So, once again, the United States has decided to intervene militarily in Iraq. Ostensibly, the Obama administration is intervening for humanitarian reasons–to help a number of Yazidis escape from ISIS, the radical Sunni organization that has seized territory in Syria and Iraq. Yet Obama has also signaled that this intervention will be long-term, which means the goals go far beyond getting these Yazidis out of their immediate jam. The real long-term goal is likely the same goal the United States had in Iraq 10 years ago–a stable, democratic, US-friendly government. Ultimately, this intervention rests on the same fundamental misunderstanding of Iraq with which the Bush administration entered in 2003.
So today there’s an open letter going around the internet from a fellow by the name of Tomas Young directed toward George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Young is terminally ill and has chosen to parlay that into an opportunity to vent his anger at Bush and Cheney over the feckless war they waged in Iraq. Having myself been opposed to the Iraq War as early as 2002 (and yes, I was quite young to be in opposition), I agree with some of what Young has to say, but I think he makes a common mistake in conflating two contradictory responses to the war.
Many people around the world consider a nuclear Iran a terrible, terrifying prospect, one that is worth going to war over in order to avoid. Today I’d like to question this belief and the assumptions underlying it.