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U.S. bombing strikes are now well under way in Iraq in a military mission that President Obama said could go on for months.1 U.S. military planes have also been delivering vital humanitarian assistance to civilians fleeing the violence, including Yazidis who were forced onto Iraq’s Mount Sinjar by ISIS militants laying siege on the mountain.2
MoveOn members across the country have weighed in with thoughts on what’s happening in Iraq. There are varying opinions on different aspects of this crisis, but there are some common threads. Our hearts break for the people of Iraq who are living through this conflict. We know there are no simple solutions. And we’re united in our opposition to America sliding down the slippery slope to another war in Iraq.
As we all try to make sense of the events that are unfolding, here are eight things that you should know about the Iraq crisis.
8 Things to Know about the Iraq Crisis
1. Right-wing war hawks are pushing for another full-blown war in Iraq.
Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham, other Republicans in Congress, and right-wing figures—who blindly led America into invading and occupying Iraq—are now demanding more military action that could drag us back into full-scale war in the region.3,4,5
2. The slippery slope is real.
Mission creep can too easily occur—along with unintended consequences and new problems created by the use of U.S. military force.6,7 History shows us that many big wars start out looking small, including the Korean War and the Vietnam War.8 And we are now dealing with a prime example of unintended consequences: Bush’s war of choice and military occupation of Iraq set the stage for Iraq’s troubles today, including the rise of ISIS.9,10,11,12
3. Voters elected President Obama to end the Iraq war that George W. Bush recklessly started.
President Obama’s opposition to the Iraq war before it began and his pledge to end it—as part of the contrast between him and those who pushed for war—were key to his success in both the Democratic primary election and the general election in 2008.13 He continues to pledge that he “will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.”14,15
4. Ultimately, Iraq’s problems can be solved only by an Iraqi-led political solution.
President Obama has said that there is no military solution to the crisis in Iraq and that there can only be “an Iraqi solution.”16 As this explainer lays out:
“ISIS isn’t just a terrorist group rampaging through Iraq (though they definitely are that). It’s in many ways an expression of the Sunni Muslim minority’s anger at the Shia-dominated government. . . Some Sunni grievances get to more fundamental issues within the Iraqi state itself, beyond what even a better government could easily fix.”17
These are not problems that more U.S. bombings can solve. That’s why experts are saying that “any lasting solution has to be regional in nature and must address the political interests of all the major factions in an equitable and inclusive manner.”18
5. Members of Congress, including Democratic lawmakers, are insisting that the president come to Congress for authorization.
MoveOn members have long opposed endless war in Iraq. Earlier this summer, before the current bombing strikes began, MoveOn members made more than 15,000 calls to lawmakers, urging them to oppose U.S. military intervention in Iraq. In July, the House of Representatives listened to them and the rest of the American people to require, by a bipartisan vote of 370-40, the president to seek congressional authorization before deploying or maintaining a sustained combat role in Iraq.19 Congress should continue to assert its authority under the Constitution to authorize and oversee U.S. commitments to open-ended war overseas.
6. The Middle East is a complicated place where U.S. military intervention has a troubling track record.
The Middle East has many armed actors whose motivations often compete with each other and conflict with American values, and U.S. military intervention there has a track record of often making things worse.20,21 One tragic absurdity of this moment is that the U.S. military is now using U.S. equipment to bomb U.S. weapons wielded by enemies the U.S. didn’t intend to arm against the U.S. and U.S. allies.22 That’s a good reason to be concerned about the U.S. arming rebels in nearby Syria, which experts say wouldn’t have stopped the rise of ISIS anyway.23 Experts further warn that U.S. military force in the region only tends to create more problems, including the risk of terrorist retaliation.24
7. Military action could lead to even more innocent civilians getting caught in the crossfire and suffering.
The Iraq war that Bush started didn’t just cost America the lives of nearly 4,500 service members, plus $2 trillion according to modest estimates.25,26,27 Approximately 500,000 Iraqi civilians also died in the armed conflict—possibly more.28 In the current conflict, ISIS militants are persecuting various minority populations of Iraq, such as the Yazidis who had fled to Mount Sinjar.29 Escalating military action, including drone strikes, risks catching more civilians in the crossfire.30
8. Opposing endless war isn’t the same as being an isolationist. The Iraq crisis, including the humanitarian disaster, demands an international, diplomatic response.
