Barack Obama has a chance to be a hero.
With Republicans and hawks pushing him to do something in Iraq, he could go in front of the nation today and assertively say:
"It was you, Republicans, who got us into this war in Iraq to begin with, based on false assertions and flat out lies. So I will not listen to you now as you tell the American people that the US must again take military action in Iraq. Remember I was opposed to the Iraq war the first time and given the disaster that we see in Iraq today, I was right. So Senator McCain, William Kristol, and all you other "think tank" talking heads who are trying to create more carnage in Iraq, it’s time for you to crawl into your cubbyhole and keep your mouth shut. You got it wrong the first time and you’re getting it wrong again. As the leader of this country, I will not allow the US to make another mistake in Iraq."
If Obama said these things, 80% of America would give him a standing ovation.
The New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN would all applaud his leadership and American’s reputation around the world would greatly improve. His approval rating would shoot through the roof and it would mean that Obama’s constituency would feel emboldened and proud to be a member of the Democratic Party.
But it’s almost a certainty that Obama will not say this, or anything even remotely close to this, primarily for three reasons.
Firstly, Obama made himself an easy target of Republican critics who claim Iraq is a mess today because the US withdrew too soon. But the troop withdrawal from Iraq was signed into law by George W. Bush – Obama was simply carrying out the law that was in place before his inauguration. By wrongly taking credit for ending the Iraq war, Obama has put himself in a position where he cannot counter Republican criticism of a premature troop withdrawal.
Secondly, Democratic Party leadership would not allow Obama to make this brazen statement because their presumptive candidate for the 2016 presidential elections is Hillary Clinton who, as senator of New York, voted in favor of the Iraq war.
And lastly, because Obama and the Democrats (and Republicans) are imperialists who believe in US world domination, they can’t run the risk of losing control of their puppet government in Iraq by doing nothing.
Arming ISIS in Syria, bombing them in Iraq
So, it looks like the US will ultimately use aerial strikes (and undoubtedly, Special Forces and mercenaries) in Iraq against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) at the same time it is supplying them with lethal weapons in Syria.
This bears repeating. The US is arming ISIS in Syria and is now considering military action against them in neighboring Iraq.
“President Obama has crossed a moral red line. Recently, he did the unthinkable: He announced that the US government would directly arm terrorist groups in Syria,” wrote Jeffrey K. Tuhner in the Washington Times last September. “Mr. Obama said that he would waive a federal law designed to prevent weapons from being sent to designated-terrorist organizations. Mr. Obama’s actions may be legal, but they are reckless, dangerous and will haunt America for years to come,” warned Mr. Tuhner.
How prophetic his warning turned out to be. Obama’s decision to arm al-Qaeda related groups in Syria has come back to haunt him in Iraq.
And Washington added more fuel to the fire in Syria by announcing on June 6 that it would be sending “lethal aid” to the opposition there. National Security Advisor Susan Rice insisted that US weapons will only go to "vetted" opposition groups. No one really believes this, particularly with the porous Syria/Iraq border and Obama’s previous waiver of the law preventing the US from arming terrorist groups.
The only question is, how many of the lethal weapons Washington sent to Syria are now inside Iraq? Talk about blowback – weapons the US provided are being used to take down US puppet-partners in Iraq.
The US needs to accept responsibility instead of compounding its mistakes
Lindsay German of the Stop the War Coalition wrote, "Obama’s statement that he doesn’t rule out anything in dealing with the crises shows how little he recognizes the US and western responsibility for the chaos now spreading across the region." She continued with the statement, "the invasion and occupation destroyed the Iraq State totally – something not even done to Nazi German or Mussolini’s Italy at the end of the Second World War."
This ties in with Robert Fisk’s profound statement that the US "destroyed Saddam’s regime to make the world safe and declared that Iraq was part of a titanic battle against ‘Islamofacism.’ Well they lost."
It defies logic that the US is arming ISIS in Syria while at the same time could be bombing them in Iraq. But that is what it would be doing.
Didn’t George W. Bush say, or at least try to say, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”?
It’s time for America to remember his words. Though Washington will surely try to paint possible US airstrikes in Iraq as something less than another war, sending missiles into another country is war, and would be another unthinkable, tragic mistake by the US.
Chris Ernesto is cofounder of St. Pete for Peace, an antiwar organization in St. Petersburg, FL that has been active since 2003. Mr. Ernesto also created and manages OccupyArrests.com and USinAfrica.com.