Iraq

Should the US Intervene to Stop a Genocide in Iraq?

No easy answer

|

Yazidis on Sirjan Mountain
Basnews.com

Since overrunning large swaths of Iraq in the last two months, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has rebranded itself a caliphate, declared its megalomaniacal leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi a caliph of all Muslims, and set about enforcing a Medieval form of Islamic jurisprudence. ISIL has warned non-Muslims in territories under its control that they must pay a steep fine, convert to Islam, leave the country, or face death.

The minority Yazidis, meanwhile, aren't even afforded those limited options extended to other non-Muslims. A pre-Islamic faith rooted in Zoroastrianism, ISIL consider the Yazidis "devil worshippers" worthy of death. Tens of thousands are currently holed up on Sinjar Mountain, surrounded by ISIL fighters ready to kill them. Yesterday, the United States began airdropping humanitarian supplies to civilians and in the evening President Obama announced limited airstrikes against ISIL, something he left the door open for when he spoke about Iraq in June.

In 2011, when President Obama and the interventionists in his cabinet rushed head first into a civil war that had erupted in Libya, they pointed to a potential genocide being perpetrated by Col. Qaddafi against his own people and cited the so-called "responsibility to protect" to justify the intervention. President Obama neither sought, nor received, congressional approval for the military action. Instead, he pointed to the approval of the United Nations, via a Security Council resolution authorizing a no-fly zone and calling for all necessary measures to protect Libyan civilians, and the Arab League, which asked for the no-fly zone, to defend his actions.

In an address to the nation a few days after the U.S.-backed intervention in Libya began the president explained that "responding to natural disasters, for example; or preventing genocide and keeping the peace; ensuring regional security, and maintaining the flow of commerce" are things that involve American interests and values even when they don't directly threat Americans' safety.

It's an easily falsifiable statement—while the U.S. military is regularly involved in disaster relief efforts around the world, there are plenty of instances of disruptions in regional security and the flow of commerce, and even genocide, that don't provoke U.S. interventions. Notably, when President Obama tried to effect a U.S. intervention in Syria, the red line was the use of chemical weapons on civilians and not broader early warning signs of genocide. At any given moment there are a number of armed conflicts around the world that threaten regional stability and even genocide. Mass slaughter has been a recurring leitmotif in modern wars. For the U.S. to be involved in every one would require it to be a world's police force like the one envisioned at the Yalta conference in World War II. Although the U.S. is a serial interventionist in foreign affairs, it's far from a world police force. Yet there are currently U.S. military personnel in more than 150 countries on six continents (PDF). Military advisors in East Africa are helping hunt Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army while in West Africa advisors are helping in the campaign against Boko Haram in Nigeria. There are even 750 military personnel in Iraq, sent in June when ISIL first began making its massive gains.

Whether or not the United States is a world police force, Iraq was a spectacular own-goal. The U.S. toppled a stable, if unsavory, regime in Iraq, one that was certainly criminal but not uniquely so. The government it left behind has been more interested in consolidating partisan power than building a state and, despite significant U.S. military resources expended there, the Iraqi military has been unable to stem the advance of ISIL, which is now threatening a greater humanitarian crisis than any Saddam Hussein could have mustered in the 21st century.

A senior U.N. official has characterized the ISIL campaign against the Yazidis a genocide. ISIL threatens to further destabilize an already chaotic Middle East. As Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) rightly noted in June, President George W. Bush and his war in Iraq is at least partly responsible for the current unrest in the Middle East. Although ISIL metastasized in a collapsing Syria, the Al-Qaeda linked militants first found a foothold in Iraq during and after the U.S. war there. While the U.S. appears unwilling to accept refugees fleeing violence fueled by the U.S. drug war in Central America, the French have offered asylum to Iraq's Christian refugees, refugees of a U.S.-manufactured crisis, one the French government in fact strongly opposed. The U.S. hasn't announced any policy to aid Iraqi refugees, either.

As a murderous regime intent on dragging the Middle East back into the Dark Ages makes advances in the region, it's worth remembering how governments there have encouraged virulent strains of extremist Islam as a way to maintain their own power. If the U.S. were to intervene to defeat ISIL, it would almost certainly cause more harm than good. Yet with ISIL hunting down minorities in Iraq and the Iraqi government powerless to do anything to stop them, the question of whether the U.S. ought to intervene to protect those civilians from ISIL and a situation U.S. policy helped create is a harder one to answer. President Obama's decision to order limited air strikes in this situation may not be the wrong call. But, given the last half century of U.S. war policy, he will certainly bypass Congress despite claiming to "consult" it. Making the decision unilaterally, outside the constitutional framework, will be the wrong call.

Advertisement

NEXT: Friday Funnies: Economic Patriotism

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. He should call Congress back and ask for a Use of Force Authorization. At least then no one could bitch. Oh, wait…

  2. I don’t know if we should intervene or not – very ugly choices.

    I do think we should kill Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. We should have killed Saddam in ’91. Clinton should have had Bin Laden killed, and Henry Tandey should have killed Hitler when he had the shot.

    1. I know nothing about ISIL (I thought it was ISIS?), but given the nature of other Islamic militant groups, it seems likely that killing this guy would make little difference. Wouldn’t some other bastard just step up to take his place?

