10 August 2014

Success in Iraq

When President Obama recently authorized airstrikes against the ISIS (or "Islamic State", as they are now calling themselves) forces in northern Iraq, the move was reflexively condemned by those on both left and right who don't understand a damn thing about the details of the situation in Iraq, but just mindlessly reacted to the prospect of "getting back into" that disintegrating country.

Here are the relevant details.  ISIS/Islamic State forces, extremist Sunni Muslim fanatics who have already committed atrocities against Christians and Shiite Muslims in the areas they control, recently captured the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, whose population was mostly Yazidis.  The Yazidis are a small Kurdish-speaking group who practice a secretive religion which is mostly derived from Zoroastrianism, but which many Muslims consider a form of devil-worship.

ISIS/Islamic State had openly declared its intention to wipe out the Yazidis, so most of the population of Sinjar fled to a nearby highland where they have been exposed to the roasting heat of an Iraqi summer, without shelter or water.  Almost immediately the weak, the elderly, and small children began dying.  ISIS/Islamic State was relentless, killing all the Yazidis they could catch, except for several hundred women whom they seized alive for purposes unknown but perhaps easily guessed.  The situation had all the signs of an imminent genocide.

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters set out to reach the Yazidi refugees and rescue them, but could not make headway against the ISIS/Islamic State forces controlling the surrounding area.  Obama authorized American airstrikes against ISIS/Islamic State positions to weaken them and facilitate the advance of the Peshmerga.  No American forces on the ground were even considered.

It worked.  The Peshmerga have now forced the fanatics back and opened the way for the Yazidi refugees to escape.

Rather than just throw up his hands and dismiss the situation as an incomprehensible mess, as too many bloggers do when it comes to the Middle East, Obama analyzed the situation, set a goal, chose a tactic appropriate to achieving it, and ordered our forces into action.  The tactic worked, the goal was achieved, and he helped save the lives of about five thousand people, without a single American soldier being put at risk on the ground.  This is what can be done when American power is guided by informed intelligence instead of blind rah-rah arrogance that would rather just blow everything up than take the trouble to understand it.

And spare a thought, too, for the Peshmerga, the men who did do the hard and dangerous work of fighting on the ground to save members of a despised minority.  The word Peshmerga translates as "those who face death".  They do.


Blogger Green Eagle said...

And of course, since smearing Obama is far more important to the right than anything else on earth, here is prominent religious right spokesman Bryan Fischer:

"Bryan Fischer Agrees With ISIS That Yazidis Are Devil Worshipers And That's Why Obama Defends Them"


It just never ends.

10 August, 2014 08:38  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Green: Holy shit. I thought I'd thought of everything these nutjobs might come up with, but that one never occurred to me.

10 August, 2014 10:11  
Blogger Blurber said...

Since you know more about this subject that most of us I am wondering if you have heard of any condemnation by clerics, mullahs, etc., anywhere in the world, of the atrocities committed by ISIS.

12 August, 2014 10:07  
Blogger Tommykey said...

It's rather interesting how conservatives are suddenly showing concern for Iraqi Christians when they were largely silent during the Bush years when Iraqi Christians were fleeing the country in droves when we had some 130,000 plus soldiers there. in the years after the invasion and occupation of Iraq, I would ask conservatives why they would get bent out of shape over someone saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas but didn't seem to give a rats ass about the persecution of Iraqi Christians. But now that the MuslimKenyanNaziAtheist is president, suddenly we're supposed to launch a crusade in Mesopotamia to help them.

12 August, 2014 18:15  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Blurber: That's an interesting point, and actually, I haven't -- and I read Al-Jazeera pretty regularly, which could be expected to cover such reactions. Christian leaders like the Pope have condemned the ISIS persecution of Christians, but I have not heard of Sunni Muslim clerics condemning the atrocities of ISIS who are, after all, Sunni extremists. Maybe they're too busy condemning Israel for defending itself against Hamas. Interestingly, a lot of Sunni clerics did condemn the leader of ISIS when he claimed the title of Caliph for himself. That, at least, upset them enough to make them speak out.

No one except the US and British governments, and of course the Kurds, seems to have taken much of a stand against the persecution of the Yezidis, who have suffered the worst atrocities of all (captured civilians including children being buried alive, for example).

If any other readers have heard of any Sunni condemnations of ISIS, I'd be interested to hear about it.

Tommykey: Ever since colonialist times, Middle Eastern Christians have been more of a pretext to justify this or that course of action than a genuine concern. I certainly wouldn't expect better of today's grossly hypocritical and opportunistic Republicans. Their response to everything seems to hinge on "How can we best use this to attack Obama."

12 August, 2014 18:37  

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