The Case For Intervention In Iraq

As long time readers know, I am generally skeptical to U.S. military interventions. I opposed the 2003 Iraq war, the 2011 intervention in Libya and intervention in Syria against the Assad regime.

That wasn’t because I’m a pacifist, because I’m not. I do believe that military action is sometimes justified. No, it was because I am skeptical to intervening in conflicts that don’t affect us, and because I feared that what would replace the targeted regimes would be even worse, or more specifically more Islamist. As bad as Saddam Hussein, Moammar Qadaffi and Bashar al-Assad were, they were at least relatively secular, unlike many of the groups fighting them.

These fears turned out, unfortunately, to be very justified. Libya has descended into chaos, with islamists controlling much of the country. And large parts of Syria and Iraq has fallen into the hands of the really extremist Islamist group the Islamic State (IS) ,formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) alternatively the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

However, when it comes to bombing IS, the argument that the alternative could be worse isn’t applicable. IS is about as bad as it could possibly get, as it stands for extreme Islamic theocracy combined with a genocidal attitude to Yezidis, Christians, Shia Muslims and all others who aren’t Sunni Muslims. It’s basically extreme Islamic fundamentalism combined with Nazism.

While the realistic alternatives, the Iraqi Shi’ite dominated government and the Kurdish government are flawed (particularly the former), they are far less evil than IS

Some argue against U.S. intervention against IS because previous interventions, the invasion of Iraq and the support of the insurgency against the Assad regime in Syria, helped create IS. I agree with the theory that IS is largely the unintentended result of previous misguided interventions, but that is all the more reason why the U.S. has a moral responsibility to correct its previous mistakes.

Those who think that intervention is unjustified needs to listen to this plea from a Yezidi pleaing for help against the IS’ attempted genocide



  1. We need to learn from the great British historian Herbert Butterfield who taught that diplomats should always act with humility because they never know what hidden forces will be unleashed with war. No one could see the disasters that have resulted from the invasion of Iraq before the invasion.

  2. Pingback: Bad Idea To Support “Moderate Syrian Rebels” | Stefan Karlsson's blogg

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