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Bennis writes: "This is how wars begin. Barack Obama says we're not going back to Iraq. 'American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq,' he said on June 19th, 'but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region, and American interests as well.'"

There is no military solution in Iraq - so end the threats of U.S. airstrikes, bring home the Special Forces and turn the aircraft carrier around. (photo: Jayel Aheram/Flickr)
There is no military solution in Iraq - so end the threats of U.S. airstrikes, bring home the Special Forces and turn the aircraft carrier around. (photo: Jayel Aheram/Flickr)


Don't Go Back to Iraq! Five Steps the US Can Take in Iraq Without Going Back to War

By Phyllis Bennis, Foreign Policy In Focus

21 June 14

 

his is how wars begin.

Barack Obama says we’re not going back to Iraq. “American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq,” he said on June 19th, “but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region, and American interests as well.”

The White House says it’s “only” sending 275 soldiers to protect the embassy, it’s only sending 300 Special Forces, they’re only “advisers.” There’s only one aircraft carrier in the region, they say, and a few other warships. They’re considering missile strikes but they’re not going to send ground troops.

Iraq isn’t a start-up war for the United States—we’ve been there before. And these actions increase the danger we could be heading there again. We thought we had a president who learned the lesson, at least about Iraq—he even repeats it every chance he gets: “There is no military solution.”

This is a very dangerous move. President Obama’s words are right: there is no military solution.But his actions are wrong. When there is no military solution, airstrikes, Special Forces, arms deals, and aircraft carriers will only make it worse.

We need to stop it now. Before the first Special Forces guy gets captured and suddenly there are boots on the ground to find him. Before the first surveillance plane gets shot down and suddenly there are helicopter crews and more boots on the ground to rescue the pilot. Before the first missile hits a wedding party that some faulty intel guy thought looked like a truckload of terrorists—we seem to be good at that. And before we’re fully back at war.

Iraq is on the verge of full-scale civil war along the fault lines set in place when U.S. troops invaded and occupied the country more than a decade ago. We need to demand that our government do five things right away:

First, do no harm. There is no military solution in Iraq—so end the threats of airstrikes, bring home the evac troops and Special Forces, and turn the aircraft carrier around.

Second, call for and support an immediate arms embargo on all sides. That means pressuring U.S. regional allies to stop providing weapons and money to various militias.

Third, engage immediately with Iran to bring pressure to bear on the Iraqi government to end its sectarian discrimination, its violence against civilians, and its violations of human rights.

Fourth, engage with Russia and other powers to get the United Nations to take the lead in organizing international negotiations for a political solution to the crisis now enveloping Iraq as well as Syria. Those talks must include all sides, including non-violent Syrian and Iraqi activists, civil society organizations, women, and representatives of refugees and displaced people forced from their homes. All relevant outside parties, including Iran, must be included. Building on the success of the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, Washington should continue to broaden its engagement with Tehran with the goal of helping to bring the Syrian and Iraqi wars to an immediate end.

Fifth, get help to the people who need it. The Iraq war is creating an enormous new refugee and humanitarian crisis, escalating the crisis of the Syrian war, and spreading across the entire region. The United States has pledged one of the largest grants of humanitarian aid for refugees from Syria, but it is still too small, and much of it has not been paid out. Simultaneously with the announcement of an immediate arms embargo, Washington should announce a major increase in humanitarian assistance for all refugees in the region to be made immediately available to UN agencies, and call on other countries to do the same.

This is how wars can be stopped.

 

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+5 # RMDC 2014-06-22 07:05
Phyllis is right -- immediate arms embargo on all sides. Who arms and funds ISIS? We all know who it is. It is Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States, and possibly some nations in Europe -- the same people who have been arming and funding the Free Syrian Army and all the rest of the proxy armies in Syria. ISIS came out of Syria into Iraq because they were losing there.

Obama could call off ISIS if he wanted to. But the CIA is running this show and Obama cannot over-rule the CIA. The last president to do that ended up with a bullet in his head in Dallas TX.

So Obama goes on with his silly life, playing golf and making photo ops, while Iraq falls into more chaos. This is the CIA's plan. Neo-cons too. Maliki has outlived his usefulness and he will be overthrown. Then a more useful puppet will take control of Iraq and the war will turn back to Syria.
 
 
+9 # MillValleyMaven 2014-06-22 10:05
Including women and refugees in peace talks...what a concept! Thank you, Ms. Bennis, for your sensible suggestions. If only the men in charge would listen.
 
 
+2 # Shadowolf 2014-06-22 10:16
...unfortunatel y, they won't...they never do...
 
 
+2 # angryspittle 2014-06-22 13:20
sensible suggestions, too damn bad you're talking to a brick wall.
 

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