- /Over Four Thousand United States
Over Four Thousand United States
Over four thousand United States soldier have been killed in Iraq alone
chasing an unattainable goal (Goodman). The majority of US citizens do not even support the wars that cause these deaths but they have continued for decades. The United States has been involved in the Middle East’s affairs ever since World War Two, yet not much has changed since the Camp David Accord (Pierre). Middle Eastern war has become so trivial in the U.S. that the conversation has turned from if we should involved to how we should be involved. No matter what America does the Arab world will still resent the West, the area will still a hotbed for terrorism, and the regimes in control of the countries we try to rebuild will remain weak. In the past it may have made sense to occupy territory in the Middle East but in recent years this has not been true. It is time for America to cut its losses and stop trying to fix the problems caused by European Countries. If European Imperialism originated the problems it should be left up to Europe to fix them. The U.N., with American backing, has all the power necessary to accomplish this goal.
The entire Middle East region needed to have its borders formed due to the
collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War One. The plan drawn up by the English and French was drawn up too hastily due to the post World War One turmoil. Francois Georges-Picot and Mark Sykes’ plan divided the territory into two areas to be controlled by the British and French. Britain was in control of Iraq, Transjordan, and Palestine. France was in control of Syria and Lebanon. This was decided with no input from the Arab people, and it broke the promise the British made; if the people would be given independence if they rebelled against the Ottoman Empire. This prompted the countries to form nationalistic governments to push out foreign influences. The borders drawn failed to factor in tribal lines, but this problem went away due to rising nationalism and the use of violence (Osman).
The Cold War dragged the Harry Truman administration into intervening in
Middle Eastern affairs (Pierre). The threat of the Soviet Union seizing control of oil and halting exports to the United States was too great to ignore. Israel was recognized by Truman in spite of warnings from his advisors that it would cause even more strife in the surrounding Arab countries (Hamby). The reasons behind the recognition provided by Hamby in this article are for Jewish political support in the coming election and protecting America’s oil availability. The CIA during Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency assassinated Mohammed Mossadegh (Pierre). Mossadegh was elected to be head of the Iranian parliament and was killed due to his anti-American influence agenda (Pierre).
John F. Kennedy put his effort into forming better relationships with Middle
Eastern regimes (Pierre). He increased federal aid, but by the time he was killed the climate had not really improved (Pierre). The Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations were not very active in the Middle East due to more pressing matter in Vietnam, but they made attempts to end conflicts in Israel (Pierre). The peace efforts in Israel came to a conclusion with the Camp David Accords through the Carter Administration (Pierre). However, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who was supportive of America, was overthrown and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took power (Pierre). The US government then decided to fund Saddam Hussein in order to stabilize the area which backfired when he invaded Kuwait (Pierre).
The September 11th attacks spurred the creation of “The War on Terror.”
George W. Bush created a new era of increased military spending and nation building (Pierre). Liberating Afghanistan from the Taliban had domestic and international support. Invading Iraq did not receive the same support. Bush’s objective to get rid of Saddam Hussein to create democracy backfired (Pierre). As of 2018 the United States is still in Afghanistan after spending over 840 billion dollars (MacFarlane). The US military is not suited to long term projects with no clear objective goals according to General Bolger. That is why efforts to reform areas like Iraq and Afghanistan have largely been failures. “The one thing that Vietnam should have taught President Obama and his administration is that no amount of bombing can dislodge a guerrilla force within a foreign territory” (Goodman). Ideologies can not be destroyed; it is a well known fact proven by many stubborn empires e.g. Rome, Japan, China, and England.
These two wars are and were illegal according to the United Nations which
also means according to the U.S. Constitution. The United States was not attacked by Afghanistan or Iraq, and there was no evidence of an imminent threat that required immediate response because the war started a month after the terrorist attack (Gianella pg 9-10). Gianella presents evidence in pages 11 through 12 for the main reason of toppling the Taliban regime being to create a pipeline that the Taliban regime rejected. The economic incentives leading the U.S. into war were completely overlooked by the war hungry American populace. Allowing the U.S. to wage war unchecked highlights the inability of the U.N. to uphold its laws in the most important cases to do so. The U.N. needs to be stronger in order to resolve international conflicts without defaulting to violence.
The military industrial complex has held a noticeable presence in the U.S.
federal Congress since the Cold War era but it has recently caught much attention. Jonathan Turley of Al Jazeera, along with most left wing people, believes that this industry has far more influence in the government than it ought to have. Companies like Lockheed Martin are given billions in government contracts and then donate money to political campaigns that are pro-War. Lobbyists hired by these companies work towards everlasting war so they can make money(Turley).
This is contrasted by the beliefs of those on the right wing like Loren
Thompson. Spending on weapons is only 197 billion dollars which relative to the economy overall is very small. Therefore, the notion that the government is run by leaders in the palms of defense contractors is unfounded. Thompson also states that more contracts should be given in order to stimulate the manufacturing industry.
There is a simple way to handle this without changing the already existing
military industrial complex. Simply take money out of politics. This is a sentiment in which even polar opposites of the political spectrum like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump can agree. Citizens United gave corporations the right to donate massive amounts of money to political candidates that pandered to their needs (Berman). This system inevitably leads to political leaders that fail to honestly represent the people that elected them but rather the corporations that paid for all of their advertisements. Thus Citizens United should be overturned and public-financing systems should be expanded (Berman).
Are American troops necessary for the well being of these countries? The
argument for troops currently stationed in Iraq is that they are there so that the country doesn’t regress to its condition in 2014 (Copp). Another argument is that as the superpower of the world America is obligated to be active. This is a valid argument, but the best way to be active in foreign affairs is not through unjust invasions. The argument against staying in the Middle East is rooted in historic examples and analysis of the current state of affairs in Iraq and Afghanistan (Sachs). The reason why terrorism continues to be a problem is simply due to the imperialistic nature of American intervention (Sachs). America’s indirect imperialistic rule in the Middle East has consistently been proven to be naive and created more problems than it solved (Sachs). The United States still believes in its own domino-effect theories – if we leave ISIS will be empowered – when the opposite is the truth (Sachs). The reason why militant groups that oppose Western democracy are popular is due to the negative example set by the United States (Sachs). It is much easier to recruit the people if they have had their hometowns bombed by the United States than if they have never had an encounter with the United States. I personally believe that the United States no longer needs to be militarily present in any foreign country. Instead the majority of the burden should be handed over to the United Nations, which would need greater American financial support, to best help Middle Eastern regimes quell domestic strife. Lessons should be learned from our intervention with Vietnamese domestic affairs and reapplied to how we are acting in the Middle East (Sachs).
I’m a freelance writer with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Boston University. My work has been featured in publications like the L.A. Times, U.S. News and World Report, Farther Finance, Teen Vogue, Grammarly, The Startup, Mashable, Insider, Forbes, Writer (formerly Qordoba), MarketWatch, CNBC, and USA Today, among others.