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What Should The United States Do In Iraq?

American options, American action in Iraq.  To get in, to stay out, and the emerging White House plan.

In this Monday, June 16, 2014 file photo, Demonstrators chant pro-al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as they carry al-Qaida flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP)

In this Monday, June 16, 2014 file photo, Demonstrators chant pro-al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as they carry al-Qaida flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP)

Iraq is, right now, coming apart at the seams.  What should the US do?  The White House isn’t saying yet.  But everybody else is, and the range of fervent recommendations is vast.  On the gung ho end:  get back in there.  Special forces, intelligence, drones, bombers, politics, arms into Syria, deals with Iran, boots on the ground.  Essentially, renewed American war.  At the other end, this firm advice:  do nothing.  Do not get involved.  Let Iran handle it.  Let it take its course.  And if a threat to the US develops, hit it then. This hour On Point:  what to do, what not to do, now, in Iraq.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Josh Lederman, White House reporter for the Associated Press. (@joshledermanAP)

Barry Posen, Ford International professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Director of the MIT Security Studies Program. Author of “Restraint,” “Inadvertent Escalation” and “The Sources of Military Doctrine.”

Denise Natali, Minerva Fellow at the Center for Strategic Research in the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University.

Max Boot, senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Author of “The Savage Wars of Peace,” “War Made New” and “Invisible Armies.” Contributing editor at The Weekly Standard and the Los Angeles Times. (@MaxBoot)

From Tom’s Reading List

POLITICO Magazine: The Case For Doing Nothing in Iraq — “Maliki’s heavy-handed employment of surveillance, incarceration, and violence has driven Sunni Arab fence sitters into the arms of ISIS fanatics; he’s part of the problem, not the solution.That ought to make us cautious about meddling in Iraq’s internal politics. Restraint strategists are alert to the costs of intervening in the internal politics of other countries and the low odds of success inherent to doing so.

Washington Post: The United States should not cooperate with Iran on Iraq — “The idea that the United States, a nation bent on defending democracy and safeguarding stability, shares a common interest with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a revolutionary theocracy that is the No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism in the world, is as fanciful as the notion that Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler could work together for the good of Europe.”

The Wall Street Journal: Iraqi Government Forces Battle for Control of Major Oil Refinery — “Iraq’s counterterrorism units backed by other security forces and helicopter gunships battled insurgents on Wednesday for control of the country’s main oil refinery, trying to keep the fuel hub that supplies Baghdad from falling to a powerful week-old offensive by Sunni Muslim militants, Iraqi officials said.The gunships bombarded positions of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham fighters inside the refinery in the northern city of Beiji, a state oil official said.”

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