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Thu Jul 10, 2014
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In Iraq we support borders drawn in the sand by European colonialist close to a century ago. Now we ask the only sane actor in the region, the Kurds with aspirations for independence such as was ours, to throw themselves back into the boiling cauldron of Iraq. What is it with our foreign policy in my baby boomer lifetime that fails our natural friends and bolsters reactionary forces that deny our revolutionary heritage and ultimately fail us?
The U. S. should recognize that Iraq is broken and that we can’t afford to own it. Our intervention did not produce an Iraqi Nelson Mandela willing to forgive and move forward with an enduring Sunni - Shia political union. Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s current leader, extinguished the very slight flame of trust in the torch of unity that our blood and treasure ignited at great cost. Iraq would now require that we quadruple our previous surge and make generations long commitment to stay the course of holding together disparate sects. Given that there is no such will, there is no purpose to ask the Kurds to self sacrifice senselessly. Contrary to Secretary of State Kerry’s statement “this moment requires statesmanship” when addressing the Kurdish president in Erbil last week the correct statesmanship it is not toward an Iraqi unity government but rather toward the independent state that they seek.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent and remorse free diatribe against President Obama’s conduct of foreign policy puts him back with King George III resisting our revolutionary forefathers. He does not distinguish between rebels, those working toward a sovereign state no matter how horrific such as the Taliban and now apparently ISIS - Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and terrorist, a band with no territorial agenda such as al-Qaeda. Cheney spearheaded the breaking of Iraq without considering the cost of owning it as advised by Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State. Now he appears blind to what he has wrought and is full of bluster striking out in all directions trying to talk the genie back in the lamp. The most rational course is to let the internecine battle between the two quarreling sects of Islam burn out unattended in Iraq and to support a Kurdish state as the oasis of stability.
Al-Assad’s, both father and son, held Syria, another artificial state drawn up by Europeans, with authoritarian treachery. Now ISIS is fracturing Syria as well. President Obama is wrong to fuel the fire in Syria with military aid, especially since those elements with democratic leanings lack the cohesiveness of the Kurds and are sure to be wiped out. He should settle on solely providing humanitarian assistance while the break up resolves into a new order.
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