Opinion
Iraqi security forces pull down a flag belonging to Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during a patrol in the town of Dalli Abbas in Diyala province, June 30, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer Iraqi security forces pull down a flag belonging to Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during a patrol in the town of Dalli Abbas in Diyala province, June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer  

Obama To Iraqi Christians, U.S. Allies: ‘You’re On Your Own’

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Cliff Smith
Attorney
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      Cliff Smith

      Cliff Smith, a native of Seattle, has worked on Capitol Hill and in various other political and policy-focused capacities. He holds an MPP with a focus on international relations from Pepperdine University and a JD with a focus on international law from The Catholic University of America.

Last week, members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who have been fighting simultaneous wars against the Iraqi Government and the Assad Regime, began marking a “ن”, pronounced “noon,” and standing for “Nazarenes,” on the door of Christians in Mosul, Iraq, as a signal that they would be driven out or killed. NBC news reports, the last Christian may already have left, or been killed, marking the first time in around 2000 years that Christians have not been present in this ancient city.

The symbol “ن” became a trend on Facebook and Twitter, similar to #bringbackourgirls, which was famously tweeted by Michelle Obama. Yet there was no tweet in favor of the persecuted Iraqi Christians from the Obama team. Instead, to add insult to injury, while the Christians of Mosul were being driven out and murdered, the Obama administration sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner, asking that the Authorization of the Use of Force (AUMF) in Iraq be repealed. The message to Iraqi Christians, who have explicitly asked for military invention to save their lives, was much the same message the Obama administration has sent to others around the world, namely, “You’re on your own.”

This is not the first time that the Obama administration has worked against the clear interests of Christians persecuted by Muslim extremists, yet it is not likely a lack of sympathy for Christians that’s behind the Obama administration’s indifference, either in Iraq or in Egypt. It is an unwillingness to accept responsibility for creating the problem. Since ISIS began vivisecting Iraq, after roughly 6 years of relative peace, and Joe Biden declaring Iraq one of the Obama administration’s “greatest achievements,” the hysterical reaction on the left amounts to — what else? — blaming Bush and telling any supporter of the Iraq War, (including, presumably, an only recently repentant Hillary Clinton) to shut up.

We can relitigate the decision to go to war against a man who killed nearly a million of his own people till doomsday, but the attempt by the Obama administration to shirk responsibility for the ongoing humanitarian and national security disaster is nothing but disgraceful. There can be no reasonable debate that, by the time Obama took office, Iraq was pacified, and could have survived with a fairly minimal amount of American forces to help keep the peace. The decision to withdraw completely, contrary to the Obama administration’s assertions, was not forced upon him by the Iraqi Government, but by his own unwillingness to put forward the rather small amount of troops necessary to keep Iraq stable. Neither can there be any reasonable debate that, had we had the roughly 30-40,000 troops thought necessary to keep Iraq stable, the current situation would simply not exist.

The Obama administration’s defenders have complained bitterly that it is absurd to expect Obama to follow the goals of George W. Bush or John McCain, who famously said we should stay in Iraq for 100 years, as if this justifies their failure to keep the peace won by American blood in Iraq. It is beyond churlish. It’s juvenile and indicative in a larger sense of the way the Obama administration views the world, and its own mission. Everything is done for politics.

62 years ago, General Dwight Eisenhower was running for president to succeed President Harry Truman, who at the time was at least as unpopular as Bush was in 2008, and for the same reason, namely, an unpopular war. Yet while Eisenhower pledged to end the war in Korea and slammed Truman’s conduct of the war, calling it, “a symbol — a telling symbol — of the foreign policy of our nation,” Eisenhower recognized that the failure of America to keep its commitments in Korea would be catastrophic, not only for the people of Korea, but for America’s geopolitical interests.

Ike went to Korea, and while we lost nearly 100 American lives in combat after hostilities ceased, we have preserved a lasting peace. South Korea is now one of America’s closest allies because they knew, regardless of which party held power, their American allies would stick by them in their hour of need. It is easy to overlook the fact that the Korean War did not happen in isolation, and meant far more than the freedom of South Korea. Our willingness to fight for our friends against a totalitarian force signaled to Japan, Pakistan, Turkey, and other key allies, that we were reliable defenders of their interests, cementing our alliance.

By calling for the AUMF to be repealed the same time Iraqi Christians are being driven out of their 2000 year-old home and murdered, the Obama administration has turned on its head John F. Kennedy’s famous declaration that we would “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty,” and has emboldened the same ideology that destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan and led to 9/11. Instead, coupled with his shameful inaction concerning Ukraine, the administration has made quite clear that he sees foreign affairs as a political game to be managed, not a victory to be won by facts on the ground. Right now, Iraqi Christians are paying the price for his failure. Unfortunately, they will not be the last to do so.