Now that the US has destabilized Iraq and Syria, and a four-way battle over both countries is underway, I have a simple question: What the hell is the mission?
In Iraq, Isis, the Kurds, the Shia, and the Sunni all fight for portions of the country. In Syria, there are pro-Assad forces, Al-Qaeda rebels, and Isis fighting over a badly splintered country.
The US backs Syrian Al Qaeda rebels (many of whom eventually defect to Isis).
Did I say four-way battle? Maybe I should have said five- or six-way battle. Russia is now in the picture. And there's always room for more.
Lebanon is tired of hosting millions of refugees. Perhaps it gets into the act. And of course Iran wants to fight Isis, but the US does not want that kind of help because Iran supports Assad.
Russia Seeks US to Cooperation in Syria
Please consider Russia Calls on US to Cooperate with its Military in Syria.
Russia has called on the US to co-operate with its military in Syria to avert "unintended incidents" as Moscow boosts its forces in the war-torn country in what Russian foreign policy officials say is a bid to lead the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis).
John Kirby, state department spokesman, said that he did not know what Mr Lavrov was referring to when he talked about possible "unintended incidents".
[Duh! How about US-backed rebels fighting Assad, accidentally shooting at Russian or Iranian backed forces attacking Isis? Was that really so hard to figure out John?]
"We would welcome constructive efforts by Russia against Isis, but that cannot be a function of continued support to the Assad regime," Kirby said. "The most productive thing that they can do is to stop aiding the Assad regime."
With that statement, Kirby, just emphatically explained the US number one priority: Getting rid of Assad is far more important than stopping Isis. The US even backs Al Qaeda in that mission under the perverse description "moderate rebels".
Please recall that the US took out Saddam Hussein on a blatant lie about weapons of mass destruction, but also on a secondary lie that Hussein backed Al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda is now our friend (until of course they get in control, then we will want Al Qaeda out as well).
Meanwhile, a squadron of five Russian naval ships equipped with guided missiles has also set off to conduct maneuvers in Syrian territorial waters, a source close to the Russian navy told Reuters news agency on Friday.
Accidents can happen.
Let's Be Realistic
Financial Times writer David Gardner says We Must be Realistic about Intervention in Syria.
I certainly agree with that headline idea, and also with Gardner's statement "Alongside revived talk from London to Ankara of intervention in Syria, there is no clarity of aim."
Unfortunately, Gardner quickly provides clarity in support of the "perverse top priority".
"It is important to get away from the perverse received wisdom that the only way to fight Isis is to lay off the Assads. That is a mirror image of the hopeless choice facing millions of Syrians, caught between the barrel bombs of the regime and the barbarian savagery of Isis. Mr Assad has used total and sectarian war to create the self-fulfilling conditions whereby he would be seen as the only alternative to jihadism," says Gardner
- The perverse wisdom is there is such a thing as "moderate Al Qaeda rebels".
- The perverse wisdom is that Iraq can stay in one piece.
- The perverse wisdom is that Assad gets all the blame for the mess in Syria.
- The perverse wisdom is that the Kurds should not have their own country.
- The perverse wisdom is the US should refuse help from Iran and Russia to contain Isis.
- The perverse wisdom is the "House of Saud" is our friend.
- The perverse wisdom is Iran must remain an enemy.
- The perverse wisdom is the US should be nation building at all in this region.
Gardner concludes "Does Tehran want full control of a pariah enclave -- or more realistic influence in a Syria with which its neighbours can live? As the Assad realm shrinks, it may have to decide."
It seems to me the US ought to be asking the question "As the Assad realm shrinks, do we really want Al Qaeda or Isis in complete control of the country?"
Let's reiterate the key "perverse wisdom" point: The perverse wisdom is the US should be nation building at all in this region.
We are in this four to six-way mess precisely because of the perverse wisdom the US needed to get rid of Hussein in a nation-building mission in Iraq.
By all means, David Gardner, "We Must be Realistic about Intervention in Syria".
And it's perverse wisdom to expect better results nation building in Syria than we achieved nation building in Iraq.