In one form or another, the U.S. has been at war with Iraq since 1990, including a sort-of invasion in 1991 and a full-scale one in 2003. During that quarter-century, Washington imposed several changes of government, spent trillions of dollars, and was involved in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. None of those efforts were a success.
All those who criticize President Obama's handling of foreign policy -- which includes the entire Republican presidential field, it almost goes without saying -- should really have to detail precisely what they'd do differently. The voters really do deserve an answer to this question, since these people are running to take Obama's place in the White House.
It's unlikely that this intervention will ever look like Bush's war in Iraq, which peaked at over 160,000 troops and a comparable number of private contractors. But if the mission is truly an open-ended effort to "degrade and destroy" ISIS, it is virtually inevitable that more U.S. troops will be sent to Iraq, and that some of them will take on combat roles.
As President Obama gives a national address Wednesday evening on how he intends to destroy the Islamic State (ISIS) without putting American "boots on the ground," a potent force of 2,500 combat Marines, backed by attack helicopters and jet strike fighters, is aboard warships trolling off the U.S. east coast. Training to deploy later this year to the Middle East, the Marines are practicing a long-distance evacuation of a U.S. embassy, high-speed stealth raids and the rescue of an American pilot shot down in hostile territory.