ISIS’ success against the Kurdish Peshmerga highlights the failure of US Middle Eastern policy. Our actions may have been better than nothing, or in some cases worse than nothing, but in any case they were not worth the cost. Iraq and Afghanistan, where we fought hot wars, are absolute disasters. We destroyed Iraq when we killed Saddam Hussein and Paul Bremmer disbanded the Iraqi army and ordered the de-Baathification of the Iraqi government. In our Congress, Republicans have been screaming to do the same thing to Syria’s Assad. They want to kill Assad and give military aid to his ISIS enemy which is killing everyone it doesn’t like in Iraq. The Republicans and Obama worked together with the Europeans to kill Kaddafi and shove Libya into a rapid descent into a chaotic hell, killing an American ambassador in the process. We didn’t kill Egypt’s Mubarek, but we did get him deposed, putting Egypt through years of turmoil, first under the Muslim Brotherhood and now under al-Sisi.
We didn’t create all of this instability. Saddam, Mubarek and Kaddafi were all getting old and were going to have to leave in a few years. We moved up that transition, but in retrospect we did not provide for a good transition; they have all gotten worse rather than better. If we had left these leaders to their own devices, they might have arranged for a more stable government succession, or maybe not. But for us, trillions of dollars and thousands of lives have been largely wasted. The country that has probably gone through its transition better than the others is Tunisia, where we have been the least active.
ISIS’ savage, inhuman conduct in Iraq and Syria illustrate how awful our opponents in the Middle East are, but maybe this is neither the time nor the place for us to intervene in what is a regional conflict.
Of course, while all this is going on, the Israelis and Gazans are still fighting each other. The Israelis face the same moral dilemma that the US does in trying to deal with this Middle East problem. The more children and non-combatants Israel kills, the more horrendous it , and Jews in general, appear to the world. The real anti-Semites are the Israelis; they are besmirching the reputations of all Jews everywhere. When Jews invoke the Holocaust on behalf of Israel, it is an insult to the Holocaust, and makes Israelis look like foul hypocrites.