One of my co-workers is in Baghdad right now. He volunteered to extend his deployment and as a result my deployment was cancelled. As you can expect, everyone at work is concerned about his safety and we’d like to see him come home soon. Having someone you know in Baghdad brings the situation in Iraq home.
I do not know if there is anything America can do to help resolve the on-going civil war in Iraq. Airpower can be a powerful tool but you need to know who the targets are, and airpower is unable to hold ground. Any airpower we use would have to be done in conjunction with the Iraqis, and it is unclear if they could take advantage of any airpower we use.
Most of the people are claiming that ISIS/ISIL is a terrorist organization. I would guess that by some definitions it is, but I’d propose that it is really a militia. I say this because unlike most terrorists, ISIS/ISIL is attempting to hold ground and establish a government. If we consider it a militia, then perhaps the only solution is a negotiated settlement between the Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds. With that background, what is the US’s role? Will bombing people help negotiate a solution?
The US is in a hard position here. Some believe that we broke in an therefore are obligated to fix it. I believe that we’ve given the Iraqis more than sufficient opportunities to negotiate a settlement, and they have failed to come to a lasting agreement. I hope that we do not get involved.
No matter what we decide to do, I hope that my co-worker gets home safely. No more American lives are worth expending in Iraq. We’ve paid a huge price in blood for very little gain. Until he comes home, my thoughts and prayers will be with him and his family.