by Mehrzad Pashutanizadeh
Let us all take a moment to remind ourselves that regardless of the flow of stories that have flooded our media in the past week, it is not 2003. Twelve years have past since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl, Finding Nemo was released, and the human genome was mapped; twelve years have passed since Ruben Studdard won American Idol, Itunes launched, and Nokia was the most popular cell phone brand; twelve years have passed since the world witnessed “Shock and Awe”, Iraq was “liberated”, and President George W. Bush proclaimed to the world that "In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." Yet, it seems as though we have traveled back to the time of flip phones and CD players as troubles in Iraq again highlight the nightly news. As the war dragged on for another 8 years, and the phrase “mission accomplished” remained in question, it became clear that in the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies had blundered.
With no evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction, no effective emplacement of a self-governing system, and no glimpse of lasting peace in the region, the United States military escaped from the Vietnamesque catch twenty-two it had deceived its way into. Now, another four years later, the consequences of the created power vacuum show the presence of true evil, as the self proclaimed “Islamic State” captivates the world's attention with ruthless acts of brutality. Months of abominable violations of moral and legal code climaxed with the killing of Kayla Mueller, and the subsequent request by President Barack Obama for Congress to approve his authority to engage in military operations in the region - not too unlike George Bush’s Iraq War Resolution more than a decade earlier. Obama’s request would specifically restrict ground troops to non-combative functions such as rescue operations and intelligence sharing, and would expire in three years (the beginning term of the next president). Although very specific in goals of combat limitations, Obama’s request also contains some frightening ambiguity. Whereas it seems as though the more arbitrary question of “should offensive actions be taken” has been for the most part unanimously decided, the overwhelming more crucial question of “how should offensive actions be taken” has been shyed away. Putting “no limitations on the military campaign” and allowing any operations other than “enduring offensive ground combat“ it seems with Congress’ approval a shockingly large amount of power would be put back into one man’s hands. If history alone has taught us anything its that one, politicians are born to deceive, and two, stories of the past are realities of the future; Watergate, Vietnam, Iran-Contra, Iraq, are all examples of inconvenient truths that there is a strong disconnect between those who govern and those who are governed - a truth that should be of your utmost concern. If we the people do not put our metaphorical and literal fingerprints on the actions that could jeopardize the future of our nation, we have lost the fundamental principle this great nation was built upon. It is very much in our interest as a country and as a people to demand that the mistakes of the past are acknowledged and learned from. If we cannot come to grips to slow the drums of war and clearly think out our intentions, our future is bleak. Be aware of the pressing issues, educate yourself, and together with the nation and the world’s best interest in mind, the United States will triumph once more.
Related Readings: The Danger of Obama’s Military Request
Obama to request new war powers from Congress over ISIL fight
Iraq’s Nightmare Gets Worse
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