I read we must send our troops and weapons to Egypt, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Africa and now back into Iraq. If we don’t we’re too weak, our national security is threatened, our allies will lose confidence, USA contractors and citizens are at risk and our oil supplies cut off.
Why do we keep trying? U.S. military actions since 9/11 seem to repeat the same mistakes over and over. Who is challenging these calls for military action?
Tom Englehardt for one, a journalist who founded TomDispatch (www.TomDispatch.com) to decry our military actions since 2001 after twenty years as a journalist and editor.
In his blog post A record of unparalled failure, he asks whether our American-style warfare been successful since 911. We’ve been at war in Afghanistan for 13 years, but doesn’t it have a “weak, corrupt central government in a country that once again is planning record opium crops?” Isn’t Iraq a “riven, embattled, dilapidated country … [with] some areas under the control of a group that is more extreme than Al-Queda?”
Instead of stabilizing countries, Englehardt says we destabilize countries. He said, “The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 unleashed a Sunni-Shiite civil war in the region, requiring a surge in troops and an occupation of the country.” Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Syrians, Lebanese have died and some survivors now ruled by new extremist jihadist groups.
Other countries have destabilized where we used our military, including Pakistan with a strengthening inside Pakistan and Libya ripped apart by brutal militias.
Englehardt says our U.S. military has been unable to win the wars demanded of it since WWII. After winning every war since the American Revolution through WWII, the military has been stalemated by wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.
In my opinion we shouldn’t blame the military. Its superiority toppled regimes quickly in Afghanistan and Iraq, but our government foreign policies have been unable to create an enduring peace or democracy afterwards.
We need to admit we don’t know what to do after the shooting temporarily stops because terrorists regroup to reshoot. Until we understand or can cooperate with an effective United Nations we should stop being a world-wide military command post.
Englehardt doesn’t answer arguments justifying military actions to prevent terrorist attacks on our soil. It’s a powerful argument because Afghanistan-based Al Qaeda attacks in 911 jarred our comfort about national security. And hasn’t the U.S. been successful in destroying Al Qaeda’s capability?
Yes the USA has, but not with the military style wars and interventions being asked of us in Ukraine, Libya, and again in Iraq, according to The RAND Corporation, a bi-partisan non-profit organization that provides research to improve public policy and decision-making. RAND published a 2014 report concluding terrorism risks on our soil have declined. (See, www.RAND.org).
Al Qaeda has not had a major terrorist attack in five years. It’s been crippled by intelligence operations that killed and captured leaders, slashed money sources, destroyed schools and training programs in Afghanistan, Yemen and in other countries.
But the numbers of terrorist groups have grown by 58 percent since 2010 according to RAND, because Al Qaeda has evolved by affiliating with regional rebels mostly in the Middle-East and north Africa. Those groups focus on their own regions, such as creating a rogue state in the between Iraq and Syria, or driving out western influence from Africa. They raise money from illegal operations and recruit locally or lure back ex-patriots.
They’ll attack local U.S. facilities and personnel as they did in Benghazi with bombs and small arms that require less training, funding and complex logistics.
RAND concludes they provide little risk to our national security, particularly on our soil. These terrorist organizations need to be continuously monitored, leadership killed, money sources interrupted and training sites destroyed before they become larger threats.
In my mind those actions don’t require USA military wars in regions all over the world.
For me, the military actions we’ve tried haven’t worked and created deadly consequences. Let’s take a breather and rethink a totally new humanitarian approach.