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Over the last two weeks, our military has supported the Kurdish Peshmarga’s fight against one of the most brutal regimes since the Khmer Rouge. Arguably, this group is one of the most brutal seen since the 14th century. The Peshmarga have fought hard to push ISIS from the Mosul Dam, and are working to push them from Tikrit, a city the US and its coalition partners cleared prior to President Obama’s decision to leave the country. The US Air Force have attacked targets of opportunity, clearing roads and sides of roads of ISIS terrorists. However, this is not enough.

The US has an obligation to bring US military forces back into Iraq, equip the Peshmarga forces with armor and weapons, and to push the ISIS terrorists and murderers out of Iraq. We have this obligation because we toppled Saddam Hussein and we promised we would help the fledgling democracy stand on its feet. Yes, we lost nearly 4,500 in Iraq, in eight years of fighting. In the same time frame, there were nearly 350,000 deaths from automobile accidents, and over 42,000 pedestrian deaths. The military’s role is place themselves in harm’s way to insure those who would do damage to us and our allies, don’t. This is the reason for a military. The military is the hard fist used when the velvet glove of diplomacy is ignored or thrown in the face of well-meaning peoples.

We have an obligation to those who were crucified, who were torn in half, who were beheaded, who were buried alive, weeping and pleading. We have an obligation to those left behind, crying over the loss of their loved ones, and their livelihoods, people we pledged to help, to stand by. There comes a time when political maneuvering is not enough. There comes a time when those who claim to speak for humanity, who claim to be offended by obscene acts of dehumanizing atrocities, must stand against the barbarians, whether they are at our gates, or at the gates of our friends and allies. It is not enough to send in aircraft that bomb. That is too indiscriminate, and cannot reach those who have hidden, like rats and snakes, in burrows that cannot be touched with attacks from planes and drones on high. It is not enough to send in “advisors” in small numbers, who, hampered by Rules of Engagements that the enemy ignore, must ask permission from others thousands of miles away before even moving forwarding one mile or more.

No, it is time, and past time, to send in large military presences, to establish or reestablish bases, to force the savages back or kill them in their burrows. It is time, and past time, to stand with and train the Iraqi military to become a true military force, able to stand when pressed, led by able officers and NCOs who look to taking care of their men, not profiting from the logistics supplied to keep those troops trained. Now is the time to work with the Iraqi people to rebuild, and rebuild strongly, their fledgling democracy attempts, to insure no one again can push their way in and rape and pillage their country. And now is the time to pursue them over the border into Syria and complete the decimation of ISIS, lend support to the moderates who would fight against Assad, and help to bring peace to that portion of the Middle East, before the Middle East explodes beyond repair.

Our president must send troops, combat troops, in division or better size, into Iraq, into the north, to help the Kurdish government their reassert control. He must send troops into and around Baghdad, not to besiege the country, but to assist in the rebuilding of the coalition of the groups into an inclusive government. We must do this, because, despite what some, or even many, politicians claim, it is in the US’ best interests to have a stable and democratic Iraq, supporting democracy, in the region. This allows the US to become part of the Middle East peace process, gives us a platform to monitor and oversee Iran’s denuclearization program, provides the US with a stable platform for launching support for piracy and other operations in the Indian and Southern Atlantic Oceans, as well as provide Iraq and its people with a strong ally to prevent other countries or terrorist nation-states from attempting the overthrow of Iraq.

We have a large debt to pay to Iraq and the Iraqi people. We should never have left Iraq without the needed stability to continue building their country into a shining model of democracy in the Middle East. Leaving Iraq was purely a political decision. Returning to Iraq is the correct, humanitarian, and proper thing to do.

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