By Lynn Woolley
President Obama’s watch as leader of the free world has been a disaster. Republicans in Congress don’t mind saying it – and Democrats are now admitting that his inaction (and failure to secure an agreement to keep a residual force in Iraq) has put the United States in danger.
That’s not good for the politics of division.
The situation finally got so bad that Obama was forced to do something. So we are now conducting airstrikes – to little too late perhaps, but at least the Kurds have been able to retake two strategic towns. But make no mistake. Obama does not want to be in any foreign country in a military way, and he does not want to exercise American power. The question is: Has Obama’s reluctance to be a global power made the world more dangerous and has it put a bull’s-eye on American cities?
On the Sunday politically shows, the consensus appears to be “yes.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, was on FOX News Sunday saying the militants threaten not just Iraqis but Americans. He said Obama’s air strikes are not enough to stop the threat.
“I think of an American city in flames because of the terrorists’ ability to operate in Syria and in Iraq,” said Graham.
You might expect that since Graham is a protégé of Sen. John McCain – the biggest hawk in the U.S. Senate.
But what about the Democrats?
Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, is chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. She said in a statement that the militants pose a threat “in our backyard.” She went on to say,
“Inaction is no longer an option.”
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, is a reliable Obama supporter – but he’s on board with the idea that ISIS is a danger to us. He called the group a “growing and troublesome” threat. But Durbin does not want to send American soldiers to Iraq:
“The big question is: what can the United States do to stop it?”
Feinstein and Durbin, as Democrats, are not given to outright criticism of a president of their own party. But Obama has spent his presidency largely on the issues of income redistribution (Obamacare), and social justice (class warfare). His use of drones and the execution of Osama bin Laden notwithstanding, Obama has shown a Ron Paul-like reluctance to intervene in the rest of the world.
His “red line” blunder regarding Syria emboldens terrorists like those in ISIS. There might have been a window of opportunity at some point early in the Syrian crisis to stop the massive killing that has occurred there – but any such window is long gone. ISIS now has unified parts of Syria and Iraq under a proclaimed caliphate.
ISIS is the “Islamic State” or the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” or the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL). “The Levant” is a region, which includes Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus, and an area in southern Turkey that includes Hatay. To ISIS, the Levant is only a start.
The Sunni movement of ISIS already claims authority over all Muslims, and it wants to unify other Muslim regions under its direct control. Already, it has issued ultimatums for non-Muslims in Iraq to convert to Islam or be killed. Meanwhile, the Obama administration blames much of the problem on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who made a surprise speech late Sunday, saying he had no intention of stepping down. He, in fact, wants a third term.
In his speech, al-Maliki charged that the new president, Fouad Massoum, has committed clear constitutional violations and said he will file a legal complaint. All this is going on as many in the U.S. Congress charge that al-Maliki’s Shiite-dominated governing bloc has not been inclusive enough.
Al-Maliki IS part of the problem. But so is the Obama administration that did not insist on a residual force that very well might have avoid the bloodshed we are seeing now. So is the administration of George W. Bush that allowed the new Iraqi constitution to include Sharia Law. There have been a lot of mistakes made. Iraq got the wrong prime minister, the wrong constitution – and ended up with the wrong leadership in America. There’s not much agreement on what we should do now.
But we all agree on one thing. ISIS is bad news and at some point it might target the United States.
Lynn Woolley is a Texas-based radio talk show host who blogs at WBDaily.com.