President Obama annoucing he's sending 300 military advisers to Iraq
In a move eerily reminiscent of President Kennedy in the early days of the US involvement in Viet Nam -before President Johnson escalated the conflict in 1965-President Obama has scheduled to send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to "take the fight" against the Sunni Islamist insurgents. The president said, "American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but we will help Iraqi's as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region and American interests as well".
Here's Kennedy in a CBS network interview with Walter Cronkite on September 2, 1963 when he asked the president about the "hot war running at the moment in Viet Nam which the president responded, "I don't think that unless a greater effort is made by the Government to win peoples support that the war can be won out there. In the final analysis, it is their war. They are the ones who have to win it or lose it. We can help them, we can give them equipment, we can send our men out there as advisers, but they have to win it-the people of Viet Nam-against the Communists. We are prepared to continue to assist them but I don't think that the war can be won unless the people support the effort, and in my opinion, in the last 2 months the Government has gotten out of touch with the people."
Well replace today's American military "advisers" with those in the early 1960's; take the fight to terrorists instead of the "Communists" and instead of the threat to the Iraqi people its the threat to the people in Viet Nam it's almost as if Obama is telepathically connecting with the dead president.
Now don't get me wrong, the Iraqi people we're talking about are the indigenous Iraqi's whether they be Sunni or Shiite, not the Sunni radical Islamists that entered the country AFTER the US invasion and occupation in 2003 that finally has given rise to ISIS-the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-the menace within their midst's.
ISIS has made its intent clear, "join Sunni dominated areas of Iraq and Syria to form a Muslim Caliphate governed under extreme Sharia Law." [i]
Now for sure-as my previous article made clear-the US government actions, illegally invading and occupying Iraq in 2003 was the catalyst which eventually gave rise to ISIS and the current dread the group poses to the indigenous Iraqi people.
But from here ANY new US government engagement in Iraq will prove disastrous.
Of course Viet Nam is numero uno on the infamous hit parade of US misadventures, but Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Iran after the CIA led coup of the legitimately elected government in 1953, Chile after the coup of Salvatore Allende that brought the brutal regime of General Pinochet in 1972-just to name just a few which has proven to be the misguided interference of the US government into the internal affairs of sovereign countries.
So if the US gets engaged in any way be it coups, illegal wars and occupations, torture and indefinite detention, drone strikes and missile attacks, special ops missions that kill innocents, et al it's a disaster for the indigenous peoples of all these countries.
Now Obama says he's just sending 300 military advisers to Iraq. But let's speculate a few are captured or killed, or the Green Zone In Baghdad is attacked, personnel seized, held hostage-whatever-you can bet the drumbeat from the far right will push for a more "muscular approach", be incessant and voila we'll escalate the crisis with greater military engagement which is standard SOP for the US. And as sure as day follows night the inevitable will occur and however terrible the current situation in Iraq vis--vis ISIS, the Iraqi Shiite led government and the indigenous Iraqi people it will all become worse.
So do I have any recommendations on how to deal with ISIS? NO. But with history as a guide ANY new US engagement in Iraq won't prove to be the "cure" for the "cancer" that is ISIS. Our engagement will just act to get it to metastasize and spread. That's what we seem to do "best".
[i] See my article, "The Catalyst That Spawned All The Current Mayhem", OPEDNEWS, June 17, 2014