Iraq is a horrifying mess.
Reports of beheadings, military occupation, and outright genocide paint an extremely desperate picture of a region gone out of control. Westerners are right to feel the urge to do something about the situation and the most readily available solution would be to support US or UN military action in the area. But rash judgements based on emotional responses will hardly benefit anyone in the long run. We should seek to understand the situation fully and promote a lasting solution that will help stabilize the region and bring justice to the perpetrators of the evil there.
US Government Fomented the Conflict
It would be incorrect to say that the problem in the Middle East or even in Iraq was created by the US government; that honor goes back 1300 years to the Battle of the Camel when Islam separated into to distinct factions or before. But it is important to note that the US government has had a major role in fomenting chaos in the region.
1) It took out a despotic (though stable) government in Saddam Hussein and installed a democratically elected yet impotent federal parliament, which has threatened disenfranchisement of the minority Sunni population.
2) It disarmed the citizenry. Notable in the constitution that the US helped establish in Iraq is the absence of protection of the right to bear arms. The US even cracked down on gun ownership during its occupation. Once the US troops largely left the area, it left a vacuum ripe for terrorist picking.
3) It funded the very terrorists that are wrecking havoc on the region. In their infinite wisdom, federal warmongers have chosen to support rebels in Syria, who have become terrorists in Iraq.
Clearly, the US government’s role in the region has not helped and most honest analysts will see it as the catalyst for the chaotic mess. We cannot rely on the US or even the UN to do the right thing in the region. Conflicting interests and a complete disregard for humanity has proven that that is not the solution.
So, What Is the Solution?
Apart from breaking up the country of Iraq and perhaps Syria into smaller nations, the security needs in the region are dire and immediate. Some will say that the US military is the only force capable of eliminating the conflict but in fact, the very domination of the war industry by the United States federal government has led to a moral hazard in which Iraq has become dependent on its military support. The previous decade of occupation shows that further occupation is not viable or particularly sustainable.
The best solution to the endless conflict is a system of defense and security, which has lost favor since the dawn of world super powers, but was effective and successful before: the mercenary system consisting of private military companies. The West has a dense concentration of military might, a fraction of which would be necessary to defend the persecuted Iraqis, but when wielded under the auspices of the US federal government, tends to incur corruption, waste, and anti-American sentiment around the world. Private military companies, however, would allow the benefits of the free market (efficiency, innovation) to apply to security. It would also allow America to be officially neutral in contentious conflicts.
This model is not untested. While the Swiss government has a strict policy of non-intervention, Swiss citizens have long been free to personally provide military and security services outside the country. In the past, Swiss individuals often chose to serve as soldiers in foreign regiments protecting neighboring countries, and to this day the Swiss Guard, a private group, protects the Vatican. In the 1930s, groups of Americans were concerned about fascism in Europe and tried to establish the “Abraham Lincoln Brigade” to fight that menace. Private soldiers committed to taking on international bullies can act with organized efficiency without involving their neighbors. And so long as they are answerable for their actions, private soldiers shouldn’t be any more objectionable than private security guards.
It would be naive to claim that a model of private security forces will end the conflict in the Middle East. There are deep-seated philosophical problems there that may never be solved. However, the current US-military interventionism only makes things worse. We need to move to a proven model that allows Americans to defend persecuted peoples without injecting fuel to a fire.