Former CIA bin Laden unit chief Michael Scheuer explains:
For both the individual and the nation, America’s Founders believed, it is necessary to regularly look around and ask why what is being done is being done, this to ensure that genuine interests are being addressed.
It is just as important for the national government to ask itself the “Why are we doing doing what we are doing?” question. There are numbers of the national government’s operations that merit this kind of examination, but none more so – at least in the foreign policy arena – than its ongoing military interventions in Syria and Iraq.
As has been noted here more than once, the Islamic State’s activities in those two nations have irremediably destroyed them, and so neither poses a serious threat to genuine U.S. security interests. Since 2011, moreover, the war there has taken the lives of only the few American civilians who chose to risk their own lives [in] a war zone, and not many more U.S. military lives, the latter lost only because President Obama put U.S. forces back into an already lost and now unwinnable war. The war also has cost U.S. taxpayers a small fortune to arms and train Islamists to fight other Islamists — and then turn on the U.S. military — as well as to arm and train Kurds, who will soon be the cause of the finally crumbling of the Syrian and Iraqi states and the destabilizing of Turkey and Iran.
The truthful answer to this question, if posed by the president to his advisers, would be that what today’s U.S. policy in Iraq and Syria is doing is playing the brain-dead midwife to the birth of utter civil anarchy and sectarian and ethnic civil wars, a mess that is likely to be so broad and bloody that to claim the U.S. government’s now 13-year-old intervention there has advanced any of the abstract causes championed by Obama, the Bushes, and the Clintons – freedom, liberty, women’s rights, secularism, etc. – would be just about the blackest lie that could be told.
Obviously, Mr. Trump, what we are doing in Iraq and Syria is both counter-productive to the genuine national security interests of the United States, and stirring a potential vortex into which another enormous tranche of U.S. taxpayer money will be poured and wasted. If this is not the answer your advisers provide to the above-noted question, get new, adult advisers immediately.
Think about the foregoing, Mr. Trump. Expanded spending and military operations in Iraq and Syria will keep America on the losing end of the stick, and they may well sink your chance to put matters to rights back here at home in the republic.