America’s never-ending war

By: Leo Schenk – Columnist, Junior

On Thursday, Oct. 22, the Pentagon confirmed the first American casualty in the renewed fight in the Middle East. Five days later, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter stated that the United States will begin direct action on the ground against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria, according to NBC. This, no more than eight months after President Obama stated there would be no U.S. troops on the ground in the fight against this terrorist group.

America has contributed troops to the Middle East again—less than a decade after removing them. Though, this is really just the latest in a series of broken promises made by the military and the government to the American people about so-called “Mission Creep,” and without troops from our NATO allies.

The beginning of this whole story actually had a positive outlook, as it stemmed from the coalition of the Gulf War, and many were hailing it as a new method of fighting war in the world. To see this, one must look back to the early ’90s, when H.W. Bush used his international influence to put together a coalition with broad U.N. Security Council support. The coalition knocked Iraq out of Kuwait, but did not continue on to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

Then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney defended this decision, stating that if we removed Saddam from power, “there would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq.” He claimed, as his generals had informed him, the entrance of the United States into a quagmire in Iraq would last 30 years—at least. This is a good argument, which brings up the point that the United States did just that.

IraqUS relations graphic online

Since the U.S. military removed Saddam from power, the prediction of the action’s after-effects have come true. The U.S. had to stay as an occupying force for years, then when President Obama came into office and finished the process of removing troops begun by his predecessor, the whole situation fell apart. This could be due, in part, to the situation in neighboring Syria, but it’s just as reasonable to place the blame for the situation on the American war in Iraq, making refugees and war-hardened soldiers plentiful across the region—especially lending credence with the fact that the new government in Iraq lasted less than three years before losing a third of its territory to the former al-Qaida affiliate we now know as ISIS.

The last two years have forced us to look down at the path on which we are treading. The government of Iraq is incapable of functioning without outside military assistance. The government has given the president wartime rights and suspended our writ of habeas corpus, suspending a person in custody’s right to be brought before a court, with the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. The Air Force yet again convinced the American people that they could do far more than they would ever be capable of, while the government was left hoping and praying for it to leave a devastating blow to the forces of ISIS.

Meanwhile, as ISIS has not been getting any weaker, geopolitical rivals such as Russia and Iran have been flexing their muscles with their own militaries and paramilitaries in Iraq and Syria. Now, instead of thinking they have abandoned the region to their rivals, the government has reopened the longest theater of war in the country’s history only to lose more American lives and bring about the potential for a great power war to be started.

The United States has been at war with nothing for long enough. I think that there are significantly better options to do with our lives and our money as a nation. It is time to stop this endless War on Terror, for the sake of our lives and liberties.

Graphic by Online Editor-in-Chief Amanda Dee.