The Issues : Iraq
For eight long years the US fought a bloody war in Iraq – first to topple Saddam Hussein and then to quell the uprising of the Iraqis against the US occupation of their country. The war took a tremendous toll, both in lives lost or broken and in dollars. Some 4,500 US troops and in excess of 100,000 Iraqi civilians perished. Estimates of the total cost of the war range from three to four billion dollars. It was war based upon lies – lies about an Iraqi weapons program and Iraqi ties to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Both claims proved to be groundless.
Those familiar with the region warned of the folly of the war before it began. Amr Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League, warned that the Iraq war would "open the gates of hell."
Those gates swung wide open in June 2014, as the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIS), a former al-Qaeda affiliate ousted from that organization for being uncontrollable, swept though the Northern portions of Iraq and captured Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.
Now the US stands on the precipice of fresh combat in Iraq, perhaps with air strikes and Special Operations forces in country. The time to stop this madness is before it starts. It was the US invasion of Iraq that started the chain of events leading to the ISIS attacks. Additional military actions are not the answer and will only precipitate additional human tragedies and further destabilize the entire region.