August 7th, 2014

Genocide in Iraq: the plight of the Yazidi

[See updates at end of post]

Shortly after 9/11 I discovered blogs, and I remember reading a quip that caught my eye. I don’t remember who wrote it, but it went something like this: “I just realized what the problem is with the 21st century. We got the numbers mixed up. It’s not 2001, it’s 1200.”

It’s only gotten more true in the ensuing years; barbarism and religious wars have made a strong comeback—not that they’d ever really disappeared. But with the rise of ISIS we have a group giving itself over to their purest expression. Beheadings and crucifixions are part of their m.o., as well as forced conversions with the threat of death or exile looming, and now the imminent extermination of a minority religious group, the Yazidi, at ISIS’s bloody hands.

The Yazidi have one representative in Iraq’s parliament. Her name is Vian Dakhil and her recent raw cri de coeur to save her people has made her famous. The world loves a show and a dramatic story, but it no longer loves actually taking on risky rescues, and has become accustomed to relying on the Americans to do so, and the US to organize whatever help from others might be forthcoming.

Obama has changed all that. He is said to be mulling over some assistance; no doubt he is focusing like a laser on it. Forgive me for being skeptical, since he has yet to do a thing (or even speak out with any force at all) about Christians being persecuted in Muslim lands.

Nature—and geopolitics—abhors a vacuum. The deposing of bad guy Saddam Hussein left a hole that other bad guys would inevitably rush in to fill, and anyone who would cause the first had the duty to stick around at some level for at least a generation to try their best to ensure that a new group of leaders of a different ilk would be substituting for the second. I always thought our war on Iraq had to include that sort of commitment. But quite early on it became clear that, due to the efforts of the left in this country and changes in Americans’ attitude towards war, occupation, and sacrifice, we lacked the requisite commitment.

Even the Bush administration was dedicated to that purpose only halfway, and halfway measures don’t tend to do the trick. But with the surge, they seemed to finally be good enough. At the time of the handoff to Obama, things were at the point that if our new president had had the same focus as the old, ISIS would almost certainly not be here today (also, its Syrian genesis was facilitated by Obama’s disastrous policies there).

But we all know that Obama very much lacked Bush’s level of commitment, and the Islamic terrorists knew it, too, right from the start, because Obama made it crystal clear.

The one last chance to prevent disaster was that Obama might have left a very reduced American presence in Iraq under a SOFA agreement. But he made only token and empty efforts to do that, and in fact was relieved to be able to pull out entirely:

The current horror show in Iraq, including the pending extermination of the Yazidi, follows from that sequence of events. A small residual force—which Obama never wanted to leave there—would have allowed us to retain the ability to strike in a timely fashion, when ISIS was first massing and vulnerable. It would have given us a conduit to intelligence information that we now lack. It would have given us a flexibility there we don’t have.

Obama had bet that Iraq was stable enough that nothing too dramatic would flare up there during the remaining years of his administration. He bet wrong. And he’s still betting than he can dither and stall until the next crisis comes along to distract the ADD American people. And in the meantime, he’s trying to get enough illegal immigrants into this country to make it so that future votes will consist of a rubber-stamping of whatever the left wants. As for the Yazidi, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

Well, the surviving Armenians do, but the Yazidi are a far smaller and more localized group. It’s possible that Obama will be roused from his non-interventionist slumber by their plight, although I tend to doubt it:

Yesterday, a senior U.S. official told me that the Obama Administration is contemplating an airlift, coördinated with the United Nations, of humanitarian supplies by C-130 transport planes to the Yazidis hiding in the Sinjar mountains. There are at least twenty thousand and perhaps as many as a hundred thousand of them, including some peshmerga militiamen providing a thin cover of protection. The U.N. has reported that dozens of children have died of thirst in the heat. ISIS controls the entrance to the mountains. Iraqi helicopters have dropped some supplies, including food and water, but the refugees are hard to find and hard to reach.

It was encouraging to learn that humanitarian supplies might be on the way, but we always seem to be at least a step behind as ISIS rolls over local forces and consolidates power. ISIS is not Al Qaeda. It operates like an army, taking territory, creating a state.

But ISIS certainly won’t be stopping with the Yazidis. Every religious and ethnic group in Iraq other than fundamentalist Sunni Muslims faces grave danger, actual and potential. Why should we care, other than for humanitarian reasons? Increasing instability in the region threatens us all, as does the rise of the strongest, most well-armed, and richest Islamist terrorist group the world has known so far. Islam has bloody borders, but in recent decades the world has shrunk, and we all know how little borders seem to mean these days.

