Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 09/03/14 12:46
by Dave Mindeman
If the President looks around the country, he could get a lot of "great" (a loose term)commentary on the situation with ISIS....
Elizabeth Hasselbeck: "You look back to 2007 and the president alluded to the fact that he thought it would change the world once he was inaugurated, that he would be able to understand Muslims," Hasselbeck remarked. "And, therefore, crimes like this would not occur, and the world would be safer because he had understanding."
Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty: "In this case, you either have to convert them -- which I think would be next to impossible," Robertson said. "I'm not giving up on them, but I'm just saying either convert them or kill them. One or the other."
And, of course, Congress is always more than willing to offer opinions, its the action part that is a little bit of a problem. The Hawks are out in full force and, as usual, have all sorts of military solutions to offer.
But Obama is being deliberative and that is a good thing.
This problem with ISIS is a serious one. And we will need a course of action. But we also do not need knee jerk responses that have consequences out of our control. ISIS wants us to attack them. They want the US to come to them and fight on their terms. These beheadings are meant to illicit an emotional response from the American people. To retaliate in any way possible.
The American people want action as we so often do. Fix it now. Do something right now. Respond now.
But now has some problems. ISIS is being successful because Iraq is very close to a failed state. The religious factions are fighting each other. Do not trust each other....and cannot act with any kind of political will. In Syria, the same holds true. In order to fight ISIS in Syria, we would have to support Assad....side with a brutal dictator....a regime that has killed 10s of thousands of its own people.
Does that sound like a situation needing a quick response?
You conservatives can begin rolling your eyes, because I am going to blame a lot of this turmoil on George W. Bush. His doctrine of "spreading democracy" in the Middle East has been a failure from its inception. Our country is a stable and successful democracy, but we seem to forget how turbulent a beginning democracy can be. Our country survived because, at the time, we were protected by an ocean to the east and wilderness to the west. Even with those protections we were nearly wiped out in 1812.
The upheaval in the Middle East has brought some chaotic times. And when governments fail, anarchy and war ensue. And that allows controlling dictatorial regimes to fill the governmental vacuum.
When we brought down Iraq's brutal dictatorship, we were not prepared to follow through on how a new government would be formed. We opened up the factional differences and allowed them to fester into political corruption and sectional fighting. As other neighboring countries brought down their regimes, the leadership vacuum became broader and deeper and more vulnerable.
Our country had to stand by and watch for the most part because the Muslim world does not want our meddling....even though there are times when we could help with stability.
So here we are with nothing but bad options. Obama held off on bombing the Syrian regime over chemical weapons because they offered to destroy them on their own. The administration did not send enough weapons to the Syrian opposition because some of the factions were jihadists (like ISIS) and it would only mean our own weapons would be used against us....like ISIS is using Iraq's weaponry now.
Even our humanitarian efforts fail because there is no longer much of any governmental agencies to make it work on the ground.
John McCain and Diane Feinstein and Ted Cruz and Lindsay Graham can talk incessantly about military responses and tougher policies, but the region is quicksand and we are already mired too deep to escape. Anything we do seems to simply make it worse.
So Obama is taking a cautious approach. We should thank our lucky stars that he makes the final decision on where we go from here. He will not find a popular solution - that type of answer does not exist. But he can look for and nurture a broad coalition of participants willing to do a cooperative approach that can possibly take the oxygen away from this fire. It might look like he is doing nothing, but he is gathering opinions together and evaluating options. Finding something that can do the least harm in the short term and the long term.
McCain and Graham can bark and howl at the moon, but they have nothing of value to offer either. Obama has to ignore popular opinions and quick fixes.
He has to do what is in the best interest of the American people. That is his job.