The “Islamic State” is a coalition of eight insurgent groups operating in Iraq to form a Sunni alternative to the United States backed - Shiite dominated administration of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Iran is a Shiite state. The documentary “Why We Fight” recalled 1,000,000 Iranian civilians demonstrating in the streets of Tehran in support of the victims of the World Trade Center towers after 9/11. I wonder if the citizen’s of Iran, the role model of Middle Eastern democracy, would take to the streets in our support after the last six years of US Middle Eastern policy? It would seem that we have a lot more common ground than the administration wants to talk about when it comes to Iran. The administration’s accusations of Iranian nuclear proliferation, while flexing our ample military in the gulf, undermine our insistence that we seek a peaceful resolution to our differences with Iran. And all the while the prospects of “staying the course” as a means for stability in Iraq seems tenuous at best and myopic at least.
In spite of the mandate of the American public to the contrary; American policy continues to seek an ambiguous specter of victory in Iraq. We have postured the USS Stennis and USS Nimitz Strike Groups in the Persian Gulf as a reminder to Iran of our military prowess. I am reminded of the abusive parent in the toy aisle of the local Wal-Mart who scolds an upset child to behave or they will really get something to cry about. Somewhere our administration has lost context in the expression “walk softly but carry a big stick.” The result is greater instability in the region and emboldened defiance by a sovereign nation who feels it is being backed into a corner.
Everybody seems to agree that Iran as a nuclear threat is not acceptable but our dependence on military solutions, both inside and outside of diplomacy do not seem to work very well with proud and ancient cultures that our administration seems to have chosen not to attempt to understand. Before we escalate the tensions even further in the Middle East with actions like sending our Vice President to give speeches on air craft carriers about “victory” perhaps we should define what victory is. There should be no objective that includes American business interests or creating a photo-op that we can point to and say we won something. And yet those who are supporting this war, this thinly veiled windfall for the military industrial complex and American oil interests, and the macho mental adolescents who can not accept that we could not just walk in and impose our will, continue to decry that those who want to bring our troops home are weak on defense; defeatists and quitters.
The Islamic State announced Sunday that, according to AP news “it had captured American soldiers in a deadly attack the day before, as thousands of U.S. troops searched insurgent areas south of Baghdad for their three missing comrades. The statement came on one of the deadliest days in the country in recent weeks, with at least 124 people killed or found dead. A suicide truck bomb tore through the offices of a Kurdish political party in northern Iraq, killing 50 people, and a car bombing in a crowded Baghdad market killed another 17. Troops surrounded the town of Youssifiyah and told residents over loudspeakers to stay inside. The troops then methodically searched the houses, focusing on possible secret chambers under the floors where the soldiers might be hidden and marked each searched house with a white piece of cloth.”
Captured American soldiers and 124 people killed are headlines which serve as evidence that our military presence in Iraq will continue to be painful and proof that expanded diplomatic measures are called for. Call your Congressional Representatives, write letters to the editor, attend peace rally’s and let prospective candidates who visit your area know – our only mission in the Middle East should be to lay the groundwork for a lasting peace with a high regard for human rights among those living in the region. Imperialism born of economic considerations, the bravado associated with declaring victory or the misguided justification of mistakes made by our President should have nothing to do with what a moral nation would do in a situation such as that which we find ourselves at this time.