The brutal choice in Iraq

In a strangely uncovered story, 1 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel offered this advice for President Obama:

(W)hen your enemies are fighting one another, don’t strengthen either one of them. Weaken both.

The video is below the fold, because it’s an annoying autostart

That’s sort of the reverse of what we have said previously on this site, that we ought to provide just enough assistance to the Syrian rebels that they can keep on fighting, but not enough to win, because that will leave whichever side eventually wins in Syria having been so weakened and having to deal with so much death and destruction that they’ll have neither the time nor the money nor the ability to engage in foreign mischief. To your Editor, in fleshing out Mr Netanyahu’s statement, weakening both sides ought to mean strengthening both enough for them to weaken each other.

The problem in Iraq, spilling over from Syria, is that the Islamist rebels couldn’t win in Syria, but are doing much better in Iraq, against the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who was not-quite-directly-selected by the United States. We really don’t want them to win, and even President Obama doesn’t want them to win, but unless he strengthens and supports Mr al-Maliki’s government and army, that would seem to be the more probable outcome. Since the Prime Minister is a Shi’ite, and the Shi’a are the majority in Iraq, Iran has expressed some interest in supporting the majority Shi’a government; the rebels are predominantly radical Sunnis.2

So, let’s be realistic, coldly realistic here: Prime Minister Netanyahu was right in stating that the best thing that the West can do is to weaken both sides, but you can’t weaken both sides, by yourself, without actually fighting both sides. The only realistic way is to help the weaker side, up to the point at which it can continue to fight, and kill, some of its, and our, and all of civilization’s enemies, without giving them enough help to actually win, though I have my doubts that President Obama and his Administration could manage to accomplish this with any real success. The best thing for Western civilization is for Shi’a and Sunni Muslims to keep fighting and fighting and fighting until they drown in a sea of their own blood, and whoever survives will be so greatly weakened and war-weary to cause problems for the West. It’s ugly and it’s brutal, but anything that weakens the Islamists is a good thing.

As promised, the video:


  1. I couldn’t find any references to any of the major professional news sources.
  2. The notion that rebels who are actually fighting in the field can somehow be moderates is silly; moderates do not fight. Moderates try to seek some sort of common ground, some sort of middle on which all sides can agree enough to not kill each other.

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