It used to be believed that our foreign policy differences were supposed to end at the borders of our country. We’d have a debate at home but when the president decided the course we should follow especially when it came to war everyone fell in line. We were told that the differences in foreign policy among Americans in high political office were then muted. The reason for doing it was to show our enemy we were united in fighting against it.
That worked in WWII. The common home front didn’t exist in Vietnam or the Iraq war. There was much happening at home that could give the enemy encouragement. During Vietnam the opposition to the war was so great that some American journeyed to North Vietnam to show their support for it and others planted bombs here on the homeland. The enemy being encouraged hung on and chased us away.
In Iraq the enemy, Saddam Hussein was quickly vanquished. As opposition to that war increased, it made little difference because there was no force there that could take advantage of it. For a bit there was a radical Islamic force that gave us some trouble but it did not have the resources to defeat us.
We defeated them with the “Surge” – using the old British idea of paying someone to fight our enemy. The Sunni tribes took our money and turned on the Sunni radicals. While the payments continued, our triumph was assured. Once the money stopped flowing we now see we gained a Pyrrhic victory. Some of our former clients the Sunnis embittered by the ruling Shiites and lack of funding have joined a new enemy, ISIS.
Again we are going back to Iraq. This time we plan to do it differently. We’ve recognized that the immediate threat to Iraq is ISIS. It may be a vile and brutal force and a deadly threat to any American that ventures into its land and is captured but that is as far as its reach extends. It is not a real threat to America although some imagine it to be.
We’ve lost over 4,000 American lives and a trillion dollars giving the Iraqis a country free of Saddam Hussein (and free of Christians) and a well-equipped army. We’ve protect the Kurds who live there to the extent they have their own autonomous territory. Our president believes that it is time for these people, and others threatened by ISIS such as the Saudis and other Arab countries, to stand up and fight for themselves.
It’s their country and land. It is their freedom. They must be willing to sacrifice for that. We will give them unique and sophisticated military help which will probably cost us another billion dollars but they have to do the fighting.
There’s an old expression: “Let Charlie do it!” What it means is that if you don’t want to do something and someone else does then you’re happy to leave it to that person. Now of all the people in the world who are reluctant to fight for themselves the Arabs rank right at the top. They would always gladly have Charlie, or Uncle Sam Sucker, do it instead of them.
To get them to defend themselves they must know that they have to do it. There’s no one else who will. If they think there’s a Charlie or a Sam around, they’ll gladly sit back and watch.
Now telling a nation, or nations, that we will gladly help you in your fight but you also must help yourself seems to be something all Americans could agree upon. It is something every American would rally behind. Why must more Americans die for people who won’t defend themselves?
Others must know we’re not going to be the world’s sucker and fight everyone’s battles for them. Haven’t we already seen the dearth of gratitude from those people for our sacrifice? The Afghan president insults us, the Iraqi government cozies up with Iran and Syria. President Obama is trying to have them stand up and fight for themselves.
Then along comes Speaker John Boehner. It is amazing that a man so bereft of common sense is in that position. But the lure of national television is too much for some so on ABC last Sunday the following exchanges occurred. It is reported that Boehner was critical of Obama’s plan to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS. He said “If the goal is to destroy Isil as the president says it is, I don’t believe the strategy he outlines will accomplish it. At the end of the day I think it’s going to take more than airstrikes to drive them out – at some point somebody’s boots have to be on the ground, that’s the point.”
That’s Obama’s point also. Somebody’s boots have to be on the ground but not those of the American combat forces. We’ve had too many die for ingrates.
The article noted when Boehner was asked if the other countries won’t put their forces on the ground against ISIS what would he then recommend. He said: “We have no choice. They intend to kill us. These are barbarians, if we don’t destroy them first we are going to pay the price.”
Every Arab leader who watched or read about his interview will see that they don’t have to do anything. The Republican Speaker has already announced that he wants to put American troops onto the ground in Iraq and Syria. Now the Arabs may not be good fighters, but one thing they are not is stupid. They are all sitting back awaiting to be rescued.
What a fool! For the sake of making political points he’ll send more of our Americans youth off to die to defend people who won’t defend themselves. What a bonehead!