We need to pull our troops out of Afghanistan and take a completely different approach to the Middle East.
Four thousand, four hundred and eighty six American soldiers were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2012. Plus there were approximately 174,000 civilian and combatant deaths. These are horrendous numbers of death not counting the thousands who are still trying to recuperate physically and mentally from Iraq.
News of hard won Fallujah being recaptured to Al Qaeda linked forces touches the nerve of service members who fought there. The average American watching the news shakes his head at the hardships of the Iraqi people. Tragedy is written everywhere. We know about the death of our children and parents and soldiers maimed for life as they stepped on explosive mines. We have seen the news clips of a country and people ravaged by war.
We left Iraq celebrating about the good we did. We claimed victory in helping Iraq progress to a better government and a safer place to live. We turned our attention to Afghanistan and for a moment we listened to our President say, "Osama bin Laden is dead and the Taliban is on the run." That sounded good but soon wore off. Recent months of Iraq and Afghanistan terrorist activity only underscores they didn't run too far. They have hidden in the rocks and caves of those Middle East countries resurfacing to fight even though the war might kill their own fathers, wives, mothers and children. They do not care.
Our political leaders have decided to keep our military presence in Afghanistan for at least another ten years. You can count on it being longer. Many government leaders will now wish we had stayed in Iraq and we will be back there supplying weapons and military leadership. And what about Syria? It's a miracle we don't have 50,000 soldiers in Syria. The pressure to aid Syria has been phenomenal. They are truly a devastated country that needs help.
The big problem is we are going to crash in America trying to police the world. Egypt, Iran and Yemen are other hot spots of severe concern. How far can we go?
It's time to pull our troops out of Afghanistan and take a more realistic approach to the Middle East. We can supply military leadership and organizers along with weapons, supplies and food better than we can send fifty to a hundred thousand soldiers in each country. By the way, each of these countries is wealthy in oil. They can afford to pay us for our help even if it takes them fifty years. And then we can try to repay China for all the money we've borrowed from them.
He is the author of American Issues and numerous other books.