Vietnam All Over Again?
President Obama announced the US would double its presence in Iraq sending another 1500 servicemen. The White House was quick to say these were not combat troops but instead were advisors. Hmmm.
The parallels with Vietnam are eerie. Both countries represented cultures foreign to US understanding. Both countries seemed detached from any US national interest (although both were connected to oil). And in both Countries, the US sided with factions which were incapable of ruling with broad acceptance. (At least government policy has been consistent over 60 years.)
If you do not remember the Vietnam slippery slope, it goes like this. Suppose US training and military advisors become outnumbered and in danger of losing. The obvious conclusion is we will need to seed more advisors. After a few times of this escalation, it becomes necessary to send in troops to protect the advisors. And after that it becomes more efficient to send in combat troops to eliminate the treat to our troops who are their to protect the advisors and trainers. Hmmm.
When the US foolishly invaded and occupied Iraq, the removal of Saddam Hussein was equivalent to letting the “dark genie” out of the bottle. Not only did we let the “dark genie” out, we broke the bottle making in impossible to get the “dark genie” back in.
Unless Iraqis find a new bottle and put the “genie” back in, open hostilities will continue. The dreams of a Middle East democracy were childish during the Bush years and are just as naive today. The Middle East is mired in the middle ages, not the middle east.
President Obama has two years left in his Presidency. There is not much time or a lot of options for him to leave evidence of a successful 8 years. Leaving with a war underway in Iraq will not only be a black stain on his Presidency, it could lessen the dim views history has taken of the George W Bush Administration. Without the harsh assessment that invading Iraq was a huge foreign policy failure, future Presidents will find it easier to justify pre-emptive wars, wars of choice.
With pre-emptive wars, the US, like Rome, will have begun its descent.