Does The U.S. Have A Moral Obligation To Aid Iraq And Defeat ISIS?

By Sal Bommarito

The United States bears a great deal of responsibility for the emergence of ISIS and affiliated terrorist groups. George Bush authorized the invasion of Iraq, which in retrospect was a terrible choice that fueled insurgency and terrorism. Similarly, Barack Obama’s decision to withdrawn troops from Iraq proved to be disastrous and beneficial to ISIS.

In the past, when America defeated an adversary, it assisted them in their reconstruction. Granted, Muslims throughout the Middle East have not been enthusiastic about American nation building, and often, Arab leaders have indicted that the U.S. should not occupy any states in the region. But shouldn’t the U.S. lead a restoration of the region? If not, who else will assume this dangerous and costly enterprise?

A perfect storm has overwhelmed the Middle East. ISIS has been able to prosper and feed upon discontent because the U.S. and Arab nations have not aggressively confronted it. Some how, some way ISIS has absconded huge tracts of land that straddle Iraq and Syria. Additionally, it has stolen oil and antiquities and sold them to finance its military operations. And, ISIS has successfully recruited disenfranchised individuals from around the world that are now fighting against the U.S. coalition. All this has been accomplished in spite of despicable ISIS tactics that include genocide perpetrated against Shiites, Christians and other groups.

The question that hangs over many Americans is whether the U.S. has a moral obligation to deal with ISIS more directly and put our brave soldiers harm’s way. This burden is based upon two considerations. One, should the U.S. take a major role in rebuilding Iraq because it contributed to its demise? Two, has ISIS become a significant threat to world peace to warrant an escalation of U.S. involvement? In other words, has ISIS risen to the status of Nazi Germany or imperialistic Japan? Keep in mind that hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Syrians have been slaughtered and five or six million people are now in mortal danger.

The U.S currently is engaged in a feeble effort to apply airpower to stem the tide of ISIS. This strategy, which dramatically decreases the risk of American casualties, has not been productive. For the most part, the enemy has embedded itself in populated places, so the chances of collateral damage are great.

Ground troops are needed to root out the insurgents and direct bombing attacks. Reliance on Iraqi forces to serve in these roles has not worked out favorably. According to Ashton Carter, the Defense Secretary, the Iraqis don’t have the will to fight. Further, the involvement of Shiite militia affiliated with Iran has been vetoed by the Obama administration. And finally, Shiite fighters attacking ISIS in Sunni territory have fueled sectarian resentment. Peace between these two sects is a prerequisite to peace in the region, but it is light years from becoming a reality.

The U.S. is the only party that can turn the tide of the ISIS war.

Is The Obama Administration Being Truthful About The Porgress Of The ISIS Conflict?

By Sal Bommarito

Recent developments in Ramadi, Palmyra, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan lead me to believe that the U.S. government is not being totally honest or realistic with the American public. After each new incident, the administration says the  ISIS threat is not that serious, or that setbacks are to be expected in a “long-term” conflict. Frankly, many Americans and the press are becoming increasingly skeptical about the rhetoric from Washington. Do our leaders have a moral obligation to be truthful in such situations, or do they have the latitude to spoon-feed us with information in an effort to minimize political upheaval at home?

What was the original battle plan of the U.S. relating to ISIS? The Obama administration has steadfastly said it would not commit ground troops to fight the insurgents. The U.S. would exclusively provide air support to the Iraqi government and train Syrian moderates that opposed both Syrian leadership and ISIS.

Unfortunately, our leader, his generals and his aides miscalculated the determination, resourcefulness and popularity of the enemy. And so, air strikes have not been effective as most bombing missions return with unused armaments (reaffirmed yesterday in a comment by Sen. John McCain, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee). The enemy has imbedded itself among innocent civilians so the risk of collateral damage from bombs is great. Did the administration respond to this development? No.

The president said he wanted the Iraqis to fight their own war. This comment was made before ISIS routed Iraqi soldiers at the outset of the war. After ten plus years of providing arms and training, the soldiers ran from the enemy. Since then, government forces have had limited successes, but only with the aid of Shiite militia groups, with whom the U.S. refuses to fight with because of their strong affiliations with Iran.

This issue is further complicated by the fact that Shiite fighters, be they Iraqi or Iranian, are fighting ISIS predominantly in Sunni territory. The president believes that the Iraqi government could engage Sunni tribes to help fight ISIS. Promised weapons to Sunni tribesmen have not been forthcoming and Shiite soldiers have acted aggressively towards Sunni citizens.

A late breaking comment by Ash Carter, Secretary of Defense, was “What apparently happened [in Ramadi] was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight.” This occurred in spite of the fact that Iraqi forces outnumbered ISIS fighters.

