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The president's request for the authorization to use military force against the Islamic State has landed in a Congress as divided as the country.
That division was mirrored in the disparate receptions Obama's resolution received from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
To the Times, Obama's AUMF is "alarmingly broad. It does not limit the battlefield to Syria and Iraq."
Moreover, Obama "seeks permission to attack 'associated persons or forces.'" This would give the White House "virtually unrestricted power to engage in attacks around the globe as long as it can justify a connection, however tenuous, to the Islamic State."
To the Journal, Obama's resolution ties America down the way the Lilliputians tied down Gulliver. It authorizes war on ISIS for only three years. It would prevent another U.S. army from being sent to Iraq or Syria.
"Rather than put shackles on his generals," says the Journal, "Mr. Obama should be urging them to mount a campaign to roll back ISIS as rapidly as possible from the territory it holds."
But the country seems nowhere near this hawkish.
Viewing nightly on cable news the hardships endured by the Wounded Warriors of our two latest and longest wars has cooled the arbor for new crusades.
About the character of the Islamic State, there is no disagreement.
"A brutal, vicious death cult," Obama called it.
But about whether ISIS is an "existential threat" to us, or if this war is really our war, there is no agreement.
North of Syria, along 500 miles of border, sits a Turkish army of half a million with 3,000 tanks that could cross over and annihilate ISIS in a month. Former Secretary of State James Baker suggests that the U.S. offer air, logistics and intelligence support, if the Turks will go in and snuff out ISIS.
But not only have the Turks not done so, for a time they looked the other way as jihadists crossed their border to join ISIS.
If the Islamic State, as Ankara's inaction testifies, is not viewed as a threat to Turkey's vital interests, how can it be a threat to ours?
There are reports that the Saudis and the Gulf Arabs would be more willing to participate in a war on ISIS if we would first effect the ouster of Bashar Assad.
Everyone in the Middle East, it appears, wants the United States to fight their wars for them. But as they look out for their interests first, it is time we started looking out for ours first.
Foremost among those interests would be to avoid another $1 trillion war, with thousands of U.S. dead and tens of thousands of wounded, and a situation, after a decade of fighting, as exists today in Afghanistan and Iraq, where those we leave behind in power cannot hold their own against the enemies we defeated for them.
That an Iraqi army we equipped and trained at a cost of tens of billions would disintegrate and desert Iraq's second city, Mosul, when confronted by a few thousand fanatics, was a debacle.
Why should Americans have to recapture Mosul for Baghdad?
And why do these "democrats" we install in power seem to perform so poorly?
Under Saddam, Iraq fought an eight-year war against a nation three times as large and populous, Iran. Yet, Saddam's army did not run away as the Iraqi army we trained and equipped ran away from Anbar.
What did Saddam Hussein have to motivate men that we do not?
What is it that makes some people in the Middle East volunteer and fight to the death, while others refuse to fight or run away from battle?
For, as the Journal writes, "The Associated Press reported Tuesday that U.S. intelligence officials now say foreign fighters are joining Islamic State 'in unprecedented numbers,' including 3,400 from western nations out of 20,000 from around the world."
Why is this?
The Islamic State has plugged into the most powerful currents of the Middle East. It is anti-American, anti-Zionist, anti-West, Islamic and militantly Islamist. It promises to overthrow the old order of Sykes-Picot, to tear up the artificial borders the West imposed on the Arabs, and to produce a new unity, a new dispensation where the Quran is law and Allah rules and all Sunnis are united in one home whence all infidels—Jews, Shia, Christians—have been driven out. Hateful as it is, ISIS has a vision.
Hezbollah, Iran, Assad, the Houthi rebels, all Shiites, understand this.
They know they are in a fight to the death. And they fight.
But it is the Sunni Arabs, the royals on the Arabian Peninsula and the sheiks on the Gulf, to whom this should be a fire bell in the night.
For ISIS is out to dethrone these perceived royal puppets of a detested America and to reclaim rightful custody of Mecca and Medina.
The Shiites are already in the field. The Sunni are going to have to fight and win this war against ISIS, or lose it all.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM
Ahhhhh! Here is the Patrick Buchanan I love. Superb column.
If the Americans could grasp a policies of unbridled development of its own fossil fuel resources, secure its borders with extreme prejudice and reduce immigration from 3rd world countries to a trickle, if not to outright zero. They could simply wave their hands and say have it caliphates. Then again I digress, for the Americans prefer to go the way of the Hittites.
Buchanan stands for America First! If only he could have used his time in the Reagan Admin to get Ronnie to stop the immigration invasion, instead of dramatically worsening it. Beyond AF!, however, there is a much deeper reason for us to stay out of the conflict with ISIS. We are in a clash of civilizations with Islam. This should be considered not only as a statement of fact, but of desire. The supreme threat to the survival of the West (which, in turn, is the supreme consideration of any conservatism worthy of the name, NOT cutting the capital gains tax, rescuing Medicare or preventing the abortion of rapists' progeny) is the Principle of Diversity allied to the Islamic invasion/colonization of Europe. Contra Chancellor/Traitor Merkel, ISLAM HAS NO PLACE IN THE WEST. Islam is the once and future ideology of anti-Occidentalism; it must never be legitimated. Yet, it is here, both in the tens of millions of its settler-colonialist-adherents now occupying Western soils, and in the space liberals have created for "freedom of religion". If the West is to live, Islam must be removed from within it. But given our pathetic liberal, and, to some extent, Christian-inspired, racial weakness, how are we ever actually going to rally Western men to the hard and brutal task of eliminating it from our midst? Western men may be too ethical to survive collectively (specifically: many Western men are weak and selfish, "go along, get along" types, but the best quality ones are, paradoxically, the most subject to race-liberal moral brainwashing); if we are to survive, we must reestablish the ethical basis for particularistic ethnonationalism. The beginning of this "re-racialization" of the West can be the clash with Islam, which in turn is furthered the more brutal Islamicism reveals itself to be. Thus, ISIS is a perfect propaganda tool with which to tar even "moderate" Muslims (behind whom, after all, the radicals hide and infiltrate). I say let ISIS proliferate, it only hardens us!
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