I’m certainly in favor of blaming the President for a number of things, so it would be easy to agree when Hillary Clinton blames Barack Obama for the rise of ISIS in Syria and then Iraq.
It would be also be easy to agree with her because the U.S. government under Barack Obama is absolutely responsible for the rise of ISIS. As in Libya, in Syria we funded and armed Islamists who we knew would destroy democracy and attack religious minorities. These killers, using U.S. weapons, are now savaging territory in Iraq.
But Hillary is not about to admit that taking sides in Syria was an arrogant mistake. No. She is pretending that there was a viable group of secular democrats fighting against Bashar al-Assad that we could have and should have supported.
Thus, we read in the Atlantic:
President Obama has long ridiculed the idea that the U.S., early in the Syrian civil war, could have shaped the forces fighting the Assad regime, thereby stopping al Qaeda-inspired groups—like the one rampaging across Syria and Iraq today—from seizing control of the rebellion. In an interview in February, the president told me that “when you have a professional army … fighting against a farmer, a carpenter, an engineer who started out as protesters and suddenly now see themselves in the midst of a civil conflict—the notion that we could have, in a clean way that didn’t commit U.S. military forces, changed the equation on the ground there was never true.”
Well, his former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, isn’t buying it. In an interview with me earlier this week, she used her sharpest language yet to describe the “failure” that resulted from the decision to keep the U.S. on the sidelines during the first phase of the Syrian uprising.
“The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled,” Clinton said.
This is a fantasy. It is a dangerous fantasy because it basically means that Clinton plans to do more of the same in Syria if she gets elected President. We should never have had anything to do with Syria. Bashar al-Assad would have been cruel until he felt secure. But no one would be cutting the heads off Christian children in Iraq if we had stayed out of it.