On January 9, 2019, Republican Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky announced that he is working with Democrats to co-sponsor a bill that would end military engagements in Iraq.
Massie tweeted about joining Democrat Congresswoman Barbara Lee to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that was approved by Congress in 2002. The AUMF gave the military the authority to eventually invade and occupy Iraq in 2003. This same bill has been used to justify the American government’s continued involvement there.
Associate Editor Scott Shackford of Reason reported that Lee’s resolution had 43 cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats. So far, Massie is the first Republican to join in co-sponsoring the legislation. The resolution, H.R. 2456, is succinct in its language. It reads, “The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107–243; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) is hereby repealed.”
It’s time to call a spade a spade. The Iraq War has been an expensive failure. The U.S. government spent over $1 trillion during its 15+ years of occupying the Middle Eastern country. More importantly, the human cost of the war is nothing to downplay; 4,550 Americans have lost their lives, while close to 200,000 Iraqis have also perished.
The region is not even safer, and in fact, the American government’s invasion has created a power vacuum that its notorious rival, Iran, has taken advantage of. Unfortunately, the political class in D.C. doesn’t get it and is now entertaining a potential confrontation with Iran, as if trillions of dollars spent in Afghanistan and Iraq weren’t enough.
With Iran, you have a country of 80 million people and a conventional army that the U.S. would have to confront in a potential war scenario. This will not be a walk in the park, no matter how the D.C. “experts” spin it. But a new conflict will be an absolute feast for the defense industry, which has never seen a foreign excursion that it didn’t like.
The world we find ourselves in is no longer uni-polar. Countries like China and Russia should be invited to the table to figure out more peaceful arrangements in the Middle East. After all, these countries are much closer to the region and may have actual interests in maintaining some semblance of stability there.
Saudi Arabia and Israel, countries the U.S. government has aligned itself with, also have more direct skin in the game and should be trying to pull their weight in helping to stabilize the region. The United States, on the other hand, is thousands of miles away and has many pressing problems domestically and on its southern border.
With mounting national debt, social tension growing in the U.S., and an overstretched empire, the government will have to make certain sacrifices. One of the easier but significant cuts it can make is putting an end to its involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries.
Those pesky Founding Fathers may have been correct about the wisdom of avoiding entangling alliances and foreign adventures abroad. How about we actually follow their wisdom for a change.