Here is a pair of articles opposing another war in Iraq, which seems to be the minority view. One is a thoughtful piece by Emile Simpson, who was on the ground in Afghanistan. The other is a trademark rant from David Stockman. If you haven’t read Stockman, you should. He has a tremendous command of history, and a hilariously indignant style of writing. He’s like the Lewis Black of foreign policy.
The reason that there will be no Iraqi government and war-capable Iraqi Army is that there is no Iraqi nation – just the Sykes-Picot borders.
Regarding the conduct of the war, both say roughly the same thing – an all-air strategy is foolish, and events on the ground are best left to the locals. Regarding the motivation for war, Stockman agrees with Jeremiah on the concept of imperial overreach. He also refutes the argument about keeping jihadists out of America.
As Stockman says, we would not typically go to war over a single atrocity – especially after America has slept through months of Islamic State atrocities, and thousands killed in the Syrian civil war. This is a testament to our media driven foreign policy. If you recall the “bleed to bankruptcy” strategy coined by Osama bin Laden, then you can see the beheading as a deliberate provocation. We are playing right into their hands.
U.S. warplanes are flying sorties, at a cost somewhere between $22,000 to 30,000 per hour for the F-16s, to drop bombs that cost at least $20,000 each, to destroy this captured [U.S.] equipment.
If we really wanted to defeat Islamic extremism, we would long since have given up on military adventures, and attacked the root cause. This ongoing policy blunder is probably down to simple myopia, but we couldn’t help noticing the Orwellian connection here.
We are spending millions of dollars on a bombing campaign to destroy millions more of – our own – military hardware, on the ground. It is like a giant bonfire of American wealth. We could just as well pay Northrop Grumman to build the bombs and detonate them outside the factory. This is strikingly similar to the unending war described in Orwell’s 1984.
What would motivate years of war, squandered trillions, and lives lost? We are not ruling out simple stupidity. On the other hand, it could be the motivation described by Orwell. War provides an excuse for poverty, hardship, and the suspension of civil rights. Good thing we haven’t seen any of that.
See also: When is a war not a war?