THE BLOG
02/07/2014 12:09 pm ET | Updated Apr 09, 2014

Iraq Veteran Counters Coffman's Proposal to Re-Deploy Troops in Iraq

To my way of thinking, Rep. Mike Coffman dropped a bombshell on KNUS' Dan Caplis show last month, when he said he "certainly" supports re-deployment of advisory troops in Iraq, if invited.

Caplis listened as Coffman said America is "suffering the consequences" of not having troops in Iraq today. This would have given the U.S. "some influence there" to help keep the country from falling apart.

The counter view, omitted on KNUS, was articulated this week on the Huffington Post by Jon Soltz, co-founder of VoteVets.org.

First, there is no such thing as "advisory, or "non-regular troops," when it comes to Iraq. As soon as an American service member enters Iraq, they are a target. If attacked, they will respond, and thus are combat troops. In a 360-degree battlefield, where any innocent looking person may actually be an insurgent, those troops must always keep a combat posture, for their own defense...

Second, Iraq is in the midst of a civil war and always has been. Interestingly, it's the same civil war that Syria is now seeing -- namely, Sunni versus Shia, fought between proxies, including Iran. That was true when we were there, and is now that we've left. That was always going to be the case. What is also true is that this civil war would never end until Iraqis fought it out amongst themselves, either in a political settlement, or in battle. Our troop presence actually delayed that, and kept the cork on the bottle. But now, it is fully raging, as the radical Sunni group, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), has taken Fallujah, and Iraq's government is poised to take the city back. To put American troops back in at this juncture, on the side of the government, makes them instant participants in Iraq's and Syria's Civil War, no matter how "advisory" we want to say they are.

Third, as with the last Iraq war, Congressman Coffman offers up no end-state, and no exit strategy. Just toss troops back in there, and see how it goes. We've been there and done that, and I think we all know how it goes. If things go badly, the answer from the right is "more troops." Ten thousand troops becomes 20,000, and 30,000. And next thing you know, we're back in conventional war, complete with the "regular troops," that Coffman says he wouldn't send.

Soltz calls Coffman's proposal a "path to a third Iraq War," and I'm sure a lot of Caplis' conservative listeners would agree with him--and Caplis should let them hear form Soltz directly. This issue doesn't divide along progressive-conservative lines. That's for sure.