A Chinese bamboo book, open to display the binding and contents. This copy of The Art of War (on the cover, “孫子兵法”) by Sun Tzu is part of a collection at the University of California, Riverside. The cover also reads “乾隆御書”, meaning it was either commissioned or transcribed by the Qianlong Emperor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
President Barack Obama speaks at Cairo University in Cairo, Thursday, June 4, 2009. In his speech, President Obama called for a ‘new beginning between the United States and Muslims’, declaring that ‘this cycle of suspicion and discord must end’. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
President Barack Obama shakes hands with hundreds of U.S. troops during his April 7, 2009, visit to Camp Victory, Iraq. “You have performed brilliantly in every mission that has been given to you. You’ve kept your eyes focused on just doing your job,” Obama told the troops. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
President Obama, like many politicians, is guilty of what Sun Tzu, 2,500 years ago, called “Deranging the military “.
He does this by not allowing the military to do their jobs and co-mingling civilian prescriptions with political considerations – all the time whilst dithering.
As Dr Alf knows, the “Leader of the Free World” must be clear about what he wants, the direction of travel and the exercise of power.
Obama is constantly interfering with military matters, when he should be leaving these life and death decisions to generals who understand what they are doing.
In the same way that I do not go into my local garage to supervise the servicing of my Mercedes (something I am manifestly not qualified to do), he should respect the judgement of his generals and give them the 100% backing that they need.
The original Iraq war was illegal and was prosecuted for bogus reasons – the real reasons were allegedly about $61 trillion USD in oil reserves, re-ordering the Middle East chess-board and the contents of the Museum in Bagdhad, whatever those might have been.
We have come a long way since then and much blood and treasure has been expended in achieving that objective, so we cannot put the clock back and must deal with the facts on the ground that now exist.
That means directly, or from behind, setting the scene, ensuring that the President of Iraq is someone who can unite the country and command enough respect for the Iraqi army to want to fight rather than turn and run.
Secondly, deciding and then following through on what happens next.
Obama, like our own Prime Minister Cameron, dithers, opens his mouth without thinking and goes on making mistakes.
With 2 years left Obama is a “lame duck” following the Mid-Term elections.
Recognizing conditions for what they are is important in life in general and is a matter of life and death for soldiers who have to do the things that we could never do and could not imagine doing.
Our job is to ensure that they are properly equipped, trained and led and that they are looked after along with their dependents when the worst happens.
The same applies to our allies when we are training and supporting them.
President Obama and some of his officials blunder about interfering in that process without understanding the consequences of what they are doing.
Allowing ISIS to run riot along with a soft approach to Jihadis and radicalized Muslims is one manifestation of this. The military need to be unleashed fully to deal with that threat decisively, so that there is then time to deal with the retraining of the Iraqi Army.