Since we created it with our invasion in 2003, we are now ob-ligated to fix the deteriorating and perilous situation in Iraq that is threatening its sovereignty. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a terrorist group that is believed to be worse than Al-Qaeda, is taking over entire cities including the Iraq-Syria border. Most recently, ISIS drove tens of thousands of Yazidis, a minority group, up a mountain to starve without food or water, prompting the United States and other countries to consider sending relief supplies.
President Obama responded to the worsening situation by ordering limited air drops of food and water while authorizing air strikes against ISIS, if necessary.
In an ill-advised move, our President also declared that he will not send ground troops into Iraq to contain the situation. Many have rightly questioned if the Obama administration should have been more assertive in responding to the civil war in Syria and thus prevented the growth of ISIS into Iraq.
The President’s own former Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford has pointedly said “Nothing we can point to that’s been successful,”referring to Obama’s ap-proach to the Syrian crisis.
In a sign of partisan frus-tration, even the House Foreign Affairs leading Democrat Eliot Engel (D-NY) said, “I cannot help but wonder what would have happened if we had committed to empowering the moderate Syrian oppo-sition last year. Would ISIS have grown as it did?”
Others have pointed out that Obama totally miscalculated when he decided not to leave any residual troops behind in 2011 to keep the peace in Iraq. James Steinberg, Obama’s former Deputy of Secretary of State expressed bewilderment saying “His [Obama’s] last news conference leaves you scratching your head. Yeah, we can’t do everything. But what matters to us?”
It is time for President Obama to acknowledge that we have a serious problem in the Iraq-Syria region that can threaten the direct security interests of the United States.
This President has summarized his foreign policy doctrine as “Don’t do stupid stuff,” which as Hillary Clinton said cannot be an “organizing principle for great nations.”
The President needs to step up and realize that the United States has both a moral obligation and vital national security interest in lead-ing the charge to quickly assemble the support of the international community and yes, put boots on the ground in Iraq if needed to contain and eliminate ISIS and bring peace to this region. This is a solemn obligation of anyone who is elected to be the “leader of the free world.”
Rameysh Ramdas, an S.F. Bay Area professional, writes as a hobby.
No, America should not interfere
Foreign policy is one of the more difficult aspects of a presidency to articulate and implement. Going to war with another na-tion or invading one is something that needs to be evaluated oreign policy is one of the more difficult aspects of a presidency to articulate and implement. Going to war with another na-tion or invading one is something that needs to be evaluated
In the conflict at hand in Iraq the United States clearly is on the right ethical side in order to protect the Yazidis who are fleeing genocide at the hands of ISIS.
To this end the administration has taken a number of steps. They have dropped relief supplies for the Yazidis stranded in the moun-tains. They have sent in a few hundred advisors to assess the security situation on the ground. They have armed the Kurds who have cap-tured back some territory from ISIS. In addition, through diplomatic pressure, they have unseated Prime Minister Al-Maliki. Al-Maliki’s non-inclusive government perhaps gave rise to discontent among the population and prevented the rise of a unified defense of the country against ISIS.
Any other justification for additional in-volvement like ground invasion in Iraq is with-out merit. The United States is not responsible for Iraq’s integrity. While the ill-conceived invasion in 2003 was very costly to our country, it enabled Iraqis to attain democracy at a relatively minimal cost when compared with the struggles other nations have endured through history. How the people of Iraq govern themselves is not our business or concern. It is not for the United States or Britain to determine if Iraq is more stable as three, two or one country.
Since the break-up of Yugoslavia into three separate states the region has become more stable. Who is to say this will not occur in Iraq. It is a mistake to argue retroactively for a residual troop presence in Iraq. This was in keeping with the agreement made with the Iraqi government by the previous administration.
Alas, our military is tired desolate and war weary. According to a 2013 survey, 1 in 4 veteran families are dependent on food pantries for their daily food needs. This compares to 1 in 7 for the general population. Add to this the issues with the veterans administration and the fact that 30% of returning veterans suffer from Post Trau-matic Stress Syndrome. We can ill afford to subject our veterans to another war.
No disrespect to McCain, Hillary, et al., but when it comes to our military let’s not talk about boots on the ground let’s instead focus on food on the table!
Mani Subramani works in the semi-conductor industry in Silicon Valley.