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Saturday, August 13, 2016
Yes, Obama Is a Founder of ISIS
Daniel John Sobieski
Before the hyperventilating begins, let me stipulate that neither President Obama or Hillary Clinton ever sat down with Islamic State chieftain Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and signed the articles of incorporation. But were it not for their actions and inactions in facilitating a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, creating a vacuum ISIS would gladly fill, the terrorist groups' caliphate arguably would not exist.
Trump now says he was merely being sarcastic when he said it:
Donald Trump charged President Barack Obama on Wednesday with being the founder of the Islamic State during a campaign rally in Florida."In many respects, you know, they honor President Obama," Trump said during a campaign stop in Fort Lauderdale. "He is the founder of ISIS."Last week, his campaign tried to draw financial links between the Clinton Foundation and the terror group. Wednesday, he called Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton the group's "co-founder."
Trump has long accused Obama and Clinton for pursuing Middle East policies that created a power vacuum in Iraq that was exploited by Islamic State. He had criticized Obama for announcing he would yank U.S. troops out of Iraq, which Obama critics believe created the instability in which extremist groups thrive.
No more calls, we have a winner. Sarcasm or not, he is on the money. ISIS would not be the threat it is today were it not for the policies of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They should at least rate an honorable mention. The fact is that President Obama, who famously dismissed ISIS as a "JV team", ignored the intelligence reports of the rise of the Islamic State and the danger it posed. As Investor's Business Dailyeditorialized, Obama's later promise to "degrade and destroy" ISIS was an empty threat by a President who could have destroyed ISIS in the cradle but didn't:
Degrade? Degrading has been the foreign policy of a president who recently said that he didn't have a strategy yet for dealing with the Islamic State's butchery after watching it train and prepare for a year in its Syrian base before its "sudden" expansion into Iraq.
A former Pentagon official told Fox News that Obama received specific intelligence in daily briefings about the Islamic State's rise. The information was said to be "granular" in detail, laying out IS' intentions and capabilities for at least a year before it seized big chunks of Iraqi territory and started beheading Americans.
Obama's indifference to the briefings was an issue during the 2012 campaign, when former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen observed that Obama personally attended only 44% of them. Obama's perceived lack of interest in a terror war, which he claimed was won prior to the Benghazi attack, mirrors his reported lack of interest in the rise of the Islamic State.
The fact is President Obama willfully snatched defeat from the Iraq victory of President George W. Bush. The Islamic State's capture of Ramadi was a long way from the purple fingers Iraqi women held aloft in the country's first free and democratic elections:
The White House description of the fall of Ramadi to ISIS forces we were supposedly busy degrading and destroying as a "setback" is like the British calling Dunkirk in World War II a strategic withdrawal. Ramadi is a defeat, the result of the precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq by President Obama against the advice of military minds who know better about these things than the former community organizer from Illinois.
President Bush left a stable Iraq, one where Shiite and Sunnis had learned to coexist and resist a common al-Qaida enemy. There were free and fair elections and we all remember the pictures of Iraqi women holding up their purple fingersindicating they had proudly voted in those elections. Now we have the mass graves of ISIS, beheadings and what can only be called the ethnic cleansing of Christians.
It is a myth, as the White House now claims, that President Obama inherited an Iraqi mess from President Bush and had no choice but to withdraw U.S. troops in the absence of a status of forces agreement. The problem was not that Iraq and Prime Minister Noor al-Maliki wanted the U.S. to leave, but that the force Obama wanted to leave was just too small. As Patrick Brennan has written in National Review:
These claims don't jibe with what we know about how the negotiations with Iraq went. It's the White House itself that decided just 2–3,000 troops made sense, when the Defense Department and others were proposing more. Maliki was willing to accept a deal with U.S. forces if it was worth it to him -- the problem was that the Obama administration wanted a small force so that it could say it had ended the war. Having a very small American force wasn't worth the domestic political price Maliki would have to pay for supporting their presence. In other words, it's not correct that "the al-Maliki government wanted American troops to leave.
So unserious was Obama's attempt to "degrade and destroy" ISIS that he at one point spared ISIS oil facilities, a prime source of its funding, because attacking them might hurt the environment.
If you wondered why our air campaign against ISIS was inept, consider the statement by Mike Morell, speaking on the "Charlie Rose" program That we didn't take out the oil facilities that ISIS was using to become the best financed terrorist organization in history because of our concern the environment would be harmed. As the Washington Timesreported:
A former CIA director said the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State has been reluctant to attack oil wells controlled by the extremist group partly because of environmental concerns.
"We didn't go after oil wells -- actually hitting oil wells that ISIS controls because we didn't want to do environmental damage, and we didn't want to destroy that infrastructure," said former spy chief Michael Morell, using an acronym for the Islamic State.
So much for the campaign to "degrade and destroy" ISIS, giving credence to the adage that there is no specific and credible evidence of intelligence in the White House. You win wars by breaking things and killing the enemy and letting the sea levels take care of themselves. You don't win by worrying that destroying an enemy's infrastructure might melt a glacier in a hundred years.
Obama's precipitous withdrawal from and abandonment of Iraq provided ISIS an incubator in which to grow. It was an extension of Obama's view that the heavy foot of America had created all of the world's problems and our withdrawal from world leadership would solve everything: It, and the consequences of it, were predicted by President George W. Bush in a 2007 speech: As Fox News reported:
A prophetic warning from then-President George W. Bush before he left office about what would happen if the U.S. withdrew troops from Iraq too soon is getting new attention in light of the Islamic State's gains, as each of his predictions appears to be coming true.
Bush, as discussed on "The Kelly File," made the remarks in the White House briefing room on July 12, 2007, as he argued against those who sought an immediate troop withdrawal.
"To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States," Bush cautioned.
He then ticked off a string of predictions about what would happen if the U.S. left too early.
"It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to Al Qaeda (the precursor of ISIS).
"It would mean that we'd be risking mass killings on a horrific scale.
"It would mean we allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan.
"It would mean we'd be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous."
Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen says all these predictions have come true.
"Every single thing that President Bush said there in that statement is happening today," he told Fox News.
Intended as sarcasm or not, Donald Trump is right on this one. President Obama deserves credit as a co-founder of ISIS.
Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.