U.S. may now strike Iraq because it feels like it

Meanwhile the murderous government in Egypt just got new U.S. military helicopters.

I noticed an alarming top story just now on my Google News search:
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So I read on, to get more details:

President Obama is lining up ISIS targets in Iraq and may launch an attack on the militant Islamic militia that is threatening Baghdad even if he does not get an agreement with the Iraqi regime, Secretary of State John Kerry said today.

Speaking in Baghdad after meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other political leaders, Kerry said Obama is “each day” gaining more certainty of the targets he would strike if the United States decided on its own to take military action.

“He has reserved the right to himself, as he should, to make a decision at any point in time if he deems it necessary strategically,” Kerry said.

Obama has said he would not provide Iraq more military support unless it forms a government more accepting of religious minorities, but Kerry stressed that Obama wouldn’t hesitate to have the U.S. conduct its own military operations if necessary.

“The president has moved the assets into place and has been gaining each day the assurances he needs with respect to potential targeting,” Kerry said.

While it’s true that the United States since 9/11 has conducted airstrikes without permission in other countries before (e.g. Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, etc.), the justification has been that the targeted individuals or organizations were at least trying to attack the U.S. homeland, U.S. troops in the area, or U.S. sites like embassies and such. I might not agree with that policy, but at least I can follow the reasoning.

That’s not the case here, because ISIS isn’t attacking those points. Nor has the argument been made that such strikes would be a “humanitarian intervention” to stop massacres (as was argued in the Balkans in the 1990s). Which makes it an odd and troubling development.

The summary phrase of greatest importance to that point, in the above, was: “may launch an attack … even if he does not get an agreement with the Iraqi regime”

Thus, the newest version of the Bipartisan Post-9/11 US Rules for Whole World: The United States President reserves right to attack anyone, anywhere, for any reason even if U.S. is not attacked (and even if there are no attacks on its sites, its people, or its interests).

Because ISIS isn’t doing any of that so far, nor does it look like it will be imminently. ISIS is probably about 3 layers away from being a threat to the U.S. in any way, including sites/interests/regional troops. So why the heck would we attack without Iraq’s request?

True, ISIS is allegedly massacring opponents in Iraq, but we haven’t invaded Syria to stop the regime or “our” rebels or ISIS from doing that next door.

We’re not doing it to protect the Iraqi government. Because they didn’t (and largely still don’t) want our help, and we left, and this didn’t happen immediately after we left. And we’re not getting their permission.

What can possibly be gained from this action? Who benefits from this at all? Probably not the Iraqis. Certainly not the United States.

Also troubling is the use of the phrase “Iraqi regime” in that article. When did U.S./Western media suddenly start calling the elected Iraqi government the “regime” again?

Beyond this hit, Google News currently has 290 results for “Iraqi Regime,” a phrase that has suddenly roared back like it’s 2003 again. This is intentionally being used to frame the current government as no longer legitimate (it was last month apparently) and therefore unable to make a decision on the issue.

Now, it’s often been arbitrary which other governments the U.S. government and media label “regimes.” Indeed, that’s a bit subjective as long as you attach a negative connotation to it (rather than just using it generically to mean system of state governance).

But it’s interesting that the government in Iraq is suddenly the “Iraqi regime” the same week that John Kerry — bearer of Apache helicopters and $575 million — met with and glowingly praised the new president of Egypt, the mass-executing military leader of the July 2013 coup d’état, Abdul Fatah al Sisi. And we know for sure that he was responsible for cold-blooded massacres of hundreds of nearly six hundred unarmed civilian protesters in a single incident last summer, which is not something we can say with confidence about ISIS.

Sisi was recently elected to the presidency in a very low turnout election where the largest opposition party was banned, almost no one was allowed to run, and he finished in a virtual shutout. But, you know, elections, so tada, no longer a “coup government” and no longer illegal to send weapons.



Bill Humphrey

About Bill Humphrey

Bill Humphrey is the primary host of WVUD's Arsenal For Democracy talk radio show and a local elected official.
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