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We are about to become Iran’s ally in the defense of Baghdad. We were enemies when we attacked Baghdad in 2003, but not now. Neither capital, Washington or Tehran, will let Maliki’s Shiite government in the capital fall without helping it out. The Persians to the east already offer Maliki a lot of moral support, money, and elite troops. Now he might see some air support coming from the west. Meantime, Maliki can hunker down in Baghdad’s Green Zone, and hope the jihadists don’t cut off his balls before he finds a way to escape.

Give some credit to our friends in Washington for their prudence. Their foreign policy amounts to saying, “Yep, yep, things got serious. Big problem. We’re thinking about what we want to do. No options off the table. Don’t want to do something stupid. Situation doesn’t look good.” You have to feel sympathy for those guys. Predictions of catastrophe made in 2002 and 2003, before we dropped bombs on Baghdad and rolled our tanks across the border, are coming to pass before our eyes. Eleven years of death and destruction is a long time. You ask, can things get any worse? Oh yes, they can. Here at home, we have witnessed the historic unmaking of a great power: its leadership, it’s willingness to fight, its influence within its own borders and everywhere else. This process did not begin in 2003, but our military action against Iraq greatly accelerated it.

The border between Iraq and Syria is no longer a border.

So what should Team Obama do, now that the war Bush junior started has metastasized into a multi-state, Sunni vs. Shia crackup? How can you criticize Obama’s foreign policy people for not having a foreign policy, in a situation like this? You could say that we should have armed the moderate Syrian opposition before ISIS became so powerful, but look, that’s more than two years ago. What’s done is done; what’s not done is not done. We have the make the best of it. Wasn’t that Bush’s policy, too? Waste your power and prestige and hope for the best? That’s how we want our leaders to think, right?

We put the match to the forest in 2003, and added loads of accelerant to guarantee spectacular failure. Normally, an arsonist is not well equipped to extinguish a fire. The fire stops when the fuel is gone. The fire stops when everything that can burn is destroyed. Stand back.

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