In Syria, the situation is equally unstable. The U.S., with help from Arab nations, was supposed to train and arm moderate Syrians to fight ISIS. The problem is that it is difficult to determine the ultimate goal of this group. Do they want to fight the insurgents (in conjunction with the Syrian army), or do they want to oust the Syrian regime? Moreover, will the group use armaments provided to them by the U.S. and its allies against the U.S. at a later date?

Is the ISIS conflict moving along satisfactorily? You decide, but do so understanding that the Obama administration may be stretching the truth.

Why Do Americans Contimue To Elect Candidates Who Lie And Distort The Truth?

By Sal Bommarito

ISIS has won a major victory in Ramadi, the largest city in the Anbar Province. This should be a rude awakening for President Obama pertaining to his failed strategy in Iraq. For Americans, the action is thousands of miles away and none of our soldiers were killed or injured, so too few are challenging the administration about its misrepresentation of the war.

The U.S. government has continuously fed bad information to the public about the progress of the hostilities. The New York Times reported that Josh Ernest, Obama’s press secretary said, “We have seen a lot of success, but we’ve also seen significant periods of setback” (an understatement). He then asked, “Are we going to light our hair on fire every time that there is a setback in the campaign against ISIL?” The hair of the entire administration should be ablaze based upon the direction of the ISIS war. The only success in recent days was the alleged killing of a top leader of ISIS, who very few people even have heard of.

I began to consider whether all presidents lie and distort exploits for political purposes. Shouldn’t our leaders be honest all the time? Non-transparency is bad enough, but sometimes necessary in diplomacy. But, outright misrepresentation is another thing. Even Congress seems to be in the dark based upon criticisms by its members about the direction of the conflicts in both Iraq and Syria.

If the current U.S. plan in the region is faulty (and many believe it is), why doesn’t the administration change course. The American strategy of minimal intervention and training Iraqi troops to defend their own country are flops. Eschewing ground force employment will make progress difficult as ISIS embeds itself deeper into populated areas. Moreover, Iraqi government forces, once again, ran from the fight. This has resulted in yet another change in direction for Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi who is likely to “re-invite” Shiite militias that are loyal to Iran back into the fray. The U.S. response to this could be cessation of bombing sorties.

In the meantime, ISIS is recruiting more soldiers and culling the favor of Sunni tribesmen who feel disenfranchised by the Iraqi government. The sectarian schism is growing every day to the dismay of Sunnis, who are the principal recipient of ISIS cruelty even though the latter has sworn to kill Shiites and other ethnic minorities. The Times also indicated “ISIS Finances Are Strong.” Extortion, taxation, oil theft, investment in soldiers and cost control serve the insurgents well.

The ISIS imbroglio is only one situation where the flow of information is too often faulty. Although progressives may disagree, many Americans believe that the president’s strategy to solve income inequality is naïve. Even worse, it has stirred class warfare in America.

Obamacare is another example of the administration misleading the public about every aspect of the program (I do think universal health care is a noble objective). Everything from implementation to ultimate costs to the true beneficiaries has been twisted so ordinary Americans throw up their hands. Some benefit, but many have not to the extent advertised.

There are many examples of politicians spewing lies; the practice goes back to the beginning of the Republic. In recent years, Lyndon Johnson secretly bombed Cambodia and Laos. Ronald Reagan covertly provided arms to Nicaraguan “contras.” Politicians live high on the hog with donor support, don’t pay taxes and violate the law while criticizing hard working Americans for being too successful and too wealthy, neither one of which is a crime.

The biggest lies are told during political campaigns. Candidates exaggerate their credentials and make up false stories about their opponents. They make secret deals with wealthy supporters for cash and other favors. Our leaders have actually distorted our Constitution so that political donations are defined as a form of free speech. This effectively makes campaign finance reform impossible. Big money will influence elections for the foreseeable future.

In 2016, Americans need to find a man or a woman to be president who will be honest all the time and transparent. No more lies and distortions. I recommend voters not support those who lie about their opponents, their resumes or their campaign objectives.

Will Shiites And Sunnis Join Forces And Fight ISIS In Iraq?

By Sal Bommarito

Sectarian issues are beginning to hamper efforts of the Iraqi government as it confronts ISIS, reports the New York Times.

Government forces have apparently taken Tikrit and Prime Minister Abadi is preparing to engage ISIS insurgents in Anbar Province, which is on the route to Mosul, the ISIS capital.

The next stage of the offensive now moves to Anbar, which is dominated by Sunnis. The Times article indicates that a government force consisting of mostly Shiites would not be a welcome sight to the local leaders and inhabitants.

