We attacked Iraq in the aftermath of 9/11 to remove Saddam Hussein who presumably represented a potential threat to us by having weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Even though there was no imminent threat to the homeland, our leaders decided to make it so and off we went to attack a sovereign nation. We found out later that he had no WMDs and had nothing to do with 9/11 as acknowledged by then President Bush. In the meantime, the narrative was changed and the attack became a freedom agenda for the Middle East instead of protecting American people from a potential threat. The project was called Operation Iraqi Freedom. Never mind that the Iraqis did not ask us to free them, nor did the American people authorize our government to do so. Furthermore, our leaders then decided to occupy Iraq and build a nation in the western image and democracy, ignoring thousands of years of Middle Eastern history.
We are back again in Iraq except that this time we are also bombing another sovereign nation, Syria, to remove ISIS even though it is not a direct threat to the U.S., according to Joint Chiefs chairman General Dempsey. Despite the fact that we are engaged in bombing, it is called a counter-terrorism operation not a war. Only in Washington can one define bombing other people as not an act of war. All the while, we have been repeatedly asked to relinquish our privacy as if we are at war.
Our leaders continue to drag us back into Iraq to give us an illusion of doing something instead of admitting that they were wrong. Admitting errors implies that they are responsible for over 20,000 dead and wounded American soldiers. Therefore, they continue to send more soldiers to die in Iraq under the label of advisers. This eventually will lead to boots on the ground as President Obama just authorized sending 1,500 more troops to Iraq..
Some of the pundits and leaders after 9/11 were suggesting that we would rather fight them over there (meaning in Iraq) so we don't have to fight them here (meaning the U.S. homeland). Al-Qaeda did not exist in Iraq or in the Middle East but we induce them to come there by attacking Iraq. As a result, Al-Qaeda did come to Iraq and then to Syria and other parts of the Middle East. To make the situation worse, European and American kids are now going to Iraq and Syria and joining those groups. It seems as if our leaders have placed America in a perpetual war footing.
Furthermore, by attacking Iraq we made Iran, the so-called axis of evil, the sole power broker in Iraq and the surrounding countries. In the meantime, the Beltway Beast is busy scaring the hell out of American people by claiming how lethal the new terrorist groups are - each group being more lethal than the previous one. First, Al-Qaeda was formidable, then ISIS/ISIL and now Khorasan, even though they may only be a few thousand of them.
Eric Haney, a founding member of Delta Force, the US military elite's covert counter-terrorism unit, and the author of Inside Delta Force, described his assessment of the Iraq war as an "Utter Debacle. We have fomented civil war in Iraq. We have probably fomented internecine war in the Muslim world between the Shias and the Sunnis." After opening the hornet's nest by going into Iraq in the first place, we are now in the "then what" phase, as one of the former generals suggested. Our leaders do not seem to have any clue on what to do next nor do they want to learn from history.
Our new plan of training Iraqi forces to take back their country from ISIS and support the moderates in Syria defies logic and rationale. That is what we did for 10 years in Iraq as an occupying nation. We trained Iraqi security forces by the hundreds of thousands at a great sacrifice to American soldiers and taxpayers. However, they seemed to have literally walked away from the battlefield when confronted. On the other hand, we have been supporting Syrian moderates for the last two years but they have not produced any results in getting rid of the Assad regime either. Now we are expecting them to fight Assad as well as ISIS.
This new plan is the same as the old one. It is nothing but hope that this problem will go away but it won't until our leaders admit their mistakes. In the meantime unfortunately, the illogical logic of our Iraq policy will continue.