By Sal Bommarito
No good deed goes unpunished. Oscar Wilde. The U.S. agreed to assist the Iraqi government with airstrikes in the last stages of the battle for Tikrit. Yet, a New York Times article titled “Retaking Tikrit, Iraqis Give Little Credit to U.S.” was published today.
The following are some of the disconcerting quotes from the piece.
- “ . . . Americans deserve little or no credit.”
- “ . . . Shiite militiamen involved in the fight say the international coalition’s air campaign actually impeded their victory . . .”
- “ Some [Iraqis] even accuse[d] the United States of fighting on the side of the Islamic State . . .”
- One Iraqi fighter said “ . . .[I] saw nothing to thank the Americans for . . .”
- “This is a victory of Hadi al-Ameri and God, . . .” Mr. Ameri is a pro-Iranian leader of a large militia group.
- “All they did was bomb the wrong side and kill federal policemen the other day.”
- “The Americans supported Daesh, not us . . .” Daesh is a nickname for ISIS.
- “Yes, the international coalition helped but not really in a good way . . .”
On another note, the article indicates that humanitarian rights groups believe that ISIS massacred 1,700 unarmed cadets last June. Similarly, the Iraqis are taking no prisoners. “To be honest, everywhere we captured [ISIS fighters] we killed them because they were the enemy.” Later the person who gave this account changed his story and added “. . . ISIS fighters who were about to be captured were assumed to be suicide bombers so they were killed as a precaution.”
A battalion commander of a militia unit said “. . . this week [my men] captured three Afghan men, an Afghan woman and an Algerian man, all Islamic State fighters . . . After we were done with them, we killed them.” The commander spoke anonymously to avoid being charged with war crimes.
The final slap in the face came from the Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi, the man who asked the U.S. to send more bombers to Tikrit, who credited “the joint efforts of the army and police forces alongside the popular mobilization fighters and the tribal fighters and the people of Tikrit with air coverage of the Iraqi air force and the international coalition.” The prime minister finally got around to the U.S. attacks. By the way, the Iraqis have about “a dozen attack jets, but less than half are known to be in service, and none are equipped for precision bombing.”
What the hell is the U.S. doing in Iraq? Iraq shows no appreciation. The U.S. is playing a secondary role. And, the Iraqis are going to slaughter ISIS fighters just like ISIS has slaughtered non-believers.
The ISIS conflict is not a war. It is a street fight, in which neither side engages the enemy with any honor. And there are no rules. It is going to drag on indefinitely, ISIS into civil war. The U.S. should disengage or go all-in and kill the insurgents. Leading from the rear is a horrible and unproductive strategy.