December 19, 2018

Americans Are Done with the Iraq War

“For Washington, observing the chaos in Basra should be one more impetus of many to seek a drastic change in American foreign policy, reorienting to focus strictly on the defense of vital U.S. interests, narrowly defined. This agenda may not be familiar in Washington, but it does reflect what most Americans want. Indeed, “to the extent that we can read the views of the American public, more of them than not wanted out of Iraq when President Obama was elected,” notes MIT’s Barry Posen at Politico . They wanted the same thing when President Trump was elected—in fact, both men’s repudiation of the war in Iraq was key to their campaign success.

“Aside from the arguments of restraint advocates that [more] military efforts in Iraq are neither necessary nor wise, we should also consider whether they would be consistent with the democratically expressed views of the American people,” Posen continues. “Odd indeed to repudiate the product of democracy at home to pursue a futile quest to achieve it in a divided and violent society abroad.”

Americans are right to want more prudent, realistic foreign policy. Such a policy would not sacrifice U.S. blood and treasure on wars intended to spread democracy and reorder societies rather than focus on defending Americans. It would not attempt to impose an external military solution on the internal political problems of other nations. It would not burden America’s military with tasks for which it is not designed and to which it is not suited. It would not contribute to regional instability across the Middle East. The persistent hardships that resulted in the people of Basra marching this past week are difficult challenges—but they are Iraqi, not American, challenges.”

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