US policy on Iraq out and out crazy

Americans should be worried about the war in Iraq, for various reasons. One concern is that the Sunni army assaulting Iraq’s Shiite-controlled government may interrupt oil shipments.

It has been said the advice that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” originated in that part of the world. But apparently U.S. officials do not agree with it.

Many in the Sunni army are from Syria, where comrades they left behind continue a rebellion against that country’s government.

On Wednesday, Syrian warplanes slipped across their country’s border and dropped bombs on Sunni troops in Iraq. In doing so, they hit a threat to their country as well as to Iraq.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement critical of Syria’s action. “We’ve made it clear to everyone in the region that we don’t need anything to take place that might exacerbate the sectarian divisions” in Iraq, he said.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials continue to discuss how Iran, a Shiite-run country, may help stop the Sunni army in Iraq. Use of Iranian troops is a possibility.

If there is any realism or consistency in all this, it is extraordinarily well hidden. Intervention inside Iraq by Syria is unacceptable – but that by Iran is just fine.

U.S. policy regarding Iraq is, in a word, crazy. No wonder so many of our allies have no faith in American promises.


Leaders in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives hope to reach agreement soon on a bill addressing the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal. Among other things, it calls for veterans to get medical treatment from the private sector if they are placed on long waiting lists by the VA.

That would be progress. But another major section of the bill, allowing the VA to expand its facilities, is part of an old pattern in Washington. It is to throw taxpayers’ money at a problem and hope it will go away.

But what of VA officials accused of keeping veterans on long waiting lists for care, then lying about it? Little has been said about consequences for them – to discourage similar misdeeds in the future.

Until that is addressed, don’t count on the VA?truly improving much.