Iraq Has a New President
by JBS President John F. McManus
On August 14th, Nouri Kamil Mohammed Hasan al-Maliki stepped down as the President of Iraq. He had held the post since May 20, 2006. After recent elections had seen his allies win the most seats in the nation’s parliament, he seemed poised to retain the office. But pressure for a change in the nation’s leadership came from influential Ayatollah Ali Sistani and others including neighboring Iran. Maliki originally intended to challenge the refusal to accept him for another four-year term but suddenly cancelled his protest. The post now falls to Haider al-Abadi, a fellow member of Iraq’s Islamic Dawa Party.
Both Maliki and Abadi are Shiite Muslims and Iraq’s population is largely Shiite. The two men have long held leadership posts in the Islamic Dawa Party. The Sunni minority held power during the long reign of Saddam Hussein, a Sunni Muslim. After being captured by U.S. forces, Hussein was executed in December 2006, a mere seven months after Maliki has emerged as President. Fighting between the Sunni and Shiite Muslims, even while U.S. forces gained control of the nation, continued to plague Iraq and has not ceased. Now, the Sunni-led Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) has gained control of one-quarter of the nation, wreaked havoc wherever its forces seized control, and even threatened the capital city of Baghdad. No one believes that ISIS will simply go away.
Like Maliki, Abadi fled Iraq in the 1970s when Saddam Hussein’s regime outlawed the Dawa Party. His two brothers were not so fortunate and were slain. Abadi went to England where he received a doctorate in electrical engineering. Maliki lived for much of his self-imposed exile in Syria where he edited the Dawa Party’s newspaper. Both men returned to Iraq after U.S. forces ousted Hussein in 2003. The two formed a friendship and their cordial relationship figured in Maliki’s decision to step aside.
Abadi’s emergence as the nation’s leader will undoubtedly lead to more military assistance from the United States. A pleased President Obama immediately began referring to the new Iraq leader as “prime minister designate.” And U.S. fighter planes had already begun their attacks on ISIS in northern Iraq.
Abadi faces huge problems as he enters the office of president. The Shiite-Sunni division isn’t about to disappear and neither will the surging forces of Sunni-led ISIS fade away. Financial and military aid from the United States is absolutely necessary. The question now is how long it will continue in the face of rising opposition to further involvement in Iraq among the American people. Many now believe that the role of policeman for the world should stop and stopping it in Iraq would be a good place to begin.
The Ever Dwindling Iraqi Christian Minority, Thanks to US Foreign Policy
by JBS President John F. McManus
Newspapers and television channels are full of pictures showing Iraq’s Yazidis fleeing from the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Thousands of helpless men, women, and children who have lived for centuries in Iraq’s Niniveh province have been uprooted by Islamic militants who demand conversion to their brand of Islam or face death.
President Obama has responded by sending war planes to attack the militants and air drops to provide food and water to the refugees. He has also responded to similar attacks aimed at the Kurds living in Northern Iraq. For them, it is military equipment to help them defend themselves. Known as tough fighters, the Kurds have fared well during the turmoil generated by ISIS.
There seems, however, to be little or no concern from the White House and Congress about the Christians who have been targeted continuously by militant Islamists and now by ISIS. In Mosul (also in Niniveh province), where thousands of Catholics have lived and worshiped since biblical times, Catholic Mass is no longer celebrated as it has been for almost two millennia. Priests have been slain and the people have been terrorized. For all the years when Catholics populated the region, they have withstood numerous threats, especially during the years since Mohammed started the Muslim religion in the Seventh century. But what has occurred since the U.S. invasion in 2003 has turned out to be their worst nightmare.
ISIS warriors have demanded conversion to Islam or death. When a 45-year-old Catholic retired army officer living in Mosul was told by ISIS marauders that he had to leave his home and business immediately or face death for not converting to Islam, he gathered his family and fled. So have most other Catholics. But there has been no outcry from President Obama about the Christian victims of ISIS. There were once 1.5 million Christians (mostly Catholics) living throughout Iraq. Ever since the U.S. invasion in 2003, they have been attacked ruthlessly by various branches of Islam. But, while concern is raised about the current plight of Yazidis and Kurds, the fate of remaining Christians has been ignored.
