As is now (hopefully) increasingly common knowledge, our numerous occupations in the Middle East and Africa were not sparked by those countries attacking us. Rather, with the possible exception of the War in Afghanistan — which has lasted an outrageously long time with huge costs of both blood and treasure, our 5+ wars are unwarranted wars of aggression rendered unconstitutional by their lack of official declaration by the Congress and unaffordable by our $15 trillion national debt.
The CIA estimates there are fewer than 100 members of al Qaeda left in Afghanistan, and yet we linger with tens of thousands of troops and hundreds of billions of dollars spent. Recall also that many of the people we’re fighting there we were training just a few decades years ago, possibly including even bin Laden himself.
We’re finally pulling out of Iraq, left unstable and arguably more dangerous than we found it — not to mention the hundreds of thousands of excess civilian deaths our intervention has caused there.
In Libya, we’re not really sure who we supported or if the new government will even be friendly to us. Many of the rebels we helped are backed by al Qaeda, our enemies just a few countries away.
In Pakistan, our drone operations are permitted to kill 50 civilians — including women and children — for every one terrorist they get, and no one is required to report to the public who is killed.
In Somalia, we’re engaging in covert operations in a dangerous and morally dubious situation which is none of our business and stretches our military — already posted in 900 bases in more than 130 nations around the world — almost thinner than it can stand.
Now, one might argue that it’s somehow OK for the U.S. to engage in this kind of global military expansion, because we’re the good guys, right? But, as I’ve shown, in many cases we haven’t the foggiest clue who the good guys are, and often end up doing more harm than good to our own defense in the long term. Perhaps more importantly, how would we like it if we were on the other end of our clumsy, bloody, and expensive foreign policy? A little consideration of the golden rule might go a long way.
Originally published on my blog here.