Like many Americans who recall watching in disbelief as the Bush administration cobbled together half-truths and wove a web of bizarro-world lies to con the US and its allies into the ruinous war in Iraq, my first impulse when I read reports of hideous atrocities or urgent security threats is to wonder who is being served by their publication.
Now there are these horror stories coming out of Iraq about ISIS fanatics placing heads on pikes, executing children and contemplating genocide, if you believe the reports, which seem pretty credible and come from diverse sources. Via the NYT:
WASHINGTON — President Obama is considering airstrikes or airdrops of food and medicine to address a humanitarian crisis among as many as 40,000 religious minorities in Iraq who have been dying of heat and thirst on a mountaintop after death threats from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, administration officials said on Thursday.
The president, in meetings with his national security team at the White House on Thursday morning, has been weighing a series of options ranging from dropping humanitarian supplies on Mount Sinjar to military strikes on the fighters from ISIS now at the base of the mountain, a senior administration official said.
“There could be a humanitarian catastrophe there,” a second administration official said, adding that a decision from Mr. Obama was expected “imminently — this could be a fast-moving train.”
Samantha Power rightly called the question of stopping genocide as “a problem from hell.” There really are evil motherfuckers in the world who travel in packs, and the decision on whether to intervene militarily when people are dying en masse should not be taken lightly. Obama certainly ain’t Bush; I don’t believe for a second he’s trying to trump up some bullshit reason to reinvade that country.
But I say let’s drop MREs instead of JDAMs (and hope ISIS isn’t able to shoot our cargo planes down with the US-made anti-aircraft guns they’ve captured from the fleeing Iraqi Army). If someone needs to go in and bomb what truly sounds like a horde of bloodthirsty barbarians, let it be those whom the brutes primarily threaten, i.e., the states in that region we’ve spent the last 70 or so years arming.
Is that unrealistic given the religious implications, i.e., Sunni vs Shia, extremists vs. moderates, etc.? Beats the fuck outta me. But while America not only broke the vase in the Mesopotamian Pottery Barn but leveled the whole goddamn building and set the rubble on fire 11 years ago, we don’t own it, not anymore.
How can we give anyone in that region so much as a firecracker at this point and not expect it to blow up in our faces? As horrifying as what’s happening now is, it just seems insane to me for us to start meddling again — at least militarily. What do you think?