[UPDATE 910 PM: For the past few hours, all sorts of new and highly conflicting and confusing information has been reported and then denied. Hot Air has been keeping up with things. First there was a report from the Kurds that the US had bombed ISIS, then a denial by the Obama administration, then a report that we've done airdrops of food to the besieged Yazidi, then a denial, then a report that the bombing was accomplished by the Iraqi air force. There's probably more, too, but that's what I've seen so far.

So basically we know very little except that something may be stirring. Whether ISIS was bombed and if so who did it is unknown. Same for airdrops. Whether the administration really hasn't a clue or whether they are issuing denials for military strategic reasons is also unknown.

One very bad bit of news, on top of all the other bad news, is that the Kurds---long thought to be strong militarily and in terms of morale---seem to be folding in the face of ISIS.

And this report, if true, is the stuff of nightmare.]

[UPDATE 10:18 PM: Obama has announced limited, targeted airstrikes for humanitarian reasons, with caveats:

Obama said he has given the green-light to the Pentagon for the limited, targeted bombing if top military officials monitoring the shifting situation on the ground believe ISIS continues to pose a serious threat to people in the northern Kurdish-controlled region or if militants threaten U.S. servicemen and personnel in Irbil, according to a U.S. official.

Still, the president’s authorization of any airstrikes in Iraq is abrupt departure from his goal of preventing further U.S. military intervention in Iraq after ending the war there and removing all troops at the end of 2011. Obama was swept into office in 2008 in part because of his promises to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and limit U.S. military intervention abroad.

Is there any doubt that "ISIS continues to pose a serious threat to people in the northern Kurdish-controlled region"? Of course not. So that statement may have been put in there just to give Obama some wriggle room and ability to stall.

Obama included an assurance (to the left, no doubt) that we will not be drawn into another war in Iraq nor will we put any troops on the ground. ISIS will be very happy to hear those assertions. Even if Obama intends to keep such a promise, revealing it to the enemy at this point is tremendously counterproductive (just like the announcements at his presidency's outset that he would be withdrawing from Iraq). But Obama is more intent on soothing the fears of his political base.

So it seems something may be done, but we don't know when, what or how much. I'm glad some action is at least being strongly contemplated, but six months earlier would have been far far better. Even two weeks earlier would have been a great deal better. Obama has waited till the eleventh hour, and it's not even clear at this point whether the bombing will actually take place. An ounce of prevention would have been worth several tons of cure, and many innocent lives would probably have been saved.]

36 Responses to “Genocide in Iraq: the plight of the Yazidi”

  1. parker Says:

    Bho will diddle daddle, order some gesture doomed to fail which the msm will label a decisive action that lamentably failed because the hatin’ republicans tied his hands. Deja vu all over again.

  2. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    ““I just realized what the problem is with the 21st century. We got the numbers mixed up. It’s not 2001, it’s 1200.”

    It’s only gotten more true in the ensuing years; barbarism and religious wars have made a strong comeback—not that they’d ever really disappeared.” neo

    In that way it’s true but what has enabled that devolution is the left and Richard Fernandez describes it brilliantly;

    “We often forget that the sacred texts of mankind began as practical documents. They were checklists. And we may well rediscover this fact before the end.

    One can imagine the last two postmoderns crawling towards each other in the ruins of a once great city to die, and while waiting to expire engage in conversation to pass the time.

    “Waldo,” the first said, “do you remember that tablet displayed in front of the Texas Statehouse. You know, back when there was a Texas?”

    “Yeah, didn’t it have a whole bunch of stuff scrawled on it? Tell me again what it said,” replied the other.

    “Waldo, it said, ‘thou shalt not kill.’ And ‘thou shalt not lie’.”

    “Anything else?”

    “Yes it also said, ‘thou shalt not steal’. Plus somewhere in the middle said, ‘thou shalt not have sex with people you weren’t married to.’”

    “Yeah, I remember it now,” the second post-modern said. “What a bunch of hooey. It’s a right wing, nutjob, racist document called the Ten Commandments. It’s a religious document.”

    “No Waldo,” the first replied. “That’s where you’re wrong. It ain’t no religious document. I just figured out it was a survival manual.”

