by Stephen Miles, Win Without War
in The Huffington Post
With more than 1,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq, surveillance flights over Syria, and over 100 airstrikes launched in Iraq, it is time to start asking the hard questions about the latest U.S. military intervention in the Middle East. As David Petraeus so famously asked a decade ago, ‘Tell me how this ends.’
However one felt about the humanitarian intervention to save the Yazidis stranded on Mt. Sinjar (and we can all be happy so many were safely evacuated), the U.S. military intervention in Iraq — and potentially soon in Syria — has become something completely different. As has so often been the case in conflict, the mission has crept its way from a noble humanitarian goal towards something far more complicated.
We are becoming deeply involved in a sectarian conflict that spans from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf, with multiple fronts, multiple actors, shifting alliances, and horrific violence on all sides. In short, we’re in the middle of a giant mess.
We should take a minute and acknowledge something. ISIS (or ISIL or Islamic State depending on who you ask) is a collection of some of the most despicable beings to walk the earth. They have reportedly executed religious minorities (and an American journalist), forced women into slavery, and are committing atrocities faster than anyone can monitor them. Being opposed to a broadening U.S. military intervention does not mean you have to think that ISIS is somehow not evil. They are. The question is what you do about that and how you can avoid making them stronger…