Saturday, August 09, 2014

A simple take on latest U.S. bombing forays

A child's bumper sticker, noted yesterday on Martha's Vineyard. Hope the Prez sees it on his vacation.

No United States military initiative that I can remember has done the people who it ostensibly was intended to help any good. That's a long, stunning record of failures and miscues. Most obviously there were the wars of occupation in Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, but also a slew of smaller scale interventions in Central America, in Haiti, in Libya, in the Balkans ... it's a long list.

Bombing is never a humanitarian act; people and societies are smashed, maimed and die. It bears mentioning that, aside from 9/11, the reality of war is something we've been spared in this country for over 100 years.

So what to make of President Obama's latest intervention in Iraq? The plight of the Yazidis facing massacre on a hot, hungry mountain tears at the heart strings. But as the headline says this morning, White House Fear of ‘Another Benghazi’ Led to Airstrikes. Apparently it's all about us, about the fear that the "barbarians" (Islamic State recruits do seem to merit some such designation) will overrun the little force of U.S. "advisers" and contractors we've dropped in the Kurdish capital.

I can worry about the Yazidis -- and the various sorts of ancient Christians living in pockets of the region. For that matter, I can worry about anyone who is a member of a religious minority in a very intolerant neighborhood. And I am sure that much of what is labeled "religious" violence springs from other conflicts, whether ethnic or over resources. That's where "simple" breaks down.

But I am not so worried about U.S. military professionals; they may be abysmally led, but they volunteered for the job of U.S. power projection. I can't see any enduring interest that requires the U.S. to serve as a Kurdish air force.

I guess I'm one of those who says "It's time to walk away and not look back." About something irrevocable like killing people, simple trumps sophisticated or complicated every time.


Hattie said...

Amazing to me to be spending some time on this vacation with a man who was a bomber pilot in Vietnam who still thinks it was the peaceniks who lost that war for the U.S.

tina said...

The question stays: what should/can the US do in order to save the people whose lives it helped destroy. "The consequence of Washington’s reckless and irresponsible political and military interventions in Iraq, Libya, and Syria has been to unleash evil" writes Paul Craig Roberts