What do you do with a problem like ISIS? You kill them. Every last one of them. Quickly swiftly, with as little collateral damage as is possible, but with the knowledge that collateral damage is still less than what they would have been killed. And then you go back in and rebuild the bombed out areas and keep them under control until the people are ready to rule themselves, no matter how much time, money, and lives that takes.
However to do this you would need a commander-in-chief who was capable of accurately judging a situation and had the spine necessary to see the plan through. You would need advisers who could see long term, project the numerous problems that would occur, plan to deal with them, and have back up plans to those plans. You would need a legislature that would be willing to also see long term and put the good of humanity above petty gain and if necessary put their political futures in jeopardy to do what is right. And allied nations that believe the same would also be nice.
I don’t think we’ve had that in a very, very long time. We might have had a good C-in-C around occasionally, even a few with good advisers…but I can’t think of the last time we had everything you would actually need working all together.
Now we could assign blame…Carter for allowing the Westernization of Iran and Afghanistan to stop and both nations to fall to religious lunatics and communist butchers respectively (really this is all Carter’s fault, had he had anything resembling a spine or a brain none of this would ever have happened). One could blame Reagan for keeping the psychos in Iran busy with another enemy and repeatedly bloodying the nose of Soviets in Afghanistan…were mistakes made, but unlike everyone else on this list he made significant strides in pushing the forces of evil back (strides that could have been kept if the next four idiots had half a brain between them, sadly they don’t). If Bush the elder had a foreign policy I’d be surprised—there was some lingering Reagan in his understanding of needing to get Saddam out of Kuwait, but his isolationist tendencies predominated over his complete inability to think that something might need to be done after pushing him back to the border. Clinton did his best to ignore everything. W. wanted to be an isolationist like daddy, however 12 years of morons finally came to a head, and isolationism wasn’t exactly a sound policy on 9/12 (it isn’t ever a sound policy, but even idiot isolationists have a problem maintaining that when there are that many dead). The problem is that while he seemed to understand you need to face evil and kill it, he didn’t understand the second part of neo-conservatism—that you have to rebuild the nation that you’re going into and maintain control until they can continue on their own in the correct direction.
So let’s boil this down to 4 sets of problems: being busy somewhere else with bigger problems (Reagan), not dealing with anything (Carter, Bush 41, Clinton), and doing something but doing it badly. The 4th would of course be called full on retreat and arming the bad guys…I can’t think of who might have committed that sin—cough—Obama—cough—
So while I blame Carter most of all for not doing anything and preventing decades (possibly a century) let’s focus on where W. went wrong as he was the only one who directly acted on these problems. More importantly it’s what he didn’t do, and what we should still do (as anyone who thinks we can avoid ever going back there is crazy).*
1. The first thing we should have done was we should not try to keep people together who don’t want to be together. The borders of Iraq are so arbitrary and haphazard I just can’t imagine what the hell was going through the mind of British politicians after WWI when they broke up the region. Iraq should be at least three nations: Kurdistan in the north, what is traditionally called the Sunni Triangle, we could give it the name Babylon, and a Shia nation in the south let’s still call it Iraq. If you want it might be a good idea to have a 4th nation, let’s call it Mesopotamia, for all the areas in there that aren’t majority, Shia, Sunni, or Kurd.
Now some would say that creating Kurdistan would have angered Iran and Turkey (and a few others). Is this really an argument? As if those nations love us so much. Who cares about them? Kurdistan would actually provide a large buffer state (with some mild loyalty to the US) in between a lot of other nations.
The goal should be to create nations that can be self-sufficient and seek to actually keep themselves together, not just to keep the maps the same. Breaking Iraq in to 3 or 4 nations would have made each nation more stable, less likely to breed internal strife and hatred and with each nation first and foremost seeking to keep its own autonomy rather than looking for outside help to swing control away from parts of the nation they didn’t agree with.
We should all remember that before we were a nation we were 13 states, and those states only came together under a single constitution when they saw it was in their own best interest. Forcing different nations together into one government doesn’t work unless they want to join together (notice the failure of the EU—it should have made Europe stronger as a whole, but their inept behavior and the arm-twisting methods of trying to force their rule on Europe is just backfiring).
