U.S. needs to let Iraq solve its own problems

The refrain of legendary singers Peter, Paul and Mary – “When will we ever learn” – echoes in our ears as the United States considers further military involvement in Iraq. Many years of war in Iraq have provided sufficient evidence that military engagement and training of Iraqi soldiers have done little to advance peace in the area. The cost of 4,500 U.S. military lives, thousands of wounded and disabled veterans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths might have been spared.

The political situation in Iraq has rapidly deteriorated into a civil war between two Muslim factions, a condition that surely we knew was a motivating factor. It has become abundantly clear that the current regime’s conduct is a significant part of the problem. Sending more troops and possible air strikes is not the answer. Iraq as a sovereign nation must solve its own internal political affairs without the intervention of any outside entity. We must continue to try to get to a respectful and peaceful dialogue between a fundamentalist Sharia-imposed governing structure and the Sunni insurgents. Restricted military aid could be a tool along with humanitarian aid.

Otherwise there will be long-term negative effects on America’s already frayed relationships with other Middle Eastern countries. The U.N. Security Council can supply multinational help in securing a negotiated settlement. Let us all support peaceful efforts going forth and tell President Obama, the military advisers and Congress that war is not the answer.

Judith Metzger