Back in October when Trump referenced the same $6 trillion figure, Politifact rated it a ‘half-truth.’ According to the fact-checker, Trump was “confusing money that’s been spent with money that researchers say will be spent.” However, they did acknowledge that he was “citing the high-end estimate of credible analyses of spending associated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Whether the actual costs totaled $4 trillion, $5 trillion, or $6 trillion, the point is we’re talking in trillions. That’s an astronomical amount of money that most people can’t fathom.
And what has been the U.S.’s return on this massive investment? Have we finally achieved lasting peace in that region through nation-building? Has terrorism all but disappeared thanks to our intervention? Can Americans travel freely to the Middle East – particularly Iraq – to enjoy its culture, its cuisine, and its people? Like this?
As Trump said in his address to the nation’s governors, things have gotten much worse. “We’ve gotten nowhere,” he said. “Actually, if you think about it, we’re less than nowhere.”
He added, “The Middle East is far worse than it was 16, 17 years ago. There’s not even a contest.”
So, what’s the solution? “We either have to win or don’t fight it at all,” the President stated. I must say, I much prefer the latter. Our meddling in that region over the past few decades has only created what Trump described as a “hornet’s nest.” There’s no winning that.
This is at odds of course with the war wing of the Republican Party, led mostly by Senator John McCain. It wasn’t that long ago that McCain was the Republicans’ nominee for President, and he won on an extremely pro-indefinite war platform. I remember if anyone criticized McCain for his lust for never-ending war, that person was said to “hate America.”
This isn’t about “hating America.” This is about being critical of corrupt politicians and corporations, and unelected bureaucrats in the upper echelons of the country’s leadership and in the countries of the entire Western world and their allies. Being critical of them is not “hating America.” They’re the ones who don’t care about their own country. They care for their own personal interest, and their own power and prestige, at the expense of American people and the soldiers who fight for them.
Now, for the first time in a long time, we have a President who’s speaking out against our traditional foreign policy of constant intervention. I know Obama won on somewhat of an anti-war platform, but once he got into office, nothing really changed. The wars continued. The drone strikes picked up. And the staunch “anti-war” left all but disappeared.
I really hope President Trump acknowledges that this ‘war’ that the U.S. is fighting – whether it’s actually over oil access or just part of a geo-political chess game where the U.S. attempts to gain total control of that region – is unwinnable.