Because of religion and ambition, everything in the Middle East has a double meaning. Suspicion runs high and no one knows who and when leaders can be trusted. Add to this the fact that many strategies have a short half-life and are quickly abandoned as ineffective or unworkable. (Count Bush’s previous reinventions.)
The main problem rests outside terrorism, in the tacit struggle for regional hegemony. States with competing views of Islamic polity (mainly Sunni and Shia, but other groups as well) struggle for dominance, each side wanting patronage, spoils and bragging rights. So helping a country is seen as advancing a sectarian group. And fighting terrorist threats within a country are often seen as attacks on the country.
Then the matrix multiplies! Attack ISIL in Iran: many see it as pretext and subterfuge for an attack against Sunnis; fewer see it as an attack against Iran and Shias; only a small minority see it as an attack against ISIL. Yet all sides will see it as an attempt to close a loop that the US opened when it brought war to the region. Implicitly then, US motives cannot be trusted. The mega-unifier is the US wants to crush the Middle East.
Do I agree? No. But the point is this thicket of entangled ideas, history, and relations remains inert, at the center of Middle East ideas and decisions. It crosses borders and undermines diplomacy.
It is showing up as outlined in how to fund Syrian rebels. Not the war, but its narrative, lacks a plan.
Rush in, says John McCain. Send troops, “Think of an American city in flames,” Lindsey Graham cries. The terrorists have already occupied space in his mind.
The criticisms of the President continue. At recent White House meetings, the President reportedly said. “I do not make apologies for being careful in these areas, even if it doesn’t make for good theater.”
But The Wall Street Journal speculates about his motivation rather than applaud his principles. Richard N. Haass (a former Bush official) said the President has been “forced to react to events here.” Haass went on:
“Attention to nuance is a double-edged attribute. “This is someone who, more than most in the political world, is comfortable in the gray rather than the black and white,” . . . He clearly falls on the side of those who are slow or reluctant to decide because deciding often forces you into a more one-sided position than you’re comfortable with.”
Haass is wrong. He assumed his conclusion and made it fit the circumstance. He reduced the President’s incredible strength to wait without wasting resources into a waste of time. He deliberately denies that patience provides you with a better perception and returns unique benefits.
For some, the President is always on the wrong side of their either/or.
The either/or of “boots or no boots” is distorting the military argument and misleading strategy to the forced choices that neocons like Haass embrace and take comfort with in their sleep.
He’s running for Congress again.
Sordid and tawdry, he slept in his office while in the House, then illegally billed the state for first class upgrades flying internationally on “personal” business, complains of missing his kids. but disappeared on Father’s Day. The day after winning the election in 2012, he pled guilty in the judge’s chambers to violating his former wife’s privacy, entering her house without permission. He resigned his National Guard commission when it looked like he would be deployed. He once brought two pigs into the state legislative chambers for a photo-op.(400 Times readers recommended this.)