President Obama has recently sent troops to Iraq. The first announcement was for 100 troops and in the second announcement, President stated that 300 more troops were needed. Now is not the time to get heart palpitations nor to worry that we will be drawn into further combat in Iraq. The American people and the President have no stomach for it.
The troops are needed to protect the civilians and the diplomats that populate the largest embassy we have. The Iraqi Embassy is nearly the size of the Vatican with 15,000 employees and another 2000 diplomats. There are 6 apartment buildings that house the civilians alone.
If you recall the chaos associated with the fall of Saigon, hopefully, the 400 troops recently sent will be enough to guarantee the safe removal of our people. So relax and take a breath.
Americans have reasons to be concerned. Before our police action in Korea there were 87 instances when Presidents of the United States have sent troops into combat without Congressional approval. Most of those instances before the Korean War were to remove civilians from danger, from war zones. Many more military actions have continued to take place since Korea and before Vietnam, also without Congressional authorization.
The lack of a declaration of war regarding the war in Vietnam and the unpopularity of that war gave rise to the passage of the War Powers Resolution in 1973. The rational for the bill was to reign in what has been referred to as the Imperial Presidency. Congress has sought to re-establish Congressional power regarding the decision-making of when America goes to war.
The law requires the President to inform Congress within 48 hours of committing American troops to military action. It also is quite clear that troops are forbidden from staying for more than 60 days in a country where our troops are in combat without an authorization from Congress. The law is intended to enhance our system of checks and balances, in order to make it more difficult for a President to commit the United States of America to a war without the advise and consent of Congress.
Iraq seems to be hellbent on going into a sectarian war, unless the Shiites are willing to be inclusive of Sunni and Kurdish rights. It is a hopeful sign that Iraq is splitting into 3 parts, where each section would be autonomous.
The prior empires that ruled that part of the world commonly used the strategy of divide and conquer in order to maintain power. Countries that were created post World War I were doomed to fail because the borders of the new countries, drawn from the former empires, included too many built-in problems with different tribes and religious beliefs that had caused historic anxieties and wars.
May we have the wisdom to stay out of the affairs of Iraq and let them iron out through self-determination their own solutions.
We must guard against any further misjudgments of history. Churchill once said, ” It would be a great reform in politics if wisdom could be made to spread as easily and as rapidly as folly.”