For the cause that lacks assistance,
For the wrong that needs resistance,
For the future in the distance
– George Linneaus Banks
Jeb Bush, whom I don’t support at this point (and doubt I ever will), keeps getting asked questions about invading Iraq, which he stumbles over continuously. It’s become almost a ritual to repeat this question and demand a public repudiation of his brother’s decision. I didn’t wholheartedly buy the rationale back then, but I remained hopeful that a free, democratic Iraq would be a very positive development for the entire region. Whether we could nurture that flower of hope into bloom, I remained skeptical, but truly Iraq seemed more likely than Afghanistan, which had no infrastructure from which to build a modern democratic state. If I had been voting, I most likely would have voted yes – that’s the truth.
That said, my point is, if we continually debate the invading Iraq decision, we remain stuck in endless political carping that precludes any meaningful efforts to move forward and forge a comprehensive strategy to help stabilize the entire region, repatriate the hordes of refugees, end the constant fighting, and last, but not least, defeat IS. That’s the thing, defeating IS can only be accomplished if we work with other countries, especially those in the ME, but also including our adversaries, like Russia and China at some diplomatic agreements on some very complex issues.
This is not a Rambo movie, where one American warrior can take on the world. We must seriously gauge our American actions to not foster more regional instability. We could go in and defeat IS in a matter of weeks, if not days, depending what level of force we chose to use, but we would be left with another power vacuum that various factions and neighboring countries would quickly move to seize territory and control – more fighting would ensue.
Without a comprehensive strategy, determined, careful diplomatic efforts and serious, careful analysis of the complex issues involved, talking about upping the op tempo of our military efforts to defeat IS makes good, tough-sounding sound-bites, but it’s just blowing smoke. Military action is needed to defeat IS, but before we waste any more American lives or military materiel, we need a comprehensive strategy.
Ranting that Bush was wrong to invade Iraq or that Obama abandoned Iraq, unto perpetuity, gets us nowhere – it’s time to look to the future and act like America is not a reactionary, immature, reckless, or clueless country. It’s way past time for politicians to shut-up about their pet theories and lame, short-sighted, simplistic strategies and do their homework. The politicians need to seek a wide array of expertise – from military leaders, academia, think tanks, foreign diplomats and leaders, even ordinary people. Heck, I’m a homemaker who loves to study military strategy and I am always trying to look for new ways to move mountains in my strategic ponderings, because I believe nothing is impossible. Why can’t our leaders start looking ahead, instead of squabbling about the past? America was built by people who believed that the future does not have to be a repeat of the past!
A smart strategist, in my opinion, should seek out those contrarians, whose viewpoint differs widely from his/her own. If you only read opinions and talk to people who agree with you – you’ve boxed yourself into a very dangerous strategic corner. We’ve got politicians stuck like barnacles in just such a corner and political pundits and their preferred experts repeating the same tired talking points to a clueless American people – I mean really, who in their right-mind can still believe there are any “moderates” left in Syria fighting after this protracted civil war? Yet, here we are trying to vet and train “Syrian moderates”. $500 million American taxpayer dollars are earmarked for this training too and it has ZERO chance of helping to defeat IS. America needs a foreign policy that isn’t a mishmash of partisan-political posturing and sound-bites.
The other day I read a post at the American Thinker:
“Former Saddam officers form the core of a rampant ISIS horde”
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/08/former_saddam_officers_form_the_core_of_a_rampant_isis_horde.html#ixzz3iWuH83c9
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I disagreed with the author’s premise and commented under the user name: susanholly, but I enjoyed reading the comments from another poster, Dixie-Pixie, which prodded me to consider some other issues. That’s where we need to go with coming up with a winning strategy – consider more options and be open to new ones. Re-fighting the Iraq war decision and every move since then leaves us flailing about in, to repeat that popular political buzzword, – a quagmire.