      1. Oh, certainly. And that guy would be sharply aware that The Great Satan swatted his predecessor like a bug. So, not only should we assassinate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, we should do so openly, and be as callous as possible when an explanation is demanded. The Islamic vermin who do so much to cover the earth in blood do so largely because everybody who opposes them is frightened of being called “Racist” or some other such irrelevant insult. Any moderate impulse that might exist in the Islamic world is ruthlessly snuffed out by the fanatics. So we need to start snuffing out the fanatics, and we need to start answering the question “Why did you kill so and so” with the answer “because we could, and we didn’t like the sonofabitch”.

        1. Killing the previous leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq (whose name escapes me at the moment), took years and considerable inside intelligence from sources on the group. Sources we no longer have since we do not have ground troops there.

          If we could take Al-Baghdadi out with a simple cruise missle strike, I’m sure we would be doing it. But we don’t know where he is, and we’re likely to, you know, bomb a lot of weddings in an attempt to find him.

          1. And I’m fine with that. The Islamic world has learned the lesson that no matter how barbarously they behave, we will waste years trying to work through a diplomatic process that they hold in contempt. We need to start teaching them a new lesson; that dealing with us diplomatically is preferable to the alternative.

            We do not have the power to be benevolent overseers, nor (I hope) do we want it. We do have the power to be dangerous and uncomfortable enemies, and profitable and reasonably comfortable friends. We should aim for that.

            1. Wasn’t this the plot of SWORDFISH?

            2. Yeah, man, kill all the sand niggers! One might call you patriarchal and simplistic, but I think racist would probably fit ok too.

              1. You might tell that to the lying bastard in the WH, who you seem to favor.

              2. Don’t put words in my mouth. I would never call Islamic Extremists or Arabic Opportunists “niggers”. That would be a slur against the black africans who are, by and large, much more pleasant and reasonable.

                I’m not saying ” kill them all”. I’m saying, since we are clearly at war, make war. Make it clear that war is unpleasant compared to the alternative.

                1. Are we at war? That’s news to me.

                  1. Super Hans;

                    Well several bunches of Islamic nuts have said that THEY are at war with US.

        2. that guy would be sharply aware that The Great Satan swatted his predecessor like a bug. So, not only should we assassinate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, we should do so openly, and be as callous as possible when an explanation is demanded.

          So by killing the guy, the U.S. would achieve basically nothing because he would be replaced immediately and probably serve to only radicalize more people and create more terrorists, and that’s your idea of a good plan?

          Also, how many Muslims are there in the world? Over a billion? And how many are jihadists?

      2. Someone would take his fancy wristwatch, too.

    2. thing is- ok, we kill a bad guy. Who replaces him? Potentially a worse guy.

      I do think there is room for humanitarian relief, but I really want to raise the question: Where are the rich Arab states (Saudi, UAE, Qatar, et al)? Why does the US have to be the one? It’s not like there are not capable forces in the region.

      1. Well, we could always roll the dice a second time. Still, it does seem like the truly wicked leaders are protected by malign intervention.

    3. Killing Saddam lead to Isis, so don’t be so eager to kill anyone you think will solve a problem. Also don’t hide behind who WE want to kill, say who YOU want to kill.

    4. Oh, sure, brilliant idea! Just keep poking that hornet’s nest and see what happens! That will surely make us all safer! It’s worked so well in the past! And, let’s not forget, that every dictator and cleric is a potential Hitler!

  3. You broke it, you bought it.

      1. ConcordePowell fallacy.

        1. Pottery Barn fallacy.

    1. We own Iraq? Want to buy my share?

      1. Dibs on Irbil. Hot Christian chicks in jeans there!

        1. They’re hot because they are ethnically european, not because of their mythology. But I suppose maybe you find mythological beliefs hot.

          1. I suppose their choice of worship is irrelevant, but it served to further identify them.

    2. We broke it. We fixed it. Our successors failed to allow us to keep a force there, either out of foolishness or to allow them to consolidate their partisan power without US meddling.

      Every article and person that points out our role in Iraq, seems to ignorantly assume that if we hadn’t taken out Saddam, the situation there would be stable. Saddam wouldn’t have lived forever and there has been enormous upheaval in the region.

      1. So, you’re saying if didn’t we kill Saddam, there’s a good chance we would be where we are right now, except with a lot more living/un-maimed soldiers and money?

        And staying in the Middle East until they stop being savages isn’t really an option. We’ll stop being an empire long before then.

        1. What I’m saying is, that it’s foolish and illogical to take the position that there were no such problems when Hussein was in power and that everything would be hunky dory now, if only we’d left well enough alone.
          My comment didn’t extend to take any position on where we would be now if we’d left Saddam in power or what we should (or should not) do now. Ten years ago, who could have correctly predicted all that’s happened in the region in the last four years?
          While I have sympathy for the people displaced, I feel that Iraq made it’s bed.

          1. “Ten years ago, who could have correctly predicted all that’s happened in the region in the last four years?”

            Most of the regular commentators on this site?

            1. Awesome? Maybe they can weigh in on who will be in charge of Iraq, Lybia, Syria, Egypt and Iran in ten years, as well as who will be president of the US? As long as they’re making predictions, they might as well give us some investing tips?

