Another War Unavoidable?
By Phil Lavery
As ISIS continues their ground offensive in Iraq and Syria despite U.S. drone strikes the time has come to ponder when rather than if we will launch a ground assault in that region.
The American people are fed up with war. After 13 years the idea of another war in Iraq and probably Syria seems overwhelming for the majority. Even still, as we (United States) waits, lying dormant with military power yet feeling impotent politically, we must access our military and/or political options, as our task of cleaning up the mess we left behind in Iraq isn’t shrinking nor is it going away.
The power vacuum and instability we created in the region has led to the rise of rogue state ISIS. ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has grown from a little monster into a military power, one that obviously can sustain losses from our airstrikes and attain ground by somewhat conventional military tactics. With Mosul (Iraq’s second largest city) already in their hands, ISIS’ territory stretches across much of Syria and western Iraq, becoming the latest playground for any up-and-coming terrorist with a rocket-launcher, hence the likelihood of a U.S. coalition, sweeping down to commence hell-on-earth.
So you’re probably thinking why we need to lead the way? What do we possibly have to gain from another war? Who will our biggest allies be? What can we do differently this time to avoid another power vacuum? When would we strike?
The ground war against ISIS will likely begin sooner than later, but if it doesn’t happen within the next 6 months it’ll begin shortly after the next election. Militarily speaking, the longer we wait the harder the war will be. As we lick our wounds suffered from ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ (the second longest war in our history only surpassed by the Afghan War) ISIS has grown from the ashes unchecked. The Kurds have been left alone, fighting against the mostly radical Sunni operation that is ISIS. Meanwhile the U.S. as a whole have looked the other way, as we no longer desire to police the world. This indecision has led to an unstable Iraq, which in turn negates any goal our leaders thought they had accomplished when President Obama declared the end of the war. An economically and politically unstable Iraq translates into an unstable Mesopotamia for our capitalistic interest and gives a new home to a large number of terrorists for training. Simply put, our leaders will not allow the situation to boil over any more than it already has. They’re simply buying time via airstrikes to check the problem until they’re able to ensure the American public that war is necessary. This will be done via a mass propaganda campaign. Once they have a majority of the public clamoring for war against ISIS the ground assault will quickly follow.
There are economic short-term benefits to war, but feeding our military industrial complex isn’t the gain. The war will largely be preventative as to destroy ISIS before it gains anymore power or legitimacy as a radical Islamic state. If we don’t overcome the threat ISIS will continue to grow. It has already become a semi-legit state.
The situation at hand is different than the previous Iraq War as the support from Muslim countries surrounding ISIS territory will be strong. Jordan wants a serious offensive but is waiting for western support. Their King is blood thirsty for revenge for their pilot who was captured and burned alive. Turkey is likely to help because ISIS borders their sovereign state.
The recent Paris attacks have Western Europe on edge as European Muslim extremists travel to fight with ISIS then come back trained for terror. The more blood that’s spilt in Europe the more support Europe will send into a coalition. Brittan’s military has the ability to play war with us technologically and they are likely to join any coalition led by the U.S.
Japan is considering changing its constitution (which confines their small military to defense only, post-WWII) in order to send troops as revenge for the recent beheading of a Japanese journalist. Israel may offer support to a U.S. coalition as well. Israel has high-tech military equipment uses it daily, not to mention that the U.S. was the first to recognize their statehood back in 1948.
How can we avoid another power vacuum? This is the biggest question. After what happened to the so-called Iraqi army when they faced ISIS (running away and leaving behind equipment) an independent Iraq isn’t possible anytime soon. It might take an occupational government led by the countries involved with the coalition. The U.S. can’t afford to be left holding an empty bag. One solution is to annex Kurdistan from Iraq and set them up with a better economy than they have now. This would send a strong message throughout the Muslim world that the U.S. is willing to allow prosperity to those that we share enemies with. It would also bring some stability to the region, granted we train and arm them proper. Keep in mind that Iraq’s borders were made by English gentlemen after WWI to benefit England, not Iraqi’s.
The thought of another war upon the horizon loathes us. As the regions turmoil manifests into a radical state the possibility that war is unavoidable will become moot. If ISIS is truly a threat to our way of life the U.S. & our allies will commit to destroying it. It may be the law of the jungle, but it’s still the law.