    “The First Horseman”

    The West in abandoning its survival manuals; Judeo/Christian principles, Greek and Roman logic and reason, the British and Scottish enlightenment philosophers, our Founding Fathers… and replacing them with the left’s postmodernism’s nihilism and narcissism and, with it’s secular humanism and relativism and, replacing Cicero’s brilliant ‘Just War’ ethos with St Augustine’s impossibly unrealistic ‘proportional’ Just War Theory… has created the conditions that have led to the world’s moral devolution back to 1200.

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    They forgot The Gods of the Copybook Headings:

    …When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”…

    And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

  4. Ann Says:

    Maybe Obama can use Pope Francis for cover:

    “His Holiness addresses an urgent appeal to the international community to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now underway, to act to protect those affected or threatened by violence and to provide aid, especially for the most urgent needs of the many who have been forced to flee and who depend on the solidarity of others,” the Vatican said in a statement.

    “to act to protect those affected or threatened by violence” — that sounds like airstrikes to me.

  5. Indiana Mike Says:

    Fight Barbarism? I’d be happy if Obama just didn’t ASSIST barbarism.

  6. Sgt. Mom Says:

    Funny – the Gods of the Copybook Headings is all over … at least in the blogs that I follow. You know, it was often my own personal test of … I don’t know – philosophical compatibility? Literary excellent taste? Congruent world-view? if the person or blogger that I liked and wanted to get to know more about – liked and appreciated Kipling.
    I liked – nay, deeply adored Kipling, the stories more than the poetry. He got a lot of things right, he saw to the core of things, unswervingly, he had the ability to write unsparingly and without being partisan – in the ‘voices’ of a lot of different characters in his world. He could put it “on” as a writer, and make you see that character’s view … but still remaining detached. Not unsympathetic – but detached.

    Another blogger or writer loving Kipling? My friend. Hating and disparaging him as just another old white racist? My hatred is undying and burning with the force of a thousand suns.

    I am certain that Obama and the whole constellation of unsavory racists in his inner cabinet despise Kipling. All the more reason for me to despise them in return.

  7. TBlakely Says:

    This administration’s passivity toward the extermination of Christians is a feature not a bug. The ‘enemy’ that Progressives fear above all else is Christianity. They will accommodate any evil that rids them of Christians.

  8. Genocide In Iraq | Transterrestrial Musings Says:

    […] I’ve often noted, the word “genocide” is overused, but as Neoneocon notes, ISIS (and followers of the true faith) really are […]

  9. askeptic Says:

    13th-Century Barbarism, meet the 20th-Century solution:
    Rule-7.62!

  10. peter38a Says:

    But who shall save them, who exactly would it be? You talk of 30 years but Tito kept the lid on the former Yugoslavia for 50! Then within five years of his death the populace was practicing mass murder on each other, just like the good ole’ days. Clinton sent troops there for one year only, that was 20 years ago.

    And save them? Save them to do what? All their skills, all their foundations of culture have no meaning any longer. Their entire universe has evaporated and it’s not coming back.

    Shall you bring them here? How about the next group and the next and the next? At what point in your neo world view may the people of this country say, “Hold, enough… no more in and no more of our boys and girls trying to right every wrong.” Tell us please.

    What to do? In the 1930′s a group unhappy with the lack of US involvement in the Spanish Civil War formed the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and with their own funding and ideals fought on the Republican side. They were far left but the idea’s the same; you want somebody to saddle up, go to the tack room yourself.

  11. rickl Says:

    Sgt. Mom Says:
    August 7th, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Funny – the Gods of the Copybook Headings is all over … at least in the blogs that I follow.

    Yes, I’ve seen it all over the place in the last few years, at all the blogs I frequent.

    I wonder how many liberals and leftists are utterly unfamiliar with it, and have never even heard of it at all.

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    Hussein loves seeing Americans tortured and killed. He gets big phat smile on his face.

  13. Micha Elyi Says:

    The world loves a show and a dramatic story, but it no longer loves actually taking on risky rescues, and has become accustomed to relying on the Americans to do so…

    I remember when feminists in the US and Europe were whining for somebody to do something about the plight of women in Afghanistan under the Taliban. As soon as US forces (read: men) arrived, the feminists either went silent (no thanks from them to any icky men) or spun ’round 180 degrees and began castigating US and other Coalition forces for destroying the beautiful, peace-loving Afghani culture blah blah blah.