The Yazidis are a Kurdish-speaking minority who number 200,000 worldwide. The Kurds are a breakaway sect from Islam which means that their ancestry does not reach back as far as does that of the first Iraqi Christians. Most of the 30 million Kurds worldwide live in northern Iraq and parts of neighboring Iran, Syria, and Turkey. They have long sought to become an independent country that they would call Kurdistan. The Christians who have fled will most likely never return. Those who haven’t fled face almost incomprehensible threats.
The devastation visited upon Yazidis, Kurds, and Christians is a consequence of the U.S. invasion, an attack on a country that supposedly possessed weapons of mass destruction and wouldn’t hesitate to use them. But the claim that they had such weapons was a lie. The devastation wreaked on Iraq by the invaders contributed to unleashing militant Islamists including the latest threat posed by ISIS. And recall that the Obama administration helped supply ISIS in Syria, but now fights them in Iraq. If peace is indeed possible in this region, the United States should follow a totally new course: vacate the area, cease policing the world, terminate the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz goal to build an American empire, and begin minding only the business of America.
Hillary Clinton’s Problem Now in the Open
by JBS President John F. McManus
On August 10 during an interview conducted by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”
Hillary Clinton criticizing Barack Obama! What’s going on here? The answer is simple. The public’s opinion of Obama’s performance continues to drop and she’s running for the office of President. How to be a candidate to succeed the increasingly unpopular president with whom she has had an extremely close relationship is not going to be easy. So, the first of what will likely be salvos aimed at the occupant of the White House will likely increase.
The “Don’t do stupid stuff” comment was actually stated by President Obama in his speech at West Point last May. Among other world problems, he was referring to the Syrian conflict, the continuing worry about Iran becoming a nuclear power, and the Israeli-Hamas struggle. Regarding Syria, Mrs. Clinton indicated that our nation should have sent military aid to Assad’s early opponents and, because we didn’t, Assad remains in power and the ISIS jihadists have risen to become a potent threat, not just to Syria but to Iraq and other portions of Asia Minor. She should have been asked if the aid she now says should have gone to Assad’s foes might have ended up in the hands of jihadists, a quite likely result. But that possibility wasn’t mentioned.
If the Obama approval ratings were high instead of dismally low (and getting lower), Hillary would never have sought to separate herself from the President, even slightly. She would have reminded everyone that she, as his Secretary of State, was the main architect of a “successful” foreign policy. But no one is labeling the Obama administration’s dealings with other nations a success. Libya is again in turmoil, Assad is still in power, Iran is still progressing toward nuclear weapon capability, Israel and Hamas are at war, the Benghazi tragedy still hangs over the president (and over Mrs. Clinton), and more.
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson urged avoiding involvement in foreign difficulties. Their advice is still the best course for our nation. But don’t expect Hillary Clinton to advocate what America’s Founders recommended. She knows she’s in a serious bind where she can neither divorce herself from Obama nor champion his performance. In the months ahead, the American voters will discover how capably she walks an increasingly difficult tight rope.
College Board’s New History Course Deemed “Marxist”
by JBS President John F. McManus
The uproar over the insertion of Common Core Standards into the U.S. education system has been heard from coast to coast. Many parents don’t like the new program and have expressed their dismay over what they have learned about it. The complaints are liable to grow even more intense now that the College Board’s history curriculum has been examined.
Before discussing the content of the new history guidelines, it’s important know that the College Board produces material both for advanced placement (AP) courses and for the SAT exams taken by high school students on their way to college. High SAT scores have always been considered essential to be accepted by a favored college. So all who aspire for higher education are pawns in the game of whoever devises the AP courses and the tests created by the SAT compilers. But what if those hurdles for high schoolers are full of anti-American Marxism? Sadly, this is what has happened.
