The Iraq War has been America’s longest: it’s been eleven years since we invaded, based on trumped-up accusations, in 2003. Iraq Body Count estimates the number of violent deaths, including those of combatants, at 188,000. It’s only June 14, and already 758 civilians have been killed. Official estimates of American military casualties are 4,489 killed and 32,021 wounded.
Have all those deaths, and all the misery attending them, accomplished anything? It would be hard to say anything but “no”. The militant Muslim group ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), so extreme that it’s been disowned by al Qaeda, has captured Mosul, and is moving rapidly on Baghdad. And what happened in Mosul—the immediate imposition of sharia law, including the veiling of all women, and the prohibition of all religions save Islam—will happen everywhere. In the end, the country will become a Muslim theocracy, unstable, impoverished, and a launching pad for worldwide terrorism.
Right now Obama is pondering military action: not the incursion of new troops, but drone strikes. There’s even talk of a US alliance with Iran, which would threaten another disastrous clash between Iran and Iraq.
Nothing can be accomplished by further American military action in Iraq. Drones won’t stop ISIS, nor will the unmotivated troops and police of al-Maliki’s government. Iraq will become a medieval religious state, there will be more battles between Sunnis and Shiites, and women will go back into veiled oppression.
It’s time for us to leave—for good. Let us leave that country to its own destruction—something for which we’re partly responsible. We’ve lost nearly 5,000 citizens (and killed many Iraqi civilians) in a cause as futile as that of Vietnam. It’s time to declare victory and get out. If you have a better solution, by all means suggest it.
I’ve seen two Vietnams in my lifetime, and that’s enough.