Aug 13, 2014
Bulent Gultekin and Neta Crawford on the cost of war
Few disagree that the U.S. as a superpower is fulfilling its responsibility in air strikes targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and airdropping food aid to stranded Yazidi Iraqis persecuted by the group. But some are questioning the overall human, political and social costs of such wars and the resources it takes away from the government, especially in job creation back home.
Wharton finance professor Bulent Gultekin and Boston University professor of political science Neta Crawford discussed the wisdom of the latest U.S. moves in Iraq on the Knowledge@Wharton show on Wharton Business Radio on SiriusXM channel 111. Gultekin said the U.S. must choose its battles wisely and called for an international consensus on such actions, while Crawford highlighted the cost impact of wars, especially in job creation, among other aspects. (Listen to the podcast at the top of this page.)
The response from the international community has been mixed to the U.S. actions. The United Kingdom has decided to join forces and send ground attack aircraft for reconnaissance missions, but it has not extended that to conducting air attacks. Australia will send food aid to the Yazidis, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott has not ruled out sending ground forces to northern Iraq, according to The Australian newspaper. U.S. military aircraft have so far delivered more than 85,000 meals and 20,000 gallons of drinking water to the Yazidis, according to a press release by the U.S. Central Command. On Tuesday, the U.S. sent an additional 130 troops to Iraq to assess the scope of the crisis.
“As a large economy and the leader of the Western world, the U.S. does have responsibilities — that comes with the territory,” Gultekin noted during his radio interview. At the same time, he argued that the U.S. erred in attacking Iraq in the first place in 2003. It botched that endeavor by not building sufficient international consensus to back its actions that eventually led to Iraq becoming “a failed state,” Gultekin added.