The Perils & Absurdity of Iraq War 4.0
Danny Sjursen says more deaths of those once-invisible contractors could end up pulling the U.S. into yet another phase of hopeless, wasteful war.
President Joe Biden launched a strike on Iranian backed militia in Syria, reportedly in reprisal for rocket attacks on U.S. forces.
Such attacks should not have caught the White House by surprise. After all, it’s the muddled U.S. military mission and ongoing troop presence itself that creates nearly all the conditions for the current crisis. That this particular truth tablet might be rather uncomfortable to swallow doesn’t make it any less so.
If Biden needs proof, he might consider applying what we could call his very own “Biden Rule:” that staffers should avoid overly academic or elitist language in memos or policy papers. “Pick up your phone, call your mother, read her what you just told me,” he reportedly tells aides – “If she understands, we can keep talking.”
Well, does Joe really think most American mothers, or fathers, or other lay citizens, could honestly explain just what the heck U.S. troops are doing — and may well die doing — in Iraq, almost 18 years after George W. Bush’s initial invasion? Give us a break! All that Washington wish-wash about avoiding ISIS-resurgence, “building partner capacity,” and balancing Iran, is liable to get even a hometown boy like Biden laughed out of a Scranton pub.
Nevertheless, the attacks could very well derail Biden’s announced intent to reestablish Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, or even lead to a military escalation. After all, earlier this week, NATO agreed to an eight-fold increase in troops for its training and advisory mission in Iraq, and Secretary Antony Blinken has himself begun a review America’s Iraq policy — to include feedback from the Pentagon — which may reach the White House as early as next month.
There’ve been three separate rocket attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq over the last week, one targeting each of country’s distinct communal regions — Erbil in semi-autonomous Kurdistan, another on Balad in mostly Sunni Salah al-Din Province, and lastly on the Green Zone in Shia-heavy (especially since the 2005-08 civil war’s ethnic cleansings) Baghdad. It seems American troops and — more on this soon — contractors still aren’t safe anywhere inside Iraq.
Odd, that, since I recall plenty past (premature) pronouncements that “the surge worked,” and that “we have defeated ISIS.” Well, the first [surge success] bit was always a farce, and, while the second suggestion is basically true — despite mop-up-ops that Iraqi, and invested regional, forces can handle — it ain’t ISIS that’s set to take the blame for the recently raining rockets. No, that supervillain stature shall — as ever — belong to Iran.
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