President Donald Trump has promised on more than one occasion to get the United States out of “endless wars.” He has railed against our unnecessary entanglements in military conflicts overseas. So why are our soldiers still in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq? When will the president make good on what he promised?
Despite being a vocal critic of the war in Iraq, the United States recently sent 5,000 more American troops to the region in the wake of the airstrike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Those supporting the action claim it was necessary to deal with potential blowback from the assault. It makes sense given the fact that we just learned that troops were wounded in the retaliatory missile strikes launched by Tehran.
But what if they weren’t there in the first place? Yes, Soleimani was an evil bastard who deserved his fate. But he wouldn’t have been able to target U.S. troops if Trump had pulled them out. Moreover, the Iraqi people have made it abundantly clear that they do not want our soldiers there any longer. So why stay?
What about Afghanistan? We invaded the country 19 years ago shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This made sense given the fact that Osama Bin Laden conducted his operations under the protection of the Taliban. For all intents and purposes, Al Qaeda’s networks have been shattered. There is not much of a chance of completely annihilating the Taliban or affecting positive change in the country. So maybe it’s time to go?
What of Syria? After President Trump took office, he launched a comprehensive campaign against the Islamic State, pushing them out of the territory they conquered. Now, the group is on its last legs, with Russia, Iran, Iraq, and others working to prevent their re-emergence. So what exactly are we still doing there?
Apparently, I’m not the only one who sees no reason for our continued involvement in these countries. Last year, a Rasmussen Poll found that 58% of Americans agreed with Trump’s statement: “It is time for us to get out of these ridiculous endless wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. We will fight where it is to our benefit, and only fight to win.”
But even more than that, our soldiers seem to have grown weary of the endless conflicts. A Pew poll revealed that 64% of U.S. soldiers stated that the war in Iraq is no longer worth fighting. When it comes to Afghanistan, 58% of participants believed there was no reason to keeping fighting. The conflict in Syria yielded similar results with 55% of soldiers expressing a negative view of America’s involvement in the region.
Both President Obama and Trump promised to withdraw our troops from Syria and Afghanistan. So far, Trump’s promises have been about as empty as Obama’s. With no discernible reason for our soldiers to put their lives on the line, one has to wonder: “Why won’t Trump do what he said he would do?”
Perhaps Trump believes he can still be re-elected despite breaking his promise. He may be right. While most wish to see the United States withdraw from these wars, they are not likely to vote for a socialist candidate to achieve this goal.
But if he does not follow through, or at least begin the process of closing out this chapter in American history, it will be a well-deserved stain on his legacy. The U.S. has already lost thousands of soldiers in these wars. How many more do we have to lose before we end these “endless wars?”
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Follow me on Twitter: @JeffOnTheRight