The original plan was for Iraq, with U.S. support, to arm Sunni tribes so they could fight ISIS in their neighborhoods. Shiite leaders in the Iraq government are not convinced that Sunni tribesmen will ultimately be loyal to Iraq and won’t use weapons against the government when ISIS is defeated. The distribution of arms has been delayed.

Sectarian issues are beginning to crop up more often as government forces surge deeper into ISIS territory, much of which is Sunni. This could be a precursor to civil war post-ISIS.

The U.S. has been pleading with Iraq to be more inclusive with Sunnis and to avoid confrontations. Nevertheless, the oppression of Shiites by Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated regime weighs heavily on Shiites. Many in government and average Shiite citizens want to return the favor and marginalize Sunnis politically and economically.

The Tikrit/Anbar controversy is a microcosm of the larger mosaic of Iraqi politics. Even in war, with ISIS continuing to ravage the country, partisanship and religious bigotry continue to slow progress against a common enemy.

The U.S. indicated from the outset of the ISIS war that Iraqis must fight their own battles, at least on the ground. Shiites are still not accepting of Sunnis and visa versa. Also, Iran’s involvement as advisor and with troops is creating more concern among Iraqi Sunnis.

The U.S. Gets No Thanks Or Respect From Iraq

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.

It’s Iran Versus Saudi Arabia Versus ISIS Versus The U.S.

By Sal Bommarito

Sectarian violence and threats resulting from the ISIS conflict and other events in the Middle East are starting to occur on a daily basis. Led by Saudi Arabia, Sunnis are responding to a number of Iranian provocations in the region. Most experts believe this is the beginning of a long drawn-out confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia. A New York Times article details these matters.

Stirring Sunni outrage towards Iran are the following significant actions:

  • Iran’s backing of a rebel faction in Yemen. The Saudis are leading airstrikes against the insurgents.
  • Iran’s support of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. The Saudis are aiding jihadists in Syria that are fighting government forces.
  • Iran’s support of Iraqi forces against ISIS. The Saudis have warned Washington “not to allow the Iranian-backed militia to capture too much of Iraq [in the fight with ISIS].
  • The U.S./Iran pending nuclear deal. Saudis have indicated that they want the same rights as Iran to either develop or buy nuclear weapons. The aforementioned deal could lead to significant nuclear proliferation in the area.
  • Iran’s efforts to control the Middle East. The Saudis are backing a “combined Arab military force to combat Iranian influence around the region.”

The ISIS conflict has reached a critical point. The question is, can Iraq successfully win back territory absconded by the insurgents? For a moment in time, Iraqi government troops backed by Iran seemed to be making progress against a much smaller group of ISIS fighters embedded in Tikrit. This battle is a precursor to a much more important assault that is planned for later in the year on Mosul, the Islamic State’s capital.

The Tikrit operation has stalled, and Iraq has asked the U.S. to begin bombing in the area. President Obama agreed to do so only if Iran and Shiite militia groups loyal to Iran disengage. The competition between the U.S. and Iran is unproductive, as both want to destroy ISIS. Unfortunately, both nations hope to influence Iraq prospectively.

Further complicating the situation in Iraq is that most of the ISIS fighting is taking place in Sunni populated areas, and government forces consist mostly of Shiites. This was alluded to earlier in this post. Sunnis inside and outside of Iraq are concerned that the status of Iraqi Sunnis will be diminished even further in post-ISIS Iraq. Also, concern for collateral damage may not be adequate. The Saudis and other Sunni nations are likely to come to the aid of Iraqi Sunnis, if controlling Shiites marginalize the group. This, of course, will ultimately lead to civil war.

Most disturbing is the role of the U.S. By taking a subordinate or apathetic position on the issues herein, the Obama administration is losing credibility with all interested parties. The Iraqis resent the benign response of America to its problems, and other Arab nations cannot determine whom the U.S. is backing in the long-term, especially relating to the Iran nuclear deal.

Just Suppose The U.S. Invaded Iraq With Ground Troops And Extraordinary Force

By Sal Bommarito

Preamble: A decision to send ground troops into battle is an epic decision for any president. Over the years, American commanders-in-chief made decisions to go to war in the name of freedom and to fight tyranny.

Any suggestions made herein are offered with the proviso that the deployment of American ground forces in Iraq and Syria will result in U.S. casualties and collateral damage, things that cannot not be taken lightly. Some have commented that Americans are not prepared to face the possibility that body bags will arrive from the Middle East. I totally respect and understand this perspective.

But, the price of liberty is high. If the unfortunate deaths of our brave soldiers decreases the chances that thousands will be murdered and tortured, I can live with a tactic to deploy troops.

