How is Obama Doing on Dealing With ISIS? Better than Bush?
In 2012 ISIS, recognized as a terrorist group since 2004 by the U.S. state department, joined the rebel fighting in Syria. Unlike Alqaeda, they took advantage of the power vacuum in Syria and took over several cities and in 2013 they actually began governing those cities. In 2013 they were responsible for as many as 7,000 civillians in Iraq.
In January of 2014 they began took over control of the Iraqi city of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.
On January 19th the president responds to this in an interview with the New Yorker, suggesting we do not need to worry about ISIS.
"The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama told Remnick. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a Bin Laden and a network that is actively planning
major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power
struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”
In May, ISIS kidnappped 140 Kurdish school children, forcing them to take lessons in radical Islamic theology.
On June 10 - 11, ISIS takes over the Iraqi cities of Tikrit, and Mosul.
On June 13th the president says he will explore military action but at the same time suggests we will not take military action until Iraq can resolve its internal political problems.
"I do want to be clear though, this is not solely or even primarily a military challenge. Over the past decade, American troops have made extraordinary sacrifices to give Iraqis an opportunity to claim their own future. Unfortunately, Iraq’s leaders have been unable to overcome too often the mistrust and sectarian differences that have long been simmering there, and that’s created vulnerabilities within the Iraqi government as well as their security forces."
"So any action that we may take to provide assistance to Iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq’s leaders to set aside sectarian differences, to promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all of Iraq’s communities, and to continue to build the capacity of an effective security force. We can’t do it for them. And in the absence of this type of political effort, short-term military action, including any assistance we might provide, won’t succeed."
Meanwhile Isis continues it's terrorist rampage armed with thousands of recruits from the United States and Europe. They capture more cities in Syria, as well as its largest oil field. On June 21 they capture three more Iraqi towns. On June 29th Isis announces the formation of a callephate stretching from Syria into Iraq.
On June 30th the U.N. announces that 1.2 million Iraqis have been displaced.
Isis spend the month of July murdering, mis-treating and displacing Christians and other Iraqis in northern Iraq. They then focus their attention on the Kurds in Northwest Iraq. The Kurds attempt to fight back but many have to retreat to the mountains, including 200,000 Yazidis.
With Kurds facing the prospect of starving in the mountains or being killed by Isis terrorists, the U.S. finally gets involved. On August 7th Obama authorized bombing and the supplying of food and water to Kurds trapped on the mountains. He said we needed to do this to prevent a genocide. He emphasized the strikes would be limitied. On August 11 he said we would also arm the Kurds.
Throughout August the Kurds re-capture 7 towns in Northern Iraq, thanks to U.S. assisting them with air strikes. During the month of August another 850, 000 Iraqis become displaced.
The president is now considering bombing Syria. Its been reported that he wants to get approval from congress for that.
Unless your watching Fox News you see almost no criticism of how Obama is handling this crisis.
However, you don't see a lot of praise either. Their seems to be a suggestion from the objective alnaysts you see on Cnn that he seems to be dragging his feet. But not any real criticism. One analyst said - I will paraphrase - 'Now he needs to work on the American people'. Suggesting that Obama is in the right place but he needs to convince the American people that more aggressive action is needed. He even went out of his way to trash Bush. Saying this was all Bush's fault because of his view that we need to 'fight the terrorists where they are so they don't come here'. That didn't seem to make any sense to me but I guess he was telling the Cnn Host Dana Bash, what she wanted to hear.
Personally, I think a lot of this could have been avoided if we used air power against ISIS back when they first invaded Iraq. I don't think this is a sectarian conflict. These are terrorists and it is in our interest to stop them. We shouldn't even be ruling out ground troops. Although we certainly should try to avoid it and even more certainly, we should avoid having any occupying force in Iraq. It's just about helping Iraqis, it's about fighting terrorists. They are essentially forming their own nation and we can not allow that to occur. To me, it seems like Obama doesn't care. He seems to be very reluctant to act at all. Even Democrat Senator Diane Fienstien had said the president needs to be less cautious.
Perhaps the president is a afraid that the more we get involved the more of a target we will become. He may feel that if we don't bother them - they will not bother us.
What do you think?