Several U.S. presidents in recent decades have eagerly entangled America in conflicts around the world with limited success. Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Reagan, Clinton, Bush II and Obama were unable to control the urge to get into the fray when they saw tyranny, violence and human rights violations.
There’s no doubt that the U.S.’s unofficial role of world peacemaker has been an expensive habit that is generally unappreciated by the global community of nations. Our government is quick to spend money for armaments and troops to support the exploits of struggling governments. This altruistic spirit is once again on display as President Obama has authorized a “redeployment” of troops into Iraq.
Obama spent his entire 2008 presidential campaign bashing George Bush’s invasion of Iraq, the existence of Gitmo and the war on terror. Yet, the new president didn’t keep his promises to end the Iraq conflict honorably (whatever that means), close Gitmo or control the spread of terrorist activities throughout the Middle East.
Ironically, after ordering combat troop withdrawals from Iraq, the president decided to send advisers to the war-torn country to evaluate security issues, estimate the strength of the government’s opposition and a develop a plan to temper sectarian violence. Re-infusing new troops into the country, according to the Obama administration, is not a new surge. It must then be a dribble.
The war between Shiites and Sunnis has been under way for centuries. Just like the Palestinian- Israeli conflict, there is no quick fix. Insurgents from Shiite-dominated countries (principally Iran) and Sunni-dominated countries (principally Saudi Arabia) seek ways to disrupt their opponents. Every country in the region is at risk of provocative attacks.
Iraq is the perfect battlefield because it is dominated by Shiites, but is has a large Sunni and Kurdish population as well. The dispersion of ethnic groups is regional. The Sunnis and Saddam Hussein loyalists are in the northern part of the country. Recently, Al-Qaeda fighters from Syria invaded Iraq and were welcomed by resentful native Sunnis. The capture of several cities has been a cakewalk because most of inhabitants of areas overrun by Al-Qaeda are of the same religious sect.
What does the U.S. government think it’s going to accomplish in Iraq at this point? Will this dribble of soldiers end the sectarian conflict that is a continuation of a very old feud? No. Will it encourage real democracy in Iraq? No way. Will it result in the ouster of the Iraqi president? Probably not. Will it end the fighting and violence that the insurgents are precipitating? No. Will Iraq’s Shiite government embrace Sunni participation? No. So what’s the game plan?
Maybe it’s politics. Even this cynical perspective by Obama haters makes no sense. The vast majority of Americans don’t want U.S. troops in Iraq. Is it national security? It depends upon your definition of the term. Will U.S. involvement with a mere 300 troops, a hundred or so drones and fighter jets ameliorate the threat to Iraq’s oil assets? It’s doubtful.
The only conclusion that can one can draw is that Obama wants to dazzle the Sunni insurgents with some firepower and convince the American people that he isn’t a wimp. Both of these objectives are inane, wasteful and representative of poor leadership. It’s time we ended the loss of any more American lives and treasure in Iraq’s new civil war. We should allow the two religious sides to fight it out by themselves.