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Boots on the ground?

Send his boots
Send his boots
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

This country learns nothing. We have been asked to fight other people’s wars since 1950 and it has never worked out well. At best, we’ve managed a grudging truce…Korea, Afghanistan…but most often we’ve gotten our butts kicked…Vietnam, Iraq. Yet, even now, we are again militarily involved in Iraq…a country that doesn’t really exist. And there are those…are you listening Baby Lindsey Graham and little Johnny McCain?...who want us even more involved.

Baby Lindsey says…if our military commanders say we need boots on the ground, so be it.

Of course, we’ve never gotten in trouble before by listening to our “military commanders”. Oh, there was the time that President Kennedy listened to the generals and stumbled into the folly of the Bay of Pigs. The following year, the President refused to listen to his generals and, thereby, probably avoided a nuclear war over the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Johnson did listen to his generals…and ignored his own instincts…and so we sank deeper and deeper into the morass that was Vietnam. Generals see one solution to every problem…fight. Fight with every weapon available. Fight to win…even where winning isn’t possible.

What is most difficult, however, is this country’s refusal to acknowledge that it really needs to let other countries settle their own differences. The people of the Middle East need to fight their own battles. We may not like ISIS…and, yes, we need to protect our own people…but the battle against them isn’t ours. It belongs to the Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shi’ites and, yes, the Syrian people. Iraqis need to fight for Iraq…or let it fall apart, as the case may be. It’s their country to win or lose. Not ours.

We are continually surprised when forces we support fall apart or run away or…horror of horrors…turn against us. We don’t understand why the other side has stronger, better fighters…fighters as committed to their cause as those on our side are apathetic. We don’t see that we are the enemy and those we prop up are our stooges…and will run away as soon as we are no longer there. And the day will come when we are no longer there. Because it isn’t our country. It’s theirs.

For better or worse, we can’t save Iraq from ISIS. Only Iraqis can do that. American boots on the ground didn’t work before. They won’t work now.

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