By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
It is very unsettling to hear various politicians suggest the need for U.S. troops to be redeployed to Iraq and possibly deployed to Syria. They seem to have lost all sense of history. Think about it for a moment on two levels.
The first is that the unprovoked U.S. invasion of Iraq opened up the gates of hell. Not only did the U.S.A. have no reason to invade, but once it invaded, it incited religious and ethnic tensions and ensured that an atmosphere of revenge would prevail. This is what helps us to understand the circumstances under which a criminal fascist organization like ISIL would be able to achieve any popular support. Repression by the Shiite-dominated government has led many Sunnis to believe that only with a strong countervailing force can they survive. The U.S. has only to look at itself as the fundamental source of this horror.
The second is that the conflicts underway in Syria and Iraq must be resolved by the regional players. The U.S. cannot resolve either the situation in Syria or in Iraq. It can, of course, support efforts at national unity in Iraq and, in the case of Syria, it can pressure all outside forces to disengage from the conflict. But the moment that there is U.S. troop presence, all bets are off. The conflict will be about the U.S. and it will quickly become our war.
Yet, what is striking to me is particularly how politicians who do not now have to face the zing of bullets racing by their heads or smashing into the bodies of their colleagues are so quick to suggest troop deployments. It is as if they have learned nothing from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, or more recently, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is almost as if they believe that they should have one more chance to get it right, that is, to utilize the military option to prove the superiority of the U.S. way to resolve conflict.
Heaven help us.
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the host of The Global African. He is a racial justice, labor and global justice writer and activist. He can be followed on Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com.