Obama administration finally admits what world has known for years: ISIS = Genocide

March 20, 2016

genocideOn the cover of the May 3 – 9 2014 issue of The Economist magazine is an illustration of an American bald eagle, tethered atop a globe as a fire’s glow and smoke rises behind.  The headline is a simple:  “What would America fight for?”, the sub-title:  “The question haunting its allies.”

That issue was published barely three months after President Obama had watched columns of ISIS fighters in pickup trucks stream across open desert on their way to the Iraq city of Fallujah and had not only done nothing then, but followed it up three weeks later equating them to a “J.V. team”.

By June 2014, Mosul fell and the fallacy of Mr. Obama not using American leverage to leave a stabilizing force in Iraq in 2011 was playing out in real life, and massive death.

The Economist writers laid out the truths of a worried world: “A nagging doubt is eating away at the world order—and the superpower is largely ignoring it”….. “First, he (Obama) has broken the cardinal rule of superpower deterrence: you must keep your word….Second, Mr. Obama has been an inattentive friend….He has put his faith in diplomatic coalitions…but he has failed to build the coalitions….Credibility is about reassurance as well as the use of force…Credibility is also easily lost and hard to rebuild.”

They continued:  “AMERICA’S allies are nervous. With Russia grabbing territory, China bullying its neighbours and Syria murdering its people, many are asking: where is Globocop? Under what circumstances will America act to deter troublemakers? What, ultimately, would America fight for?…..The answer to this question matters. Rogue states will behave more roguishly if they doubt America’s will to stop them.”

And woven within the sub sections was a single thought: “Yet the widespread impression in the Middle East is that the lion has turned into a pussycat. Its foes rejoice; its allies bewail their perceived abandonment.”

Mr. Obama’s “no policy – policy” was taking its toll.  Invade Libya one day, leave it a failed state the next, a Syrian “red line” drawn in quick sand, and an Olympic gymnast’s “flexibility” regarding Vladimir Putin was causing a global migraine as world leaders could only shake their heads and ask “what next”?

That ISIS never had to be, that it could have been blown to bits in its infancy, that it created its caliphate entirely under the watchful eye of Barack Obama is a chapter of history that will end with but a single three letter word:  WHY?

Which is why it was quite a shock Thursday to hear Secretary of State John Kerry announce to that same world that “My purpose in appearing before you today is to assert that in my judgment, Daesh (a local term for ISIS) is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims,”

While Kerry was under a Congressional deadline to make the determination, many doubted that an administration that can’t even say “radical Islamic terrorists” would publicly acknowledge that on its watch genocide has spread unabated.

Kerry’s pronouncement by no means makes the Christians and minorities suffering under ISIS brutality any safer today than they were yesterday, but it is a promising first step.

For the hundreds of thousands of victims already dead or brutalized and the centuries of history already destroyed, it is sadly a day that has come years too late. But it need not be a day in vain.

We owe those still hanging on that from this year forward, March 17 marks more than the death of St. Patrick.  That 2016 is the year history records as the year America and the world finally, more than seven decades post Holocaust, backed up the words, “Never Again”.

PUBLISHER NOTE:  A version of this column first appeared in the March 20, 2016 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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