This week President Obama authorized additional military assistance for Iraq’s fight against advancing radical militants, but made clear that he will continue to hold back more substantive support, including U.S. airstrikes, until he sees a direct threat to U.S. personnel or a more inclusive and capable Iraqi government. President Obama said he will be sending 300 additional U.S. Special Operations soldiers to better assess the situation on the ground and to determine how the US can best train and advise Iraq.
Surely, sending 300 advisors to Iraq is a far wiser step than sending 300 bombs to Iraq; we can see President Obama has been taking his foreign policy steps with greater care than he did before perhaps because he realized his predecessor George W. Bush could not solve problems through the force of arms. Obama also realized that airstrike campaigns do not offer sustainable results as we have seen in Libya. After seven months of bombing in Libya to save the country from a dictator and millions of American Dollars to reconstruct Libyan cities, the Libyan military only needed half a day to stage a coup, stop the democratic process in its tracks and impose another dictatorship. The mindset which helps dictatorships grow cannot be toppled by bombs and a new ideology cannot be instilled in the minds of people through the expedient of financial or military aid. A very strict educational program is needed to change societies. If this is not in place, all that the US worked for can be wiped out in a matter of days.
What does sending 300 Special Operations members to Iraq mean?
It means the US has found a legitimate way to increase its ground intelligence. The US has crystal clear satellite images of the whole region; however, in a civil war - especially in rebel held areas - images of buildings and roads can only offer little for military purposes. While a building is an arms depot in the evening, it can also serve as a temporary bakery or a kindergarten in the morning. The US suffered the consequences of lack of ground intelligence in Syria and this led the superpower to work with Turkey for accurate information. After spending a decade and billions of dollars in rebuilding it, the US does not want to suffer the same shortcomings in Iraq and lose the upper hand in the future of the Iraqi territory to Iran and Turkey. I have seen many analysts claiming this was what America did before the Vietnam War and that this is going to lead to a reinvasion of Iraq: However, the US of today understands that military options do not offer sustainable results. Even though the US media and the groups of advisors in think -tanks seemingly can’t get enough of supporting military action whenever there is a problematic development in the Middle East, we never hear them explaining what a military option can accomplish in the long term. Sometimes in an adrenaline rush, politically motivated advisors seem to forget that ascribing virtues to the nature of military force is insincere and misleading.
America did not accomplish much by putting 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and 170,000 in Iraq other than a gargantuan debt from military expenditure. If the US and the Great Britain had invested half the amount of money they spent on wars to education against radicalism, the problem of extremism would be solved throughout the world by now. If the US uses those 300 Special Operations soldiers to create an educational program throughout Iraq, it will have a far more long lasting and positive effect on the entire region.