Washington again is at war in the Middle East. Unfortunately, pressure for military intervention will grow with Republican control of the Senate.
The likely result of any new conflicts will be similar to America’s past interventions. The United States will be intervening again in a few years to try to clean up the mess it is creating today.
The United States is not bombing the Islamic State out of necessity. Rather, Washington is acting in response to past mistakes. ISIL exists only because the Bush administration invaded Iraq.
The Obama administration’s decision to attack the Islamic State makes no policy sense. So far, ISIL has focused on creating a quasi-government in the Middle East and has not targeted America.
Of course, the Islamic State killed two U.S. citizens who fell into its hands in truly monstrous behavior. But these murders are no different than similar barbarities committed by others around the globe. Such personal tragedies are no reason to go to war.
If successful in creating a viable “caliphate,” ISIL’s leaders might turn towards terrorism, but doing so would risk their quasi-state by bringing America’s wrath down upon it. Moreover, Iraq demonstrated the foolishness of launching preventive wars based on fantasies disguised as forecasts. The United States is more likely to turn the Islamic State to terrorism now by making war on it, encouraging it to retaliate.
Perhaps the worst aspect of Washington’s policy is absolving nearby states of their responsibility to destroy ISIL. These countries will not act if the United States bails them out.