Despite it being six years since President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have been in the White House, the current state in the Middle East is a reminder of how America still has one foot in the past. President Barack Obama has just authorized sending more troops to Iraq, which begs one to ask whether or not we are inching toward another war.
According to a statement released yesterday, Obama greenlighted the deployment of 350 extra military troops to “protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad.” The action came as a recommendation from the U.S. Department of Defense and, according to the statement, the additional troops will not be deployed to Iraq in a combat capacity.
The increased American military presence was prompted by increased upheaval in Iraq, where the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) began fighting against the US-backed Iraqi government. Since launching its campaign in Iraq, ISIS has taken control of Mosul, Sinjar, and areas around Tikrit and Fallujah.
The tensions in Iraq echo that of what happened during the Bush Administration and continue to do so. The mistakes and lies of that administration have placed the US in an international situation that has proven nearly impossible to leave, despite it only taking three weeks to topple Hussein’s regime in 2003. And that short, three-week long mission has cost Americans trillions of dollars and a decade’s use of political and military resources.
In spite of such overwhelmingly large military action in Iraq, there is still violence and an unstable country. With recent videos uploaded by ISIS that depict the beheadings of American journalists, the echoes of 2003 are louder than ever, and with that, the prospects of America getting itself into another war are beginning to seem all the more real. It creates in one polarized feelings.
On the one hand, it’s natural to want justice for those Americans murdered by ISIS for only doing their jobs. It’s easy to say “obliterate them all.” Those are our people they’re killing and their being civilians makes us even more infuriated. But on the other hand, we saw what happened when we launched a full-scale military operation. It’s like a personal, ideological stalemate, and it resounds with the divide created by the Bush Administration.
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.