Foreign Legions

More

At the beginning of this web video, Michael O'Hanlon explains that the current pace of deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan isn't sustainable. He also notes that the situation in Iraq is "nowhere near an acceptable or sustainable outcome." Under the circumstances, one might think that giving up on the Iraq operation in order to focus on Afghanistan in a sustainable way would be a good idea. But, of course, O'Hanlon believes we need to continue the war in Iraq indefinitely, even though he knows that such a policy isn't sustainable.

The solution, naturally enough, is foreign mercenaries. As he puts it, we need to go into "countries that have a fairly strong pro-American tendency and a very minimal al-Qaeda presence" and try to get their citizens to sign up, with the lure of U.S. citizenship offered as the bait. He gave the Philippines as an example (indeed, as many as 41 percent of Filipinos regard our military presence in the Middle East as bolstering stability, which is unusually high), and said that Donald Rumsfeld would go down in history as a bad Secretary of Defense specifically for his failure to implement a program of this sort. My feeling is that when it comes to this is when we can officially say that the American imperial project in Iraq has reached its decadent phase.

I mean, isn't this almost a self-refuting argument? According to Michael O'Hanlon, the only way to have any chance at accomplishing our mission in Iraq is to bolster our military by recruiting large numbers of foreigners into our armed services and this becomes an argument for recruiting the foreigners rather than ending the war. Really?

Jump to comments
Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In