I brought up the Yazidi example first, and am perhaps guilty of helping osgiliate this thread! My apologies for that. But I agree with V's recent statement. Yes, it is likely that ISIS would not be threatening mass atrocities against the Yazidi had the US not invaded Iraq, and had Saddam Hussein still been in power (though its worth noting that Saddam Hussein didn't treat the Yazidi very well either, nor the broader Kurdish population - against whom Hussein participated in an attempted genocide via gassing). So while the Yazidi wouldn't have been on a mountain facing extinction at the hands of ISIS, they may very well have been in a position of brutal oppression at the hands of another man (and government) that had a history of attempted genocide against minorities in Iraq - particularly of the Kurdish kind (and the Yazidis are a Kurdish sect). As an aside, this video of the female Yazidi PM in the Iraqi Parliament, delivering an overwhelming and grief-wracked testimony the day before the US began its operation, is worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdIEm1s6yhYTeremia wrote: Even the example of the Yazidi people in Iraq (example raised by V) makes me sad and worried more than anything. Why are those people trapped on their mountain and threatened with slaughter by ISIS? Doesn't it ultimately have something to do with the absolutely disastrous US invasion of Iraq? And that violence was partly paid for by my taxes, which is part of the burden of responsibility and guilt that being an American seems to involve these days.
But as V says, that's beside the point. The only point that's truly relevant is that the Yazidis were facing an imminent genocide, and a military action against ISIS, conducted by the United States, STOPPED that from happening.
IMO, it is at times like this that I feel truly proud of the role the United States can play in the world, if it has the stomach for it (and, yes, if it doesn't follow public opinion polling to determine what to do). We elect a President to make foreign policy decisions for us, and as long as those actions are not illegal under US law, or based on blatant lies, they are popularly legitimate (though I do prefer those actions to be legitimated by the UN Security Council as much as possible - which is sometimes nearly impossible due to Russian and Chinese opposition). Personally, I think conducting a "populist" foreign policy is a recipe for international disaster. Yes, most Americans don't want the US back in Iraq. But IMO, that has nothing to do with whether or not the Obama Administration should go back. Until the next election, that is (or unless the US were to reinstate a draft, in which case there would need to be far more buy-in for U.S. foreign policy decisions by the American public). But enough of this osgiliation...
On this question of military action vs. pacifism, Israel and Gaza is much thornier than Iraq, in a lot of ways. As long as Hamas continues to fire rockets (or threaten to fire rockets) into Israel, the United States will have very little room to suggest that Israel desist from military action in Gaza, even if that action results in the inadvertent deaths of thousands of Palestinian citizens. Yes, I think Netanyahu and Lieberman are bad for Israel. But Hamas is worse for the Palestinians. They are the worst thing that could have happened to the Palestinians. If only Fatah was more organized, and had more inspiring leaders, they may have been able to halt Hamas' rise... But that's water under the bridge now.