Iraq & Syria: How does this end?
America is about to start yet ANOTHER war to stop terrorism. But, we’ve been invading, bombing, cruise missiling, and droning countries for decades, and terrorism hasn’t gone away. Congress and the President need to stop and think — how does this end?
The simple answer is that it doesn’t. President Bush’s so-called War on Terror seems likely to continue to the end of President Obama’s term and beyond. America no longer ends the wars it starts, whether literal wars or figurative ones. There’s too much money at stake. Whether it’s Halliburton selling supplies, or Lockheed Martin’s over-budget, dysfunctional F-35, those who make money off foreign wars are not content to just let them end.
Perpetual war doesn’t make the world safer. It breeds extremism and terrorism abroad, while costing trillions of dollars back home. But, it also puts the American psyche permanently on a wartime footing. So it’s not surprising that we’re arming our police for war, even when they’re facing peaceful protests. It’s no wonder that another famous “war”, the so-called War on Drugs keeps raging in the face of all the evidence that it is not working.
Arming “moderate” groups, while bombing “extremist” groups hasn’t working out well for us either, but that’s not stopping the House of Representatives from endorsing President Obama’s plan to do just that.
No one is saying that ISIS or Al Qaeda or any other extremist organizations are a bunch of nice guys, or that they wouldn’t deserve all the terrible things the US military could do to them. The problem is that we’ve been kicking terrorist ass over the world, but in doing so, we’re not pausing for a moment to consider the unintended consequences.
In the 1980s, we decided that the enemy of our enemy, the Soviet Union, would make great friends. We handed off hundreds of millions of dollars to arm and train the Mujahideen fighters of Afghanistan. We did not fully understand who these fighters were, nor did we fully appreciate or seemed to care about the radical social policies they would enact if they won, so long as they could be a pain in the side of the “evil empire.”
The problem was that those same fighters included Osama Bin Laden, and future members of the Taliban. They famously attacked the American homeland in 2001, but were also implicated in several preceding attacks all over the world. This lead to our own invasion of Afghanistan, where we’re still fighting rebel elements as well as launching attacks into neighboring Pakistan. Our policy of drone strikes in the region are undoubtedly creating new terrorists. Victims of drone strikes are often innocent children, not bad guys, and you can hardly blame them for hating America when the first time they heard about our country was because their neighbor’s house had been destroyed by our military.
That whole litany of killing and more killing can be traced to previous leaders’ reluctance to consider the results of their actions. Now, the President and Congress are planning to do the same thing in Syria and Iraq. This time, do you think our military action and the arming of militants will have a different outcome? How does this end?