Last week, U.S. Department of Defense officials confirmed that U.S. forces are aiding Kurdish ground troops fighting ISIS. NBC reported that Gen. Lloyd Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Special Operations Forces are “engaged with YPG” Kurdish forces in Syria.
This seems to be skirting a line, given U.S. leaders’ oaths to not send ground troops to fight ISIS directly. Although Austin says the troops are simply there to “advise and assist” and they weren’t “engaged in any combat operations,” something doesn’t sound quite right.
Let’s put it in terms unrelated to war: If somebody was on a diet, and they swore off ice cream -— because, as we know, we’ve been through ice cream before and we know what happens- — then it would probably be a bad idea to apply for a job at a Cold Stone where you’re only “advising and assisting.”
In this metaphor, ice cream represents unnecessary wars in the Middle East, and the job application signifies the U.S. going into Syria. What we’ve got here is a classic case of America policing the world when it probably shouldn’t.
If U.S. defense officials lead us that close to ISIS, we’re bound to get into yet another war. One stray bullet or one misplaced mine injuring or killing a U.S. soldier will likely spark outrage in the states, and give the military an excuse to pick a fight with ISIS.
President Barack Obama promised there would be no “boots on the ground,” but during an operation in summer 2014 to obtain data on ISIS, Defense officials confirmed that operatives had engaged ISIS militants. Of course, officials assessed that they “did not know who they were fighting that night.” Does this detail matter? Should there be troops in that area to begin with?
It’s important that ISIS is detained in the most extensive way, but it shouldn’t have to cost U.S. soldiers their lives. Regrettably, war is inevitable in the kind of world we live in, but it shouldn’t have to be. War should only be a last resort, and when U.S. defense officials send troops to “advise,” it’s cutting dangerously close to starting a fight. It’s as if the U.S. is in a schoolyard throwing pebbles at the bully as if he’s not going to come over and give us a bloody nose. There’s no scenario where troops being this close to ISIS can come out peachy.