“We have committed [troops] and are spending [millions of dollars] to give the people of Iraq humanitarian help and a breathing space… We have worked on this for months. We are doing the best we can…”
You may think this quote is from the Obama administration, explaining the pinprick bombing of ISIS in Iraq and the humanitarian aid drops on the mountaintop where thousands of Yazidi, a religious minority, remain trapped, but it is not.
Instead, replace “Iraq” with “Rwanda” and you have a talking points memo for and comments from President Bill Clinton in September of 1994. As reported by ABC News in February, the memo was drawn up to address criticism that Mr. Clinton had not done enough to stop the Rwandan genocide earlier that year in which one million people were slaughtered in a two month period of time.
The pusillanimous and ad hoc response then is eerily similar to Mr. Obama’s weak and confused approach to the ISIS horror which is rolling through Syria, Iraq and continues to threaten Kurdistan. In their wake is an ongoing genocide of Christians, and the wholesale slaughter of anyone they deem to be infidel.
For several weeks, the world has watched as tens of thousands of the Yazidi lay besieged on a mountaintop by the terrorist group ISIS. The U.S. began airlifting food and water to the terrified and starving group, and after making a few bombing runs, 16 members of a U.S. special forces operations team went onto Mt. Sinjar last week to assess an evacuation plan.
After that visit, the world was told a rescue mission was suddenly “unlikely.”
Why? Because instead of the expected 30-40,000 individuals trapped, ABC reports the team found “only” about 5,000 people. Some reports indicate thousands escaped each night with the assistance of Kurdish forces, scrambling down the mountainside.
Inexplicably, the Obama administration seems to have been prepared to rescue 30,000 people at risk of genocide. But since there are only several thousands of people on the mountain top facing mass murder, they called it off.
On Thursday, Mr. Obama declared victory at a press conference, insisting our humanitarian goals had been achieved, and the White House couldn’t resist patting its boss on the back. An official crowed, “The president’s decisive decisions in the immediate wake of the crisis kept people alive and broke the siege of the mountain.”
Yazidi leaders, however, “disputed this, saying the situation remained dire,” according to The New York Times.
As troubling, are reports that Mr. Obama’s limited bombing runs have actually made the ISIS situation worse. According to Jennifer Griffin of Fox News, up until now the terrorist group had been moving like a regular army, in convoys, out in the open. Since the occasional bombing run (on Thursday, as an example, our single airstrike destroyed 3 terrorist vehicles), ISIS has adopted Hamas-like tactic of hiding with civilians, essentially using human shields.
“One of the things that we have seen with the [IS] forces is that where they have been in the open, they are now starting to dissipate and to hide amongst the people,” Lt. Gen. William Mayville Jr., director for operations with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. “The targeting in this is going to become more difficult,” reported Griffin.
In other words, Obama’s bizarre decision to tread lightly has destroyed the opportunity we had to do significant damage to the monstrous cancer of ISIS in a sweep of regular bombing raids.
The focus on the humanitarian front is laudable, but only if you know the rescued are not simply being moved from one level of the inferno to another. Leaving ISIS functioning, and perhaps even emboldened, puts not just the Yazidi at further risk, but everyone whom ISIS declares an unbeliever.
Judith Miller, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist whose expertise is the Middle East, told Fox News: “ISIS is the lineal descendants of Al Qaeda and they have taken over now an area that is as large as Great Britain in Syria and Iraq, and they are moving towards Kurdistan, it will not stop there. They have their eyes on Jordan, this is an expansionist group that literally does want to establish a caliphate ... They will do whatever they have to do to advance their interests, they don’t care how many people die, and if more Christians and more Shia die, that’s even better. They don’t care if the Yazidis are starving to death on a mountain in Kurdistan, they want the suffering and the pain and the death of people who do not believe as they do. You know sometimes you really have to take people at their word. These people mean what they say. Believe them,” warned Ms. Miller.
While Mr. Obama may think he deserves a hug from Hillary Clinton, he might want to get some insight from Bill Clinton. In this 20th year since the Rwandan massacre, Clinton told ABC his failure to intervene in that genocide is one of his biggest regrets, “I do feel a lifetime responsibility.”
In 2013 he told CNBC, “Had the U.S. intervened, even marginally, at the beginning of the genocide at least 300,000 people might have been saved.”
It’s nice to be alive to reflect on what you coulda/shoulda done to stop a genocide decades earlier. Perhaps while golfing Mr. Obama contemplates the crimes against humanity occurring during his watch. Or not.
Tammy Bruce is a radio talk-show host, New York Times best-selling author and Fox News political contributor.