As bombs fall over Iraq, old emotions rise in US
Pausing at the Iowa State Fair, Doyle Ellis of New Virginia, Iowa, said he thinks the airstrikes are the right move but will draw America back into Iraq for several more years. Yet the 61-year-old post office employee is conflicted: "Sometimes I feel like we shouldn't be over there."
"I don't think that we should be running their country," echoed Kevin Meyers, 42, an unemployed roofer who was pausing near the World War II memorial in Phoenix.
However, he added, "Being the United States of America, we've always stepped in when people are not being treated fairly. I think we do have a responsibility, especially since the Christian minority is being target by the extremists."
Chris Turpen of Chandler, Arizona, a 45-year-old architectural project manager, also sees a U.S. responsibility to Iraq. That troubles him.
"Once you break it, you own it. But it's a war that will never be won," Turpen said.
The Islamic State fighters are fanatics who "will never go away," he said. "Don't get me wrong, we should kill every one of them, but we'll never get there. These are people that just hate America."
He thinks that Obama "had to go back in." The president has promised not to send ground troops, but Turpen would not mind if that happened.
"It's a classic example of choosing the wrong that's more right," he said.
For Hashim Al-Tawil, an artist, professor and chairman of the art history department at Henry Ford College in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, it's difficult to see anything being done right in his homeland of Iraq.
He would like to see "an end to this group" of invading militants because they don't represent Islam, Iraqis or a good, modern form of government. But he's not sure the airstrikes will be effective.
"Chaos is all over Iraq — south, north and the center," Al-Tawil said. "What's happening today is just a small, additional sequence of that whole chaos."
He said the larger solution is for the U.S. and European nations to change their entire approach to supporting or destroying Arab regimes.
"In Iraq, there was a solid state. It was a dictatorship, that's for sure, but so is every country in that region," he said. "At least there was a country."
"Now there is no country," Al-Tawil said.
Associated Press journalists Matt Hamilton in Los Angeles; Jeff Karoub in Detroit; Emaun Kashfi in Phoenix; Jonathan Lemire in New York; Melissa Nelson in Pensacola, Florida; Catherine Lucey in Des Moines, Iowa; and Brock Vergakis in Norfolk, Virginia, contributed to this story.