Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Matter of Trust

I think we can win against ISIL in Iraq with the strategy announced. I'm not nearly as pessimistic as a lot of people. But our president's reputation harms our efforts to win without American combat brigades.

Of course American combat brigades could do the job better. Our troops are good. Like the French did in Mali, we could spearhead a drive north from Baghdad paving the way for Iraqi troops to follow.

But I don't think American home front morale could sustain a lengthy effort with casualties. So it isn't a good idea to start out on this path unless we must.

President Obama's reputation harms our effort to get allies to provide the ground forces to help our air power and harms our effort to convince Iraq's Sunni Arabs that they can count on us not to abandon them again if they re-Awaken to turn on ISIL.

Remember, too, that after we abandoned the Shias in Iraq in 1991, watching Saddam's forces slaughter them into submission after the Persian Gulf War ceasefire, we alienated them so much that they were distrustful of us when we liberated them in 2003.

It wasn't until spring 2004 that the Shias finally really came over to us in larger numbers (other than Iran's hand puppet Sadr) as the Baathists and al Qaeda allied to fight us and we held the line against the offensive.

So it is possible to regain the Sunni Arabs' trust. But they have to believe we will stick around for the long haul this time.

And maybe we can regain the trust of the Shias for a third time that we won't abandon them to Iran this time.

Maybe an outreach speech to the Iraqis by President Obama would be in order.