Rogers: U.S. continues to mishandle the Middle East

Clay Rogers

Once upon a time, Theodore Roosevelt, who was the assistant secretary of the Navy, went for a stroll with Rudyard Kipling. They began to debate Britain’s struggle with the jihadists of Sudan. Roosevelt eventually told the poet to, “either govern, or get out!” Wise words. I wish those clamoring for “Iraq War III” would heed them.  

Isn’t it clear by now that we have no idea what we’re doing in the Middle East? The Iraq War was the most shameful endeavor a modern American government has ever undertaken. We invaded a country that had not attacked us and did not want to go to war with us. Every excuse given for the invasion turned out to be false. In the rubble of our victor, a new and more sinister enemy emerged.

There would certainly be no ISIS in Iraq if Saddam Hussein were still in power. Our ill-fated expedition set the horrors of today in motion. Our vainglorious leaders blunder hopelessly, like Don Quixote, still believing themselves to be heroes.  It’s clear to the world that Barack Obama has absolutely no grasp on the situation.

During the last campaign, Obama drew a “red line.”  He threatened to attack the Assad regime if chemical weapons were used against the Syrian rebels. Eventually, chemical weapons were used. When Britain voted not to take part in the intervention Obama became timid. He covered his retreat by asking Congress for permission to strike — something he did not do in the Libyan intervention. Our alleged enemy Vladimir Putin came to the rescue, negotiating a deal with Assad and averting the crisis.

The bulk of these rebels, which Obama was so eager to aid, now calls itself the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.” Bashar al-Assad’s government is now the principal bulwark against this terrorist state. Who would care now if Assad dropped chemical weapons on the rebels?  We barely skidded by a disaster of monumental proportions, but that did not stop Obama from careening right into another.

When the war spilled into Iraq, the Iraqi Army displayed cowardice not seen since 1940. Terrorists in Toyota pick-up trucks routed an organized, well-equipped, American-funded, modern army. With Iraq appearing to be on the verge of collapse, Obama frantically began ordering airstrikes.

Some would say that we have a responsibility to defend Iraq, since we are responsible for destabilizing it. On the other hand, are we to bind ourselves to that country forever? Obama has shown he isn’t serious about defeating ISIS, so perhaps it’s time to leave.  

The air campaign against ISIS is purely a containment strategy. Obama’s war effort has been completely dictated by politics. A ground campaign would cost him approval ratings, so there will be no ground campaign. The only mercy in war is a swift victory. With Obama as war leader, there will be no victory, and certainly no mercy.

The commander in chief showed his resolve at the National Prayer Breakfast. The teleprompter speech read as follows, “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” This is probably one of the strangest things ever said by a wartime president.  

What if Franklin Roosevelt had said something similar in 1943?  What if FDR had told the Jews not to get on a high horse because 5000 years ago they massacred Jericho? Thousands of Christians have been driven from their homes, their churches turned to mosques, the women raped, their children enslaved and the message from the president of the United States is, “get off your high horse.”

The president is also curiously reluctant to use the word “Islam” in reference to ISIS.  His press secretary is constantly doing verbal gymnastics to avoid saying the word. A war cannot be fought with political correctness. I will reiterate, if we aren’t serious about fighting ISIS, let’s get the hell out.

I suspect ISIS will still be around in 2016.  Obama is intent on dumping the problem on his successor. Instead of making real policy decisions, he’s busy making impossible declarations. He’ll raise the minimum wage, tax the rich, make college free and do all this while he rains missiles down in a war he does not intend to win.

Recently, ISIS released a video showing the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians. There will be many more martyrs in the coming months. My only wish is that there will be no more American martyrs in this never-ending war.