Coming from the woman who once argued that the West needed to massively occupy Israel, this sounds a little surprising from the world’s foremost expert on genocide in the middle of multiple genocides in Iraq and Syria. The fact that ISIS is presently conducting a genocide against the Yazidis, Kurds, and Christians in Nineveh and elsewhere is hardly in dispute, and even Samantha Power acknowledges that the only way to defeat the genocidal terrorists of ISIS is to field a ground army against them. However, the US Ambassador to the UN states, we’re not going to do that because it’s not really our fight (via Daniel Halper)
Ground troops are necessary but they are not going to be American ground troops. You have to get the Iraqis and ultimately the Syrian moderate opposition groups up so they can fight the fight on the ground. There has to be a fight on the ground. You can’t do this by air. Everybody acknowledges that.
We also saw having deployed so many troops over so many years that unless the Iraqis congeal and have a kind of inclusive political system and have the military capability on the ground, anything we do is going to be stop gap. So it requires more patience and it’s really is going to require more time because the troops are not in a state yet to do the full rollback and to sustain the gains that they make. But they have to get there. There’s no work around the fact that the Iraqi army has to be the central part of this solution.
Ah yes, more strategic patience. How did that work out for the Bosnians? The Tutsis? The Kurds, under Saddam Hussein? The Yazidis now?
Power says the Iraqis have to “congeal” as if that will happen all on its own. In fact, it took the US years to gain the trust of the Sunni tribes in western Iraq and to build the coalition that became known as the Anbar Awakening, a trust gained in large part because we put boots on the ground and promised them protection from the Shi’ite majority. In exchange for that protection, they “congealed” with Baghdad and fought against al-Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’ predecessor, and had them on the ropes. Our presence allowed us to pressure Nouri al-Maliki into providing the “inclusive government” that would hold together that coalition and protect the western populations from attack.
Instead of sticking around, though, Obama bailed out on Iraq — against the advice of his first two Secretaries of Defense. Maliki conducted the long-expected purge against Sunnis and Kurds in the government and military, which pushed the former into the arms of ISIS and the latter on a course for independence. Now Power wants them to re-“congeal” without any commitment or investment from the US or the West, and to go out and fight ISIS while we wave from the sidelines.
We’ll need a lot of patience waiting for that to work.
Say, didn’t Power win a Pulitzer Prize for a book that condemned Western nations for not intervening to prevent genocides, specifically America? Good times, good times.
Update: PRI offers one sign of the genocides based on pictures surreptitiously sent to illustrator Molly Crabapple. Signs … in a literal sense.