Robert George: The Obtuse Triangle


Steve should be returning to these here parts sometime soon. I thank him for letting me say a few things around here. It’s certainly been an interesting group sitting in — including Bolton-agnostic conservatives such as yours truly and Bolton-supporting war-skeptical conservatives such as the illustrious and always provocative Doug Bandow.
Perhaps it was best that Steve was in parts unknown when US Ambassador to the United Nations (calm down, Washington Note fans — somebody had to say it) John Bolton participated in his first Security Council meeting on Thursday.
Not surprisingly, his first official words were direct: “We call on all members to meet their obligations to stop the flow of terrorists, terrorist financing and weapons, and particularly on Iran and Syria.”
Bolton added after the unanimous resolution condemning the recent violence spike in Iraq: “We think this is very important, obviously, to help bring stability and security to the people of Iraq and to permit the constitutional process to go forward. It’s the highest priority for the people and government of Iraq, and for the United States as well.”
No kidding.
Bolton’s words could hardly be more revealing.
They confirm yesterday’s observations of my good friend, the aforementioned Mr. Bandow:

“The deaths of 21 reservists in the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, have dramatically brought home the cost of the Iraq war for anyone who hasn’t been paying attention…Although I hate to think of politics when contemplating the deaths of so many sons, brothers, and fathers, imagine if they had died a couple of days earlier. There might have been a different result in the special election in Ohio’s 2nd district to replace former congressman and now trade representative Rob Portman.”

Those reservists met their fate in the Euphrates Valley battling insurgents and others streaming in over the Syrian border. If Iraq is the central front in the global war on terror global struggle against violent extremism global war on terror, then the Syrian border is now the epicenter. Sure enough, this morning, Operation Quick Strike — the deployment of 1,000 Marines and Iraqi troops — was launched in the Euphrates Valley.
Forget about the “Sunni Triangle”: Today, imagine an extended “Obtuse Triangle” linking the Iraq-Syria border to Brook Park, Ohio — the heart of Middle America — to Our Man at the UN and back to Iraq.
The constitutional process must go forward for there to be some degree of success in the Iraqi exercise. But if the sons and daughter of Middle America continue to die on the Syrian border — and military and diplomatic attempts to contain it fail, the support at home will falter.
That is why resolving the border problem truly is, “the highest priority for the people and government of Iraq, and for the United States as well.”
Robert George