Exactly, what would happen in an all-out assault by the U.S. against ISIS in Iraq. I suspect the most violent aspects of a confrontations would be brief as they have been in past encounters in the region (I’m not suggesting that nation-building projects are short-term). The long-term implications of such an action would be a different story.

If the U.S. employed a combination of massive bombing operations coupled with a large ground incursion, ISIS would be helpless. There is no way that the insurgents could survive an aggressive American assault with superior weaponry. The main problems would include enemy landmines, booby traps and suicide bombers, all of which can exact only minor damage.

It is likely that the retaking of Mosul, the supposed capital of the Islamic State, would be the end of major fighting. Subsequent mop-up operations around the countryside would be fraught with danger, but nothing that would hamper U.S. power. I have no inside information on the logistics but doubt the entire effort would last more than a few weeks.

The really important work begins after the assault is ended. Many Arabs would resent yet another U.S. invasion in the Middle East. But, this one would be different than previous Iraqi and Afghanistan experiences. Once the hostilities have been concluded, U.S. forces will shore up security with the Iraqi government and depart.

The reaction of Iraqi Sunnis will determine whether the country will segue into the next phase, an all-out civil war pitting Shiites against Sunnis for the control of the country and its resources. The latter will be hard pressed looking for a seat at the negotiating table for the formation of a lasting government. It is doubtful the transition will occur without violence. But, this should not be America’s problem.

The importance of finally destroying ISIS cannot be overstated. It is in America’s interest to rid the Middle East of these murderers. The price on the battlefield is worth it in my opinion. These actions will hopefully ensure that the ISIS threat does not spread any further outside of the Middle East.

The Middle East After ISIS Is Defeated

By Sal Bommarito

The Middle East’s political landscape is becoming a bit clearer every day. Unfortunately, the future is bleak for the region.

The backseat role of the U.S relating to current affairs leaves the destiny of the Middle East in the hands of current Arab leaders. This assumes a political status quo on the heels of the Arab Spring, the ultimate dissipation of ISIS and continuing insurgency by both Shiite and Sunni factions.

The apparent victory of Bibi Netanyahu foretells an uncomfortable stagnation of peace plan efforts dealing with the plight the Palestinians. Netanyahu said there would be no two-state deal for Palestine. This promise effectively guarantees the flow of venom between Arabs and the State of Israel for the foreseeable future.

The most important issue is what might transpire in the final days of ISIS. Frankly, the unorganized and murderous group of rebels deserves credit for surviving as long as it has. The tepid response of the U.S. and countries in the region enabled ISIS to thrive. But, the insurgents do not have the firepower to expand beyond Sunni neighborhoods in Iraq and Syria.

Stepping across borders into Turkey, Iran or Jordan will be a fruitless exercise. ISIS will be fortunate to retain the land it has already absconded. Nevertheless, it will not be a cakewalk to unearth ISIS in places that it has embedded itself. Current offensives by Iraq in places like Tikrit prove that a coordinated ground force initiative can be effective against the insurgents.

However, the final pushes into cities with large civilian populations will be bloody, for ISIS in any case, but also for innocent bystanders. The question is whether Iraq with encouragement from Iran will destroy cities held by ISIS with rockets that Iran has already provided to Iraq. Leveling cities populated by Sunnis will not endear Iraq to Sunni Arabs and could cause a great sectarian backlash.

There are several givens from my perspective. ISIS will likely be defeated in Iraq and Syria. But, its influence over disenfranchised rebel groups around the world could be problematic. Imported and exported terrorism is likely to increase.

Iran is the new gorilla in the region. If it is able to develop a nuclear weapon, the entire political landscape of the area will change dramatically. Even without a nuke, Iran is proving that it can and will be helpful to Shiite regimes, such as Iraq. The cost of its aid will be great influence over those countries prospectively.

Sectarian violence will envelope the region post-ISIS. Iran will accelerate its efforts to destabilize Sunni governments, and Saudi Arabia will respond in kind to thwart Shiite nations. Murderous actions, suicide bombing and political gamesmanship will be prevalent.

Several other powder kegs could also create unrest and more violence. They include the efforts of Turkey to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish state. Another is the fate of Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Most Arab nations want him dethroned. The downward spiral of the price of oil could create economic and political stress among Arab oil producing nations that might threaten existing regimes, especially Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The outlook for the Middle East is great turmoil, destabilization and discontentment.

