President Barack Obama is channeling George W. Bush in launching a new Mideast war. Why is Washington involved?
The Islamic State is evil, but the organization’s raison d’etre is establishing a Middle Eastern caliphate, or quasi-state, not terrorizing Americans. In fact, grabbing territory provided the United States with a target for retaliation in response to any attack, something lacking with al-Qaeda.
The murder of two Americans captured in the region was horrid but opportunistic. Morally abominable, yes. Cause for war, no.
Washington has never had much success in fixing the Middle East. The United States has been bombing Iraq since 1991. ISIL would not exist but for America’s 2003 invasion.
Washington has been battling al-Qaeda since 2001. While the national organization is largely kaput, the group has spawned multiple national off-shoots.
The Bush administration justifiably overthrew the Afghan Taliban as punishment for hosting al-Qaeda. But 13 years of nation-building has been far less successful.
Three years ago, the Obama administration declared that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad had to go. Since then, “moderates” have lost ground. The Islamic State’s capture of the city of Raqqa created a base for attacking Iraq.
Washington joined European states in ousting Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi in the name of the Arab Spring. Today the country is in collapse. Yemen, the subject of a lengthy and heavy drone campaign, appears headed in a similar direction.
Now Washington plans to rid the world of ISIL.