Back to Iraq: The Reckoning

Here we go again! Everything old is new again. This time, it’s about Iraq. Today, the Obama Administration has made it clear that it is weighing the option of military intervention in Iraq. This comes after the news that ISIS has invaded a major Christian city in the region.

Well, this is awkward. Just a few short years after we pulled our troops out of Iraq (and a few long years after W declared “Mission accomplished”) we might be sending our military back to the region. Sure, we will be constantly reminded that whatever intervening steps we take at this point will be extremely limited to target specific, blah, blah, blah. But military action is military action, and as we’ve learned in the past once you’re in it can be tough to get out. It’s playing “just the tip” on a world-wide scale. And our tip has proven to have trouble controlling itself.

Obama is in a tough spot on this one. It’s become overwhelmingly unpopular to view the United States as the World Police that we once were. Yet, at the same time, we are still thought of as the world power that can be counted on to step in with humanitarian assistance. And while humanitarian aid certainly doesn’t have to involve military action, when the aid is being offered to prevent rebels from killing people it’s kind of hard to avoid the reality that if you don’t fight back you’re not really addressing the issue.

So what do we do? Act as isolationists or step in? Either way it’s going to be an unpopular move in certain circles. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Maybe the Prez can figure out a way to just help out the Kurdish Christians in the region? First Amendment notwithstanding, Americans tend to like Christianity.

I’m not an expert on the Middle East, no matter how much news coverage I’ve watched (sometimes it feels like the more I read about Middle Eastern issues the less firm my grasp of the subject matter gets). But one thing that I have picked up on is that no matter how bad you think Saddam Hussein was, ISIS is worse.

The real question is ‘Is this our problem’? Well, we certainly had something to do with it – we removed Hussein from power. Say what you will about iron-fisted dictators, they tend to be pretty good at keeping other bad guys from rising up. But does that mean that we have to go back? Just because it’s partially our fault, does that mean that we have to do something about it? It is up to world governments to address moral issues? Even if it is, are we ever allowed to entertain the possibility that maybe certain regions of the world simply can’t be helped by outside forces?

I don’t envy the President. I never have. It seems to me that if you’re smart enough, savvy enough, and well funded enough to become the President you’d be better off doing something outside of the spotlight, where you can be a giant success without all of the scrutiny. The pressures of the Office just don’t seem worth it to me, and situations like Iraq are exactly the reason why.

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