It has taken most of 5 years for President Obama to clean up the economic mess left by the Bush administration…an economic disaster that former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke labeled as worse than the 1929 crash that led to the Great Depression.
Now the Obama administration is determined to clean up the mess created by the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq…a country that posed no real threat to the US. ISIS, aka ISIL and IS, began as al-Qaeda in Iraq in the vacuum created by the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. When Paul Bremer decided to “de-Ba’athify” Iraq following the invasion, Saddam’s former military officers were left with no jobs, no income and no future. The situation was further complicated when the US military following the directions of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld left the Iraqi ammo dumps unguarded allowing the guerilla fighters to turn artillery shells into IEDs that kept US forces bogged down in Iraq for more than 9 years.
The Ba’athists and former Iraqi military officers became further alienated by the new Iraqi leadership who gave power to Shiites and marginalized Sunnis.
So here we go again. Round three in Iraq.
Only this time, we are doing it right. Although the Obama administration has been criticized for not committing ground troops, that is because they are being careful not to make the war on ISIS seem like another Christian crusade against the Muslim world. Instead, we have put together a coalition that includes the Arab nations of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Jordan and the Kurdish Peshmerga.
It’s not perfect. No war is. But it’s unlikely to be another disaster on the scale of what Bush-Cheney gave us.
ISIS (aka ISIL and the Islamic State), al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the radical Islamic madrassas in Pakistan all have something in common aside from Islam. They have all been funded by Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Arabia that is sitting on an ocean of oil which has turned a family of desert tribesmen into billionaires; the Saudi Arabia whose ruling family consists of nearly 15,000 members; the Saudi Arabia that is home to Mecca and radical Wahhabi Islam; the Saudi Arabia that has a dismal record for women’s rights and human rights; the Saudi Arabia that has a government based on nepotism and corruption; the Saudi Arabia that still beheads criminals and dissidents; the Saudi Arabia that has close ties with both former Presidents Bush; the Saudi Arabia that was held harmless for 9/11 even though the plot was mostly financed and carried out by Saudis.
Yes, that Saudi Arabia!
Considering all of this, you may wonder why we continue to treat Saudi Arabia as a close ally. The answer can be summed up in a single word. It begins with “o”, ends with “l” and has an “i” in the middle.
If we are ever to bring peace to the Middle East, we can’t do it militarily. Our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have proven that. Radical Islamists must be defeated from within…by moderate Muslims. We can only remove the Saudi’s sources of arms and funding. Of course, that means ending the sale of arms from our defense industries. It means ending our reliance on Saudi Arabian oil. It means committing to sustainable forms of energy. It means developing alternative sources for plastic, such as the process that makes plastics by drawing carbon from the atmosphere.
It means ending support for Saudi Arabia as long as it continues to fund extremist groups.