Local Expert Reacts to U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq

August 8, 2014

Longstanding religious divisions going back years are the backdrop.

The U.S. has decided for the first time in years to try and stop a potential genocide in Iraq.

"The Isis group have a belief system that basically is intolerant and if you don't pray properly they will execute you," says UVa. Professor of Politics and Public Policy James Savage.

Prof. Savage says the violent terrorist organization, ISIS, would be extremely difficult to take down.

He says President Obama giving the OK for the airstrikes, while not significant enough to make a huge impact on the Islamic forces, was a significant move.

"I think that Obama probably felt he had no choice, and if he felt that he had no choice you know the situation must have been quite bad. His whole presidency was based on the idea of ending the Iraq War and pulling our people out," says Savage.

Pres. Obama is under scrutiny, with many Americans concerned that U.S. involvement again in Iraq could drag the country into another war.

"There are members of the senate, Senator McCain, Senator Graham, who call for a deeper intervention, which really when you translate it, which really means boots on the ground, that they're not satisfied with the airstrikes, what they would like to see is a stronger presence," he says.

With the U.S. spending trillions of dollars rebuilding Iraq over the last 9 years, Savage says Washington does not have a good track record fixing the country's ongoing problems.

"Our efforts to build a state to build a credible military to provide for the security of the people has fallen apart and so our ability to create these states is something that we don't do very well, certainly within a time span that most American People would tolerate," says Savage.

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