Security vacuum


The Iraqi security forces, bolstered by a small contingent of US ground forces working as advisors to the Iraqi Army, have been battling the terrorist organization known as ISIS or ISIL for the last four months (the air campaign has been in effect for six months).

This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.

The conservatives don’t think the Obama Administration is doing nearly enough and Liberals think that throwing a pebble is too aggressive against any foreign or domestic enemy and are generally against any form of military action. The point of the matter is why was a terrorist organization able to gain such a strong foothold and able to threaten large cities (including Baghdad) in a country the United States military had a strong presence in for almost nine years? For whatever reason, the Iraqi armed forces weren’t ready to secure their country and, as is often the case, the US military needs to bail those forces out unless they want to see Iraq overrun by a fanatical terrorist organization and see a new authortarian government formed in Baghdad.

The air strikes and the current US ground forces serving as combat advisors to the Iraqi security forces would not be necessary if the United States and Iraqi governments had negotiated a modest US force to occupy and maintain a few permanent bases in Iraq-say 40,000 soldiers. Three or four divisions of US troops would have been more than enough boots on the ground to maintain security and keep the peace while at the same time not overshadowing the work and continual training of the Iraqi Army or looking like an occupying power to Iraqi citizens. If the United States had a permanent military presence in Iraq ISIS could never have occupied a third of the country like they had managed to do earlier in the year. If ISIS or another faction had tried anything so bold a few precision bombs and missiles would have quickly silenced their ambitions.

The United States government or its military wasn’t built in a day and you can’t expect Iraq’s government and military to become a superpower overnight either. Today the United States enjoys such a status as much as it ever has and, say what you will about the 2003 preemptive strike against Iraq, but if long-term peace in the Middle East and Persian Gulf states is in the best interest of the United States a modest permanent force stationed in Iraq makes sense for the continual peace and stability in the region. In 2014 it makes more sense than maintaining a base of 50,000 American military personnel in Germany.