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Laura Merriman Headshot

We Have a Moral Imperative to Intervene in Iraq

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Now that we have destroyed Iraq, we cannot now wash our hands clean of any sense of obligation in the ongoing catastrophe. The Iraq War cost 655,000 Iraqis' lives in addition to 4,000 U.S. military members' lives. Words cannot describe how idiotic U.S. voters were to have elected, and re-elected, the cowardly buffoon that created this mess.

In 2010, Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes explained, "The Iraq war didn't just contribute to the severity of the financial crisis, though; it also kept us from responding to it effectively". The $3,000,000,000,000 we spent on Iraq amounts to almost half of our national debt. Our nation should remember this each time the Republican Party blames Obama for stagnant economic growth and for the burgeoning deficit. When the right wing absurdly accused the exchange of "threatening the safety of Americans", they must not forget that it was their party that placed Bergdahl and all U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in harm's way.

I sincerely hope that not a day goes by that Bush and Cheney do not realize just how much blood is on their hands. Clearly though, they do not, and instead are choosing to engage in the classic GOP game of finger pointing. The GOP criticized Obama for his handling of the Bergdahl exchange and is now trying to blame the Iraq disaster on Obama's withdrawal of troops. Lest they forget that if they had not entered the U.S. into both wars that these would not have been issues in the first place. In his WSJ op-ed, Cheney alleges that the Iraq crisis resulted from the "failure of the Obama doctrine". This is a joke given that it was the Bush administration that took Iraq from being a middle income country to one with a dilapidated health infrastructure, where 50percent of Iraqis live in slum conditions. In fact, the Bush doctrine is such a failure that even Megyn Kelly called out Dick Cheney.

I completely and utterly blame the immensely hypocritical Republicans who supported George W. Bush when there was no case for war in Iraq, only to cry fowl when there is a moral imperative to intervene in Syria. The Republican party argued that we should not intervene in Syria because they deemed that it did not make "strategic sense". I truly hope that our country does not only intervene and aid civilian populations when it suits our strategic goals. But how can we expect any less from a party that slashed federal benefits to women, children, and the unemployed that during a recession and refuses to fix the economy by raising the minimum wage?

Now we are in this and we cannot walk away. I have been very angry about the Obama Administration's use of drones in Yemen. But if drones can help the catastrophe in Iraq, we should use them. No matter how erroneous it was to enter Iraq in the first place, we cannot abandon tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians like the George H.W. Bush administration did in 1991, this time to be slaughtered at the hands of ISIS.

I agreed with The Economist that as a nation we cannot let Assad commit atrocities in Syria just because the war in Iraq was a complete failure. In President Obama's disappointing speech on Syria this past September, he committed to not sending ground troops so as to not repeat the same mistakes as in Iraq and Afghanistan. I also objected to how last September's discussion of retaliating against Assad only focused on his use of chemical weapons. Merely debilitating his regime's ability to use chemical weapons should be not have been our ultimate goal either. Did the lives of 100,000 people who had already died under his regime and the countless more who will die not matter at all or do only the use of chemical weapons matter while the situation had become so desperate that Syrian clerics issued a fatwa that starving citizens outside of Damascus could eat dogs? Obama's inaction in Syria is more than deeply disappointing. It may ultimately have proven to be catastrophic for the region as well.

We ignored our moral imperative to intervene in Syria before it was too late. We cannot abandon Iraq too.