    There’s a group of people who want to bleed to death in the mud, or watch from afar as others do.

  14. Ymarsakar Says:

    What to do? In the 1930′s a group unhappy with the lack of US involvement in the Spanish Civil War formed the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and with their own funding and ideals fought on the Republican side. They were far left but the idea’s the same; you want somebody to saddle up, go to the tack room yourself.

    The Abraham Lincoln Brigade got used up as cannonfodder by the Soviet commissars that were organizing and commanding things.

    Bella Dodd in the 1930s, I remember, had some things on that.

    The US used to have volunteers, such as in China during WWII. But volunteers presume a free society of some sort.

  15. neo-neocon Says:

    rickl:

    My guess would be that most liberals are unfamiliar with the poem. And that they wouldn’t like it if they were to read it.

  16. Mr. Frank Says:

    Obama is late to the party, again. Things were looking so bad that he feared looking bad himself. He had to do something.

  17. neo-neocon Says:

    peter 38a:

    The only time I used the word “save” is to describe what Vian Dakhil was pleading for. “Save” in that context means nothing long-term, but extricating the Yazidi from the siege on the mountain. Saving their lives for the moment, in other words.

    Otherwise, no one can “save” Iraq. But even Obama said in 2011 that conditions in Iraq were fairly stable and fairly good. If he had negotiated a SOFA agreement, we could have expended a fairly small effort to keep the status quo and buy time and continuing stability. At some point that stability might even have held once we left. When should we have left? Not till we felt it was safe to do so. We have been in Germany, Japan, and Korea for many generations. The story of the Korean occupation is especially relevant. See this.

  18. Cloudbuster Says:

    The men who created our Western civilization were men who had no compunction about waging total war on their enemies and utterly destroying them. Today such “barbarism” is considered passe’ among civilized Westerners.

    Unfortunately, there are still barbarians out there, and they are still willing to wage total war on us to destroy us. They are not amenable to calm reason and compromise. Unless we find our own “inner savage” they will destroy us as surely as the barbarians sacked Rome.

  19. Single Most Important Thing Happening On The Planet Right Now « Motor City Mongrel Says:

    […] http://neoneocon.com/2014/08/07/genocide-in-iraq-the-plight-of-the-yazidi/ […]

  20. mf Says:

    We were willing to allow the emperor to remain. We were just not willing to say so. Too bad and inexcusable in my opinion when a half a million lives hung in the balance. But the politicians got to look strong and post war we get to maintain our self-righteousness which would be well justified if only we had made the offer. But I suppose, it makes no difference to some as long as they get to write the history.

  21. mf Says:

    Oops, wrong thread. :-( Sorry.

  22. neo-neocon Says:

    Cloudbuster:

    Sadly, I agree.

  23. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “At what point in your neo world view may the people of this country say, “Hold, enough… no more in and no more of our boys and girls trying to right every wrong.” Tell us please.” peter38a

    Perhaps when Jesus returns. Perhaps science will find a cure for the criminally inclined… perhaps never. A certain percentage of every generation is criminally inclined. They range from the petty thief to the serial killer to the megalomaniac and the demagogue.

    As long as that is the case, they will have to be fought with police and soldiers. “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night, only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. “ George Orwell

    It is folly to think that we can retreat to a fortress America and remain free. It is folly to think that we can fight wars only when we must because that inevitably leads to a fatal complacency.

    That is so because, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

    Civilization is more than territorial. Civilization is societal precepts that allow men to live lives freed from the law of the jungle and from the base reality that might makes right.

    “If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism.” – Thomas Sowell

    Our freedom is inseparable from the freedom of every human being in every country, otherwise we abandon that “shining city on a hill” and become just another competing self-interest. “The price of freedom is the willingness to do sudden battle anywhere, any time and with utter recklessness.” RA Heinlein

    Our problem isn’t that we haven’t picked our battles skillfully. Al Qaeda attacked us with mass casualties and the Taliban gave them refuge. Iraq was an attempt to send a message to the rogue nations and the enabling nations that the former status quo was no longer acceptable. “Rogue states never turn out to be quite the pariahs they are deemed. They are only able to cause, or at least threaten to cause, mayhem because they enjoy the covert support – usually by means of technology transfers – of one or more major powers within the charmed circle of global ‘good guys’.” Margaret Thatcher

    Russia is and has been all along, directly facilitating and enabling Iran’s pursuit of nukes.

