Among the Shia volunteers on whose side we would be fighting are the Mahdi Army we fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Many have blood debts to collect from U.S. soldiers.
Ayatollah Khamenei says that while he might welcome the use of U.S. air power against ISIS, he does not want U.S. troops to return to Baghdad or the Shia south. Is the U.S. Air Force going to become the Condor Legion of the Ayatollah Khamenei?
Assume that we intervened massively, led the Iraq army back into the Sunni north and west, and helped it to recapture Mosul and the border posts. How many U.S. troops would we have to leave behind in Iraq to prevent a future Shia regime from losing its Sunni provinces a third time?
The Iraqi army that we trained at a cost of $25 billion and left behind in 2011 folded like a house of cards.
How many times must we do this? And if we defeat ISIS, would not these jihadists simply retreat into the Syrian territories they now occupy, as their privileged sanctuary, to come back and fight another day?
Who wants U.S. troops back in Iraq? The American people do not. Congress does not. Tehran does not. The Shia extremists do not. The Sunnis do not. And ISIS does not.
We would be fighting in a war with enemies in all directions.
Yet, is there not a danger that terrorists could use the ISIS-dominated region of Iraq and Syria to plot attacks on us?
Surely. But that would be a far greater threat to Turkey and Bashar Assad's Syria, and the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia, than to us.
Let them do the fighting this time. After all, it is their backyard, not ours.
And as we saw on 9/11 and at Ford Hood, Muslim fanatics who want to kill Americans do not need safe havens in Tora Bora to plot and prepare. They can do that in Northern Virginia and Delray Beach.
Rand Paul is right. If Barack Obama wants to take us into a new war, with air attacks and drone strikes, or with ground troops, he has a constitutional duty to get Congress to authorize that war.
And if Congress does authorize a new war, at least the voters will know whom to be rid of this November.