Will Kobani Be The Graveyard Of Obama's War Strategy?

Islamic State fighter attacks Kurds with a heavy machine gun in Kobani. While the world watches the northern Syrian town get blasted by American bombs and Caliphate gunmen, Barack Obama's war policy is getting blasted by just about anybody and everybody, including Democrats like Leon Panetta and ex-President Jimmy Carter. The latter, in a much-ignored comment about Obama's general (and heinous) conduct in the world, accused Obama of being a murderer.
Two months ago, when Islamic State threatened to kill thousands of Kurds and Yazidi people in northern Iraq, Barack Obama argued the United States had a moral duty to defend these people from the brutal atrocities committed by the Caliphate fighters. And Barack Obama ordered the United States to go to war against Islamic State.

That was then.

Now, the United Nations predicts that thousands of people, most of them Syrian Kurds, will be slaughtered by Islamic State, should the Syrian town of Kobani fall to the Caliphate. The US response to this—yeah, well, can't win 'em all.

Not only are there no US ground troops going to the rescue, in addition US airstrikes in and around Kobani, while making impressively large explosions, have failed to stop Islamic State from sending in more troops and resupplying them in the fight. Also, the world daily sees US alleged ally Turkey just sitting and watching the building disaster on its border with Syria.

"Double standard" doesn't even begin to describe the difference in the situations. And it is an understatement to point out that this failure on Obama's part to be effectively supportive of the Kurds of Kobani is uninspiring to any US proxy fighters against Islamic State.

Barack Obama in recent weeks has hardly been a paragon of consistency or clarity when it comes to articulating or perpetrating his war policy. The one key issue the President has failed to address with anything like a coherent or convincing answer is why the United States should be expecting a bunch of lightly-armed amateur warriors to fight and die for America’s war against the supposed global threat of Islamic State.

Of course Obama has said that this isn't America's war, and indeed on a number of occasions Obama has made the ridiculous statement that the United States is not even fighting a war at all. Instead, Obama insists that the numerous American airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are intended as combat support missions to aid the real fighters, the people whose war this really is, to degrade and destroy Islamic State. So far that isn't working out so well.

Further, in making his case for the use of air power, Obama has told Americans and the world that Islamic State is a global threat, which seeks to come to the West, to the United States, to kill as many people as possible.

But if that is a serious assessment, and if the threat posed by Islamic State is actually as bad as Obama and other war-pushers have claimed, then why shouldn’t American ground troops be fighting and dying right along with the Kurds and the Iraqi Shia and the utterly invisible moderate Syrian rebels?

Is it because everybody knows how long support for ObamaWar would last once Americans started dying in it in any numbers? While one imagines, should the US commit a few thousand ground combat troops, that the actual fighting would start going against Islamic State, the US has never been able to impose peace by force of arms in the Middle East.

Obama claims this is because the resentment at US invasions and occupations outweighs the calming effect of the occupying troops. And eventually, the American people want their occupiers to come home. Certainly, that was a big issue in the American operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the problem is that now we have seen what happens when American occupation troops are withdrawn from a region where the alleged establishment of a national military to replace the Americans was put to the test. After billions of dollars and years of training, the Iraqi military, equipped with large supplies of American weapons, quickly fell to pieces when it was attacked by Islamic State during the summer.

The Caliphate fighters currently attacking Kobani, have brought with them arms and supplies they captured from the Iraqi military. Much of the Islamic State equipment being blown up by American airstrikes was made in or supplied by the United States to Iraq.

Again, “irony” doesn’t seem quite strong enough to describe the absurdity.

The criticism of the US President, and his ad-hoc fashion of dealing with everything, but especially foreign policy, now comes from the highest places in Obama’s own Democratic Party.

Leon Panetta, Obama’s former CIA chief and Secretary of Defense, has criticized the President for being more suited to lecturing people as a law professor, than leading them as President. Effective leadership, Panetta argues in his new book “Worthy Fights”, comes from a willingness and ability to engage people passionately about important issues, so that a President must be seen to fight for something—anything—he believes in.

Panetta writes:
“[President Obama’s] most conspicuous weakness, [is] a frustrating reticence to engage his opponents and rally support for his cause…Too often, in my view, the president relies on the logic of a law professor rather than the passion of a leader.”
Maybe that helps explain Obama’s low polling numbers, as everyone knows how much Americans love lawyers.

Then there’s Jimmy Carter, who recently assessed Obama this way:
“First of all, we [i.e., Obama] waited too long. We let the Islamic state build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria. Then when [ISIS] moved into Iraq, the Sunni Muslims didn’t object to their being there and about a third of the territory in Iraq was abandoned.”
Now, that is the criticism most papers and pundits have focused on, with big headlines announcing how Jimmy is blasting Barack, and it prompted MSNBC blowhard Mike Barnicle to demand the USA have an election between Obama and Jimmy Carter to figure out which unpopular President America really wants. OK.

But, what has generally been ignored in the Carter article is this comment by the 39th President:
“I really object to the killing of people, particularly Americans overseas who haven’t been brought to justice and put on trial. We’ve killed four Americans overseas with American drones. To me that violates our Constitution and human rights.”
Carter’s talking about Barack Obama violating “our Constitution and human rights”. And so let us understand what Jimmy Carter is really saying: Barack Obama is a murderer.

Yet, that bit hasn’t been covered much at all.

At this point in the second term of George W. Bush’s presidency, the American people had utterly given up on him. He was the fool who had invaded Iraq and played guitar while New Orleans drowned. People despised George W. Bush. They regretted ever voting for him—which America collectively only did once (maybe), in 2004.

We kind of figured Barack Obama would struggle in his second term, as most Presidents do. But the idea Obama would have ended up like Bush, hated as a Constitution-killer, a murderer of Americans, and a war-mongering fool—not so many people thought it would go this way, this badly, this quickly.

But polling shows Barack Obama currently in almost exactly the same place as George W. Bush in terms of disapproval by his bosses at this point in his presidency.

The Presidents aren’t getting any better, which is to say the American voters aren’t getting any better either. The American system is rotten and everyone knows it, yet nobody has a better idea anyone is seriously entertaining.

None of that is going to save anybody in Kobani of course. Politics, and the endless debate about it, is just another of many ways Americans ignore the awful consequences of the folly of their terrible leaders.