      2. There’s two big differences: (1) if we hadn’t taken out Saddam, we’d be at least a trillion dollars better off, and (2) the mess would be someone else’s mess.

        1. No argument there!

      3. “We broke it. We fixed it.”

        You’re just as wrong as that idiot Colin Powell was when he first made that quite inaccurate statement.

        We have broken nothing. Those shit holes were quite broken long before we got there.

        And they’ll remain broken after we leave. It’s in their cultures to be ignorant and violent.

  4. One of the Facebook pages I subscribed to was a fan page set up for current and former members of my old Marine Corps unit. It’s mostly a bunch of gung ho, jingo bullshit, but hey, nostalgia, right?

    Anyway, a couple days ago, the page’s administrator, a Marine wife, posted an article detailing Iraq’s current descent into utter chaos. I posted a comment to the effect of, “So much for ‘Mission accomplished’, huh?”

    To which she responded, “Your comment would be relevant if we looked at the world through a straw,” then yanking my posting privileges before I could respond. I guess there’s no shortage of true believers.

    1. People are horribly myopic. It prevents them from challenging their own beliefs and in doing so keeping them safely ensconced inside whatever belief structure bubble they have created for themselves.

    2. fuck military wives lol. I say this as a former Marine with 2 pumps to Iraq.

      Iraq was never worth it, isn’t today. Let it burn.

  5. the question of whether the U.S. ought to intervene to protect those civilians from ISIL and a situation U.S. policy helped create is a harder one to answer

    It’s easy to answer, and the answer is no.

  6. My concern is that words no longer seem to mean much. Like ‘terrorists’, if we rationalize intervention to prevent ‘genocide’ then it will be hardly surprising when ‘genocide’ starts to occur in lots of situations.

    1. You mean like the Bosnian “genocide”?

        1. Rwanda? Cambodia?

          Remember when we got into WWII to stop the extermination … oh, wait….

    2. ‘Genocides’ can be large or small depending on the group being liquidated. Maybe a more correct term is ‘ethnicide’ but the world seems to have settled on ‘genocide’.

      1. Is there a word like Religicide? I mean, there is a ___cide for everything under the sun, except the cide that kills the most (or second most) people throughout history.

        1. Theocide would work.

          1. I think that’s what Nietzche did.

        2. Look people, the Jews were an ethnic AND religious group.
          So are the Yazhidis.

          I don’t think we’re that far off.

          1. were/are

          2. Yeah, but how do you count ISIS’s slaughter of Christians and Shia?

            1. One body at a time?

    3. If you’re worried that the word “genocide” will be watered down by … attempting to kill every single member of a particular faith… I would consider this low on the list of things we should be concerned about at the moment.

      1. You are probably right, but if I change your italicized statement to:

        attempting to kill every single member of a particular faith country

        it may seem more timely?

        Genocide: the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation

        1. i.e.- Armenia

          1. Most Armenians (in English) call it “the massacres”. Genocide is a post-ww2 term that has become well overused in my opinion. It gets us bogged down in definitions when ACTION need to be taken. Islamic extremism, fascism, and collectivism are cancers and it seems odd to be arguing that if we just let the cancer take out unnecessary organs we can pretend it isn’t gonna bite us in the ass. It will. Imagine the US simultaneously dealing with a perpetually crappy economy (growing collectivism) while trying to deal with metastatic Islamic extremism with speeches, while nationalistic fascists slowly build strength. . . Oh, that’s where we are – but with out a leadership that GETS IT.

            1. That seems a little harsh. Our leadership gets at least part of it, on account of being a faction of said fascists.

      2. Seems to me to mean killing of a certain kind. But isn’t that what all righteous killing is?

        1. I meant killing of those of a certain kind, not a certain kind of killing.

  7. We have a responsibility to help these people based upon destroying their social order and trying to replace it with something “better”. We should grant them refugee status and evacuate them. Like we did for the Hmong after Vietnam.

    1. Funny you should mention that – my old hometown had some Laotian refugees come in the late 1970s – some local bigots were not happy, but some of the vets of the war in those parts snarled at the bigots that these particular folks had helped us at cost of their homes, many lives and such. The bigots stood down, muttering, but subdued.

      My first big lesson in geopolitics.

      1. They weren’t helping me in Laos. I don’t have anything in laos, don’t want anything in Laos.

    2. I like this idea a lot more than blowing more shit up.

      1. Probably cheaper too.

    3. destroying their social order and trying to replace it with something “better”.

      IN this argument, we would have a responsibility for evacuating victims of the drug war too.

      1. So, all the people we’ve put in prison?

        1. And all the refugees on our southern border even.

    4. Yeah, I’d say providing refugee status is preferable. That still sucks, because it means they’ll have to leave (what I assume is) their ancestral homeland to settle in a totally foreign land. But it seems unlikely that the U.S. can do anything that would contribute to a long term solution. That, unfortunately, requires action on the part of Iraq and other regional partners. And more fundamentally, a culture shift in the Middle East.

      1. Better to bring them here than try to provide a “safe zone” with our military.

        1. So the US taxpayers get stuck with another bill.

          1. We’ll just print more money.

            1. “We”? Get ‘im boys!

