Andrew Napolitano: Why Can't We Learn From Our Mistakes in Iraq?


United States Air Force/Wikimedia

Forces in the U.S. who believe the military is best when it is fighting are again beating the drums for war in Iraq. President Obama's present plans are to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels and induce them to fight ISIS on the ground while the U.S. provides air cover. But what if the U.S. really cannot tell the moderate Syrian fighters from the fanatical Syrian fighters? What if they are one and the same fighters, whose moderation or fanaticism changes with the politics and military needs of the moment?

We have been here before, writes Andrew Napolitano—allowing American arms dealers to sell to Saddam Hussein in the 1980s; equipping Iraqi and Afghan troops over the past decade (many of whom went on to join the ISIS resistance). None of this has made a single American freer or safer. What if the government here cannot recognize its failures? What if a people who cannot understand the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them? What do we do?