbar province after ISIS fighters overran the base near Falluja this week.

A handful of survivors who escaped from Saqlawiyah, which had been under siege for a week, accused the Iraqi government of failing to respond to pleas for help in the days leading up to Monday’s final ISIS assault on the base.

One soldier recounted in a video posted to YouTube how he and his comrades battled the fighters for hours before starting to run out of ammunition and then being shot by a sniper.

“I called the commander … for support, but no one responded,” he said.

While CNN cannot confirm the authenticity of the claims in the video, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered an investigation into what happened and why the soldiers were left to fend for themselves.

At least 113 soldiers were killed and another 78 are missing, according to Iraqi security officials.

The report has raised questions about whether the Iraqi military can defeat ISIS on the ground even with help from the United States and its allies in the air.

Yeah, but we bombed oil terminals! KABOOM! (Well, Arabs did.)

Choke on that, you ISIL dogs!

ISIS has likely dispersed much of its command-and-control capabilities in Syria, and leaders are now “mixed in with the civilian population,” Mansoor said.

“So it’s unlikely these airstrikes have crippled ISIS,” he said. “As the President has said, it’s going to be a long campaign, and it will be months — perhaps years — before ISIS is dealt a serious blow absent any sort of ground force to go in and root them out on the ground.”

Hush your mouth! Not one Doc Marten, not one Ugg shall trod upon Iraqi soil (sand).

“We cannot confirm any particular leadership that might have been killed in any of these strikes,” Kirby said Wednesday.

And as far as how many ISIS militants have been killed, “we don’t know that, either,” Kirby said.

So what? We’ve got optics! KERBLOOEY!

I don’t know about ISIS, but this “war theater” leaves me feeling pretty degraded.

UPDATE
Israel should condemn this:

Syrians are blaming the US military for the deaths of civilians.

Opposition activists say the US was responsible for hitting a residential building not far from a known headquarters of Syria’s al-Qaeda branch, the Nusra front.

They say 11 people, including four children, were killed – a claim Al Jazeera cannot verify.

Israel had the balls to put boots on the ground, in part to avoid this very thing. Obama has only a couple of Noodles where his balls ought to be.

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Read His Lips

Let him be clear:

Speaking at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, after visiting U.S. Central Command, Obama told troops: “I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.”

-ish:

But shortly afterward, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest clarified that Dempsey was talking about the possible need to put U.S. troops already in Iraq into “forward-deployed positions with Iraqi troops.”

Earnest said that step has not yet been necessary, but if Dempsey asks to “forward deploy” American advisers, “the president said he would consider it on a case-by-case basis.”

He said, in that scenario, U.S. troops “would be providing tactical advice to Iraqi security forces” or be in position to call in airstrikes.

“They would not have a combat role. They would not be personally or directly engaging the enemy,” Earnest stressed.

Uh-huh. And if the enemy engages them? What then?

The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing Sept. 16 about the U.S. policy to combat the Islamic State featuring testimony from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey. Here is Dempsey’s statement.

“To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President.”

Barack Obama thinks he’s a better general than his generals.

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Don’t Mention the War! [UPDATED] [TWICE!]

Just so everybody understands: we aim to “destroy” ISIS, not go to war with it.

Got it?

“What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation,” Kerry said on Thursday. “It’s going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it’s a major counter-terrorism operation that will have many different moving parts.”

In a separate interview with CBS News State Department Correspondent Margaret Brennan, Kerry said “war is the wrong terminology” to describe U.S. operations against ISIS.

“We’re engaged in a major counterterrorism operation, and it’s going to be a long-term counterterrorism operation. I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy but the fact is that we are engaged in a very significant global effort to curb terrorist activity,” Kerry said.

We can all agree that that is patently absurd, right? No need for further discussion? Good.

If I had to guess, such equivocation is in line with Obama’s left-foot-in-left-foot-out strategy:

Quoting two U.S. military officials, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said “that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants.”

In a nationally-televised speech on Wednesday evening, President Obama repeatedly emphasized that U.S. forces will not have a combat role in Iraq. “We will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq,” the president said. He specifically underscored that “this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” and will resemble U.S. counterterrorism campaigns in Yemen and Somalia.

