Most people thought the range of outcomes for an Obama presidency was Jimmy Carter on the one end and Bill Clinton on the other. Bush was Bill Clinton without the vulgarity, but with a disastrous foreign policy. Given Obama’s priggishness, the smart money said he would be some combination of Bush and Clinton. The timid foreign policy of Clinton, the domestic policy of Bush and his own vanity driven moral preening would result in something bad but not disastrous.
By 2010 it was pretty clear the guy was a boob, in way over his head. Worse still, he was surrounded by unqualified flunkies and coat holders. The wave election in the mid-term should have been enough to avoid disaster and maybe lay the groundwork for a one term presidency. Then voters remembered how bad they felt about slavery and voted him back in for another term. Now we have to hope good fortune keeps him from doing something disastrous, but the odds are not good.
Of the many stunning revelations to emerge out of the wreckage of Mosul on Wednesday — 500,000 fleeing residents, thousands of freed prisoners, unconfirmed reports of “mass beheadings” — the one that may have the most lasting impact as Iraq descends into a possible civil war is that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria just got extremely rich.
As insurgents rolled past Iraq’s second largest city, an oil hub at the vital intersection of Syria, Iraq and Turkey, and into Tikrit, several gunmen stopped at Mosul’s central bank. An incredible amount of cash was reportedly on hand, and the group made off with 500 billion Iraqi dinars — $425 million.
The provincial governor of Nineveh, Atheel al-Nujaifi, confirmed that the ISIS Islamists had lifted additional millions from numerous banks across Mosul, as well as a “large quantity of gold bullion,” according to the International Business Times, which called it the “World’s Richest Terror Force.”
OK, so maybe no one saw this coming? No such luck. It appears they knew about it and did nothing.
As the threat from Sunni militants in western Iraq escalated last month, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki secretly asked the Obama administration to consider carrying out airstrikes against extremist staging areas, according to Iraqi and American officials.
But Iraq’s appeals for a military response have so far been rebuffed by the White House, which has been reluctant to open a new chapter in a conflict that President Obama has insisted was over when the United States withdrew the last of its forces from Iraq in 2011.
The swift capture of Mosul by militants aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has underscored how the conflicts in Syria and Iraq have converged into one widening regional insurgency with fighters coursing back and forth through the porous border between the two countries. But it has also called attention to the limits the White House has imposed on the use of American power in an increasingly violent and volatile region.
A spokeswoman for the National Security Council, Bernadette Meehan, declined to comment on Mr. Maliki’s requests. “We are not going to get into details of our diplomatic discussions,” she said in a statement. “The current focus of our discussions with the government of Iraq and our policy considerations is to build the capacity of the Iraqis to successfully confront” the Islamic extremists.
The war on terror was a terrible idea and a big lie. The people behind it did not care a wit about the security of America or the West. It was all about obliterating the enemies of Israel and the Saudis. That said, isolationism is not a good idea either. Sometimes a little force goes a long way. In this case, bombing the crap out of their camps would cost little and do a lot. How can you not know that?
The trouble with incompetency is the bill for it keeps turning up long into the future, long after the incompetent person is gone. We’re still paying for Clinton era corruption. The Bush years will haunt us for generations. The Obama administration seems to be the zenith of post-Cold War incompetence and Baby Boomer politics, so maybe this is the end of that run. Still, the cost of this clodhopper and his cast of toadies will be with us for a very long time.