Bill Fletcher Jr.ColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

No Boots on the Ground

Bill Fletcher

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
NNPA Columnist

It is very unsettling to hear various politicians suggest the need for U.S. troops to be redeployed to Iraq and possibly deployed to Syria.  They seem to have lost all sense of history. Think about it for a moment on two levels.

The first is that the unprovoked U.S. invasion of Iraq opened up the gates of hell. Not only did the U.S.A. have no reason to invade, but once it invaded, it incited religious and ethnic tensions and ensured that an atmosphere of revenge would prevail. This is what helps us to understand the circumstances under which a criminal fascist organization like ISIL would be able to achieve any popular support. Repression by the Shiite-dominated government has led many Sunnis to believe that only with a strong countervailing force can they survive. The U.S. has only to look at itself as the fundamental source of this horror.

The second is that the conflicts underway in Syria and Iraq must be resolved by the regional players. The U.S. cannot resolve either the situation in Syria or in Iraq.  It can, of course, support efforts at national unity in Iraq and, in the case of Syria, it can pressure all outside forces to disengage from the conflict. But the moment that there is U.S. troop presence, all bets are off. The conflict will be about the U.S. and it will quickly become our war.

Yet, what is striking to me is particularly how politicians who do not now have to face the zing of bullets racing by their heads or smashing into the bodies of their colleagues are so quick to suggest troop deployments.  It is as if they have learned nothing from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, or more recently, Iraq and Afghanistan.  It is almost as if they believe that they should have one more chance to get it right, that is, to utilize the military option to prove the superiority of the U.S. way to resolve conflict.

Heaven help us.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the host of The Global African.  He is a racial justice, labor and global justice writer and activist.  He can be followed on Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com

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Bill Fletcher Jr.

Bill Fletcher Jr has been an activist since his teen years. Upon graduating from college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labor movement. Over the years he has been active in workplace and community struggles as well as electoral campaigns. He has worked for several labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staffperson in the national AFL-CIO. Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of “The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941”; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of “Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice“; and the author of “‘They’re Bankrupting Us’ – And Twenty other myths about unions.” Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web.

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