Tensions in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria, have reached dangerous levels in recent months. The insurgent ISIS has laid claim to parts of Iraq that were already torn apart by the United States’ aggression in the country for the last decade. We left the country in ruins, with a barely functioning government, and it is hard to say that the current crisis is not a result of our actions.
But still, the Iraq War that Bush started only proves that an assault followed by an occupation is not a sustainable foreign policy, and it has only harmed all of the parties involved.
We were warned from the start by military analysts, foreign policy experts, and a few politicians that invading Iraq would only serve to embolden terrorist organizations in the area, and that they would actually use the occupation as a recruiting tool. And they were all correct. Those warnings that were ignored have all played themselves out in the Middle East over the last decade, and we’re now seeing the results.
The other warning we were given was that torturing detainees would also embolden terrorist groups. And again, those dire predictions were spot on. We made this current mess, and we have no idea how to solve it.
But some politicians refuse to accept the fact that our foreign policy was a failure, and they are pushing for yet another war in the Middle East. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have been making their rounds in the media, trying to convince the public that another war is both necessary and unavoidable.
Republicans are not the only ones beating the drums of war. Democratic establishment favorite Hillary Clinton has also let her hawkish side show, and she is also pushing for aggressive military action in the region.
These war hawks are conveniently ignoring the fact that the invasion of Iraq was a huge mistake. The American lives that were lost cannot be regained or even avenged by sending more troops to die in the Middle East. Bad policy from a decade ago cannot be forgiven by pushing for another war. McCain, Graham, and Clinton know they messed up back then, and they want redemption. Unfortunately, the only way they see that happening is to make the same mistakes that they made in 2003. They simply don’t get it.
In the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, media outlets were buzzing about how necessary this war was, and they hosted every Bush-era war hawk that had a few minutes to tell their skewed version of what was happening in Iraq. Yellow cake, aluminum tubes, weapons of mass destruction – I’m sure we all remember those talking points that turned out to be completely false.
And the media allowed them to sell this war, because for them, war is good business. Ratings increased, ad sales went up, and media outlets became fat and happy by selling Bush’s war. There wasn’t a vast system of independent online news outlets or social media outlets to get the truth to the public like we have now. What the mainstream media sold, the American public bought.
Luckily, we do have that independent media system in place today to help counter the war hawks. And perhaps that’s the only reason why we aren’t currently marching troops into Iraq.
The bottom line is that this country is a mess. Yes, we made a mess in Iraq, but if we want to get serious about fixing that, we need to work with other nations through the UN to get that done. In the meantime, we need to address the very serious problems that we are having on our own soil.
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