This week’s Watcher’s Council forum asks if the U.S. should intervene in Iraq. For some reason, my opinion on the subject didn’t appear in the forum, so here it is:
I’m of many, many minds on this. Assuming that we want to end the bloodshed there, I would intervene only if we had a different (by which I really mean “better”) president. Things will not get better for America or for the Iraqis if we go in with an Obama led fighting force.
Obama doesn’t think in terms of victory or of the safety and well-being of American troops. He thinks in terms of political gamesmanship and the ugliness that is American military might. If he ordered a new invasion, he’d piddle a few bombs here, order a few drones there, and watch a few hundred troops die somewhere else (then convening a panel to prove that the troops provoked their own demise). Then he’d declare we’d achieved some bean-counter’s goal and pull out.
Of course, if we had a better president, we wouldn’t be in this predicament in the first place. American wouldn’t be a paper tiger (or a paper clown). She’d be a world presence whose word meant something, and whose gravitas would keep at least some evil at bay.
And by better president, I do not mean another Dubya iteration. Dubya too never really understand that we’re fighting an enemy so evil it’s almost impossible to comprehend. Dubya thought in terms of a global calculus — bring democracy and we’ll have peace. It didn’t seem to occur to him that Islam and democracy do not coexist in the same temporal and spatial universe.
But really, should we intervene? Iran is now threatening to get involved, which takes me back to the glorious 1980s when Iran and Iraq were so busy killing each other, they had little time to kill anybody else.
Right now, Syria is an appalling blood bath. There are no good guys. Two armies of unspeakable evil are facing off against each other. The only innocents, and the only ones for whom I mourn, are the children and those helpless women — not the “black widows” or “martyred mamas” — who have been sucked into this morass through the sheer bad luck of being part of these toxic cultures.
The more the bad guys kill each other in Syria, the better for us. The same might hold true for Iraq. If it becomes another Shia/Sunni fight to the death, the only thing that I’ll mourn in addition to those poor women and children are the American troops who died, or who were wounded other otherwise suffered in a long war that might have been victorious if one president hadn’t done the “gentlemanly” thing and thrown it away to another president who did nothing at all.