Tuesday, August 12, 2014
A Perspective on Issues of our Time - August 11, 2014
By Bill Neinast
As Yogi Berra observed, “It’s like last week was deja-vu, all over again.” Every clip of President Obama commenting on the disaster in Iraq morphed into a picture of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s famous “Peace for Our Time” speech in 1936. That was just a few months before the beginning of WWII.
Most of Obama’s comments were accompanied with scenes of the thousands of the Yazidi religious minority surrounded on Mount Sinjar without food, shelter, or water by Islamist extremist threatening to annihilate them and all non-Muslim believers. That coverage morphed into the scenes of Jews being herded onto box cars in Germany while the rest of the world stood by and said, “Nothing will happen to them. They are just being relocated.”
These flash backs make me wonder if Obama and his principle advisors have ever looked past the cover of any history book. Neither he nor his past and present Secretaries of State and Defense seem to have any understanding of international relations or strategy.
There is an urgent need for the federal decision makers to forget about political correctness and recognize that right now, today, we are embroiled in a world war. This country and other non-Muslim countries are in the gun sights of Muslims around the world.
Some politicos steeped in political correctness are already crying, “Wait a minute!, isn’t lumping all Muslims together like what Hitler did to the Jews?”
Well yes and no. The carnage going on in Syria, Iraq, France (home to the largest Muslim population in Europe where the attacks on Jews is reminiscent of Krystallnacht in Nazi Germany), and Gaza/Israel plus the move for nuclear weapons in Iran are all in the hands of radical Muslims, Islamists, or Jihadists. The other Muslims simply sit idly by without a word of condemnation or speeches denouncing the Jihadists as not true Muslims.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria now controls more territory than some independent nations in the area. The insurgents controlling that territory designate themselves a Caliphate and vow to control all of Syria, Iraq, and much of the Middle East. Their avowed purpose is the elimination of Israel and much or most of the non-Muslim world, particularly America, the great Satan.
Those Muslims are well on the way toward their goal. The Caliphate is considered to be a safer and more productive haven for Jihadist than either Afghanistan or Pakistan. They are recruiting Sunni fighters from Iraq by the hundreds and there are indications that some Americans, Englishmen, and other westerners are making their way for Jihadist training to go back home and wreak havoc.
The only possible force to stop the rapid growth of the Caliphate is the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. They are standing and fighting while the regular Iraqi soldiers run and drop their weapons.
The Caliphate is winning the battle.
The Jihadists are fighting with modern American weapons they captured from the retreating Iraqis. The Kurds, however, are responding with the antiquated rifles and equipment left behind by the American forces when Obama jerked them out of the country without even an attempt to force Maliki into a Status of Force Agreement to keep some American boots on the ground.
The Kurds have been, and are, begging for American arms (not boots on the ground) to bolster the defense of their territory. Obama just turns a deaf ear. His excuse is that Kurds are Iraqis and should get arms from the stash that was left with their totally ineffective Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
An understanding of relatively modern history might have helped avoid some of the mire in which the country is now sinking.
That history involves our former enemies. Japan, Italy, and Germany share one thing other than having been allies against us in the 1940s.
The commonality is that almost three quarters of a century after WWII, substantial U.S. military forces are still based in the territory of our enemies. That military presence allowed our fallen enemies to pick themselves up, become our military allies, and become economic power houses of their areas.
Leaving an Army division or equivalent forces in Iraq to bolster their reconstruction might have kept ISIS confined to Syria without any hope of moving into neighboring territory.
Another history lesson might provide a path for a little help today. This is the story of the Berlin Blockade. In June, 1948, the Soviet Union blocked all land access to West Berlin. The purpose was for the Soviet Union to gain control over all of Berlin, which lay in its zone of occupation.
The U.S.’s and Great Britain’s response was the Berlin Airlift. The air forces of those countries flew over 200,000 flights in one year, providing up to 4700 tons of necessities daily, such as fuel and food, to the Berliners. Finally, on May 12, 1949, Moscow caved, lifted the blockade, and Berlin remained open and free, but divided between East and West, until reunification in 1989-1990.
So here’s the perspective.
We are currently facing a serious threat to our security. If the Caliphate takes over all of Syria and Iraq. the threat we previously faced from al Qaeda will look like sand box play.
Because of the fecklessness of our President, there is not much that can be done now to turn the tide.
Currently, the pin pricks of launching fighter planes off one air craft carrier are the equivalent of playing tennis without a racquet.
Applying the history lesson of the Berlin Airlift might help some. A continuous air lift of U.S. military equipment from Germany to the airport in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, could supply enough muscle for the Kurds to at least buy time.