The right-wing war hawks are revving up again. The usual actors are calling for a “big war plan” against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. Heck even Paul Ryan said that the U.S. military needs to “finish [ISIS] off because we will either fight them here or we will fight them there,” adding that the deployment of ground troops to Syria or Iraq or wherever should not be “off the table.” Not to be outdone, Sen. Lindsey Graham said that President Obama “is becoming derelict in his duties as commander-in-chief to protect our homeland by not aggressively confronting ISIL wherever they reside, including Syria.”
The President has already assigned about 1,000 troops into Iraq as advisors. The right-wing says that isn’t enough and more “boots on the ground” are needed. Of course they complain that we didn’t keep a military presence in Iraq when we pulled our troops out. Of course, they fail to mention that Iraq refused a treaty that would have kept troops there. As a result, we could not keep troops in Iraq because the Iraqi Government told us they didn’t want us there.
When the problems in Syria kicked off, the right-wing was all for bombing and putting troops in Syria to help oust Assad. But, just like in Iraq, they didn’t have an end game for after Assad was kicked out. It was that lack of an end game in Iraq that led to the mess that is occurring there now.
President Obama recently has ordered surveillance planes over Syria to gather intelligence. The war hawk Washington Post editorial board takes that to mean we will soon be shooting in Syria. But, their advice is a little different from Graham’s. The U.S. needs to launch a war on the cross-border Iraq-Syria theater and find partners: “Kurds in Iraq and Syria, Sunni tribal leaders in Iraq, the Iraqi government if it can become more inclusive, what is left of the Free Syrian Army.” That should be real easy to do with a few phone calls. “Aiding them does not require a U.S. invasion,” the editorial continues, “but it will need ‘boots on the ground,’ as Mr. Obama already has acknowledged by sending close to 1,000 special forces back to Iraq. They will be needed for training, to assist in air targeting and perhaps more.” Aren’t “boots on the ground” the same as an invasion?
The White House’s main concern, at this point, doesn’t seem to be about getting involved in Syria — it’s about “how to target the Sunni extremists without helping President Bashar al-Assad,” as the New York Times writes. As we know, you can’t have a nice little war without boots on the ground too. But, there is a big problem with all of this war talk that no one seems to be talking about. How are you going to pay for it?
President Clinton left President George W. Bush a surplus budget. Two wars later we are $17 Trillion in debt mostly due to the cost of the wars that were not paid for. Additionally, we are a war-weary country. Our troops have spent their blood in Iraq and Afghanistan. We know that the VA is a mess and veterans are still having problems getting their benefits including health care and disability ratings so they can get their pensions. Yet, the war hawks are calling for more war across international borders. You know the same kind of borders that they claim Russia is breaking in the Ukraine, which he is.
It is amazing to me how the only “veteran” who is calling for more war is John McCain, and he should know better. Regardless of what you hear from other forums, military personnel are not all gung-ho to go to war. We are the ones who pay the price for war. We would rather be a tool used to prevent war rather than a tool to force it.
I would like to think that all of these war hawks would encourage their own children and/or grandchildren to sign up for the military right now. Maybe, they wouldn’t be so quick to send our troops into another war. How about Sarah Palin telling Bristol she should join up as her patriotic duty? Or Lindsey Graham tell his children or grandchildren to sign up. I say that knowing full well that will never happen. War hawks want a war, they just don’t want their families involved in them.
They like to keep it to the “little people” like us. My father served in WWII and the Korean War. I served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard. My son served in the Marines during the second Iraq War. My grandson is going through the process to enlist in and serve in the Navy. There are a lot of reasons why we have all served. Mostly it is because we love our country. Unfortunately, these war hawks don’t feel the same responsibility to serve their country.
I don’t know if we will be forced to join in a war against ISIS or ISIL whatever they call themselves. But, if we are, it must first be voted on by the full Congress. We must make sure that every single member of Congress either buys into another war or goes on the record against it. And, it must include a way to pay for it! We also must make sure that these veterans will be properly taken care of when the fighting is over. Something that this country has failed miserably at for generations.
It was once said that war is hell. It is! I urge the President to force a vote on this issue in Congress. Even if it is a bombing campaign. There can be no doubt in November who was for and who was against military action in a foreign country. I have no doubt that the men and women in uniform will do their job whatever the outcome of this debate is. It is time for Congress, and especially the war hawks to do theirs first!