Just three years after winding down its presence in Iraq, the United States is sending troops back in. In response to the gains made by jihadist group ISIS in its recent offensive, US president Barack Obama is sending 275 troops to Iraq to “provide support and security for US personnel and the US Embassy in Baghdad.”
In a White House statement on June 13, Obama stressed, “We will not be sending troops back into combat.” Observers hoped that Obama would avoid the mistakes of his predecessor. But on the following Monday, Obama announced in a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, “this force is deploying for the purpose of protecting US citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat.”
That’s meaningless evasion. ISIS has shown it will stop at nothing, let alone at killing 275 American troops, to take over Iraq. The president must know this. Sending troops is more likely to escalate the conflict than calm it. Obama is sending these troops to fight, no matter what he publicly claims he’s doing. If Obama wants to defend the United States Baghdad embassy so badly, I propose he go there himself.
Pick up a gun and stand in front of the embassy yourself, Mr. President.
What happened to “not sending troops into combat?” It only took four days for Obama to change his mind. Obama continued, “This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.” How that will be determined he did not specify.
ISIS is not likely to randomly stop its rampage across Iraq. This is a group so extreme that it was expelled from al Qaeda’s global network — kicked out of al Qaeda! Now this same group is systematically and violently taking over Iraq, and Obama’s plan is to send in a military force “until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.” As if 275 troops will be enough to make ISIS stop. As if ISIS wasn’t an insane, murderous organization that will continue its attacks in the face of these 275 soldiers.
No timetable. No mission statement. No end-game. Does this sound familiar?
Obama often sounds like a non-interventionist president. He sometimes sounds like a peace-loving leader. He even received the Nobel Peace Prize. But his actions speak louder than his words. And his actions are merely a re-hashing of previous policies, from increased drone strikes abroad to troop surges in Afghanistan to manufactured justifications for murdering US citizens in foreign countries to ramped up domestic, counter-terrorism privacy violations. Obama’s second term is basically Dubya’s fourth.
Rather than sending nearly 300 soldiers into harm’s way in a misguided, short-sighted “plan,” the president ought to be courageous enough to go himself. Hey, if the troops will merely be in a “support and security role” (whatever that means), like the press secretary said, what’s the big deal?
Following Obama’s letter to John Boehner, the press secretary released a statement saying, “the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad remains open, and a substantial majority of the U.S. Embassy presence in Iraq will remain in place and the embassy will be fully equipped to carry out its national security mission.”
Why do we have an embassy in Baghdad anyway? Rather than sending more people to protect the embassy in the face of violent terrorists, the president ought to bring people back home. He should close the embassy and stop meddling in Iraq’s affairs.
Better yet, if all the troops were brought home and relieved of duty, and the military industrial complex was drained of all its stolen resources the endless, evil imperialism by the United States military would cease. If defense was left to voluntary associations and firms in a competitive marketplace, this needlessly meddling in other country’s affairs would cease. Organizations that are held accountable to consumers and proprietors, unlike the State, would find it entirely too costly and counterproductive.
On Friday, June 13, Obama correctly stated, “ultimately it’s up to the Iraqis as a sovereign nation to solve their problems.” I just wish Monday’s Obama had listened to Friday’s Obama.
Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) Fellow Cory Massimino lives in central Florida, studying economics at Seminole State College. He is the Associate editor of DL Magazine, a contributing editor of The Libertarian, and also blogs at Students For Liberty.