              /Secret Service anti-counterfeiting unit

          2. Immigrants contribute to the US economy; they’re a net gain.

          3. It’s clear we are going to get stuck with a bill regardless. Why not choose a smaller tab?

      2. That still sucks, because it means they’ll have to leave (what I assume is) their ancestral homeland to settle in a totally foreign land.

        You mean like leave Europe and settle in America?

  8. “refugees of a U.S.-manufactured crisis”

    Um….I would say an ISIL manufactured crisis. I don’t see any Americans driving people to starve on mountainsides or shooting people who refuse to convert. That almost smacks of Sheldon Richman’s position that All Trouble in the World comes from Amerikkka.

    If I may request, can we get an update on reports that the Turks may have launched some airstrikes?

    1. That’s nobody’s business but the Turks.

      1. But Istanbul WAS Constantinople.

        1. Now its a Turkish Delight, on a moonlit night?

        2. I was surprised some years ago to learn that “Istanbul” is basically Greek (albeit distorted) for something like “in the city” or something like that.

          1. Right, from “eis ton polis”, “to the city”.

            1. Actually, “eis ten poli,” “to the city.” Sorry for being a fastidious prick. I REALLY get on my own nerves sometimes.

    2. Yeah, how could massive instability in the country we destabilized possibly be our fault?

      1. Whoosh.

      2. How would you stabilize it?

        1. That is up to the Iraqis – it is their country, if they choose to keep it as such. A little intel help, satellite imagery, etc might be in order?

        2. I wouldn’t. We already came in with good intentions and fucked it up once (and we shouldn’t have even done that).

        3. What Swiss said. U.S. boots on the ground might be able to bring some short term stability. Long term stability is something only the people that live there can deliver.

      3. David,

        Ultimately if you kill people, it is on you. It is not because the evil superpower forced you to do it. I think you can understand that concept, right?

        1. You understand that it is possible for other to have contributed to such a situation, right?

          1. “contributed” is different than “manufactured”, yes?

          2. Unpossible that it could be the fault of anyone other than the US government. ISIS or whatever its called are merely running out the robotic programming installed by George Bush. They have no moral agency.

          3. You understand that there is no fucking excuse for aggression?

            If you stole all my shit, and I, broke as fuck, went and robbed a bank, murdering people in the process, are you responsible for the murder, or just for stealing my shit?

            If you do not understand the concept, you’re in the wrong place, bud.

            1. You understand that there is no fucking excuse for aggression?

              Many people support using aggression to stop greater aggression. Whether a specific action will prevent greater harm can, and should be, debated by all sides.

              If you stole all my shit, and I, broke as fuck, went and robbed a bank, murdering people in the process, are you responsible for the murder, or just for stealing my shit?

              The thief is only responsible for stealing your stuff. You are responsible for your actions. Even though the first thief’s actions contributed to an environment which enabled you to make a decision to rob a bank and murder people the crime is still on you. Unless the universe is deterministic, you have free will and could have chosen differently.

        2. If I live in a high-crime city and decide to go on vacation for a week and leave my front door open, my family has a right to blame me when we come home and all our stuff is gone, because even though it’s still wrong to walk into somebody else’s house and steal everything, that result was a foreseeable consequence of my actions – either I was deliberately allowing myself to get robbed, or I’m a fucking idiot.

          Likewise, bloody civil war is the obvious result of a foreign power tearing down a Middle East government and then telling the locals to play nice. Yes, the people actually perpetrating the atrocities are the worst actors by far, but the people who set the stage for them can’t beg off the consequences of their actions as bad luck or act of god. This was the most likely result of the Iraq war unless we turned it into a permanent occupation.

          That said, the US stepping in to “fix” things would almost certainly just kick the can down the road. There’s no natural law that says the country that causes a problem is the best one to cure it, after all. And especially here – the problem is foreigners meddling in the Middle East, not that we didn’t meddle right.

          1. Pretty sure that would make your family a a bunch of assholes, really.

            I understand your point, however, you’re using the time-honored progressive approach to spreading blame to excuse poor actions. Sure, we fucked it up, but it is still no excuse for the actions of anyone killing anyone else.

            1. Responsibility isn’t zero-sum. The fact that the US invasion opened the door for Iraq’s current civil war doesn’t make ISIL/ISIS/whatever less evil. It just makes us the jackasses who gave them an opening.

              (And seriously? If I deliberately leave the door open for a week it’s an asshole move to tell me off for it?)

    3. Um….I would say an ISIL manufactured crisis. I don’t see any Americans driving people to starve on mountainsides or shooting people who refuse to convert.

      That’s only because you’re not looking deep enough. Look deep and you’ll see that every problem in the world is America’s fault.

  9. ISIL consider the Yazidis “devil worshippers” worthy of death.

    What goes around, comes around.

    1. We should resettle them in Hollywood.

      1. There already is a large Christian Iraqi population in North Hollywood…

    2. What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Did the Yazidis engage in a campaign of ethnic genocide against Arab Muslims?

      1. False equivalence makes tards feel better.

      2. Maybe he’s making a prediction about the future?

  10. I didn’t realized all our state side problems were solved. Obviously since we live in a utopia we have an obligation to spread that around the globe.

