Steve Chapman: The U.S. Goes to War Without a Clue, Again


Public Domain

War, it's been said, is God's way of teaching Americans geography. Maybe we do learn how to locate the countries we invade or bomb on a map. But recent experience indicates how much we don't know about those societies and how slow we are at learning.

The United States is still involved in a 13-year-old war in Afghanistan, and President Barack Obama has undertaken a new one against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, just three years after he withdrew the last of our troops from Iraq. The administration is also carrying on a drone missile campaign—which looks eerily like war from the receiving end—in Pakistan and Yemen.

The war on Islamic State is rife with uncertainty, because so many of its enemies are our enemies, writes Steve Chapman. If we do damage to it, we are indirectly strengthening the mullahs in Tehran, al-Qaida and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. We're also bolstering the irresponsible Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad whose persecution of Sunnis gave rise to the group.