We have options to support the people of Iraq, as well as tackle this crisis in a way that reflects America’s best interests and 21st century realities. For one, the U.S. can work through the United Nations and other multilateral organizations to support a major global diplomatic initiative.31 In the face of the current crisis, the Friends Committee on National Legislation also recommends a number of steps instead of U.S. bombings, such as working with other nations through the United Nations to organize humanitarian evacuations of stranded and trapped civilians, pressing for and upholding an arms embargo in Iraq and Syria, engaging with the UN to reinvigorate efforts for a lasting political solution for Iraq and Syria, and increasing humanitarian aid.32,33
It’s critically important that we engage the nation in conversation and debate to avoid endless war in Iraq. Can you share this “8 Things to Know about the Iraq Crisis” list with your family and friends? Use the links at the top and bottom of this page.
1. “Iraq Airstrikes May Continue for Months, Obama Says,” The New York Times, August 9, 2014
2. “Despite U.S. Claims, Yazidis Say Crisis Is Not Over,” The New York Times, August 14, 2014
3. “Republicans Want More US Military Action in Iraq,” Military.com, August 8, 2014
4. “Neocons to Obama: No half-measures,” Politico, August 8, 2014
5. “Where Are The Media’s Iraq War Boosters 10 Years Later?,” Media Matters, March 19, 2013
6. “Intentions and Opposite Results in Iraq,” The New York Times, December 4, 2008
7. “The Slippery Slope of U.S. Intervention,” Foreign Policy, August 11, 2014
8. “Can Obama avoid mission creep in Iraq?,” CNN, June 19, 2014
9. “U.S. Actions in Iraq Fueled Rise of a Rebel,” The New York Times, August 10, 2014
10. “Fareed Zakaria: Who lost Iraq? The Iraqis did, with an assist from George W. Bush,” Washington Post, June 12, 2014
11. “Iraq’s crisis: Don’t forget the 2003 U.S. invasion,” Washington Post, June 16, 2014
12. “ISIS Atrocities in Iraq Represent the Catastrophic Failure of Bush Doctrine and Neoconservative Foreign Policy,” Huffington Post, August 8, 2014
13. “Five Reasons Why Obama Won the ’08 Election,” About News, accessed August 13, 2014
14. “Obama: US won’t get dragged into war,” The Hill, June 13, 2014
15. “Obama, With Reluctance, Returns to Action in Iraq,” The New York Times, August 7, 2014
16. “Obama: ‘There Is No American Military Solution To The Larger Crisis In Iraq’,” Huffington Post, August 11, 2014
17. “The chaos in Baghdad explains why Obama isn’t trying to destroy ISIS,” Vox, August 10, 2014
18. “Diplomacy Not More Arms Needed in Iraq and Syria,” Win Without War, June 19, 2014
19. “House Votes For Checks On Obama’s Iraq War Powers,” Huffington Post, July 25, 2014
20. “The Middle East Friendship Chart,” Slate, July 17, 2014
21. “Failed Interventions and What They Teach,” Speech by Former Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr., USFS (Ret.), October 21, 2010
22. “The US bombing its own guns perfectly sums up America’s total failure in Iraq,” Vox, August 8, 2014
23. “Why arming Syria’s rebels wouldn’t have stopped ISIS,” Vox, August 13, 2014
24. “Experts Warn of Terrorism Blowback From Iraq Air Strikes,” Time Magazine, August 10, 2014
25. “Casualties in Iraq,” Antiwar.com, accessed August 13, 2014
26. “Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study,” Reuters, March 14, 2013
27. “The Iraq War Could Cost More Than $6 Trillion,” Business Insider, March 14, 2013
28. “Iraq Death Toll Reaches 500,000 Since Start Of U.S.-Led Invasion, New Study Says,” Huffington Post, October 15, 2013
29. “Islamic State Killed 500 Yazidis, Buried Some Victims Alive,” Huffington Post, August 10, 2014
30. “The Case Against Drone Strikes on People Who Only ‘Act’ Like Terrorists,” The Atlantic, August 19, 2013
31. “Diplomacy Not More Arms Needed in Iraq and Syria,” Win Without War, June 19, 2014
32. “Five Ways the U.S. Can Help Stop the Killing in Iraq,” Friends Committee on National Legislation, accessed August 13, 2014
33. “Responding to the Crisis in Iraq — Without Bombs,” Friends Committee on National Legislation, August 13, 2014
A dynamic and versatile performer, Brittany O’Grady is emerging as one of the industry’s brightest talents. She is perhaps best known as “Paula” in the first season of Mike White’s Emmy Award-winning HBO series THE WHITE LOTUS.
