Reprinted from The Nation
"The last invasion of Iraq cost our country trillions of dollars, thousands of American lives and greatly destabilized the region to the terrible detriment of our security," argues the former senator from Wisconsin, who warns that "our response to the threat from ISIL cannot be reactionary or one-dimensional."
The right combinations of expanded intelligence-gathering, the ending of arms sales and freezing of assets, diplomacy, development aid, and carefully-targeted military inventions -- "a modern, comprehensive and bipartisan strategy that harnesses all of America's strengths" -- can work, says Feingold. But the combinations must be informed by our experience and our understanding of past mistakes, current challenges, and future possibilities.
Feingold brings that understanding and experience to the current debate. He served 18 years in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he chaired the subcommittee of Africa and was a key player on subcommittees dealing with Near Eastern Affairs, South and Central Asian Affairs, and East Asian and Pacific Affairs. He recognized the folly of giving George W. Bush and Dick Cheney the authority to order the invasion of Iraq, joining the minority of senators who wisely opposed a war based on false premises. Because he had traveled so extensively in Africa and the Middle East, because he had studied the intelligence rather than embracing the fool's mission of neocon fabulists, Feingold recognized the danger of military intervention, ongoing occupation, and regime change without a plan for what would come next. And he kept speaking up, as a senator and a citizen.