A friend pointed out to me that in this White House interview Obama told Thomas Friedman (paraphrasing) that during the process of ISIS overrunning much of northern Iraq he deliberately withheld massive air attacks on ISIS so that he could maintain political pressure on the Iraqi government to reform itself in directions that are the goals of US policy, i.e., inclusiveness, power sharing with the Sunnis, etc.
I, too, think that the intensely Shia run government that the US helped come into being in Iraq is unlikely to ever be able to run the country, but the notion that in the face of the onrushing horde of Sunni jihadi "reivers" one could withhold aerial fire support as leverage to bend the Shia government to one's will is bizarre.
Such an approach is reminiscent of college bull session discussions, graduate school seminars and papers, and government funded war gaming in which the most bizarre nonsense is often "floated" as "the next move" in the game.
Unfortunately, this overly frank interview given to Friedman has been and will inevitably be taken as an admission of US employment of ISIS as a tool.
I do not think it is that. In my opinion it is an admission of Obama's tendency to over-think things and to listen too much to what he recently described to Jeffrey Goldberg as the "foreign policy establishment" (the Borg).
Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces (The Green Berets).
Reprinted with permission from Sic Semper Tyrannis blog.