Tell President Obama not to send more troops and resources to Iraq

The Obama Administration is floating the idea of sending troops and adding military bases to Iraq. According to the unnamed White House officials who told the New York Times about the possibility of dedicating more troops and money to piecing back together the country we destroyed, Iraqis would run the new bases and Americans would not participate in ground combat. When have we heard that before?

Administrations float ideas in the news media all the time. If these thought balloons get shot down by the public, Congress or the big money, the idea goes nowhere. If no one seems to care, or if the proposal picks up support, the Administration pursues the idea.  As usual with balloon floaters, the chatty White House officials made a great effort to distance President Obama from the idea being floated: “White House officials stressed that no proposal has been presented to Mr. Obama and added they anticipated no decision in the next few weeks.

Philologists should use that sentence to exemplify the definition of “disingenuous.” It’s clear that Obama knows already and the plans are already developed in detail, even if only as a contingency.

I urge everyone to contact President Obama, your senators and Congressional representative and tell all of them not to add troops or bases to Iraq.

In fact, we should be demanding a complete and immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops, advisors, mercenaries, outsourced contractors and equipment from Iraq and Afghanistan, plus a removal of all military support to all parties at war in all Middle Eastern countries. Let’s let the parties involved in the conflict work things out.

As long as we stay involved in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Pakistan, we will be a magnet for forces opposed to our presence, our bullying and our cultural imperialism. None of these countries will attain stability as long as we serve as a destabilizing element.

It goes without saying that we may not like the stability that develops after we withdraw military support in the Middle East, especially if ISIS gains permanent control of some part of Syria or Iraq. But any kind of stability will be an improvement over the current situation.

In withdrawing from the many quagmires in the Middle East, I propose that we offer to pay reparations to any government or group that agrees to a cease fire. I call these payments reparations because we have been so instrumental in causing so many Middle Eastern conflicts. The reparations would come in the form of aid that could never be converted to military uses, things like schools, textbooks, hospital facilities, grain, agronomists and agricultural and manufacturing equipment. We should use our money not to destroy and kill, but to help countries advance economically and overcome sectarian differences.

Just as we are now friends with England, France, Germany, Japan and other former enemies, I don’t see why we can’t one day be friends with Iran and even ISIS, especially if we deliver a good dose of real economic and social aid. Those who shudder at the thought of an alliance with ISIS beheaders should compare the ISIS death count to that of Nazi Germany, imperial Japan and the conquest of Native Americans.

Another condition I would place on accepting American non-military aid is the recognition of Israel in the context of a two-state solution. Quite simply, to receive American aid, a country must accept the existence of both the Jewish state of Israel and a Palestinian state. I would apply this condition to Israel, too. If Israel wants to continue to receive U.S. support, it should begin to withdraw settlements from the occupied territory and enter serious negotiations about establishing a permanent Palestinian government. We’ve put up with their stiff-necked foot-dragging and mistreatment of the Palestinians long enough.

It’s time we admitted that while not the entire problem, U.S. military involvement creates enough complications that it makes settlement of civil and regional wars in the Middle East impossible until we leave the region.


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