Tell Us Why We’re At War, President Trump

People speak of Afghanistan as “our generation’s” Vietnam, a quagmire, a war that goes on simply because it has been going on.

The Afghan war is dragging into being our generation’s, and soon the next generation’s Vietnam as well, over a decade and a half old. There are troops deploying now that were two years old when the conflict started. There are fathers and sons deploying together. Bin Laden’s been dead for years.

With a slight break, the current war in Iraq has been ongoing for some 14 years. If you want to think of it in a longer view, Trump is now the fifth consecutive president to make war on that country. Saddam’s been dead for years.

And though of more recent vintage, the war in Syria appears both open-ended in duration and ramping up in U.S. involvement. If Assad died tomorrow, the war would likely only intensify, as the multiple parties in the fight vie to take over after him.

The reason we’re fighting all of these places and more can’t still be “terrorism,” can it? That has sort of been the reason for the past 16 years so you’d think we would have settled that. Regime change? A lot of that has also happened, without much end game, and nobody seems to know if that does or ever did apply in Syria to begin with. America can’t be under threat after all these years, right? I mean, world’s most powerful military and all that.

So maybe it’s time for the current president to tell us why we’re still fighting in all of these wars. Because previous presidents’ track records on explaining to the ever-bloodthirsty American public why we are fighting is poor. Perhaps history has a lesson for us?

  • When I was a kid, successive presidents told us we had to fight in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, because if we didn’t fight them over there, we’d have to fight them on the beaches of California. We believed. It was a lie.

  • I was a teenager during the Cold War, several presidents told us we needed to create massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons, garrison the world, maybe invade Cuba, fight covert wars and use the CIA to overthrow democratically elected governments and replace them with dictators, or the Russians would destroy us. We believed. It was a lie.

  • When I was in college our president told us that we needed to fight in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua or the Sandinistas would come to the United States. He told us Managua was closer to Washington DC than LA was. He told us we needed to fight in Lebanon, Grenada and Libya to protect ourselves. We believed. It was a lie.

  • When I was a little older our president told us how evil Saddam Hussein was, how his soldiers bayoneted babies in Kuwait. He told us Saddam was a threat to America. He told us we needed to invade Panama to oust a dictator to protect America. We believed. It was a lie.

  • Another president told us we had to fight terrorists in Somalia, as well as bomb Iraq, to protect ourselves. We believed. It was a lie.

  • The one after him told us that because a bunch of Saudis from a group loosely tied to Afghanistan attacked us on 9/11, we needed to occupy that country and destroy the Taliban, who had not attacked us. The Taliban are still there 15 years later, ISIS now too, and so is the American military. We believed. It was a lie.

  • After that the same President told us Saddam Hussein threatened every one of our children with weapons of mass destruction, that the smoking gun would be a mushroom cloud, that Saddam was in league with al Qaeda. We believed. It was a lie.

  • In 2011 the president and his secretary of state told us we needed regime change in Libya, to protect us from an evil dictator. We believed. It was a lie.

  • In August 2014 the same president told us we needed to intervene again in Iraq, on a humanitarian mission to save the Yazidis. No boots on the ground, a simple, limited act only the United States could conduct, and then we’d leave. We believed. It was a lie.

  • That same president later told us Americans will need to fight and die in Syria. He says this is necessary to protect us, because if we do not defeat Islamic State over there, they will come here, to what we now call without shame or irony The Homeland. We believed. It was a lie.

So with a new guy in the White House, maybe it’s time to renew the question. Perhaps the media can take a day off from what borders on sexual pleasure gushing over the latest super bomb and ask the president a few simple questions: why are we fighting, what is the goal, when will we get there? Someone should have asked a long time ago, but since no one did, this is as good a time as any.

Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent. Reprinted from the his blog with permission.

  • Bill In Montgomey

    Yes, a key question that is never asked or answered. The “answer” is implied in this piece – we attack and invade and occupy because we are told these places and leaders are a “threat” to America, as well as our “freedoms.” Talk about a bogus assumption. Everyone (or 97 percent) accepts this logic. Still, I don’t think these 97 percent actually think that Iraq, Iran, Syria, whoever is capable of massing a giant navy on our shores and invading our country. Is our “freedom of speech” or “freedom of religion” actually at risk from some actions of Assad or Khaddafi or Saddam? Of course not.

    Another question that needs to be asked: “What, sir, is your definition of a ‘threat to America?’ ” Are these nations really threats?

