At best, he has kick the can posing as a plan.
Remember 2007 and 2008?
When Barack used to slam those he felt were playing kick the can?
In August, he started bombing Iraq.
In a matter of weeks, even US military officials were publicly noting the Islamic State had adapted to the bombings.
But there was nothing else done.
Just more and more bombings that continue to this day.
Once upon a time, the White House would whisper to favored press members that, come February, the Iraqi military would retake Mosul.
That's been pushed back.
It will be years, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared last week, before Iraq's military is functional.
He also slammed the White House for what he saw as an insufficient effort.
What he wants -- and what some of the US military officials want -- is more US troops on the ground in Iraq.
The White House wants that too and demonstrated it by sending Secretary of State John Kerry to make the argument to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last December that any Congressional authorization for the use of force on/in Iraq must include Barack having the right to send US troops into Iraq for on the ground combat.
As we've noted for months now, despite insisting last June that the only answer for Iraq's various crises was a "political solution," Barack's done nothing on the diplomatic front.
Yes, John Kerry confuses himself with the Secretary of Defense.
That doesn't change the fact that Barack's refused to use the State Dept to aid diplomatic issues in Iraq.
Instead, his point-man Brett McGurk has been used to go around asking various countries to please send troops into Iraq.
Bombing was never a plan.
It stopped being effective long ago.
And all these months later, Barack has nothing to show for the billion-dollars-plus he's wasted bombing Iraq.
The press is starting to notice.
Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports:
Iraq’s vice-president for reconciliation, Iyad Allawi, said a lack of a political process between the Shias who dominate the country’s power base, and disenfranchised Sunnis was a “grave mistake” that could mean the air attacks end up achieving little.
“The whole strategy needs to be revisited and readdressed and the international allies should be part of this,” Allawi told the Guardian. “People are asking me what will come after Isis. What would be the destiny of [local] people? Are they going to be accused of supporting or defeating Isis? Would they be accused of being Ba’athists? It is going to be really difficult for them to engage without reconciliation.”
If the Islamic State was defeated tomorrow and run out of Iraq it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference.
Maybe it would.
Maybe it would highlight how the Islamic State was a symptom not a cause.
Maybe it would force the world to grasp that all their 'honorable' horror in recent months over the Islamic State was laughable considering how they looked the other way as the same terror tactics were used against the Sunnis by the Iraq government.
Nouri al-Maliki was forced off on Iraq by the Bully Boy Bush White House in 2006. Barack continued this practice in 2010 when Nouri's State of Law lost the election to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.
And during those two terms, Nouri and his goons went after one group after another.
Including the Yazidis, including the Christians, including the Jews, including the Mandeands, the Shabaks . . .
He went after the LGBTQ community as well.
He went after women.
He went after peaceful protesters.
No one was safe.
And the world press looked the other way. Some because they didn't care, some because they were happy to whore for a White House.
But Iraq suffered. The people suffered and we spent year after year noting how the US government had blocked the ballot box as a form of redress, how they had blocked efforts by the politicians to represent the people (most notoriously when Kurds, Sunnis and Shi'ites joined together in an effort to hold a vote-of-confidence in Parliament), when the peaceful protesters were attacked and killed and how this all ends: Violence.
When you take away the power of the people to be heard and represented, you leave them with nothing but violence.
Barack grasped that in June -- finally in June -- and began pulling his support away from Nouri al-Maliki.
But like a boy with a new toy (the military), he got distracted from the job that needed to be done.
Replacing Nouri presented a brief window where the Iraqi people could see a new Iraq possible.
All US efforts should have been focused on that.
Focused on a getting a budget passed, focused on stopping the government's executions (which focused on Sunnis, let's get honest), focused on correcting the so-called legal system in Iraq, stopping the ongoing Iraqi military bombing of Sunni residential neighborhoods in Falluja, etc.
And the US had what new prime minister Haider al-Abadi wanted -- weapons, technological support, etc.
It is basic diplomacy, basic trade, that you say, "You do this, we give you that."
This is not complicated -- unless maybe you're a politician who only had one term in the US Senate -- a term you didn't even finish, you were still wet behind the ears and unprepared to be president.
That is how Nouri was able to lead Barack around by a ring in his nose.
Barack never stood up to Nouri.
Following a few issues, he did what he does, turned his back.
Didn't take Nouri's calls (not even the congratulation call for Barack winning the 2012 election).
Haider was supposed to be a fresh start.
But Barack's done little to be firm with Haider either.
It's not too difficult to say, 'You stop bombing residential neighborhoods right now or we won't be giving you military support.'
That is, in fact, US law.
But it's too much for Barack.
Too much for John Kerry.
Too much for a worthless administration overseen by someone who apparently wanted the yearbook picture but didn't want to actually do the job.
Tim Arango and Omar al-Jawoshy (New York Times) report:
On any given day, Sunni women gather here in search of answers about their men, some of whom have been jailed for years.
“The Iraqi Army took my son in March of 2014,” said Tawfika Abbas. “Until now, I don’t know where he is. Zero information.”
Another woman, Entisar Gannos, cried for her four sons: one jailed since 2006, another since 2010, and the other two since 2011, all without court hearings.
Their grief, and the pain of not knowing what is happening to their loved ones, highlight a vital task for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi: reforming Iraq’s criminal justice system. Well-documented abuses of the system, including long detentions without trial and confessions obtained by torture, are the primary grievance of the country’s Sunni minority.
And rape. Don't forget rape.
Oh, wait, the world press did.
Sunni women and girls in Iraqi prisons and jails were raped and tortured.
This is among the issues that started protests in December of 2012. In real time, Layla Anwar (An Arab Woman Blues) explained the primary issues as follows:
Though she could identify the issues clearly in 2013 and the protesters could as well, all this time later, in 2015, the White House still doesn't know what the issues are?
They know what the issues are.
They just don't give a damn.
If you gave a damn, you'd be working on political solutions.
You'd be using diplomacy.
But the White House doesn't care -- that's very clear by their actions.
And the window for showing change has either closed or is about to.
I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name
The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4494.
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley and Cindy Sheehan updated:
Kat's "Kat's Korner: Put a DNR order on Madonna's Rebel Heart " went up earlier today. Isaiah's latest comic goes up after this.
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