Ten years after Iraq invasion, don’t make same error in Syria
- BY DAWUD WALID
Ten years ago this week, the United States invaded Iraq based on false pretenses. We should be vigilant in making sure this does not happen again.
Very few in Congress asked difficult questions, much less challenged our military intervention, which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of American military casualties. Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 – and he had no weapons of mass destruction.
Our country does not invade and occupy others for the purposes of liberating people, stopping bloodshed, and establishing democracy. If that were the case, we would have intervened a decade ago in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which had a conflict that took over two million lives. Or we would have deployed troops to stop the genocide that took place in Rwanda and Burundi during the Clinton administration.
Don’t be fooled by those who justify military intervention with humanitarian or democratizing rhetoric. America intercedes militarily in others’ lands primarily based upon our national interests – not the interests of other people.
Some politicians and pundits are currently beating war drums regarding the conflict in Syria. Like Iraq, there are uncorroborated claims that Syria has – and may have used – chemical weapons. The Syrian government says rebels used gas against civilians while rebels say that the Al-Assad regime has. We don’t know the facts.
We need to ask some simple questions.
First, is Syria a threat to the American homeland? No, it poses no direct military threat to America, nor do we have any reason to believe that they are planning on attacking us.
Second, will our military presence further destabilize the region? We can see right now that Iraq has more internal violence than in the final years of Saddam. There were no suicide bombings at houses of worship and in public markets during Saddam’s reign. Our presence in Syria would invite more drama – primarily from non-Syrian players coming in based upon our presence.
Third, do the Syrian people want us on the ground there? Or carpet-bombing their country? I think not. Even the Syrian American Council, a group working for the removal of the Al-Assad regime, is not calling for direct American military intervention. They want our nation to arm rebels – not just provide Syrians with food and blankets.
In Syria, it is clear that the resistance to the Al-Assad regime has unintentionally opened up the door to extremists, in particular Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra, to capitalize on instability. Reportedly, Iran’s Al-Quds Forces and Hezbollah have been involved in the fray. In other words, Syria is an extremely messy situation in which our military should not intervene. At the end of the day, regional players have to take the lead in enforcing a viable solution for peace and stability to Syria.
The invasion and occupation of Iraq caused too much loss of life and treasure. We simply cannot afford to get ourselves entangled in another war.
Most of us want Syria to have freedom and just governance. What we don’t have the stomach for is another American military intervention in the Middle East.