Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Future Ground War in Iraq Is Inevitable; the Déjà Vu Feeling Is Overwhelming

“I will not commit you, and the rest of our armed forces, 
to another ground war in Iraq.” 
Modified image:
When President Obama insists that there will be no U.S. combat troops on the ground in Iraq: don’t believe it. We will be dragged into another ground war in Iraq. The temptation for the U.S. military is too great to forgo putting boots on the ground. Mission creep is alive and well. It’s inevitably going to happen.

Here are the reasons:

The Department of Defense and Congress are not on the same page as the President. It appears a majority of Americans are not on the same page either. According to recent polls, most of us now support the view that airstrikes will not be effective and ground troops will be necessary to remove the ISIS threat. With most of the country unified in supporting combat troops in Iraq it will be hard for the President not to comply.

Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey revealed that Apache attack helicopters were needed to fend off an ISIS attack only a few miles from Baghdad’s airport. He added, “Had they overrun the Iraqi unit, it was a straight shot to the airport, so we're not going to allow that to happen. We need that airport.” It’s an ominous indication of where we’re headed.

Up to now, we have heard that U.S. combat forces are not required by the circumstances we face. However, the Iraqi military is not meeting expectations. ISIS is close to taking Baghdad. Therefore, the circumstances have changed.

In a recent interview, Dempsey said, “US military advisors are likely to take a more direct role in the ground campaign against jihadists in Iraq once Iraqi forces are ready to go on the offensive. My instinct at this point is that will require a different kind of advising and assisting because of the complexity of that fight.” This means to me that U.S. advisors at some point will engage in combat.

Moreover, most of us have heard all of the hyperbolic rhetoric and propaganda before. We heard a similar storyline prior to the incremental escalations that led up to the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and the rhetoric is similar to the rhetoric in the months leading up to the 2003 Iraq War. Today we call incremental escalation “mission creep.” The déjà vu feeling is overwhelming.

Here’s part of the Dempsey interview:

Copyright © 2014 Horatio Green