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Obama’s political interests are getting in the way of protecting Kobani from the Islamic State

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On March 28, 2011, President Obama addressed the nation about the civil war then raging in Libya. Two paragraphs set out the “Obama doctrine”:

At this point, the United States and the world faced a choice. [Moammar] Gadhafi declared he would show “no mercy” to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we have seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day. Now we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we wanted — if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.

It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.

Now in 2014 the nation watches as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria advances upon and is already within Kobani. It is not “a city the size of Charlotte.” That would have been Mosul, a city of close to 2 million inhabitants — at least until the Islamic State took it on June 10 of this year.

Kobani is a small city, of about 44,000 — the size of Binghamton, New York; Berwyn, Illinois; West Hollywood, California; or my hometown of Warren, Ohio. It is about to fall to the Islamic State.

The “Obama Doctrine” has changed — again. It is apparently not “in our national interest to let that happen.” U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said Friday that 700 elderly people are trapped in the central city of Kobani and another 12,000 have not been able to flee across the border with Turkey. The U.N. envoy added that when Kobani falls to the Islamic State a massacre will occur there like that which occurred in Srebrenica, where 8,000 Muslims were murdered by Serbs in 1995.

Airstrikes stopped Gadhafi’s forces in 2011 and Gadhafi was himself overthrown and butchered in October. Less than a year later our consulate in Benghazi — the city we had protected — was overrun and Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Ty Woods were murdered in an assault by Islamists. The serious investigation into the incident is only just getting started, led by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who is chairing the select committee of the House investigating those events of Sept. 11, 2012, and their cover-up by Hillary Clinton and the president. The select committee will grow into a joint committee with the Senate if the elections of Nov. 4 give the gavel to Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

The question, “Why do we not do what is necessary to stop the massacre in Kobani but did so in Benghazi?” should be added to the select committee’s agenda. Was it because air power worked in Libya but is not working in Syria? Did the number of sorties compare? Was Valerie Jarrett away for the weekend?

Or is it because the president cares less about Kurds than he did Libya’s minority Arab tribes?

Or has he stopped caring at all, shrugging his shoulders at a world he cannot control and scheduling another fundraiser and a round of golf?

The Islamic State massacres — those that are coming and those that have already happened — are all on Obama’s watch, all the result of his order to leave Iraq after the U.S, had won the war. The huge absurd pile of contradictions that is his feckless, erratic, wholly purposeless and utterly confused trail of fiascos that is his “foreign policy” proves he was never up to the job of commander in chief to begin with. A select committee empowered by a GOP sweep on Nov. 4 will at least be able to sift through the ashes and try to answer the question: “What, if anything, was he ever thinking?”

The answer is almost certainly: “What serves my short-term political interests?”

 

This column was originally posted on WashingtonExaminer.com.

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