U.S. needs clarity and a plan for Middle East

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Today’s Sentinel editorial (“U.S. needs clarity and a plan for Middle East”) both employs an oxymoronic (if not simply moronic) title and distorts President Obama’s “position” to disingenuously question his “political will” to effectively engage the latest manifestation of violent Islamic extremism in the Middle East known as “ISIS”.

While foreign policy decisions would certainly be easier to make if there were greater “clarity” in the tangled web of sectarian politics of the region, one lesson we should have learned in Iraq is that any perceived oasis of apparent “clarity” is most likely a mirage.

Remember when Senator John (“bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” and Syria) McCain posed for “selfies” with un-vetted Syrian Islamists he wrongly believed were “moderate rebels”?

Remember when McCain and his NeoCon confederates persuaded Prince Bandar (Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief) to funnel arms to those “moderate Syrian rebels” – who then morphed into ISIS?

As a direct result of the Bush/Cheney debacle in Iraq, the guiding principle of President Obama’s more prudent actions has been “don’t do stupid stuff” again.  Despite Hillary Clinton’s much-publicized critique of that informal vernacular, its substance is equivalent to physicians’ Hippocratic Oath:  “First, do no harm”.

Contrary to the Sentinel’s contrivance, President Obama’s words and actions establish that he is indeed willing to “intervene directly against the extremists themselves” when U.S. interests (including our humanitarian values) are directly threatened – but (unlike his predecessor) is unwilling to “shoot from the hip” reacting to potential/eventual threats.

Consistent with the Sentinel’s opinion-from-afar, the contours of President Obama’s
“plan” are already clear:  employ U.S. air power and Iraqi/Kurdish “boots on the ground” to “contain” ISIS, while facilitating a coalition of regional actors to eliminate it.  The first prefatory “move” in that “long game” was the firing of Bush-crony Bandar.

Meanwhile, don’t expect much more “clarity” than that.



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