Let me say this right up front; The current civil war raging in Iraq is the fault of Prime Minister Maliki, and it is his war to wage, not ours. The prime minister formed an inclusive government that over time has seen the Shiites take total control, excluding the Sunnis and Kurds, from participating. This was done to appease the Iranian government. Maliki is in bed with Iran. If you sleep with the devil, you’ll have nightmares.
The U.S-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement was agreed to 2008, and signed by President Bush. It established that U.S. combat forces would withdraw from Iraq cities by June 30, 2009 and all U.S. forces would be completely out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011. In keeping with the agreement and his promise, President Obama withdrew all forces by Dec. 16, 2011.
Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., many Republicans and Fox News commentators are now blaming Obama for this withdrawal and the civil war now taking place. Again it was Bush’s agreement, supported by the very Republicans now blaming Obama. Come rain, sleet or snow they’ll blame Obama for any and everything. It’s ridiculous.
Obama actually tried to negotiate leaving some troops in Iraq, but a decent agreement could not be worked out with Maliki who wanted our troops and contract workers to be subject to Shiia law. This Obama would not agree to. Evidently the Republicans are now saying he should have taken that raw deal. I don’t.
The ISIS, comprised of jihadists Sunnis, was formerly al Qaeda of Iraq and may have patched up differences with al Qaeda. They are bitter enemies of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, Iran and the United States. No doubt they are part of the rebels in Syria whom Graham and Sen. John McCain R- Ariz., not long ago, were unwittingly demanding we arm.
The American people are more than reluctant for the U.S. to get involved in the current conflict. The same folks that lied to us and got us into the first Iraq War, are calling for ground troops to be sent into Iraq again. Again, Graham is talking mushroom clouds over America if we don’t send ground troops into Iraq.
Should we invade Iraq again as Fox News commentators and some Republicans are advocating? No. Americans are positively against sending ground troops into Iraq again. Should we just bomb the heck out of the ISIS? I’ll admit it wouldn’t bother me one bit to bomb these murderers and terrorists to kingdom come. But, this would signify an alliance with Iran who are bitter enemies of ISIS. Do you really think we should align ourselves with Iran? Hopefully, we have told Iran to stay out of Iraq, period.
Should we spend billions more to keep an unstable government in power? I think not. So far all the help we have given Maliki has been wasted. The U.S. provided $25 billion in military aid before and after our withdrawal. Yet, when a relatively small band if jihadists attacked Mosul and Tikrit, four major Iraqi army divisions folded. They stripped off their uniforms and fled, showing no commitment to the Iraq government whatsoever. Under Maliki the Iraq army has not acted professionally. It’s been reported they have committed crimes against civilians, including unlawful raids and arrest, torture, and indiscriminate shelling. Do you really think more money, or weapons will change the attitude of Iraq’s soldiers? I don’t. They are simply cowards.
If you think there are any easy answers you are mistaken. Any decision will have consequences. The trouble in Iraq now is the consequence of our original invasion of Iraq, complicated by a decision of the Bush/Cheney administration to prohibit the Sunni dominated Baath Party from participating in a post-Saddam government. The exclusion of the Baath Party didn’t seem like such a bad decision at the time. One wonders if things would be different if they were part of the government.
Americans are growing more and more weary of our military involvement throughout the world. Many are very close to being isolationist. I’m not an isolationist. I simply don’t believe American armed forces should be used as the world’s police force. I do believe we, as part of a joint action with other countries, have a role to play in keeping peace in the world.
The original invasion of Iraq was based on false pretenses and lies by many of the same people who are now calling for us to send troops back into Iraq. So far the vast majority of Americans are saying no.
Consider me among that group.
Glen McAdoo, a Fallon resident, can be reached at email@example.com.