Obama Extends The Longest War in U.S. History. Here’s How to End It

Share

Last week, President Obama was forced to reluctantly concede that the War in Afghanistan was not going to end on his watch as hoped. One of his first acts upon entering office in 2009 was to send an additional 30,000 troops into Afghanistan (Side note: Republicans blame the continued fighting in Iraq on President Obama withdrawing our troops. So what’s their excuse for the continued violence in Afghanistan?) In 2011, the war looked much closer to being over as U.S. forces located and killed Osama bin Laden in neighboring Pakistan. I argued at the time that we should have then “declared victory” and came home (I said the same thing about Iraq after Saddam was found in late 2003). It was clear there was nothing more to be gained in Afghanistan, and the U.S. could have exited the region with the powerful message that “if you hurt us, we won’t rest until you’ve been brought to justice.” But we didn’t. Instead, we allowed Conservatives to drive the debate, arguing that the war would not be over until we had “crushed” OBL’s enabler’s: The Taliban and somehow ensured they could never return to power. How exactly would one go about doing that? And how would you know when you were done? It was a dubious unattainable goal set by the NeoConservative war hawks in Washington and their friends in the defense industry. The result? The war in Afghanistan is now in it’s 15th year with no end in sight. Bin Laden is gone but ISIS has moved in to take his place, enabled by the destabilization of the entire region. And what is the only “solution” under consideration? Staying longer and possibly sending in even more troops… ie: putting out a fire with gasoline.

In 1781, the British Army surrendered to the colonists in Yorktown, VA. ending the 6 year long Revolutionary War. British government soldiers a long way from home fighting an undisciplined army of locals with the home-field advantage. The foreign military lost only to return 31 years later for a rematch in 1812. Again the foreign invaders lost.

In 1939, Hitler’s Third Reich invaded Poland on their way to Russia, starting World War II. After attempting to invade nation after nation, Germany ended up surrendering 6 years later in 1945, followed by Japan, whom also attacked first, surrendering four months after that.

Then came Korea, the first war with US in the role of foreign invader. That war ended in stalemate after 2-1/2 years in 1953.

Vietnam began as a minor French offensive in 1955, but our involvement didn’t explode until after the assassination of President Kennedy when a suspicious President Johnson turned it into a proxy war against the Soviet Union (whom he suspected of orchestrating JFK’s murder). America’s heavy involvement in Vietnam lasted 11 years from mid-1964 to mid-1975. Part of the reason the war went on so long? No one wanted to be the first president to “lose” a war. The goal was no longer clear, yet the war went on for years more despite President Nixon conceding it was unwinnable. Eventually the war was abandoned as America became consumed by Watergate.

After the attacks on September 11, 2001, it was another month before we took action as the Bush Administration was forced to suspend their plan to invade Iraq and create a plan to respond to 9/11. That “plan” entailed invading Afghanistan and capturing Osama bin Laden. When American forces had cornered OBL in the mountains of Tora Bora, the army only surrounded him on three sides. OBL escaped, and, looking for a “win”, the Bush Administration decided to turn it’s attention back to Iraq rather than finish the war in Afghanistan. After dropping the ball so catastrophically on 9/11, the Bush Administration thought it could use the excuse of preventing “the NEXT big attack” as justification for invading Iraq. So now, we were fighting TWO wars on foreign soil with the U.S. in the role of “invader”. But the whole thing blew up in their face, and the Bush Administration found themselves mired in TWO wars with no exit strategy. As Iraq devolved into chaos, by late 2006 (sites like “IraqBodyCount.com” would report over 100 U.S. troop deaths a day for months), the decision to send in 20,000 reinforcements into Iraq in 2007 brought the death toll back down to a dull roar. But it didn’t last. alQaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (“AQAP”)… also known as “alQaeda in Iraq”… moved into neighboring Syria, now in civil war, to help the rebels overthrow President Assad, where they continued to grow. The new Shia government in Iraq made life miserable for the Sunni’s (of which ISIS belonged), denying them employment or even representation in government, so AQAP returned as “ISIS” to take back what was once theirs. And once again, just as in Vietnam, no one wants to be the president that “lost the war.” With no change in strategy, the war goes on forever.

Insert definition of “insanity” here.

It’s a topic I’ve returned to again & again this past year: The wars in Afghanistan & Iraq (and now Syria) will continue as long as our only strategy for fighting them continues unchanged as well. These are untraditional wars. They require an untraditional solution.

Be it Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan or even the United States, people want just ONE THING: A better life. For FAR less money, all of our wars in the Middle East could be brought to an end if we sent in engineers instead of bombardiers. Tractors instead of tanks. Hire local housing contractors instead of flying in thousands of military contractors from Halliburton or Black Water to act as mercenaries. People just want a better life, and they are going to embrace & defend those who are making their lives BETTER by building roads and schools and hospitals and a working power grid.

Do you know that the largest country in South America… Brazil… speaks Portuguese not Spanish? With all the Spanish Conquistadors all over The New World, why did the largest South American nation adopt the language of tiny Portugal? Because while Spain sent conquerors, Portugal sent merchants looking for TRADE. The Brazilian locals willingly learned the Portuguese language so that they could conduct trade with the Portuguese merchant sailors rather than adopt the language of the people that came to conquer them.

And because of that, 500 years later, the largest nation in South America speaks Portuguese while everyone else speaks Spanish. There’s a lesson to be learned there.

If we help the locals build a better life, just how long do you think they’ll tolerate groups like ISIS or alQaeda coming in and blowing things up? Locals who were once taking up arms and joining ISIS to fight the American invaders making their lives miserable are suddenly more apt to defend the people there making their lives better. Instead of breeding enemies plotting the next 9/11, we create friends seeking to replicate us and bring Democracy to their country. The end to the wars may finaly be within sight once we turn former enemies into friends. And that “magical flourishing spread of Democracy across the Middle East” that George Bush thought he could achieve at the barrel of a gun might actually take root once we put down the weapons and start making lives better instead of worse.

Oh… and besides being multitudes cheaper than what we’re doing now, shortening the length of the war would save us Trillions as well. Not creating any more disabled vets will save us Billions. The reduction in global instability would reduce the threat to us here at home, saving us still more money. Military contractors can still reap their rewards if they shift from building weapons of war to building infrastructure… both abroad and here at home. And the cost burden won’t be 100% on us anymore as other nations would gladly hire former military contractors to come in to rebuild infrastructure.

The wars are finally brought to an end, we save Billions (Trillions?) of dollars and tens of thousands of lives, we create lifelong friends instead of lifelong enemies looking to do us harm, military contractors make out like bandits providing infrastructure rebuilding services here at home and abroad… talk about a WIN/WIN/WIN. All it takes is political will and a president who won’t allow themselves to be bullied by the same clueless warmongers whose policies have led to America’s longest war in history with no end in site.
 

NOTE: I updated the site last week, adding a “Search” function (upper right column) so that you may now search through our entire eight year collection of past Op/Eds.

 


Writers Wanted Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

 
Share

October 19, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Infrastructure, Middle East, National Security, Seems Obvious to Me, Terrorism, War