When I took boxing in high school and college, one of the things the instructors would tell us was, “Don’t telegraph your punches. Feint, instead.”
Telegraphing occurred when one boxer set up for a particular kind of punch in such a way that one’s opponent could tell what was coming and move out of the way before the punch hit its target.
A feint, on the other hand, occurs when a boxer tries to look like he is going to throw one kind of punch, and then throws another.
President Obama has been telegraphing his punches. An example of this is that on Tuesday he announced that the U.S. will not use airstrikes to help the Iraqi government in its struggle against Sunni insurgents who have been kicking the stuffing out of the Iraqi army.
Instead, it looks like the Iranians, sworn enemies of the U.S., will go in to help. The Iranians have a good military, and if they go into Iraq they will do a thorough job of establishing themselves as colonists. That would be an extension of the Iran-Iraq War, which has been compared to World War I for its trench warfare tactics, carnage and use of chemical weapons by the Iraqis against the Iranians. The war lasted from 1980 until 1988, when it ended by a settlement.
The Iraqi army has shown itself to be largely incompetent in the most recent hostilities against a ragtag army of insurgents. The Iranians probably could take Iraq over, especially if the U.S. stays out of it. Which seems to be what is going to happen unless Obama’s promise to stay out of the fight turns out to be a feint instead of a telegraph.
Keep in mind that our interest in Iraq began when that country invaded neighboring Kuwait, and we led a multinational force to throw the Iraqis out and reestablish Kuwait’s independence. A few years later we went back into Iraq because of fears the Iraqis had weapons of mass destruction. They didn’t have them, though. Then, our problem became how to get out. We haven’t done that very well, either.
If Iran takes over Iraq, that will put the Iranians 500 miles nearer Israel, which may wind up creating a new problem.
Let’s hope the president doesn’t muff this one.