Future Sectarian Violence Is Dependent Upon Iraq’s Use Of Force In Tikrit

By Sal Bommarito

The New York Times reported that the impending assault on Tikrit in a Sunni-dominated area of Iraq could be coming to a dramatic conclusion in the next few days. During this encounter, Iran has become a powerful benefactor of Iraq providing soldiers, intelligence and, most recently, rockets that may be deployed in the battle with ISIS.

The current standoff at Tikrit is a saga that will likely be repeated time and again as the 30,000 man Iraqi army continues to recapture land absconded by ISIS. Important issues are that the force consists almost exclusively of Shiites that are attacking ISIS in areas dominated by Sunnis, and the use of rockets to liberate Tikrit could result in many civilian casualties and massive property damage.

These controversies relate to the ongoing debate about what methods Iraq will employ to root out ISIS. The cost of this process could be very high depending upon the amount of force Iraq (and Iran) utilizes, and the determination of ISIS as they fortify their positions among innocent bystanders.

Ground forces are finally in play and resulting in some success; the U.S is providing none. These fighters will need to enter the city and engage the enemy door-to-door. Alternatively, the Shiite government fighting force may opt to use rockets and heavy artillery, which will kill ISIS insurgents and decrease its own casualties. But, this tactic will result in the destruction of Tikrit and the deaths of many Sunnis living in it.

President Obama does not want to engage ISIS with U.S. ground forces, nor does he wish to conduct bombing sorties that result in collateral damage. These decisions have enabled ISIS to survive to this point. The Iraqis and Iranians could change the state of play, but it may be at a huge cost.

Sectarian violence will increase if innocent Sunnis are slaughtered. A backlash is probable in Iraq and from neighboring Sunni-Arab nations. Collateral damage could be interpreted as a form of genocide to increase Shiite control in Iraq in the post-ISIS era. Moreover, the influence of Iran in Iraqi affairs will grow exponentially. It will be the ultimate cost of Iran’s aid in the fight with ISIS, a role that most people believed the U.S. would play.

This dilemma is symptomatic of the complexity of the ISIS imbroglio. The U.S. wants to defeat ISIS but is unwilling to deliver the firepower necessary to accomplish this end. Iran also wants to kill off ISIS and has joined Iraq on the ground while providing rocket armaments.

The response to the Iraq/Iran battle tactics could have a lasting impact on the sectarian rift in Iraq. It appears that the U.S. will be sitting on the sidelines as this all plays out.

The Decline Of American Influence In The Middle East

By Sal Bommarito

The president and Congress have devalued the war with ISIS as neither has any motivation to produce a resolution from Congress to continue the fight. This story was reported in the New York Times.

Many Americans believe our leaders and lawmakers are not meeting their constitutional responsibilities regarding the war and that a unified response by both parties to it is critical. How can 535 of our government representatives ignore what is happening in the Middle East? How can these “leaders” turn their backs while ISIS is murdering innocents and inciting violence around the world? Why would the U.S. allow Iran to usurp the leadership of the effort to exterminate the insurgents?

The party lines are that Republicans won’t agree to a watered down resolution that limits the power of the president to take the fight to the rebels. This would include any restrictions on the employment of ground forces. Democrats would only consider a limited resolution fearing another long-term military sojourn in the region.

The president doesn’t give a damn what Congress does or doesn’t do; he says that he has the authorization to continue his battle plan based upon resolutions from Congress dating back over a decade.

One wonders whether all these individuals would be so aloof if our soldiers started coming home in body bags. Then again, it’s doubtful that the U.S. will experience significant casualties if it just continues to drop bombs.

In the meantime, Iran is stepping up and assisting Iraq’s Shiite government with soldiers, equipment, arms, expertise and intelligence. Iraqi officials are gratefully accepting this aid. Iran’s investments will surely pay off in the future when Iraq can begin to focus on building its government, which will be totally dominated by Shiites and greatly influenced politically by Iran.

Iraqi leadership has been relishing recent successes on the battlefield with limited U.S. involvement. Yet, the sectarian storm is brewing as Iraqi forces, which include Shiite militiamen and Iranian soldiers are storming Sunni-controlled territory.

After ten plus years of American bloodshed and over a trillion dollars of money spent in Iraq, the U.S. has given up and is leaving Iraq and Syria to the dogs.

The big question is why is the U.S. hanging around at all? If we are disengaging, let’s pull all our forces and stand by as the Arabs kill each other. Apparently, the fate of six million refugees and displaced Arabs is of no concern to American leaders. Neither are the anarchy, civil wars, sectarian violence and genocide that will follow the end of ISIS hostilities. And what of the dominance of Iran that now seems inevitable?

For Americans 60 years and older, it is difficult to witness the deteriorating influence of the U.S. throughout the world perpetrated by the current regime in Washington. It has squandered much of what has been created since World War II.