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ISIS Wins Again

Fear of a Caliphate

by ANDREW LEVINE

Now that Barack Obama the dove has metamorphized into Barack Obama the hawk, the President and his people are more than usually in over their heads.

It isn’t just that their past and present enemies in Iraq and Syria – Iran and the Assad government – are now also their de facto allies; or that those “Syrian moderates,” who haven’t exactly panned out in past iterations of American meddling, are now, again, their great Islamic hope.

They are so confused by the situation they helped bring about that, at first, they couldn’t even decide what to call their enemy.  Nor could they figure out whether to call this latest phase of the Bush-Obama perpetual Middle Eastern war a “war” or something that public opinion might find more congenial.

They were inclined, at first, to follow the example of their fascism-friendly Ukrainian protégés, by calling it an “anti-terror operation” – supplemented by some adjective like “heightened” that would imply that it would be more or less permanent.   In the end, they settled on “war.”

From Obama’s point of view, it is emphatically not a war of choice; not his choice, anyway.

Candidate Obama famously used that expression to disparage George Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq.  He still takes credit for winding Bush’s ruinous adventure down, even as he is starting it up again.

His point was that the Iraq War was Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s choice in the sense that they had no compelling reason to start it.

To be sure, they had grandiose, and patently unrealistic, geopolitical objectives in mind, but basically they, and the neocons they empowered, just wanted to overthrow the Iraqi government and to take that country over.  And so, there it was; and still is.

Obama, on the other hand, didn’t want this war.  The man is a god-awful President, but he isn’t stupid.

However, with an election in the offing, and with Republicans, right-wing Democrats, and the usual gaggle of pundits calling for blood — along with Hillary Clinton – he had no choice.

Resisting the pressure would take courage.  That is therefore out of the question.

Obama had no choice, but then neither did the warmongers and their acquiescent colleagues in the Senate and the House.  They too were reacting, predictably, to events not of their making.

The Islamic State (IS), or whatever we call it, chose to bring this war on – or, rather, to bring the United States back into a war that it started, lost many times over, and still never really quit.

Obama and his crew don’t want to call the IS by the name it now uses.   They favor the names it used to go by after it broke away from Al Qaida – ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria)...

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