Austin’s predecessor, Marine Gen. James Mattis, told the Washington Post that the president’s decision may place the mission at risk. “The American people will once again see us in a war that doesn’t seem to be making progress,” Mattis told the paper. “You’re giving the enemy the initiative for a longer period.”

You may understand war, General, but you’re a but you’re a buck private at politics. You can’t wrap yourself in the Not Bush Cloak for six years, and then slough it off to reveal yourself as the drawling Texan himself. Soldiers and American people be damned, he’d rather lose as Obama than win as Bush.

PS: Oh wait. There’s an even more obvious (and absurd) reason John Kerry won’t call it a war. They’d have to get Congress’s permisssion. Which is also what Bush did. Can’t have that.

UPDATE: To war! To war! Fredonia’s going to war!

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Friday during his daily press briefing that the battle against ISIS now mirrors the ongoing War on Terror closely enough to use the ‘W’ word.

‘The fact is ISIL has indicated that they’re ready to go to war against the world,’ Earnest said, ‘and this president – as is expected of American presidents – is stepping up to lead an international coalition to confront that threat and to deny ISIL a safe haven. And ultimately this international coalition will be responsible for degrading and destroying ISIL.’

‘So I think what you could conclude from this is the United States is at war with ISIL in the same way we are at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates all around the globe.’

Of course you know, this means war.

UPPERDATE

Or does it?

BLITZER: It sounds like a war to me. Is it fair to call it a war?

[SUSAN] RICE: Well, Wolf, I don’t know whether you want to call it a war or a sustained counterterrorism campaign or — I think, frankly, this is a counterterrorism operation that will take time. It will be sustained. We will not have American combat forces on the ground fighting, as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is what I think the American people think of when they think of a war.

So I think this is very different from that.

Be as Earnest as you like, Josh, you wouldn’t know war if it bit you in the ass. I just hope this isn’t literally the Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Sraight.

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My Strategy

If Obama’s “Strategy” against the ISLAMIC State is to be not-Bush, maybe I can articulate mine as being not-insane.

Like telling ISIS “Don’t worry about boots on the grounds, jihadis. Ain’t gonna happen.” I’d keep that to myself.

This fellow has his own objections:

The problem is that the strategy — to provide logistical support for Iraqi forces, limited air strikes, and a strong Free Syrian Army — is a foolish strategy that is unlikely to succeed.

The president’s strategy calls for U.S. air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria in support of Iraqi army forces and the Free Syrian Army rebels who are fighting the Islamic State on the ground. Obama made it clear that the U.S. military commitment will be limited to air strikes, as he will not order U.S. ground forces into either Iraq or Syria.

Instead of ground forces, however, the president said that the United States will increase training and logistical support for those armies on the ground, but herein lies a critical flaw: The Iraqis have not proven to be a reliable partner in the war on terrorism. And this, despite ten years of U.S. military training and equipment provided by the United States.

In Iraq, the Islamic State has swept Iraqi forces in a number of recent engagements, with many Iraqi units simply abandoning their posts and refusing to fight. This problem is not one that can be solved through additional training. Even with the added power and confidence-boost of air strikes, a root issue is sectarianism. On a number of occasions, the Iraqi army failed to fight the Islamic State not simply because of bad officers and cowardice: Sunni units simply did not want to fight fellow Sunnis, even if they were extremists.

Okay, so after Obama abandoned Iraq, their military resolve suffered a tad. But in Syria, they don’t care whom they fight as long as they fight. Surely, they can be counted on.

Don’t call me Shirley:

In Syria, our other alleged ally, the Free Syrian Army, is fighting not only the Islamic State, but the Syrian army. And here’s a problem with arming them: It is strictly against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s interest to allow the Free Syrian Army to become strong enough even to challenge the Islamic State, because that would also increase the risk to his regime.