    Iraq failed because of the Western Left’s treachery.

    Our problem is our country’s current failure to conduct wars with utter ruthlessness, to understand that mercy is extended after total victory. We have A difficult lesson to learn.

    As for blood and treasure expended, both Afghanistan and Iraq have been among the least costly of wars in blood expended and as for the fiscal cost, our perspective is skewed; “Since the beginning of the War on Poverty, government has spent $19.8 trillion (in inflation-adjusted 2011 dollars) on means-tested welfare. In comparison, the cost of all military wars in U.S. history from the Revolutionary War through the current war in Afghanistan has been $6.98 trillion (in inflation-adjusted 2011 dollars).* The War on Poverty has cost three times as much as all other wars combined.” Stephen Daggett, “Costs of Major U.S. Wars,” Congressional Research Service, June 29, 2010

  24. Genocide of the Yazidi occurs under Obama’s watch | Matters Of The Day Says:

    […] Genocide of the Yazidi occurs under Obama’s watch […]

  25. parker Says:

    The cost of war is not measured best by treasure because treasure can be recreated by effort. The real cost of war is measured by blood. Oh for the days when we gladly spent treasure to minimize the cost of blood. ISIS hell bent on establishing the caliphate can be defeated with napalm, bunker busters, drones, and if needed tactical nukes. All that is lacking is the will to use our tech superiority. Personally, given the authority to act, I would take out mecca, medina, qom, and every ‘holy’ site with a tactical nuke. Its the only way to be sure the crazies absolutely recognize the power of the great satan. Leave no stone upon a stone and make the rubble bounce, contaminated for 30 years.

  26. rickl Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:
    August 7th, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Civilization is more than territorial. Civilization is societal precepts that allow men to live lives freed from the law of the jungle and from the base reality that might makes right.

    By that metric, we are losing and losing badly. In fact, we are in full retreat from civilization.

    By way of evidence, I offer “welfare” and “affirmative action”. We are paying the Danegeld to the barbarians in our own country, never mind those halfway around the world.

  27. J.J. Says:

    GB: “Our problem is our country’s current failure to conduct wars with utter ruthlessness, to understand that mercy is extended after total victory.”

    Just so. That was the philosophy that Alexander the Great used to conquer the known world in his time. It is the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps. No worse enemy – no better friend. Given human nature, it’s a philosophy that works.

  28. David R. Graham Says:

    The sole purpose of military involvement in a foreign country is occupation until the impulse to belligerence in that country non-exists.

  29. Eric Says:

    Geoffrey Britain: “As for blood and treasure expended, both Afghanistan and Iraq have been among the least costly of wars in blood expended and as for the fiscal cost, our perspective is skewed;”

    The Left loudly claims war costs have destroyed our economy and is the cause of our national debt, and while the dollar costs have been high, they have not been high relative to other budget items. It’s just another false narrative they can get away with because the Right declines to seriously compete in the activist game and the narrative contest of the activist game.

  30. Eric Says:

    David R. Graham: “The sole purpose of military involvement in a foreign country is occupation until the impulse to belligerence in that country non-exists.”

    Not how we do it. Our occupations turn enemies into strategic partners.

  31. Ymarsakar Says:

    Unfortunately, nobody ever authorized the use of the US Marines on Chicago or Los Angeles.

    Such cities needed it more than Fallujah, to be honest.

  32. Eric R. Says:

    The world Socialist movement (be they National or International) wants to exterminate members of all religions except those of the Marxist faith and their Islamic allies.

  33. carl in atlanta Says:

    Sgt. Mom: I 100% agree with your comments on Kipling last night. Despite his banishment by the PC police he seems to be making a comeback.
    He was a man of his time but God what a brilliant writer!

  34. richard40 Says:

    Its time to intervene in Iraq against ISIS barbarism, with airstrikes and arms aid. But lets do it smart. Dont give the help to the Iraqi gov, who betrayed us for Iran. Give the aid directly to the Kurds, the only faction in Iraq that never betrayed us, and the only faction in iraq that respects religious minorities, and ignore the iraqi gov until they reform themselves from Iranian control.

  35. Mike H. Says:

    The Yazidis were the ones who stoned the young girl for dating the Muslim boy a few years back. That whole culture over there is barbaric. The Jews were the only escapees from the culture of brutality that exists in the Middle East. And they remember it along with all the other mementos.

  36. Mike H. Says:

    Sorry, the link.

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