2. Build walls.
I think we have learned the hard way in this country that you need walls on a border. When it comes to nations good fences make for good neighbors. If we put up a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, just watch how fast Mexico would get their act together as they would no longer have a release valve for all their disgruntled citizens. And it is even more so the case in Iraq.
If we had built walls—and I do mean walls, not fences, something big enough to stop both people and large military movements—between Iraq and all its neighbors (especially Iran and Syria) we first off would not have been dealing with years of Iran sending terrorists across the border to destabilize the nation. And had we built a real wall at the Syrian border we would not have seen ISIS move in to Iraq so easily. Even more so if we had broken the nation up and built walls between the other nations.
3. We learned from the aftermath of WWI that you can’t just leave a nation after you defeat them, you have to rebuild them (Obama being functionally retarded seems to have never learned this). And from our successes post-WWII we learned that this is not a quick fix project. It takes time to rebuild a nation. I have said this numerous times on this blog, but it bears repeating. You can’t have a nation under the rule of tyranny for decades; then have a war to remove that tyranny and then just expect everything to be all well and good within a year.
It takes time. It takes time to rebuild infrastructure. Roads. Water systems. Electricity. Communications. Hospitals and schools. Court systems and police. And it takes years of supervision to make sure they know what they’re doing and to instill into a people the traditions of a democratic republic. You can’t just hand it off in a year. It just doesn’t magically appear…and to think that is crazy. And to all the racists out there who like to say well Arabs aren’t fit for democracy (usually they use the phrase “that part of the world” but it’s the same racism). Bullshit. Anyone who says that conveniently forgets that with generations of experience with democratic institutions it took over a decade of failure and near constant threat of failure and revolt before we got a Constitution and government that actually worked. It was complete mess between the signing of the Declaration and the ratification of the Constitution…I know everyone forgets this little point, but it can’t be forgotten. We also didn’t have a clue as to what we were doing at first. It takes time, and between Bush and Obama rushing out with over eagerness and turning the place over to the Iraqi’s (and Afghani’s) far to quickly. And that is entirely unforgivable for both of them.
4. You can’t deal with bad people by being nice to them. You can’t just let them go and expect them suddenly not to be vicious psychopaths. Bush let all of the captured Iraqi army go without properly vetting them, and Obama will trade major terrorists for treasonous scum at the drop of a hat. We should have kept the entire Iraqi army under lock and key until we had the chance to vet each and every one of them, and the terrorists in Guantanamo should rot there until they’re dead. If you have a problem with that you clearly have no ability to see that long term terrorists are going to present you with three options, they kill you or other innocent people, you kill them or you imprison them.
5. We have to admit that this childish attitude of “It’s not our problem” is suicidal. It will always become our problem. Tyranny never stops growing until it is stopped by an outside force. The idiots who now want to let Iran handle this are absolutely clueless. In an Iran vs. ISIS battle the result is the same, the winner winds up with Iran’s nuclear technology and the sense that God is on their side. That danger far outweighs whatever short-term benefits might be gained by having these two groups kill each other. And whatever is left after that battle will have no opposition to stop them from spreading out of the Middle East…and no matter who wins it will be bad news for Israel and the U.S. The intelligent move is to deal with this long before it gets to us.
6. We can’t do anything right now. Because to do what needs to be done will require a leader with brains, ethics, and a spine. Obama has none of those. What it requires is a leader who can look at the bodies of 10,000 soldiers coming home and not see his falling poll numbers but rather how the 10,000 now prevented it from being 10,000,000 innocents later (Bush failed miserably at that). And right now at most I can only expect Obama to root for ISIS or Iran to win and then conquer America because he sure as hell does not have the interest of this nation at heart. So until we can get a real leader (and a Congress that can back them up) this is only a theoretical discussion. The other issue is the cost to a nation tremendously in debt with no real sight of turning that around in the near future – this also requires a leader who understand economics so that we can push forward for ourselves and then do the we can stand for what is right.
But that theoretical discussion has to be made and it has to always end with the U.S. and its allies always pushing back on tyranny, always making sure to take the time and effort to build functioning democracies, and always looking toward the long-term…because if you think Iraq or Afghanistan was expensive this time, just remember that until we solve this, these will be problems that keep drawing us back again and again and again, and it isn’t even naïve to think otherwise, it’s pathetic and below the level of thought you should feel comfortable demonstrating in public.
*Not to mention the fact that most of this is a good answer in dealing with any dictator in any part of the world.