Thursday, August 14, 2014

Doomed To Repeat

I very rarely agree with Maureen Dowd, but lately some of her columns make it seem like she's beginning to see the light. I particularly enjoyed this one on the mess in Iraq.
Just when Americans thought they could stop trying to figure out the difference between Sunnis and Shiites, we’re in a new war in Iraq with some bad “folks,” as the president might say, whose name we’re still fuzzy on.

We never know what we’re getting into over there, and this time we can’t even agree what to call the enemy. All we know is that a barbaric force is pillaging so swiftly and brutally across the Middle East that it seems like some mutated virus from a sci-fi film.
We tend to refer to the savages as ISIS, but there is evidently no broad consensus on what to call them. I suggest "assholes."
If all that is not confusing enough, we also have to fathom a new entry in the vicious religious wars in Iraq: the Yazidis, a small and secretive sect belonging to one of the oldest surviving religions in the world. Their faith has origins in Islam and Zoroastrianism, a religion founded by the Iranian prophet Zoroaster in the 6th century B.C. As Time pointed out, though the name “Izidis” translates to “worshipers of God,” ISIS considers them “devil-worshipers” who must convert to Islam or be killed.
That's a common theme among the assholes - convert or die. Religion of peace and all that good stuff...

Speaking of the 'religion of peace' and the Yazidis, there are reports that the assholes have massacred Yazidi men, buried women and children alive, mutilated people while robbing them ("They took wedding rings off fingers, chopping off fingers if they couldn't get the ring off") and kidnapped other women for use as sex slaves (here and here)

Shades of Boko Haram and the still-missing school girls.

Anyway, Dowd gets in a few shots at obama, along with, of course, the obligatory Bush-bashing. Surprisingly, she also criticizes JFK as well.
Although it felt momentarily bracing to see American pilots trying to save innocents in a country we messed up so badly that it’s not even a country any more, some critics warned that the pinprick bombings were a political gesture, not a military strategy, and “almost worse than nothing,” as John McCain put it.

The latest turn of the screw in Iraq also underscored how we keep getting pulled back, “Godfather”-style, without ever understanding the culture. Our boneheaded meddling just creates ever-more-virulent monsters. The United States has taken military action in Iraq during at least 17 of the last 24 years, the ultimate mission creep in a country smaller than Texas on the other side of the world.
I hadn't stopped to think about it, but she's right. We've been wasting American lives in that miserable sandbox almost continuously since 1991. That's even longer than we muddled around in Vietnam.

She's also right in pointing out that we have no idea what we're doing over there - just like in 'Nam.
What better symbol of the Middle East quicksand than the fact that Navy planes took off for their rescue mission — two years after Obama declared the war in Iraq over — from the George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea?

Bush Senior’s war to expel Saddam from Kuwait — a gas station of a country chockablock with spoiled rich Arabs — would not have been necessary if Saddam, a tyrant first enabled by J.F.K.’s C.I.A., had not been given the wrong signals by our side. W.’s war with Saddam, the prodigal son’s effort at outdoing his father, ended up undoing Iraq and the neglected Afghanistan.
Spin it however you will, but obama has initiated U.S. air strikes in Iraq, and has sent in at least 130 U.S. military 'advisers' to that pathetic doomed country.

Isn't that how Vietnam started?
The U.S. military advisory effort in Vietnam had a modest beginning in September 1950, when the United States Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), Vietnam, was established in Saigon. Its mission was to supervise the issuance and employment of $10 million of military equipment to support French legionnaires in their effort to combat Viet Minh forces.
What's that old saying about how "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"?


Brigid said...

Truer words are not out there.

Old NFO said...

Agreed! And we've now got 1000+ boots BACK on the ground!

CenTexTim said...

Brigid - Thanks.

NFO - It's the same thing all over again. Either go in big and get the job done or stay out. But deploying troops in dribs and drabs ... well, we've seen how that ends.