She can currently be seen starring in Amazon’s stylish new thriller series THE CONSULTANT opposite Christoph Waltz and Nat Wolff. In film she most recently appeared opposite Daisy Ridley in SOMETIMES I THINK ABOUT DYING, which premiered at Sundance this year to rave reviews.
Other work includes starring in JJ Abrams and Sara Bareilles’s Apple series LITTLE VOICE, Lee Daniels’ Fox series STAR and Sophia Takal’s film BLACK CHRISTMAS for Blumhouse.
Jaime King began her career as a fashion model landing covers of top international magazines and landing major advertising campaigns. King seamlessly transitioned from modeling into acting with a wide range of roles in film and television.
With roles in big studio films, independent film and passion projects King has been able to showcase her versatility with dramatic and comedic roles. King made her debut in Daniel Waters’ Happy Campers, which premiered at The Sundance Film Festival. Following her debut acting role, Jaime starred opposite Johnny Depp in Ted Demme’s film BLOW, followed by Michael Bay’s PEARL HARBOR starring opposite Ben Affleck, Keenan Ivory Wayans’ WHITE CHICKS, Robert Rodriguez’s SIN CITY starring opposite Benicio Del Toro, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis, DJ Caruso’s TWO FOR THE MONEY starring opposite Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey, Frank Millers’ THE SPIRIT starring opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson, SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR starring opposite Joseph Gordon Levitt and Josh Brolin to name a few. Additionally, Jaime was a series regular on the show HART OF DIXIE for four seasons starring opposite Rachel Bilson for the CW. Other credits include, the Sundance Film Festival premiering BITCH written and directed by Mariana Palka and starring opposite Jason Ritter, ESCAPE PLAN 2 and ESCAPE PLAN 3 starring opposite Sylvester Stallone and an amazing cameo in OCEAN’S 8 directed by Gary Ross for Warner Brothers. Jaime can currently be seen in the critically acclaimed and number one series BLACK SUMMER on Netflix for season one and season two, OUT OF DEATH starring opposite Bruce Willis which is currently streaming on Hulu, CODE NAME BANSHEE starring opposite Antonio Banderas which is also streaming on Hulu, THE RESURRECTION OF CHARLES MANSON starring opposite Frank Grillo and HOAX: THE KIDNAPPING OF SHERRI PAPINI for Lifetime. Jaime recently wrapped shooting the feature film, LIGHTS OUT starring opposite Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney and Scott Adkins.
Philanthropy and activism have always been key pillars of King’s career and she has used her platform to advocate for many important causes and is unafraid to question the status quo. This activism has also formed her creative endeavors in fashion and beauty. She collaborated with AKID to launch a children’s shoe line, inspired by her kids, comprised of seven unisex styles. King also previously launched a gender-fluid, gender-neutral line with Gardner and the Gang called “Gardner and the Gang X Jaime King.” The collection is designed for children to wear the beautiful story of friendship as an emblem of style, and share it with others as an empowering movement towards creating a generation without judgment. In 2016, King launched a cruelty-free, vegan makeup line with ColourPop cosmetics “Alchemy by Jaime King x ColourPop” which sold out within hours of its launch. Jaime tested the various colors of each product on a variety of skin types (all ethnicities/skin colors, etc.) as she wanted each color to work for everyone.
King currently resides in Los Angeles with her two children.