  • CerebusTV

    Why? War industry.

  • unam_sanctum

    Why do you want him to tell us “why” we’re at war ? It’s just going to be another lie. We’ve been lied to for so many decades that the truth is no longer recognized.

    • BrotherJonah

      Yeah, they’ll lie to us again. Up to the time they become the guests of honor at a torchlight pitchfork parade. Or that possibility of them taking asylum in some country who they didn’t alienate the people thereof. If there is such a state.

      I don’t want a civil war, or as Pete Seeger sang “if a revolution comes to my country” It’s beyond my comfort zone to see my neighbors or family killed or maimed in the ways only war can create. That’s me being as standoffish and not spitting fire all over the place, as I’ll ever get.

      The easiest solution is regime change in America

    • MissV

      The simple truth they lie to protect their insider trading, as well as all their crooked investments. Anyone outside government is seen as an enemy of the government, why do we get charged with insider trading, while the government discusses their stock options in closed door private meetings with their lobbyist?

      Notice who we see running all the military operations going on? Trump is over his head and has turned his job over to the military, due to his own incompetence. Time for impeachment of the whole corrupt government.

      If this is called draining the swamp, I would hate to see how he drains his bathtub.

  • princeps1

    I think everyone here knows who the elephant in the living room is. Problem is, if you try to discuss it, you’ll get banned.

    • Romek

      I assume you are talking about the zionists. Pretty sure I won’t get banned.

      While they are certainly primarily responsible when we’re talking about the middle east, would they really care about all those countries in South America and Asia?

      • princeps1

        I think if there were a country in South American that tried to get rid of its Rothschild affiliated central bank and try to establish a currency system that didn’t require the country to go into debt to a foreign banking cartel, they’d get real interested in said country in a hurry. This is the only specific scenario I can think of. As far as getting banned, I should be keeping score. I only lasted on Breibart an average of a week or so until recently. Longer now since I “privatized” my profile.

      • “I assume you are talking about the zionists. Pretty sure I won’t get banned.”

        Correct. There’s no rule here against criticizing Zionism or Israel.

        Using such criticism as a way to smuggle hatred of Jews in is what gets people banned. And then of course there’s demonstrative wailing and gnashing of teeth, a la Hillary Clinton “the problem isn’t what I DID, it’s that you CAUGHT me.”

      • Romek

        Right, it makes little sense to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Americans jews were actually less likely to support the Iraq war than the general public:

        “Several polls have found that Jews are less likely than the public at large to support military action against Iraq. An aggregate of surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center from August 2002 to February 2003 found 52 percent of Jews in favor of military action, 32 percent opposed and 16 percent uncertain; among all Americans, the polling found 62 percent in favor, 28 percent opposed and 10 percent uncertain.”

        http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/15/world/threats-responses-american-jews-divide-among-jews-leads-silence-iraq-war.html

        Neocon zionism is a massive problem and needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. Ultimately I believe only the American people can stop it, whether through revolution or by other means. And in my opinion, implementing liquid democracy is the best way to stop this and similar abuses of power.

  • JanD

    War as health of the super state. Foreign expansion and soft control as health of the empire. International trade routes opening the roads for all the massive weapon and drug trade, destabilizing societies elsewhere.

    It’s not a bug, it’s the system itself. And changing the system would be a step into the unknown, it would be greeted with more fear than communism ever was or any other revolutionary idea. It would be demonized and belittled more than Trump’s campaign ever was.

    Solutions cannot be deployed at some higher level, as some kind of policy change. They are all riding, speeding trains on one track only! You solve this from the ground up, the hard, long haul. The only other path, as deployed by the lowest of natures, would be some kind of terrorism, to crack the system with bloody pressure for some short term effect. Besides, that seems rarely to work as intended. Evil begets evil.

    Rebuild locally a more sane world. Wise people up. Scale back control.

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  • eglantz2

    A very well written article, very persuasive. Also enjoyed “We Meant Well.” The secret is of course zionist bribery of US politicians and zionist/oligarchy ownership of mass media, which will never be admitted.

    Racism is ugly indeed, but don’t underestimate the percentage of US Jews who are zionist insofar as supporting the fascist ethnic organization upon whose benefits in the US they are largely dependent. It is their racism, not that of their critics, that is the problem. One loves the important exceptions, but there are not many real exceptions, certainly fewer than ten percent.