What Price Honor?

I just heard a radio interview with Andrew Bacevich on Iraq in which he said two things with which I agree. The first is that, since we conquered the country in 2003, occupied it for eight years, and trained the Iraqi army that are now running like scared rabbits whenever they come in contact with ISIS forces, we have some obligation to the people of the country.

The other is that there are real limitations as to what we can do. Not the least of these (from my point of view) is that there is no domestic political support for a military intervention in Iraq.

The president has authorized three hundred American soldiers to go to Iraq. It’s unclear, at least to me, what they’re supposed to accomplish. A much larger contingent of American trainers accomplished, well, what we see now. How much better will 300 do? They might be useful as part of an air campaign but I’m skeptical that much can be accomplished with an air campaign.

However, if your objective is to be seen to be doing something, it’s something.

6 comments… add one
  • ...

    How much better will 300 do?

    Well, if you’re fighting the Persian Empire….

  • michael reynolds

    I suspect the point of the 300 is to act as shadow officers.

  • Or you could be Spartacus.

  • We have a film legend of heroics. Spartacus (1960) had (according to IMBD) Kirk Douglas, Jean Simmons, Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, and you can go see the rest of the cast.

    We are cast in our ideal of the good ole’ days, I don’t care what anyone else says. I saw Peter O’ Toole and Omar Sharif in Laurence of Arabia i n a second run movie house about 1970(?). Which one was more delicious?

  • Forget the history.

  • Ben Wolf


    I’ve listened to a lot of interviews on this topic ans the one that stood out most was an Iraqi non-com who nearly in tears; he said American officers always stood and fought with them, while Iraqi officers deserted the moment ISIL showed up. I think you’re probably right.

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