Ignoring #Syria Was The *REAL* Mistake

This won’t be much of a diary, but I my thoughts here are longer than 140 characters.

So the debate rages on if we should have stayed in Iraq or left. In fact, even Slate’s Reihan Salam
thinks leaving (dispite what you think about going into Iraq to begin with) was a mistake

Once Americans collectively settled on the idea that the Iraq War was a disaster, it was perhaps inevitable that we’d want to wash our hands of the whole ordeal. President Obama appeared to do just that when he declared in December of 2011 that “we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq,” knowing full well that we were doing no such thing.

I wouldn’t read the reat of that article, so let me sum up: Going inro Iraq was bad idea and leaving was a mistake too.

However staying in Iraq only would have solved half of the problem. If we have left a force in Iraq, then we could have only repelled ISIS/ISIL back to Syria. (I want to stop right here and say that I think Iraq is doomed. Airstrikes using drones won’t turn back ISIS/ISIL if there’s nothing on the ground to mop them up. All we can do is wait, document, and hope Jorden and Saudi Arabia are alamed enough to do the dirty work we should be doing right now.) In order to prevent this attack from happening at all, we should have gotten involved in Syria from day one. Backing Bashar al-Assad or the secular rebels, either one should have been a no-brianer. That would have leadership and a defined foreign policy. Speaking about our foreign policy, here is some nightmare fuel for you:

United States intelligence agencies were caught by surprise when fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) seized two major Iraqi cities this week and sent Iraqi defense forces fleeing, current and former U.S. officials said Thursday. With U.S. troops long gone from the country, Washington didn’t have the spies on the ground or the surveillance gear in the skies necessary to predict when and where the jihadist group would strike.

And we still don’t. Which is why pulling out of Iraq was a mistake. (This is why I think airstrikes won’t matter.) We could have cast an intel eye accross the Iraqi border into Syria. In fact, Syria’s Civil War there started in March 2011 and we pulled out in December 2011. We were right there. There was enough overlap that we could have helped over-throw Bashar al-Assad (if we wanted) and still pulled out of Iraq on time. Did getting out of Iraq blind Obama to everything else going on in the Middle East?

Getting out of Iraq was a mistake. Ignoring Syria’s Civil War from the beginning was an even BIGGER mistake. I know history is always 20/20, but inaction also have its consequences.