Over the last two decades, the United States has waged destructive, costly and aimless wars on the other side of the planet. These efforts have largely been in vain, with the Taliban easily returning to power in Afghanistan and Iran far more powerful today than it was before the war in Iraq. Today, the United States runs the risk of being sucked into a broader conflict due in large part due to the arrogance of the executive branch and the irresponsibility of Congress.
Three American soldiers lost their lives on Sunday due to a drone attack from an Iranian-backed militia: Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Georgia; Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Georgia and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Georgia.
They died in an American base in Jordan, which in turn is an extension of an American base in Syria.
Why are American soldiers stationed there? Well, they’ve been there for about a decade, first as part of America’s meddling in the Syrian civil war and then to fight the terrorist Islamic State. There’s never been and still isn’t congressional authorization for such activity.
Nor has there been congressional authorization for recent U.S. bombing in Yemen.
The executive branch, for decades, has stretched overly broad authorizations for use of military force against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks and the Saddam Hussein regime to justify using American military force whenever it feels like it.
And Congress, with only the rare exception, has been happy to ignore the U.S. Constitution to pass the buck over to the president.
In response to the most recent killings of American troops, Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Cornyn of Texas have been among those agitating for war in Iran.
“A lot of bravado today from feckless members of Congress who let president after president put troops in harm’s way without authorization,” said former Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan on Twitter. “They won’t prevent wars. They won’t stop wars. They won’t declare wars. Instead they’ll stand idly by — cheerleading war from the sidelines when it suits them and blaming it all on the president when things go bad—all the while assuming no responsibility and accepting no accountability for these reckless military adventures that endanger American service members.”
The United States has spent trillions of dollars waging war in the Middle East. Several hundreds of thousands of people have been directly killed and millions of people displaced. What has this military adventurism done for the American people? Nothing, besides enriching the military-industrial complex.
American troops ought to be pulled from the region. Short of that, any military escalation should get a vote in Congress, as the U.S. Constitution demands. Put members of Congress on the record.
—The Editorial Board, Southern California News Group