WASHINGTON, August 9 (RIA Novosti) - President Obama’s decision to launch a limited bombing campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq is a mistake, and like other wars that begin as limited engagements, will have unintended consequences, Matthew Hoh, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and former State Department official, told RIA Novosti.
“We’re entering into a conflict on behalf of one side in this sectarian war. I think it’s a mistake. I think it’s going to make the situation worse,” said Hoh, who has been outspoken against further US involvement in Iraq.
“Looking at the history of American military involvement, nothing ever remains limited. I think that’s the nature of warfare, that it is a breeding ground of unintended consequences,” he added.
On Thursday evening, President Obama authorized limited air strikes as well as humanitarian aid drops in northwestern Iraq. In his speech to the American people on Thursday evening, Obama announced the action in part, to avert the fall of Irbil, the Kurdish capital. The President also repeated his position that there is no US military solution for Iraqi political problems.
Answering RIA Novosti question whether the campaign Obama launched Thursday night would be as limited as the President portrayed it, Hoh stated, that “by its nature, war is uncontrollable, and once you enter into it, the outcome is very rarely ever something you can determine.”
Hoh fought as a marine in Iraq and retired from foreign service in the State Department in 2009 over his disagreements with US policy goals in Afghanistan.
“By us intervening militarily and taking one side [against the Sunnis], we’re going to make any chance of the reconciliation, any chances of a political solution very remote,” noted Hoh.
Obama’s campaign came the first week Congress was out of session on recess, which means there was no opportunity for them to authorize military action. “I hope that American people do what they did last year at this time, when they called in overwhelming amounts to their members of Congress letting them know that we don’t want to be involved in this war in Syria,” Hoh said, appealing to the American public to prevent deep US involvement in the Iraq conflict.
“I hope that the American people do the same again, and provide that political support to members of Congress,” former State Department official said.
Based on his public statements, many analysts do not believe Obama wants to be involved in Iraq again. According to Hoh, Obama’s actions are politically motivated, not strategic.
“I believe the President does not want to be criticized for not doing anything, but within Washington DC, within that bubble, there is this need to ‘do something,” Hoh concluded.