When President Obama decided to take military action two years ago against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, he repeatedly promised there would be no boots on the ground in Iraq. That promise turned out to be worth as much as his pledge that you could keep your health insurance if you liked it.
War Is Boring reports that American artillery units based in Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey have engaged ISIS. The artillery strikes have been going on since March of this year. The U.S. Army has additionally deployed M777 howitzers and their crews to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces around Mosul:
U.S. troops based in Jordan deployed the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, better known as HIMARS — a truck-mounted guided-missile system that can hit targets up to 185 miles away.
A month later, U.S. forces set up HIMARS in Turkey, as well, for strikes across the border into Syria. However, Washington’s deteriorating relations with the regime of controversial Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could compel the Pentagon to redeploy these forces.
The war rages on. Iraqi and Kurdish troops, as well as Iranian-backed Shia militias, are preparing to attack Mosul. The battle could be a long and grueling one.
American troops have already taken up positions around the city to provide logistical support for the Iraqi and Kurdish fighters as they prepare their assault. Special operations and air assets are expected to play a key role in the battle. Artillery likely will, as well.
The Iraqi military and Kurdish Peshmerga already have sizable artillery assets themselves, some of which were provided by the United States. Many of these American-made guns have wound up in the hands of both ISIS and Shia militias aligned with Iran.
While not many will argue against destroying ISIS, the fact remains that these U.S. troops are engaged in an illegal war. There is a lawsuit pending in federal court by U.S. Army Captain Nathan Smith that points out this very fact.
Under the War Powers Act, a president can order U.S. troops into combat for up to 60 days. Congress has to authorize the war within that period or the military action must be terminated. The War Powers Act was written in 1973 to limit the power of the president to wage war without congressional approval. It was not followed.
The war against ISIS is being sold on lies and has resulted in mission creep. That’s as good a reason as any to end all military operations and support for all factions in Iraq and Syria until Congress can properly debate and authorize action against ISIS.
Proponents of military action must make the case for why it must be done and that it will make the situation better. After all, ISIS itself was the result of failed U.S. policies in the Middle East.
The American people must demand that their elected representatives do their job on this issue. After all, there is no greater power a government has than the power to take human life.