    ….,,do you think the NSA recognized that as sarc?

  11. “responding to natural disasters, for example; or preventing genocide and keeping the peace; ensuring regional security, and maintaining the flow of commerce” are things that involve American interests

    This is why I hate the phrase “American interest” it means whatever the speaker wants it to mean.

    1. Yuuuuuup!

  12. But, given the last half century of U.S. war policy, he will certainly bypass Congress despite claiming to “consult” it. Making the decision unilaterally, outside the constitutional framework, will be the wrong call.

    May have already done so – I am unsure if this is dependable:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08…..s-say.html

    1. He already bypassed congress to interfere in Libya, why wouldn’t he do so again?

  13. It’s simple. Protect the Kurds. As a non-interventionist myself I do understand there are absolutely some quadrants where intervention is in the best interest of proven historical partnerships and the Kurds have always been friendly to and supportive of relaxed societies. I could give one fucking single turd about how unsavory this all appears to the mainstreams. Protect the Kurds. With the entire Middle-East being swallowed up in the rankest tyranny known to planet earth the powerful across the planet should combine in an effort to support people who are committed to living peacefully and ethically.

    1. The Kurds seem pretty capable of protecting themselves, really. They seem the only people in Iraq deserving/capable of their own state, but they will never get it because Turkey no wanty.

      1. Actually the Kurds are losing ground, because apparently they lack the firepower, given that ISIL captured a ton of weapons and ammo from the iraqi army.

        Apparently, in the intervening month or so since that happened, the CIA hasn’t deigned to give the Kurds any ammo or weapons.

        1. Turkey won’t let them.

      2. The Kurds will fall. They are glorified light infantry perfectly capable of protecting themselves against similarly-matched weaponry. Problem is the caliphate is using seized high-powered American weaponry which the Kurds have little to zero chance of defending against.

        If we don’t act quickly and militarily one of the last bastions of ethical civilization will be wiped from the Middle-East. I’m as Libertarian as they get but I’d get behind the rocket rage of a warhawk neocon on this one. The Kurds have been the only predictable feature in all our stupid interactions with the Iraq paradox.

        1. Right. Fuck Turkey. We should be airdropping tanks to the Kurds.

          What the fuck is Turkey good for, except obstructing NATO?

          1. Incirilik (sp?) Air Force Base.

            1. Guantanamo?

              The US doesn’t have a problem telling the ‘host’ country to fuck off if they don’t like our military presence.

              1. Turkey is a bit more important to US goals than just the AFB. They are key in many negotiations.

                I’m not saying it is a relationship worth protecting, I’m just saying where the Top Men are coming from.

                Please don’t confuse that with my own beliefs. I agree, fuck Turkey.

        2. “seized high-powered American weaponry”?

          Most of the IA inventory is not of US origin.

          1. I’m sure the other half is Russian.

            1. A fucking tragedy, is it not?

        3. Fair enough. I don’t have an issue arming them to protect them against weapons that we put there in the first place. Especially since we’ve been arming everyone but them.

          I think Turkey (and Maliki, the fucking retard) would have a fit, though, if we armed them too much. Not that I care about Turkey or Maliki, but I’m sure the US Top Men do.

          1. Why should we put ourselves in a position where the only people we have any political obligations to are precisely the assholes who don’t deserve it?

            While the one group of people that has been a solid reliable ally gets the short end of the stick?

            1. That’s the American way of empire.

              Betray the peoples that help us and cave to our enemies.

            2. Why indeed?

              US foreign policy is an absolute joke (not that we all didn’t know that) if we refuse to do for our allies what we’ve been doing for everyone else.

              I feel funny advocating arming people, as it goes against my sensibilities as a libertarian, but I think if anyone deserves to be armed in the Middle East, it is the Kurds/Peshmerga. You all convinced me.

              1. Almost all foreign policy of the Western nations has been a joke since the United Nations model of diplomacy came in. It was, and is, driven by the delusions of a class or set of Western Intellectuals who pose as transnational cosmopolitan liberals (and in general behave like chimps at a salad bar). We should return to the models of the Victorian era, which were more or less openly driven by self-interest. As a wise man (whose name escapes me at the moment) said; Nations do not have morals, they have interests.

                1. The problem stems from politically correct war.

                  It used to be that if you were going to go to war, you fucking squashed your enemies using whatever means necessary until they were fully submissive. See WW2 for the last example of that.

                  This change in war, while in the short term causes less death, in the long term absolutely increases human suffering.

                  1. ^THIS x100

  14. Well, this is the first time the French have impressed me in quite a long time. Kudos to them for offering asylum.

  15. Yeah, if we don’t do anything about this, this is way worse than Rwanda, because in this case, we bear some direct responsibility for creating the situation they find themselves in.

    Personally, I’m appalled at Obama’s lackluster response to ISIL.
    It’s been like a month, and the Kurds are losing battles to them because of lack of ammunition. Why the fuck aren’t we arming the Kurds?

    1. throwback to 1980’s:

      “Yeah, if we don’t do anything about this, this is way worse than Vietnam, because in this case, we bear some direct responsibility for creating the situation they find themselves in.

