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Airstrikes on US troops in Iraq highlight dangers of our presence in the Middle East – Reason.com

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Airstrikes on US troops in Iraq highlight dangers of our presence in the Middle East – Reason.com

Monday, rockets beaten Ayn al-Asad Air Base, a military installation in Iraq that houses US troops. US Army Col. Wayne Marotto, spokesman for the US-led coalition in Iraq, tweeted that the attack did not cause casualties. No group immediately reclaimed responsibility for action.

Even without loss of life, Monday’s hostilities highlight the risks associated with the continued presence of US troops and ongoing military engagement in the Middle East. The attack came just a week after President Joe Biden’s June 27. air strikes on facilities used by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria, leading to attacks against US troops in Syria the next day. There have been many tit for tat exchanges between parties linked to the United States and Iran since former President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in January 2020. Although it is unclear who ordered Monday’s attack, it is It is clear that the attacks and US troops have failed to deter further antagonism from hostile parties in the region.

While Biden has made the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan a central room From his presidential agenda, his plans for a US presence in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East are much more vague. Following Soleimani’s assassination on Iraqi soil, the Iraqi Parliament approved a resolution to drive US troops out of the country. There is no timetable for that retreat emerged during bilateral negotiations, however, leaving the fate of the 3500 the remaining US troops in Iraq are restless. Approximately 900 they are still in Syria and their future is equally murky.

That leaves broad targets for hostile parties across the Middle East, even though the reasons behind a continued troop presence in the two countries are questionable. The main goals for recent American activities in Iraq and Syria, to defeat ISIS and help those nations claim territory, they have largely been accomplished. Given the current tensions in the Middle East, keeping American boots on the ground means keeping them in jeopardy for ill-defined ends.

While justifying the February strike in Syria, Biden reclaimed the action was “in accordance with the inherent right of self-defense of the United States.” Democrats in Congress disputed that line of reasoning and pointed to the lack of a congressional authorization for the use of military force in Syria (although previous resolutions authorize such presidential actions in Iraq and Afghanistan). Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) call the attack “is not constitutional” given Biden’s lack of communication with Congress. Rep. Ro Khanna (D – Calif.) Agreed and criticized Biden for carrying out an attack that “was not in self-defense against an imminent threat.”

Biden’s June strikes received similar scrutiny. They revived debate over presidential war powers, prompting the House to vote to repeal various military force authorizations. That resistance makes it increasingly difficult for the president to justify the dubious constitutionality of the strikes, the unnecessary escalation of tensions, and endangering the lives of Americans stationed in the Middle East.

When he announced the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden questioned the sensitivity of further delaying the departure of troops at the expense of the loss of even more lives. He invoked “the cost of living of war” shown in American deaths, saying, “Each one of those dead are sacred human beings who left entire families. It is necessary to have an exact accounting of each one of the lonely ones.”

In fact, they are sacred, and Biden is correct in asking why responsibility for the war in Afghanistan should pass to another presidential administration. You should take that logic a step further and realize that your concern for the safety of American troops is contradicted by the American presence and actions in other parts of the Middle East. Although Monday’s attack did not result in American deaths or injuries, American forces may not be so lucky next time.

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