The Age of Trump has pulled the scales from my eyes regarding US foreign policy related to the Middle East. We have been continuously at war since 9/11/01 at various times in multiple countries. To be honest, my initial gut response to Bush 43’s decision to take out Saddam Hussein after the 9/11 attacks was, “What?” Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda weren’t in Iraq; they were in Tora Bora and other parts of Afghanistan and surrounding areas. But as a “good Republican,” I went along with the political decision and then watched the debacle that ensued when half-measures were used for political purposes, a quagmire resulted, and no mission success or exit criteria were ever clearly communicated to the American people.
I wonder how many troop rotations there have been over the past 18 years? And to what end and for what purpose? Nation-building is a farce; it’s impossible to create Western-style democracies in countries with histories of 100% authoritarianism! We’ve tried that globalist fool’s errand for nearly 20 years now, and at what cost in American lives and treasure? So that’s definitely out.
The US is now the world’s #1 producer of oil and gas, and in a few short months, the US will achieve net energy independence, as reported here, so the need to keep Middle East supplies flowing is a secondary concern – but is a REAL concern for the Europeans and others. Let them take the baton from the US and step up. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Since 9/11, the US has “invested” an incredible amount of blood and treasure in the region. Approximately 7,000 U.S. servicemen and women have died during “Global War on Terrorism” operations (Obama remained it as “Overseas Contingency Operations.”) Approximately 53,000 more have been wounded. And those numbers don’t include the approximately 3,400 civilian contractor personnel killed and around 39,000 injured. Of all those injured, nearly 1,700 have lost at least one arm or leg. And those people would have likely bled out in prior wars, as modern battlefield medical procedures undoubtedly saved their lives.
There are other human costs. According to the Veterans Administration, approximately 11 to 20 out of every 100 veterans who served in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) have suffered PTSD in a given year. The total is over 30,000 people with PTSD. The VA also reports that 20 veterans die by suicide every day. And the human costs don’t stop there. Taking care of widows and orphans, the strain on families during extended and multiple repeat deployments, broken families, childhood trauma for the survivors’ children, etc., are the continuing tragedies experienced by your fellow Americans each and every day.
What about the “treasure” part of the equation? Here are some statistics from an April 2019 Congressional Research Service report:
- $1.55 trillion appropriated for DoD war costs since 2002
- $44.8 billion appropriated to non-DOD agencies (and civilians) since 2002 for reconstruction and relief operations in Afghanistan
- $10 billion allocated to non-DOD agencies for Iraqi reconstruction and relief
- DoD’s FY20 budget requests GWOT/OCO:
- Direct War Requirements ($25.4 billion)
- OCO for Enduring Requirements ($41.3 billion)
- OCO for Base Requirements ($97.9 billion)
- Emergency Requirements ($9.2 billion)
Read the entire CRS report for more details here. Imagine that money being spent on crumbling inner cities in America.
And we STILL have people all over the Middle East with no end in sight! Here are some force dispositions from among the between 60,000 and 70,000 U.S. troops currently deployed to the region:
- Afghanistan: 14,000
- Bahrain: 7,000
- Iraq: 5,200
- Jordan: 2,795
- Kuwait: 13,000
- Oman: 300
- Qatar: 13,000
- Syria: 2,000
- United Arab Emirates: 5,000
See the rest of the open-source details about US troop deployments to the Middle East here.
I say again, what are the mission success and exit criteria? Are these losses of American blood and treasure to continue ad infinitum? I would argue that our priorities are greatly misplaced – and have been for decades. The Middle East has been at war with itself virtually throughout recorded human history – and will remain involved in factional, religious, and racial wars long after the US leaves, too.
The Middle East is not an existential crisis for America. China, Russia, and – the open southern US border – are the real existential threats to the US. Yes, the US-Mexico border qualifies BIGLY.
Enough of the Democrat nonsense that the border crisis is “manufactured”! The President has been right about the border crisis all along and will declare the Mexican cartels to be “terrorist organizations.” The former DEA agent who caught El Chapo agrees wholeheartedly:
The former head of the Chicago DEA, who spent years fighting the Mexican drug cartels and brought down the infamous drug lord “El Chapo,” said he “applauds” President Trump for pushing to designate the cartels as terrorist organizations.
“The president is showing real leadership if he can get that done,” former DEA agent Jack Riley told Fox News. “There are so many people inside and outside of Congress, the pundits, that will be against it. But this is exactly what is necessary. We have the tools. This would be a game-changer.”
