Tikrit, Iraq, in Hands of ISIS Discredits Every Neocon

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Fallujah, Mosul and now Tikrit are in the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The propaganda campaign that preceded the invasion of Iraq by U.S. forces discredits every neocon. They promoted the war. Everything that has happened in Iraq as a consequence of the U.S. invasion discredits them again. And now Iraq is again facing turmoil, killing and large numbers of refugees, discrediting the neocons yet again. No one should be paying any attention to their voices on Iran, Syria, African countries or any other countries in Eastern Europe, the Middle East or Asia.

The U.S. should do nothing about ISIS. There are plenty of local forces and interests that may decide to enter the fray. There are Shiite groups, Sunni groups, neighboring countries like Turkey and Iran, and Kurds. Israel is another neighbor. The U.S. cannot control this region politically. The U.S. cannot control every region with unstable politics that sells oil. Attempts to do so are extremely costly in any number of ways and they fail anyway. No matter who takes over, in time accommodations and trading with them tend to occur, making U.S. control unnecessary. The U.S. is so accustomed to intervening and attempting to control events that this recommendation to do nothing is one that will be despised and ridiculed by the existing crop of Washington politicians. Americans will also feel the sting of defeat and feel helpless before forces beyond their control. It is a hard thing to relinquish the habit of control and to recognize the limitations of power and even huge military might, but the U.S. cannot defeat groups like ISIS. Call this defeatism and ridicule it, if you will, but it is a fact. The U.S. could not defeat the North Vietnamese. It couldn’t defeat certain groups in Afghanistan and it cannot defeat ISIS. Those who say doing nothing is defeatism are themselves being arrogant and unrealistic about the limits of power and the American experiences in attempting to reshape the world.

General Bolger has written a book on the recent defeats, Why We Lost. He says that the U.S. should have withdrawn after 6 months. He says counterinsurgency takes 30-40 years and runs up huge bills. He says that the idea of reshaping these parts of the world was faulty. “Don’t be so arrogant and think you’re going to reshape the Middle East. We’ve basically installed authoritarian dictators.”

3:14 pm on June 11, 2014