Sadly, we are having yet another debate about using the blunt and ineffective instrument of military force to deal with a complex crisis in Iraq.President Obama just announced that he’ll decide on military action “in the days ahead” and the US is reportedly moving an aircraft carrier to the area.
President Obama recently laid out his foreign policy vision in a speech at West Point, saying “Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.” So why isn’t he looking for other tools in his toolbox?
We’ve seen this play out before. The gains made by ISIS militants and the Iraqi government’s lackluster response require a smart strategy. Dropping bombs on a volatile situation is likely to escalate the conflict, not resolve it, with innocent civilians losing their lives in the process.
We stopped the bombing of Syria because we responded quickly and loudly, and Congress raised a ruckus. Tell them to do it again.
In some ways this feels like déjà vu all over again. But a lot has changed in the past decade. The American people have learned a lesson about the reckless use of military force. Let’s make sure our leaders don’t forget it.