Sunday, January 04, 2015

Truest statement of the week

The latest iteration of the Iraq War is already starting to escalate. The day after Christmas, U.S. forces and its allies hit the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) with 31 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. Three thousand U.S. military advisers are now authorized to accompany Iraqi troops into combat, while American helicopter pilots fly combat missions over Iraq. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey and Secretary of State John Kerry want to keep open the option of officially dispatching combat troops.
In northern Iraq, many Sunni and some Shia political leaders told me they remain suspicious about renewed American involvement. This came as no surprise. The United States, after all, invaded Iraq only a little more than a decade ago on the false pretense of eliminating weapons of mass destruction. Its new stated aims seem to many to be almost as implausible.
In August a U.S. diplomat rattled off to me the three original justifications for the new war: stopping the immediate slaughter of minorities fleeing attacks by ISIL, protecting American military personnel in the northern city of Erbil and keeping ISIL from overrunning the Kurdish region.

None of those rationales hold up under scrutiny.

-- Reese Erlich, "The New Iraq War is Doomed" (Information Clearing House).
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