Sometimes you just scratch your head and wonder...
It is truly amazing how we as a society can go about our lives as if existing in a vacuum; our decisions often made without any concept of historical perspective or future ramifications.
Yesterday Speaker Boehner decided to speculate on the success of the president’s plan to defeat ISIS. The Speaker believes that air strikes alone will not defeat ISIS. He believes that in order to achieve that goal a sufficient number of ground forces will be required. He is doubtful that the local ground forces on which the president is counting will prove to be sufficient. In the end he believes that US ground forces will be required to achieve victory.
The Speaker’s is not alone. Neo-cons like McCain and Graham share his views. In fact a recent NBC NEWS/Wall Street Journal poll shows that 72% of Americans believe that US combat troops will eventually be sent into the region. Half of those polled would support a ground war if the pentagon said it was necessary.
Here is where we have a vacuum of perspective.
Boehner, McCain, Graham, the Neo-Cons and probably half of those who support military action in the region are self proclaimed fiscal conservatives. They would have us believe that they are deeply concerned about the manner in which way the government spends money and its effect on our financial security. According to a study released today by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the air war in Syria and Iraq has already cost tax payers nearly $1 billion dollars. By all accounts the US military has made 200 bombing runs against ISIS targets. That’s 200 sorties at a cost of $1 billion. We are told that we can expect this war against ISIS to last years. The First Gulf War in Kuwait lasted about a minute and a half. US forces made 116,000 bombing runs during that conflict. Do the math.
Boehner and his like minded constituents have already pronounced as “failed” the president’s plan to use local forces on the ground. They want American kids in the fight. According to the same Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments’ report…a force of 25,000 US ground forces backed by American air power would cost roughly $1.8 billion per month…$22 billion per year. Folks like Boehner keep telling us that we are broke. Where does this money come from?
And then there is the question of the strategy itself.
Our history is rife with the failed strategies of American military intervention. Iraq and Afghanistan are but the most recent examples. We have proven time and again that success in foreign affairs involves altering ideologies. You cannot change ideologies with bombs. Propped up despots and American bombs do not win hearts and minds. Only through diplomacy and compromise can you subdue the discontent that gives birth to terrorism. Yet here we are spending money we don’t have on a strategy that we have proven will not work.
These are weighty matters.
They should not be made in a vacuum.