The single most important person behind creation of Common Core is Dr. David Coleman. Soon after he succeeded in getting Common Core adopted in most states, he won appointment as president of the College Board. He now oversees what the curricula will be for AP courses and what will be the SAT test questions. He has wasted no time in revising these materials.
World Net Daily has reported the findings of President Peter Wood of the National Association of Scholars. Wood examined the new course material and describes the AP history curriculum as “a briefing document on progressive and leftist views of America’s past.” He labels what he has seen “a vaguely Marxist or at least materialist reading of the key events” in our nation’s past. Author Stanley Kurtz has accused the College Board of “pushing U.S. history as far to the left as it can get away with.”
Others recognize the new material as a sharp left-ward turn from what was previously supplied to high school AP history teachers. Larry Krieger has taught history for 35 years and has written many popular AP and SAT preparation books. He labels the new history curriculum “relentless left-wing indoctrination.” Attorney Jane Robbins worked with Krieger and found that 181 points made in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills program are absent in the new College Board history course. Robbins believes that the deficiencies and historical inaccuracies in the new material will work their way down into all levels, not just the AP classes. Texas school board member Ken Mercer claims that “only America haters” will applaud the new materials.
Students subjected to this new program will learn little positive or nothing at all about America’s founders, the successful defeat of Japan and Germany in World War II, the building of a prosperous nation, and more. Instead, they will learn that the early Americans immigrants from Europe should be remembered as evildoers who brought disease and slavery to the newly discovered continent. In the new curriculum, real American heroes are ignored and questionable characters are glorified.
We’re grateful that World Net Daily’s John Aman has provided a hard look at the new Common Core course content. We hope that the uproar about Common Core and the new history curriculum will grow to a point where the federal government’s use of taxpayers’ money to bribe states into accepting the program will help many to see how dangerous federal involvement in the important field of education truly is. Maybe then, they will join with the growing number who believe federal involvement in education ought to be abolished.
To learn more about Common Core, visit our “Choose Freedom — Stop Common Core” action page.
Are Ukraine’s Russian Separatists Being Abandoned by Putin?
by JBS President John F. McManus
The population of Eastern Ukraine bordering Russia is ethnically Russian. The same could be said of the Crimean peninsula in southeast Ukraine, the region absorbed by Russia earlier in 2014. After Russia’s successful (to date) absorption of Crimea, large Russian-speaking enclaves in other portions of the beleaguered country wanted the same absorption to occur for them.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin certainly gave the go-ahead for his forces to take Crimea, but he now seems to be backing away after initially supplying support in the bloody conflict being conducted by separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine. The Associated Press cites a pro-Russian separatist fighter in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk who wonders why expected help isn’t arriving: “What is Putin waiting for? We had hoped for help from Russia but we have been abandoned. Our strength is nearing an end and the Ukrainian army is advancing.”
Donetsk has seen 20 percent of its population of one million flee from fighting that has raged for several weeks. The ethnically Russian separatist forces have lately taken to confiscating vehicles, food, and any other useful resources from the people. But Putin seems now to have decided to ignore any more cries for help from the separatists he originally encouraged.
Without doubt, the Russian leader fomented the trouble engulfing the area. He took action after pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted by Ukrainian nationalists earlier this year. New Ukrainian leadership opposes separation of more of the country’s territory and newly elected President Petro Poroshenko even hinted at wanting to ally with Western Europe and the European Union, and even affiliate with NATO. Fancying himself as the equal of all of his opposition to the West, Putin sought to demonstrate a self-deluding major player stature with his moves against Ukraine. He instead brought a series of economic sanctions on his country that seem to have gotten his attention.
What the immediate future will bring to Ukraine is unknown. After debacles in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan, the American people have grown intensely disinclined to have our government get militarily involved in any more frays. We can only agree with that sentiment. America’s chosen role as policeman of the world has got to stop.