The United States should not send more troops to Afghanistan because the unending war is antithetical to President Trump’s “America First” policy.
That’s what a growing chorus of foreign policy experts are saying about the 16-year war in the Middle East that has cost 2,400 American lives and set taxpayers back more than $1 trillion.
The grumbling is increasing as Defense Secretary James Mattis, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are pushing the president to deploy more U.S. troops to Afghanistan just three years after we transferred security responsibility to the Afghans.
The lone voice of reason may be Steve Bannon, the White House’s controversial chief political strategist, whose non-interventionist stance has put him at odds with some globalist members of the Trump administration.
But Bannon is right to stand firm. That’s what Daniel DePetris, a fellow at the national-security think tank Defense Priorities, wrote in an impassioned Reuters commentary:
After more than 15 years of combat, the spending of hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money, and the ultimate sacrifice of nearly 2,400 U.S. troops, it’s tragic that more officials in Washington can’t see the war as it is: a chaotic environment full of false hopes, unrealistic promises, and an American inability to come to grips with the impossibility of creating a safe, democratic, and prosperous nation in a country where corruption, violence and patronage determine who wins and who loses.
Basically, DePetris said Bannon and other “America-First” advocates understand that the United States gains nothing by sending our troops in harm’s way to nation-build in a hopelessly corrupt region that will never embrace a democratic way of life:
The men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces have been fighting and dying in Afghanistan to this very day – with little sustainable, strategic success to show for it.
It’s a policy failure, not a military failure. And as the U.S. should have learned already through two troop surges – the first of which took place in 2007 and the second in 2010-2011 – a policy failure cannot be solved with a few more troops.
The U.S. originally invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to dismantle the Taliban government, which had provided a safe haven to Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.
But bin Laden is dead, and the Taliban now controls more territory than before our invasion. So what was the point? Sending another 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers there won’t do much except cost more American lives and send more taxpayer money down the drain.
At this point, it’s unclear if the president will follow the advice of Mattis, McMaster and Tillerson to send more troops to Afghanistan.
But most Trump loyalists want him to stay true to his promise to put America First and rebuild the economy, take care of our crumbling infrastructure, enforce our borders, and ensure national security. Afghanistan and the Middle East should take care of themselves for a change.
Isn’t 16 years of war, a trillion dollars, and 2,400 fallen U.S. soldiers enough?
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