      Personally, I’m appalled at Reagan’s lackluster response to the Soviets.
      It’s been like a month, and the Mujahadeen are losing battles to them because of lack of ammunition. Why the fuck aren’t we arming the Muj? That Osama bin Laden guy seems to have his shit together”

      1. utter gibberish.

        The Soviets weren’t trying to exterminate the Afghanis out of a psycho religious prejudice.

        And the Kurds are not a rag-tag paramilitary religious group with no prior affiliation to us, but an established ethnic people with their own territory, who have been solid allies. Who are also in danger of mass slaughter at the hands of ISIL.
        We owe them. We didn’t owe the Mujahedeen anything.

        1. friendship with all , allegiance to none

          1. …when our friends need help, abandon them. They fucked up, they trusted us.

  16. Two birds, one stone: Swap the Palestinians and the Kurds.

    Kurds are happy for land away from Turkey and ISIL and the Palestinians can get away from Israel. No one’s going to let Israel commit to airstrikes that far away.

    1. Yeah, like the Kurds would take the Gaza Strip over a beautiful mountainous region with oil fields in it.

      1. You can’t spend oil money if you are dead.

        Besides, I bet Israel would would give them some land and economic considerations for being rid of the Palestinians. Hell, they are spending $20,000 every time they intercept a Hamas rocket.

        1. Better idea. Swap the Yazhidi’s and the Palestinians.

          The Palestinians can come down from the mountainside and have tea with ISIL, while the Yazhidi’s can swap religious persecution stories with the Jews.

          1. I… this is possibly the best idea I’ve heard about thhe situation thus far.

    2. I’m almost certain that was a plot from Star Trek.

    3. people are not rootless cogs in a machine. Kurds have ties to the land, and aren’t just easily “swapped”. Shall I swap you from your home?

      1. Dude it’s Sugar Free he was being facetious, I hope you don’t take his fan fiction seriously.

        1. man some people probably would nod and say “yes that’s brilliant” haha

        2. Wait…are you saying the “Adventures of Warty Hugeman and the Doomcock of Doom” is fiction?!!

          *breaks down sobbing in disillusionment*

  17. As a murderous regime intent on dragging the Middle East back into the Dark Ages makes advances in the region, it’s worth remembering how governments there have encouraged virulent strains of extremist Islam as a way to maintain their own power.

    I would say those two things are almost mutually exclusive. Are militant Muslims in fact looking to return us to “the Dark Ages” or are they using militancy as a way of seizing power? Do they sincerely believe they are effecting the Will of God (i.e., they’re batshit insane and there’s no reasoning with them) or are they simply calculating that this is the way to power (i.e., they can be reasoned with, if not by the pen then by the sword)?

    Western civilization, post-Dark Ages, holds to the sovereignty of the individual in determining for himself how best to pursue his ultimate happiness whereas most of the world for most of history has held to the idea that we are all ignorant sinners and must be led, by reason or instruction if possible but by force if necessary, to pursue our happiness as we would pursue it if we were as enlightened as our masters.

    I would suggest that we in the West are in danger of returning to the Dark Ages wherein we shall be ruled by those who speak for some higher power. Whether you call this higher power God, Allah, Gaia, or Science, it all tends to wind up the same way – a lot of people wind up dying because they refuse to accept The Truth.

  18. ISIL has warned non-Muslims in territories under its control that they must pay a steep fine, convert to Islam, leave the country, or face death.

    “Cake, please.”

  19. I’d be in favor of using cluster bombs on these medieval savages.

    1. Surely the next group that seizes power will create an enlightened democracy! We’ve just got to keep bombing until all the bad people are gone, then it’s sunshine and cupcakes!

      1. We can’t worry about what will replace the current bunch of vermin. That was the mistake we made last time. We cannot “foster democracy” without making Iraq a long term colony. We CAN make sure that whoeve ru s Iraq lives in lively fear of pissing us off, and make clear that intolerance, genocide, and persecution piss us off.

        It is against our interests as a people and a nation to allow barbarians free reign. It is beyond our power to ensure that all national governments are enlightened. We should seek a middle ground, where it is generally understood there are lines it is best not to cross. Sadly, several decades of bootless and toothless UN diplomacy have made that a puch haerder point to make tha. It should be.

        We should assassinate the current bunch of savages in Iraq, and when taken to task for it by the hand-wringers at the UN, we should invite the. To clear out.

        1. We cannot “foster democracy” without making Iraq a long term colony. We CAN make sure that [whoever rules] Iraq lives in lively fear of pissing us off, and make clear that intolerance, genocide, and persecution piss us off.

          Because nothing says we hate intolerance, genocide, and persecution more than bombing the shit out of people who piss us off.

          1. Very clever. If you don’t think our culture and standards are superior to theirs, please move. Letting the barbarians run loose lest somebody accuse us of intolerance is what has got us to the present unlovely state of things.

            They need to be schooled in what constitutes acceptable behavior. Who are we to teach them? The people who gave up slaves before they did. The people who believe that their women should have rights.

            1. Very clever.

              If I’m clever it’s only because you set the bar so low.

              If you don’t think our culture and standards are superior to theirs, please move. Letting the barbarians run loose lest somebody accuse us of intolerance is what has got us to the present unlovely state of things.

              Who gets to be the final arbiter of whose culture is superior?

