It’s not really possible to distinguish between the Iraqi army, Shiite militias, and simple Iranian proxy fighters, but they’re pathetic however you choose to describe them. And what’s irritating is that our government isn’t really sure whether or not them being pathetic is a good or a bad thing. Most of the political right in this country has no understanding of who these folks are, who they’re fighting, which of our allies are rooting for which sides, or why we might or might not want to lend our direct assistance to their battle for Tikrit or any future fight for Mosul.
I tend to know who they are, who they’re fighting, and who is rooting for whom, but that doesn’t mean I have any answers about the larger questions. I can’t say that the Obama administration does, either. It’s not their fault, or mine. There are no moderates in this fight. It’s sectarian and it’s among radicals. And if you think the Saudi(ish) version of Islam isn’t radical, it’s probably because you can’t find any Sunni alternatives on the battlefield. Maybe the junta in Cairo could conquer the whole peninsula? Would that be Sunni moderation?
Anyone who had any even a partially direct role in facilitating this mess really ought to shut up and stop acting like they still have the right to have an opinion.