Looking back, has 8 plus trillion dollars bought us that much security from our failed wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan? That will be the ultimate cost considering veterans’ benefits and replacement of military equipment damaged in battle.
Aside from the cost in lives and dollars what has the efforts actually accomplished. True, Vietnam became communist but like China it has assumed a softer, less threatening posture. Iraq is now less stable and in measurably not only worse shape but more menacing to Western values than it was under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, who incidentally never had weapons of mass destruction. In Afghanistan initially we mistakenly supported the Taliban as a means of removing Soviet occupying forces only to find that the Taliban turned on us with equal ferocity and very likely will depose the regime we placed in power.
Now that we have deposed Saddam, who did have a repressive regime, but probably with good reason. Certainly ISIS was kept in check. Saddam, along with Assad in Syria and Nasser in Egypt had established civil governments, as opposed to religious or monarchial. While not democratic they were certainly far less oppressive than their neighbors in Iran and Saudi Arabia. At any rate, they presented no danger to the U.S. The only danger came when we intruded with our unwanted presence in their nations.
Certainly President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, CIA Director George Tenet and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld should bear some responsibility for this colossal mistake. One must keep in mind that a president at war has a huge advantage when it comes to getting re-elected. Remember, ‘don’t change horses in midstream’. It is also interesting to note that not one of the four had ever heard a shot fired in anger. Bush avoided the Vietnam war by joining the national guard; Cheney was able to get five deferments; Rumsfeld was kept at a U.S. post as a pilot instructor and Tenet also remained a civilian. They were woefully unprepared for running a conquered nation.
So, the question that must be asked is what has our expenditure in lives and dollars actually accomplished? Are we more secure from terrorism? Have we proved to our friends and enemies that we can militarily rectify the problems that beset them? Or, have we just wasted money and effort sorely needed to repair our nation’s basic infrastructure? These are points to remember in the coming congressional elections and in the 2016 presidential election. Only you can change this nation’s course in history.