To listen to Barack Obama say “I don’t think we’re losing” pertaining to Iraq is demonstrative of his fecklessness as a leader and grandly obtuse. Seeing him utter such bull Durham to the American people puts Obama on stage at the theatre of the absurd. Perhaps he should have just said “I don’t think.”
Having witnessed the fall of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province, a mere 70 miles west of Iraq’s national capital of Baghdad to the bloodthirsty savages calling themselves an Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), Obama cavalierly said, “it is a source of concern.” Never one to overstate a situation, there is no sense of urgency from the Obama administration as the quagmire in the Middle East becomes ever more perilous for Christians, Jews, and anyone not willing to kow-tow to ISIS.
Iraq is lost partly because of Obama’s ego. To think he knows more than the State Department or the generals who actually oversee the war/conflict – declared or undeclared, is part of his greater shortcomings – it’s all about him. Iraq is lost partly because of Obama’s legacy, which is akin to his ego. Wanting to end all wars/conflicts would be a giant gold star on his record, to be sure, but at what cost? The piper is now being paid as a too soon withdrawal of troops from Iraq is costing the lives of thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children.
President George W. Bush, on July 12, 2007 delivered some prophetic words during a White House news conference:
“I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we’re ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al-Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.”
Sadly, to a word, all of the above has come to fruition. Like Bush, dislike Bush, it matters not. What matters, is that Obama listened to no one and the death of Iraq and the good men, women, and children are on his head and narrow shoulders. Iraq, and for that matter, the internally strife-ridden Syria, could end up absorbed by Iran which would be catastrophic on a grand scale.
For it is not just Ramadi that has fallen. ISIS already controls 36,000 square miles of Syria – roughly the size of Great Britain – rich with gas and oil fields and a strategic bastion for the ISIS savages. Most recently, ISIS captured Palmyra replete with its 2000 year old Roman antiquities that are now in jeopardy. ISIS has a penchant for destroying historical items that serve them no purpose, just as they wantonly destroy as much humanity as possible. And back in Iraq, Mosul, the second largest city in the country, which fell in June 2014, as well as Fallujah, which fell in January 2014, are two major cities under ISIS control as are the locales of Al-Baghdadi, Baiji, and Tikrit. Mount Sinjar is also under ISIS control.
The United States cannot continue to play the game it is playing. First it is in, and then it is out, but without any rhyme or reason. It’s a deadly game of musical chairs as once the music stops and a chair is pulled away, no one knows who will fall next. Without a full commitment, it is too risky for American, or any foreign troops to attempt to ward off ISIS. ISIS is committed to fight to the death and they don’t care whose deaths are wrought.
On the other hand, retreating, or pulling out before the job is done, prior to achieving total victory, is called surrender. If that is not losing, I wonder what Barack Obama’s dictionary looks like.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.