On Feb. 23, I carefully read the debate between Ethan Strimling and Phil Harriman, “Is Obama’s exit from Iraq or Bush’s entry the origin of ISIS problem?”

Altogether it was a healthy debate, but off in the distance I could again hear the faint drums of war. “His hasty exit from Iraq leaving ISIS to ferment…” is the opening phrase members of Harriman’s party have coalesced around to justify a 10-plus year military occupation. That is, it should never have ended, as he says in the same sentence by referring us to “…(Obama’s) disengagement.”

If we wish to re-engage in this region, horrific acts by ISIS certainly give us good reason to do so. But before we do, it would be wise to consider that the Iraq we left to govern itself, is, by definition, a failed state. The army that we “stood up” was not prepared to fight and die against ISIS in defense of its leaders.

What purpose then do we have in fighting for them? Black marketeers in Turkey, reportedly, are facilitating oil movements from ISIS for profit. What is our NATO ally doing in this regard? And then there is that murderous dog in Syria, how do we handle him?

Harriman does suggest a better solution when later on he praises King Abdullah II of Jordan’s immediate “brutal force” in response to the burning of that nation’s pilot. This is a problem for this region and its leaders. All of these states are well armed, so at what point will their will to fight be summoned? If we re-engage in this area, how will their will ever be summoned?

Dave Jacobs


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