Read the rest here.
Illegal drugs continue to pour across the border. I have covered the Mexican cartels and their involvement in the flow of Chinese-produced fentanyl across the Mexican border in detail here. Human trafficking remains unchecked. Illegal aliens of all persuasions, including bona fide terrorists, continue to freely enter the US in the absence of an impervious physical barrier and strict enforcement of standing immigration laws.
The increased incidence of disease introduced by illegal aliens is through the roof. The cost to US taxpayers to pay for services for illegal aliens is exorbitant. It’s clear that a serious and real national security threat to the US is right on our southern border! I mean, how many more mass graves need to be discovered along the border or Americans killed by illegal aliens before sufficient moral outrage can be converted into political action? Here’s the latest grisly discovery.
I have covered the costs of illegal immigration in terms of crimes committed, law enforcement costs, and taxpayer-funded services rendered here. Enough is enough! Time to stop this open-borders insanity once and for all.
Enough of the combat training rotations to the Middle East! It’s long past time to hand off the combat force and security requirements in the Middle East to our allies in the region, as well as to the European Union, and redeploy US forces to the US-Mexico border. Use them as dispersed Rapid Reaction Forces to surge forward and support the Border Patrol and law enforcement efforts to help deal with large groups of illegals attempting to cross over and also to nail heavily-armed cartel assets, as appropriate.
The US should continue to provide command and control (C2), intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance (ISR) and logistics support to our allies in the Middle East, but draw down combat power drastically. A redeployment along the southern border with Mexico would help create a de facto wall of military force until the physical wall is completed. What better way to defend America than to shut down the invasion across our own southern border?
There are other benefits that would result besides shutting down the flow of drugs, illegal aliens, and human victims across the border. The monetary savings could be reprogrammed to revitalize US infrastructure or inner cities and/or replenish and modernize military hardware. And the human costs would be greatly diminished, too: far fewer deaths and injuries/amputations, less PTSD, reduced family separation, etc.
One would think that the benefits of closing the border would be obvious, but not to Democrats who only see new Democrat voters in the invading horde. House Democrats have shown us what their priorities are in terms of border security:
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has voted to fund efforts to “enhance the border security” of Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia while moving to deny all funding to build walls, fencing or any other structures to enhance the border security of the United States. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her lieutenants have their priorities. To them, borders on the other side of the world are more important than our own.
Read the rest here. Apparently not enough of them or their families have suffered from crimes committed by illegal aliens or fallen to opioids in order to have reality smack them upside the head and do the right thing. Fortunately, more and more Americans see through their anti-American perfidy and realize that they really don’t care about the safety and security of their constituents.
George Washington in his farewell address in 1796 warned Americans to “steer clear of foreign entanglements.” That would include seeming endless foreign wars in the Middle East on others’ behalf, too. I agree wholeheartedly, and I believe President Trump does, as well. And he’s bucking the Uniparty and moribund US foreign policy establishment in that regard, who are all in on foreign entanglements and the gravy train of nation-building expenditures that can be siphoned off into corrupt enterprises and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Time to stanch the loss of blood and treasure. Time to get out of the Middle East and shut down the US-Mexico border!
PostScript. Do you think that deploying the military to the border area is overkill? Here is one example of heavily-armed cartel sicarios operating with impunity there. It’s high time that they were met with overwhelming firepower – and resolve!
Armed cartel members escorting migrants into the US where no wall exists. Migrants = Cartel cash cow. @RealCandaceO @DonaldJTrumpJr @DeplorableChoir @fleccas @the_typical_lib @FogCityMidge @PeteHegseth @cnnbrk @kimguilfoyle @KatTimpf @Education4Libs pic.twitter.com/H0FqgYljJb
— Brian Kolfage (@BrianKolfage) November 25, 2019
And here is the latest travesty in which 21 people were killed over the weekend in a gun battle near the Texas border:
At least 14 killed in Gun battle with the Mexican drug cartel near the Texas border. pic.twitter.com/14qgfJWCw1
— The Dirty Truth (Josh) (@AKA_RealDirty) December 1, 2019
This was an attack by what appears to have been a small cartel army on the town of Villa Union, Mexico. A force of armored vehicles rolled into town and attacked city government facilities. It’s not exactly clear why they chose to do this, but there doesn’t appear to be much doubt about who did it. The guys (Cartel Del Noreste; “CDN”) had their letters on the vehicles.