              They need to be schooled in what constitutes acceptable behavior.

              And the best way to do that is by force? Mao Zedong would approve.

              Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. –Mao Zedong

              Who are we to teach them? The people who gave up slaves before they did. The people who believe that their women should have rights.

              I understand some cultures haven’t evolved as quickly as you would like, but we cannot force people to follow a path they have not chosen for themselves under their own free will.

              It is indeed probable that more harm and misery have been caused by men determined to use coercion to stamp out a moral evil than by men intent on doing evil. –F. A. Hayek

              1. “we cannot force people to follow a path they have not chosen for themselves under their own free will.”

                Why not?

                I mean, seriously. Yes, I know that punishing barbarous nations went out of fashion in the late Victorian era. But look where allowing them to choose their own path has gotten us. The nut cases not only want to hold back such of their fellows as might wish to live otherwise, they aggressively exposit their culture whenever they get the chance, thereby spreading misery and want.

                I’m not saying that we should re-colonize the world; we have neither the skills nor the temperament. I AM saying that we could fairly easily (if not shortly) establish that some behaviors are not tolerated. Why is that bad? Who are we to decide? The people who might be able to do something.

                1. But look where allowing them to choose their own path has gotten us.

                  Decades of meddling in the Middle East qualifies as letting them do what they want? They are doing what they want despite our… efforts. Attempts to forcibly make millions of people live by the west’s standards have failed.

                  I’m not saying that we should re-colonize the world; we have neither the skills nor the temperament. I AM saying that we could fairly easily (if not shortly) establish that some behaviors are not tolerated.

                  How well has that been working out for Israel? America’s two forays into Iraq, and a decade in Afghanistan have also failed to affect cultural change.

                  Who are we to decide? The people who might be able to do something.

                  You are implying might makes right. Would you feel the same way if someone with culture counter to yours was in a position to do something about how you live your life?

                  1. I am implying, hell, stating that if you do not prefer our culture to theirs, you are a moral imbecile. Might may not make right, but right should not fail to use might where appropriate.

              2. I understand some cultures haven’t evolved as quickly as you would like, but we cannot force people to follow a path they have not chosen for themselves under their own free will.

                If it were just a matter of them being misogynistic, goat-raping savages to themselves, I’d probably agree with you that it’s unethical to interfere. But in case you didn’t catch it in the article, they’re fucking with people who aren’t part of their stupid religion, rather explicitly. There’s nothing in even the most stringent application of the NAP that requires me to stand idly by while a mugger robs some third party, just because they aren’t doing it to me. It is legitimate to intervene in such a situation.

                1. If it were just a matter of them being misogynistic, goat-raping savages to themselves, I’d probably agree with you that it’s unethical to interfere. But in case you didn’t catch it in the article, they’re fucking with people who aren’t part of their stupid religion, rather explicitly. There’s nothing in even the most stringent application of the NAP that requires me to stand idly by while a mugger robs some third party, just because they aren’t doing it to me. It is legitimate to intervene in such a situation.

                  How does getting involved improve anything? Years of Israel killing Hamas leaders has accomplished nothing. It has only strengthened the resolve of Hamas to destroy Israel.

                  There are bloody conflicts around the globe. Why is this conflict different? Do you honestly believe targeted airstrikes will do anything to improve security in Iraq?

                  As far as the non-aggression principle goes I stated above that I support the initiation of force in order to prevent greater harm. In this case I don’t see how we can affect permanent, positive change.

      2. After all the blood and treasure we spent in Iraq and given its strategic position right next to Iran, we should still have a large base there to keep the region somewhat stabilized. That did not happen, so what to we do with a bunch of murderous mofo’s that fuck with our allies? Make them pay.

        I am not a hide behind Fortress America libertarian. We have strategic interests like oil, keeping a lid on Iran, keeping the sea lanes open, etc. that matter. Real Politik is a bitter pill but sometimes its have to happen.

  20. So does Obama own this intervention or will he claim he was fooled by Booosh’s clever plan to withdraw from Iraq and if Booosh had never lied then he (Obama) would have stayed and this ISIS assault would never have happened?

  21. At this rate, WW3 is going to be the tenth Crusade.

  22. We should definitely help the Kurds, as they are the only group besides Israel in the Region that has actually acted like an ally.

  23. ” it’s worth remembering how governments there have encouraged virulent strains of extremist Islam”

    Governments there? I think it’s doubly worth remembering that governments HERE have been no different.

  24. A very relevant detail you failed to mention: The air strikes Obama called for are intended to protect American personnel in Irbil and Baghdad. That’s it. Benghazi. He doesn’t want more Americans killed fleeing a consulate like Benghazi. He cannot have those pictures on the news prior to the mid-terms.

    I agree with the general consensus that leaving Iraq ASAP was the right policy. Having said that, the following is true, imo:

    1. Obama’s draw-down of all troops in Iraq was stupidly and naively executed. It left an incredible vacuum that precipitated the Syrian civil war and ISIL.

    2. His incredibly limited action now will inflame the situation and embolden the Islamic fundamentalists adding to the instability of the region. This is exactly the kind of response the likes of ISIL enjoy: limited enough to do little real damage but just enough to illustrate that the Great Satan is in fact their enemy.

