Friday, June 13, 2014


There are no good options.

A weak, corrupt, sectarian central government is on the defensive against an Islamic army that is to the right of Al Qaeda. 

It’s the thousand-year-old Shia-Sunni war writ large, and it goes far beyond the Iraq border.

As the clamor grows for the U.S. to do something, there are no good options.

We can try to prop up Maliki and his thugs in Baghdad.  In the end this won’t make any difference.

We can bomb the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria if we can find it.  In the end this won’t make any difference.

We can worry that Iran will go to the aid of Maliki in a Shia alliance, but should that happen our worry won’t make any difference.

And of course the blame game is out in full force.

It’s Obama’s fault.  He shouldn’t have left Iraq on it’s own.  This is what happens when we don’t step in soon enough.  We are weak.  He doesn’t have a policy. 

We are the powerful giant who wrings his hands when problems arise and refuses to act.

All these blamers and military geniuses and political hacks who can safely sit around Washington while others fight their fight and pay the bills (that’s you and me) can go on TV and say, “See, you should have listened to me.”

The end result of all this turmoil, which will take a while, will be fundamental changes in the Middle East.  The borders put in place after World War I will go away.  Iraq will probably end up divided in thirds – Shia, Sunni and Kurd.  Syria will be carved up.  Saudi Arabia and Iran will be the big players representing their Sunni and Shia selves.  Anti-Americanism will find several homes in this mess and we won’t be able to do anything about it.

There are no good options.


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