The latest crisis in Iraq is, surprisingly, not just the result of the failure of the Bush Administration’s Shock and Awe campaign followed by the bloody occupation from 2003-2011. After we literally decimated a nation that was once perilously, but somewhat effectively maintained by a brutal dictator named Saddam Hussein, we tried to keep the arbitrary borders drawn by the Sykes Picot Agreement in 1916. In 2006, then Senator Joseph Biden (D-De) suggested a model based on the three state solution of Kurds, Arab Shi’ites and Arab Sunnis with a central command in Baghdad. In retrospect, this may have alleviated the current crisis where the new terrorists on the scene, ISIS, (the Salafist–Jihadist Al Qaeda terrorist army, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham [aka Syria]) is creating chaos and mass slaughter in the name of Sunni Fundamentalism. Exploitation of the region’s oil originally brought us to this area which the West (France and the U.K. mainly) created the awful conundrum of drawing arbitrary borders that failed to address the geographical rifts in the sects of Islam.
Thomas Friedman, New York Times Columnist, has extensively researched the 2006-2010 drought exacerbated by global warming which has ripened the region of Syria and Iraq for brutal war. Mass migration from bone-dry areas combined with sectarian conflicts only worsen the centuries-old rift between the two sects of Islam. With the help of powerful neighbors like Iran and Saudi Arabia, this has become an epic sectarian war with no quick and easy solution.
Prior to our arrival, Al Qaeda was not really an issue in Iraq. Our occupation did invite the group’s presence as they escalated the violence against our troops. For the most part, we were able to defeat Al Qaeda in that nation, but upon our departure in 2011 (signed by President Bush in the Status of Forces agreement in 2008), Iraq fell back into the same sectarian violence Saddam Hussein managed to curtail in a cruel but effective way. With poor leadership, the ISIS Group which includes war-torn Syria, has managed to operate with a brutality far worse than Al Qaeda.
This entire catastrophe may have been averted if:
1. We didn’t kowtow to the profit-seeking defense contractor industry
2. We understood the cultural and religious differences of the region
3. America acted appropriately based on evidence that was not falsified to involve us in this interminable crisis.
President Obama is in a no-win situation in this volatile region. We must never forget what put us there in the first place and vow, as a country, to keep irresponsible liars out of the White House. We can’t accomplish this if Americans don’t get out the vote en masse in the November 2014 midterms.