“In 2013, Bex Taylor-Klaus was introduced as one of the first and most well received transgender roles on cable TV on the critically acclaimed “THE KILLING”. They have been a catalyst and inspired more ideas for transgender, trans nonbinary, and non-conforming representation in Hollywood over the last decade. In the last couple years Bex has been in leading roles such as CBS Films’ HELLFEST along with the Netflix hit, DUMPLIN’ where they played a supporting role opposite Jennifer Aniston. They can also be seen in Millennium’s BLACKBIRD opposite Kate Winslet & Susan Sarandon. Last year, they had wrapped on the indie film, I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST, written and directed by Tommy Dorfman. They are currently shooting Adam Saunder’s independent feature film, RE-ELECTION.”
ALOK (they/them) is an internationally acclaimed author, poet, comedian, and public speaker. As a mixed-media artist their work explores themes of trauma, belonging, and the human condition. They are the author of Femme in Public (2017), Beyond the Gender Binary (2020), and Your Wound/My Garden (2021) and the creator of #DeGenderFashion: an initiative to degender fashion and beauty industries. In recognition of their work, they have been honored as the inaugural LGBTQ Scholar in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania and awarded a GLAAD Media Award and Stonewall Foundation Visionary Award. Over the past decade, they have toured in more than 40 countries, most recently selling out their runs at the Soho Theatre in London, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Kennedy Performing Arts Center. Their show has been described as “provocative and powerful” (CHORTLE), a “potent combination of comedy and poetry” (THE SCOTSMAN), and a “Jaw-dropping celestial event” (TO DO LIST LONDON). On screen, they will make their feature film debut in Absolute Dominion opposite Patton Oswalt and next can be seen in Emmie Lichtenberg’s film Complicated Order opposite Midori Francis. On television, they have appeared on Hulu’s Planet Sex with Cara Delevingne, ABC’s PRIDE: To Be Seen – A Soul of A Nation, Netflix’s Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness and The Trans List.
Emmy-nominated actress, Adina Porter was born and raised in The South Bronx, to immigrant parents. She always felt a deep desire to entertain. As a child, her parents enrolled her in dance and acting classes while gently steering her toward more conventional occupations. Undeterred, she attended the famed High School for the Performing Arts. Upon graduation from S.U.N.Y. Purchase, Porter embarked on a professional career rooted in the theatre. She built an impressive and extensive stage resume in NYC and in prestigious, regional theater companies, including an Obie Award-winning performance in Venus. Myriad TV guest appearances soon followed. In 2001, Porter made her Broadway debut in The Women.
In 2008, she landed the role of “Lettie Mae Thornton” in HBO’s True Blood. The role was originally conceived as a 4-episode Guest Star. However, the creative team was delighted by the character; Porter spent the following seven seasons on the show. Thanks to wigs, elaborate makeup and contact lenses, “Lettie Mae” looked very different from Adina Porter. This engendered a realization within Porter: she was a chameleon. She went on to work in over 60 television series and 20 feature films, many with altered physical appearances, various accents and distinctly unique roles.
Her breakout performance was arguably “Beverly Hope” in American Horror Story: Cult for which she garnered an Emmy® nomination. Porter has worked in five of the anthology seasons. In addition to FX’s AHS franchise, Porter is known to audiences as “Indra,” from CW’s post-apocalyptic, The 100, “Prioress” in Amazon’s Paper Girls, “Sheriff Peterkin” in the Netflix hit Outer Banks, “The Voice” in The Power, and pivotal roles in Apple TV’s The Morning Show, Aaron Sorkin’s, The Newsroom, HBO’s The Leftovers, Showtime’s Ray Donovan and Sony’s Underground.
Next, Porter will star opposite LaKeith Stanfield in Apple TV’s The Changeling and will appear with Nicole Kidman in The Perfect Couple.
On the big screen, Porter recently appeared alongside Uzo Aduba in Miss Virginia. Additional film credits include: multi award-winning The Social Network, The Last Word, Gia, Wig Shop, The Peacemaker, About Sunny, among others. She will also be seen this year in the Amazon Studios feature Sitting in Bars with Cake.
Porter and her two kids split time between Los Angeles and New York City. She proudly serves as a CARE ambassador and devotes time to Goodwill, Feeding America and the World Central Kitchen. She enjoys swimming and yoga to stay in shape. Porter is a self-proclaimed “news junkie.”