    Those of you saying he’s not motivated by principle are wrong. His instinct is to minimal intervention and isolationism. That’s what he preached as a candidate. Yes, he contradicted this with his action in Libya and his intention to take action in Syria. But, Benghazi taught him a lesson. He won’t make that mistake again.

    But, of course he’s now has manufactured the worst of all worlds. He just communicated clearly that thugs (thugs anywhere) are going to meet minimal resistance from the US. In terms of his strategic thinking, he’s a fucking idiot.

    1. I’d also say, he contradicted this minimal military intervention position in Afghanistan as well.

      The Bush small footprint strategy in Afghanistan was always the right strategy.

      Let’s recall how candidate Obama referred to the Iraq War as the wrong war and as Afghanistan as the right war. He did that because he didn’t want to be seen as too much the dove, but not because he had any sincere belief in the Afghan War. It was political positioning to undercut Hillary in the primary.

      Once in office, he committed probably the stupidest act of his presidency – the surge in Afghanistan. Remember that? Results? Yeah.

      When will he beheld accountable for the stupidity of his Afghan policy? Never.

      1. In the hereafter, one hopes. He’ll have a bunch of company.

      2. “The Bush small footprint strategy in Afghanistan was always the right strategy”

        This has to be a joke, right? If anyone had the right strategy in Afghanistan, it has to be the Taleban: the strategy that allowed a militia that spends half the year herding goats in the hills to stymie the USA and NATO allies. No trillion dollar budget necessary either, just some improvised weaponry and the cunning to exploit America’s natural contempt for Asians.

        1. Embedded SOF was not a trillion dollar exercise. It worked for the intended purpose, kill as many Taliban as possible. They didn’t stymie the guys wearing floppy hats. They simply died in droves.

          Give Afghanistan’s history as being a shit hole that no conquer can really subdue for long periods, killing lots of Taliban then getting out would have been the best strategy.

          She was right. Small footprint, inflict as much pain as possible…THEN leave with a reminder that we’ll be back if you fuck with us again or harbor somebody who does.

          1. “She was right. Small footprint, inflict as much pain as possible…THEN leave”

            That was not the Bush strategy. He was committed to COIN and Nation Building.

            The general who would know, McCrystal, I think his name is, said that for every non-militant ‘accidentally’ killed by the floppy ones, ten non militants would step forward to fill in their place. Killing Afghans in droves is no substitute for sound strategy. Here it was counter productive. We have it on the highest of authority.

            1. Small footprint embedded troops was a Bush strategy. Yes, “THEN leave” was not part of it.

              However, your original objection was limited to small footprint. Do you agree that – as stated – you were wrong?

              1. I was objecting to the Bush strategy, among other things. The size of the foot print is irrelevant. What was lacking from the very outset was a willingness on the part of Americans to sacrifice themselves on behalf of the Afghan people, to make common cause with them. Without that kind of commitment, the enterprise was doomed. You can’t build a nation on a foundation of resentment and mutual suspicion. Even the Soviets knew that.

                1. Bullshit, you said the small footprint operation was not a Bush strategy. The rest is just blah, blah, blah….

                  1. “Bullshit, you said the small footprint operation was not a Bush strategy.”

                    I don’t know what you are driving at. First of all I said nothing of the sort. I wrote: “If anyone had the right strategy in Afghanistan, it has to be the Taleban.”

                    Next, I don’t really give a damn whether your precious ‘small footprint strategy’ was Bush’s, Bush’s dad’s, Obama’s or anyone else’s. That’s an irrelevant detail as far as I’m concerned, though I understand if you are a partisan of Bush, you have some emotional investment there. Fine. Don’t expect the same of me.

                    1. This is what was said…

                      “The Bush small footprint strategy in Afghanistan was always the right strategy”

                      This has to be a joke, right?

                      You directly objected the small footprint strategy. Said it was a joke. It is not an irrelevant detail according to your own posts. You are wrong. No amount of wriggling or dodging changes the fact. You could show some dignity/character by admitting it or you could continue to be a deceitful Prog scum bag.

                    2. “You could show some dignity/character by admitting it”

                      Now YOU are joking, surely. The right strategy in any war is a winning strategy. You wanna find a winning strategy in Afghanistan? Don’t look to Bush or Obama. Look to the Taleban. And brush up on your mind reading skills.

  25. On 7/28/14, the following resolution was adopted:

    “The Bronx Conservative Party strongly supports the defense of historic Judeo-Christian communities worldwide.”

  26. I we do not intervene immediately the U.S. stands a very good chance of having its own Iraqi Genocide record broken by these upstarts!

  27. Yes, we must intervene, and immediately! Time for a Crusader Army led by Field Marshal Dick Cheney. And this time Dick is going to get the job done, and get it done right. None of this “Mission Accomplished” bullshit. No, absolutely none of that. The bad guys are going to be vaporized when Dick’s Crusader Army parachutes into Baghdad. Go bIg Dick, go!

  28. Not our problem, Not our problem, Not our problem, don’t get involved…

    /Reason editorial staff

  29. Let’s annihilate ISIS. You can’t get worse than them. We already messed up with killing Saddam, but now we’re stuck with the consequences. Obliterate ISIS with drones and then maybe we can think about future peace.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.