Given the ruthlessness of his previous moves, it is likely that Assad will continue to order military attacks against the Free Syrian Army rebels at the same time that the United States is trying to build up the capacity of the Free Syrian Army to serve as the ground force component of the Syrian campaign of Obama’s new strategy. And under those conditions, it will be very difficult for the Free Syrian Army to succeed. This obstacle could require the United States to further expand its mission to include attacking the Syrian army in order to allow the Free Syrian Army to combat the Islamic State.

Well, that sounds like a cluster.

But let’s not be unnecessarily critical. Go ahead and blast ISIS from the sky, Mr. President. Light ‘em up. We’ll just hold you to what you said (unlike the press).

PS: The “no boots on the ground” promise was not meant to assure ISIS, but the Democrat moonbat base. If one can tell the difference.

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Hope and Change

Well, change anyway.

President Obama, September 3rd:

“We can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem.”

President Obama, September 5th:

“You can’t contain an organization that is running roughshod through that much territory, causing that much havoc, displacing that many people, killing that many innocents, enslaving that many women. The goal has to be to dismantle them.”

“Dismantle” is a little closer to “gates of hell” than “manageable” is, for which much thanks. But he needed David Cameron’s balls to get even that far.

I happened to hear the week-in-review roundtable on NPR’s On Point this morning. The Atlantic’s former editor, Jack Beatty, a five-star general among Obama apologists, first tried to paint Russia’s invasion as merely “exerting power on its border”. Tell that to Crimea. Tell that to Donetsk. David Ignatius chimed in that Putin’s territorial gain came at great cost: a hostile government in Kiev, a united Europe against him. He claimed Putin was playing a weak hand. Tell that to Putin. This sounds like the same tone deaf talk that appeased Hitler. Not one person mentioned Obama’s Chamberlain-esque pose.

When talk turned to the Middle East, Beatty got his second wind. He quoted an administration source as saying that “avoiding another Iraq is his guiding principle”. Beatty followed with “it seems to me that’s also the guiding principle of the American people…. We don’t want this.”

Don’t we? Of course we don’t, if you put it in those terms. Who wants “another Iraq”? But do we want our reporters getting their heads chopped off (other than the 75-80 we could all agree on)? Do we want to see their unrivaled savagery (too savage for Al Qaeda) rip asunder whole countries and regions? Do we want what’s happening over there to be happening over here?

No wonder Obama looks uncertain, Beatty declared, uncertainty is the reality. That’s one way of looking at it.

Another way is that you can’t run your affairs by trying to be different from the other guy. Avoiding “another Iraq” is a dog whistle for George Bush; so is “don’t do stupid stuff”. But the world Bush had to deal with, for better or worse, is five and a half years in the past, an eternity. Most of his big decisions are a decade old by now. Facing today’s realities with policies based on rejecting the previous president’s policies is almost too idiotic to write, let alone implement. And now that Obama is in Bush’s shoes (several sizes too big for him), he should have the decency and maturity to acknowledge that maybe he sees things a little differently.

Lastly, ISIS is not really “another Iraq”, but Iraq II:

On the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, a 36-year-old Jordanian who called himself “the Stranger” slipped into the suburbs of Baghdad armed with a few weapons, bags of cash and an audacious plan for starting a war he hoped would unite Sunni Muslims across the Middle East.

The tattooed ex-convict and high school dropout had few followers and scant ties to the local population. Yet, the Stranger — soon to be known widely as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — quickly rallied thousands of Iraqis and foreign fighters to his cause. He launched spectacular suicide bombings and gruesome executions targeting Americans, Shiites and others he saw as obstacles to his vision for a Sunni caliphate stretching from Syria to the Persian Gulf.

Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2006, but the organization he founded is again on the march. In just a week, his group — formerly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq and now called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS — has seized cities and towns across western and northern Iraq at a pace that might have astonished Zarqawi himself. Already in control of large swaths of eastern Syria, the group’s black-clad warriors appear to have taken a leap toward realizing Zarqawi’s dream of an extremist Sunni enclave across the region.

The mission is still not “accomplished”, President Obama. It’s been your responsibility since you took the oath of office.

No fair leaving it for the next guy:

“This, as the President has said, is going to have to be a sustained effort. … It’s going to take time, and it will probably go beyond even this administration to get to the point of defeat.”

Do your effing job.

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