During his hayday, Suleiman the Magnificent, a Kurd, established the largest caliphate throughout the Levant and North Africa. History records that he had half of his forces keeping peace among the Shi'ites and the other half among the Sunnis. The rest kept the Shi'ites and Sunnis from killing each other. I said he was magnificent. Tonight, President Obama faced a confused nation and world about the President's strategy for solving the ISIL, Syrian, Iranian incursions into Iraq, the weak Iraq military, among other problems roiling through the Middle East and North Africa. I think he did mention Afghanistan once, but not as a major part of his strategic resolve.
To be fair to the President, his biggest challenge is to create consensus, agreement on what the problem is. His speech laid that out: to eradicate current terrorist groups in the Levant, including those elements within Syria, without creating a political void into which other terrorists could slide. Slime slides. The President separated the enemy terrorist groups from Islam and from any legitimate political movement recognized outside its own foxholes. The President described the tools: 450 additional advisors and continued use of our airpower and drones against terrorists wherever they are.
I gleaned from the speech that the President has named the problem: eradicate the unrestrained, secular, inhumane terrorists who demonstrate no moral standards fit for this world. I anticipate future speeches will focus on building the domestic consensus for his view of the problem and for the Congress to join into this consensus of purpose.
The most important step in any effort is to articulate who, what, when and why a war has to begin. At least, President Obama is upfront about these key knowledge points of a war he has begun. Already the critics are harping on the fact that the President did not articulate "how" the war would proceed. He did not say anything about the aftermath of our efforts, about collateral damage, about political ramifications, about national boundaries, about Assad or about Turkey and its Kurds. Obama sent the message, however, that the terrorist leaders should keep looking over their shoulders to see if they are about to be annihilated by a drone, a cruse missle or a bomb dropped out of heaven.
The last war in Iraq was a scheme to enrich our oil holdings being horded by Saddam Hussein. The American people were never told this. Instead, the Bush/Cheney/Rice/Rumsfeld junta claimed its purpose was to remove weapons of mass destruction and to strike back for the 9/11 attacks on US soil. Fear generated a false consensus and 5,000 dead military personnel, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children never learned that there were no weapons of mass destruction and that all of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudi nationals. Remember this when Dick Cheney offers advice on the current situation, or when John McCain tries to organize his thoughts along those lines.
Heaven help us all. We are going to war in Iraq and Syria against ISIL, remnant Al Qaeda fighters, and all other domestic and foreign/Irani fighters intended to destroy the Sunni dominance in various areas of the Levant. Oh, don't forget that if Jordan falls, Israel is not far behind. Geez, this reminds me of the Indo-Chinese domino theory.