No Rant on Iraq

June 13, 2014–Don’t succumb to the siren songs of temptresses on the latest Iraq debacle. This is a right wing screed propelled by a feel-good drive to think that something we did there was worthwhile. My time today is very limited but I want to say– remember how we got here.

First off, the United States did not “win” the Iraq war. There is nothing there which we achieved and we have no winnings to protect. Democracy in Iraq? The Maliki government is no more a democracy than that of Saddam Hussein. Maliki has spent his time in power seizing control of more levers of power and excluding ethnic and religious groups other than his own Shiites. Vice-presidents and senior officials of his own government have fled to evade trumped up criminal charges. Is it any wonder Sunnis and Kurds won’t fight for the Baghdad government?

Second, Maliki swore off U.S. aid. His refusal to enter into the status of forces agreement that Washington sought as we withdrew our main forces from Iraq was understandable from a nationalist point of view. But both the U.S. and Iraq understood that refusal meant the end of U.S. training for the Iraqi military. Maliki then undermined the Iraqi military by employing the same tactics he did with the political system as a whole. Maliki buttered his own bread. Intervention now does not prevent Iraqi WMD, any more than it did in 2003, and it does not preserve Iraqi democracy.

Next, Washington’s basic decision was made when President Obama rejected calls to intervene in Syria. The fighters threatening Iraq today have spilled across the border from Syria and represent an attempt to forge a confessional state that will take over that area. For that to happen the so-called ISIS group has to topple not just Mr. Maliki but the Hafez Asad regime as well. Intervention against ISIS in Iraq is actually the equivalent of helping Asad. Americans shouldn’t want to do that.

Military action in Iraq is the wrong intervention at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons.

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