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What to Make of Renewed U.S. Intervention in Iraq

A humanitarian rationale is being given for the recent renewed U.S. intervention in Iraq. The atrocities of ISIS are the latest excuse for U.S. military action in the country. There are even signs of a new U.S. push on Fallujah and Anbar generally. Fallujah is the site of two past U.S. assaults and some atrocities.

All of this should be deeply troubling for friends of liberty. George W. Bush had humanitarian reasons for his occupation and bombing of Iraq too. That didn’t make his actions in Iraq just. There were jihadists running around killing Shia and oppressing Christians during his term as well. The difference now is one of degree. ISIS is a lot more successful and powerful than other jihadist groups have been in Iraq.

One need not like ISIS to question further U.S. military action in Iraq. There is a very real possibility that further occupation of and airstrikes on Iraq will lead to sympathy for ISIS. They can play the defense against foreign aggression card. Not to mention that airstrikes will most likely result in the euphemistic concept of “collateral damage”. This can lead to further support for ISIS.

These possibilities were also present in the military action in Iraq prior to this latest round. That makes one wonder how people will react to it this time. If there is a positive reaction, the stigma surrounding war in Iraq created during the Bush era will have been defused. This could lead to an escalation of the intervention or military action elsewhere. An action that would no longer trouble the populace and thus not be politically dangerous.

The banishment of a stigma surrounding war from the public consciousness would be disastrous for people around the world. They would be subject to more U.S. murder and military intervention. This aversion to war and imperialism helps keep people alive. If nothing else, renewed U.S. military intervention in Iraq could have this awful effect.

Renewed militarism in Iraq could also involve the further use of extrajudicial killings via drone strike. This has been a horrific practice honed in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. A rational anti-militarist will not want it to spread to other countries. If they make an exception for this new military action in Iraq, they may very well be supporting what brings extrajudicial killing through drone strike to Iraq. One can only hope that further military action in Iraq doesn’t lead to any of the possibilities above.

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