President Obama found himself in a most uncomfortable position Thursday night. That's because the anti-war president was forced into announcing that the US military, mostly in the form of the Air Force, was doing limited airstrikes while carrying out humanitarian relief efforts to save religious minorities trapped on Mount Sinjar.
Unfortunately, President Obama didn't make the right decision. He didn't give war a chance. This isn't a call for 50,000 US troops on the ground. It's a call to arm the Kurds so they can fight ISIL. Unlike the Iraqi army, the Peshmerga are totally willing to fight. In fact, their name literally means those who confront death:
Peshmerga or Peshmerge is the term used by Kurds to refer to armed Kurdish fighters. Literally meaning "those who confront death". The Peshmerga forces of Kurdistan have been in existence since the advent of the Kurdish independence movement in the early 1920s, following the collapse of the Ottoman and Qajar empires which had jointly ruled over the area. Peshmerga forces include women in their ranks.
In the past, presidents have armed people who were essentially the lesser of two evils. Arming Saddam Hussein to fight Iran and arming the Taliban to fight Russia are examples of this. Those decisions returned to haunt the US. The good news is that arming the Peshmerga isn't arming the lesser of two evils.
It's arming our allies. The Peshmerga have been trustworthy allies for more than 20 years. Arming them wouldn't be quite like arming the Brits but it's infinitely closer than arming a Saddam to fight Iran.
The reason it's in our interest to do this is because ISIL is an existential threat to the United States. Despite President Obama's trash-talking, ISIL is an existential threat to the United States. Here's what he first said about ISIL:
“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 said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. “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.
That JV team now has a modern army, equipped with US military hardware after the Iraqi army disappeared. That JV team has captured major oil fields, which means they have funding for their training and expansionist military operations.
They currently hold one-third of Iraq but that's just their initial goal. The Levant isn't used much but it's highly instructive. Here's a description of the Levant:
The Levant today consists of the island of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and part of southern Turkey.
ISIL's goal is to establish a caliphate that covers all that territory. Further, their goal, according to a chilling video put out this week, is to hang their flag "in the White House." This threat should be taken seriously. Hitler was dismissed as a madman. History proves that Hitler was a dangerous madman.
This isn't about intervening in an Iraqi civil war. That's where Rand Paul and President Obama are clueless. This is about working with our allies in the region to demolish an existential threat to the United States.
Two years ago, Jason Chaffetz said that we should pull our troops from Afghanistan if we weren't there to win. That's as understandable as telling a war-weary nation we won't respond militarily to threats.
While it's understandable, it's also wrong. The choice should be to obliterate the terrorists who want to plan more 9/11s. That includes ISIL. The good news is that there's an army (boots on the ground) that'll do our fighting. All they're asking for is lethal US weaponry.
The Peshmerga want to fight on our behalf. Let's give war a chance. If the Peshmerga succeed, it will deal a crushing blow to the global terrorist movement, setting them back a generation.
The alternative is ignoring this threat. The alternative is to accept a future filled with 9/11s. That's unacceptable. That's why the right choice is to give war a chance.
Ron Paul insisted that the US presence in Saudi Arabia caused 9/11. He was badly mistaken. 9/11 happened because a terrorist organization wanted to establish an Islamic caliphate.
ISIL doesn't exist because they were upset with the US raiding Iraq. ISIL's goal isn't to chase the US out of Iraq. ISIL's goal is to destroy the United States and to hang their flag in the White House.
Mr. President, it's time to give war a chance.