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On Saturday, People for Peace, Justice, and Healing adopted a statement on the crisis in Iraq.  --  The Tacoma group said the fighting should be regarded as "a new war," one in which the United States "should not be involved."[1]  --  Expressing concern that President Obama is "making a tragic mistake" by sending more soldiers to Iraq, the statement asserts that, at this point, "The more the U.S. military intervenes in Iraq, the worse the outcome will be."  --  It calls for U.S. limiting its future involvement in Iraq to humanitarian reparations that should be administered by the international community....

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STATEMENT ON IRAQ


People for Peace, Justice, and Healing
June 28, 2014

In recent days, the nation of Iraq has been coming apart at the seams.  In December 2011, President Obama told Americans the war in Iraq was "over," and many informed observers attribute the current crisis to the actions of the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.  It therefore makes sense to regard the new outbreak of violence as the beginning of a new war, the fourth in thirty years, after the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), the Gulf War (1990-1991), and the Iraq War (2003-2011).  The U.S. did not fight in the first of these wars; it should not be involved in this one.

On June 13, President Obama promised that "American combat troops are not going to be fighting in Iraq again."  We hope so, but actions speak louder than words.  A few days later he announced the dispatch to Iraq of "additional American military advisers -- up to 300."  His claim that these are not "combat troops" is a sleight of hand:  the administration does not define Special Forces like Green Berets, Army Rangers, and Navy SEALs as "combat troops."  Even CNN said the decision amounted to "U.S 'boots on the ground' in Iraq, no matter how the administration characterizes it." 

President Obama seems to be making a tragic mistake.  He cannot save Iraq, and the path he seems to be choosing will lead to deeper U.S. involvement in the conflict in Iraq's neighbor, Syria.  Indeed, on June 26 he made a request to Congress for $500 million to "train and equip vetted elements of the Syrian armed opposition." 

People for Peace, Justice, and Healing believes that the time is long past when the United States could claim to act in the interests of the inhabitants of Iraq.  The more the U.S. military intervenes in Iraq, the worse the outcome will be.  Americans should not turn their back on the ruin they have caused, but we believe future American involvement in Iraq should be in the nature of humanitarian reparations and should be administered by the international community.