In the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night, Republicans instantly began howling for war. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) have already called for a ground invasion of Syria while the FOX News echo chamber instantly began dialing up their propaganda efforts in an attempt to paint President Obama as being “soft” on terror for his refusal to blindly stumble into yet another overseas war. Donald Trump, in a sophisticated statement simply dripping nuance, declared that he would “bomb the sh*t out of them.” That exact kind of knee-jerk reaction is the reason we got into the messes in Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place, and President Obama has sworn to not make the same mistakes that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney made following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
At the G-20 conference in Antalya, Turkey, the President declared that it would be a “serious mistake” to launch a ground invasion of Syria, rightfully pointing out that it would require a long-term occupation. “We would see a repetition of what we’ve seen before, which is if you do not have local populations that are committed to helping combat extremism, the terrorists resurface, unless we are prepared to have a permanent occupation of these countries.”
The President also ripped into his Republican detractors for their wanton and reckless militarism, saying that “some of them seem to think that if I were just more bellicose in expressing what we’re doing that that would make a difference because that seems to be the only thing that they’re doing, is talking as if they’re tough. What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of ‘American leadership’ or ‘America winning’ that has no relationship to what is actually going to work.”
The United States and the international community will certainly have a strong response to these despicable acts of terror, but an Iraq-style ground invasion is one of the more dangerously foolish ideas gaining traction in the media. The key Iraqi border town of Sinjar and an additional twenty-eight villages were liberated from ISIS forces on November 12th by Kurdish peshmerga forces with the help of coalition airstrikes. The Kurdish militia units have formed an uneasy alliance with the Free Syrian Army and are closing in on ISIS “capital” of Raqqa.
Invading Syria is the worst possible thing that we could do. If we really want to stop ISIS, we need to take a long careful look at how our own policies support their existence. We must begin putting pressure on our regional “allies” like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who are using ISIL and other Syrian terrorist groups like Jahbat al-Nusra as part of their proxy war against Iran, Assad’s regime, Iraq, and the Houthi rebels of Yemen. A careful and measured response is nessessary; the expected outbursts of jingoistic delusion from the right-wing only highlights their ignorance. George Bush and Dick Cheney brought us to this point with their cavalier invasions of Muslim nations; it is absolutely critical we don’t make those mistakes again.
Footage of FSA advance can be seen here:
Please CALL your Senator TODAY @ 202-224-3121. tell them to support the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.