“What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight,” Carter told CNN’s Barbara Starr. “They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they failed to fight, they withdrew from the site, and that says to me, and I think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves.”
As I wrote in Removing Dictators is Immoral, the situation continues to worsen in Iraq. And as this senior U.S. representative say above, it’s not because we’re not helping.
We’re supplying them every possible tool to help themselves, yet they seem committed to being overrun by ISIS. It’s almost as if they’re destined, at least for now, to be run by a dictator with bad ideas, and the question is simply who that’ll be.
Iraq is far worse off than when we invaded. Stated plainly, the United States created ISIS and put them in power the moment they removed Saddam. And someone, or something, like Saddam is the only thing that can regain control over that country.
The region had an advantage with Saddam, though, because he was a secular ruler. He didn’t allow for religious extremism to dominate. It was all about unity under his rules. It was horrific, to be sure, with rampant fear, disappearances, and all manner of political oppression.
But at least they had a country.
They don’t have that now. It’s been stripped from them, by the United States. We’re like a clueless alien showing up to a kiddie pool with laser guns, and seeing that the kids are being attacked by oppressive arm parasites, they heroically remove them.
Unfortunately, those big orange parasites are called floaties on earth, and it turns out they keep kids from drowning. And now we have a bunch of dead kids because some dumbass with no understanding of the region showed up with laser guns.
That’s what Iraq is. A bunch of dead kids because the U.S. shot their floatie. But hey, there is an upside: Halliburton is doing great. So there is a sliver (if a bit blood-stained) lining.
Ok, enough of the anger at the past. It’s done, so now let’s figure out the way to fix it. I see only one option, with a few different versions: Iraq must be ruled long-term by someone strong enough to repel ISIS on a daily and constant basis.
We can’t fix things, build schools, train the army, and then leave. That’s not an option. We’ve seen that. We spent a couple of decades there, several trillion dollars, countless Iraqi and American lives, and it took ISIS around 14 minutes to destroy it.
No, this must be permanent.
- Saddam was one option, which was already working, but I said I wouldn’t focus on how fucking dumb we are
- The United States is another option, or at least some people think it is, but it can’t be us for a number of reasons. There’s no support for it here in the U.S. or in the middle east
- ISIS is an option. They have the kind of staying power and desire to lead that can really pull a country together. Let’s call that the default option
- And now for the big one: Iran. Why doesn’t Iran just move in and and squash ISIS? If I were them I’d go to the U.N. and be like, “Yes, I know we have this history, but at this point we need to go in to help the Iraqi people. We promise to do x, y, and z to protect the Sunni population, with oversight. But this has to end.”
I think that’s the case to beat. Iran will happily take the land and the resources. Of course it’ll be traumatic. Of course it’ll be history-altering. Of course people will think it’s the worst outcome of all.
But it isn’t. Not by damn sight.
The worst outcome of all is the United States dumping trillions of guilt money into a country that gets repeatedly raped and re-raped by ISIS because they lack a government or military that will stand up to them.
They need a consistent ruler for the next 20 years. Someone who can repel ISIS easily. Be ever-present on the ground. Build the infrastructure. Return it to a state of normalcy. The U.S. can’t do it. The international community won’t do it. It has to be someone local, with enough power and vested interest in restoring the area to relative calm.
It will end up being Iran.
[ UPDATE 30.05.15: Based on the comments here and on Twitter let me simplify this down to two options: Iraq will either be run long-term by ISIS or Iran. And from my uneducated perspective, I’d think that Iran is better. ]