What is going in Iraq has nothing to do with American politics. The enemies of America don’t care if the West Wing is run by the left-wing or the right-wing. They just celebrate our defeats and look for new opportunities to roll back the frontiers of freedom. They have three big cheers for what is going on in Iraq. Here is why.
1. Prepare for the Next Wave of Transnational Terrorist Attacks. The war in Syria was fueled in part by a pipeline of foreign fighters, which gravely concerned European officials. Last month, a U.S. citizen committed a suicide bombing in Syria. The numbers have grown dramatically with the ISIS intervention in Iraq. These fighters, whether as “lone wolves,” organized cells or serving as inspiration for others will become the foundation for the next wave of transnational terrorists attacks against the West. Governments should start preparing now. It is going to happen. Homeland Security will be back in style.
2. Expect Endless Civil War. With ISIS seizing the border crossings in Western Iraq, Syria and Iraq have become one contiguous battleground. The U.S. utterly failed to help end the civil war in Syria. The deal the administration brokered over chemical weapons only strengthened Syrian leader Bashir Assad’s hand, earning him stronger backing from Russia and Iran. Meanwhile, ISIS built up the military capability that allows it not only to continue on that front but take the battle elsewhere. In Iraq, ISIS has been able to split the divisions in the country between the Sunni, Shia and Kurd to establish a foothold that will be difficult to take away. There is going to be war in this region for the foreseeable future.
3. America Lost. In the movie “Patton,” the general was disappointed to learn that his arch-rival, the German General Rommel, wasn’t present when U.S. troops rolled back the enemy army in North Africa. Then his aide reminded him that Patton just defeated the troops that had been trained by Rommel. If the general defeated Rommel’s troops, he defeated Rommel. Patton beamed. So too, must the extremists’ propagandists rejoice in the fact that ISIS mowed down a military and crippled a government trained and supported by the U.S. ISIS already has begun waging a terrifying propaganda war on the web demonstrating its military prowess. In a part of the world where “honor” equals “power,” its stock is way up and Washington’s is way down. That is just a fact.
These are three hard truths. But they are realities that the U.S. will have to confront. They can’t be changed now.