WASHINGTON — FOR the last two years, many people in the foreign policy community, myself included, have argued repeatedly for the use of force in #syria — to no avail. We have been pilloried as warmongers and targeted, by none other than President Obama, as people who do not understand that force is not the solution to every question. A wiser course, he argued at West Point, is to use force only in defense of America’s vital interests.
Suddenly, however, in the space of a week, the administration has begun considering the use of force in #iraq, including drones, against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which has been occupying city after city and moving ever closer to Baghdad.
The sudden turn of events leaves people like me scratching our heads. Why is the threat of ISIS in Iraq a sufficiently vital interest, but not the rise of ISIS in Syria — and a hideous civil war that has dismembered Syria itself and destabilized Lebanon, Jordan and now Iraq?
I suspect White House officials would advance three reasons.
First, they would say, the fighters in Iraq include members of Al Qaeda. But that ignores recent history. Experts have predicted for over a year that unless we acted in Syria, ISIS would establish an Islamic state in eastern Syria and western Iraq, exactly what we are watching. So why not take them on directly in Syria, where their demise would strengthen the moderate opposition?
I too wanted the US to intervene in Syria when the worst of the chemical agent attacks were being perpetrated against innocent people. Nothing will change in Syria until Mr. Putin is convinced to stop backing Bashar Al-Assad.
Sadly, the people of Iraq who, after supposedly being delivered from Saddam Hussain, have gone on to continue to suffer, only differently, thanks to the Bush/Cheney administration.
While the knee-jerk reaction is to intervene, upon reflection, I have concluded that it would be best if we didn’t.
Read the rest of this op-ed and my comment by clicking here.
Curated from www.nytimes.com