by James D. Veltmeyer, MD
(October 30, 2019) – The foreign policy establishment was understandably enraged when President Trump announced his intentions to withdraw U.S. military forces from Syria.
Both late last year and just recently, President Trump expressed a determination to exit the Syrian Civil War. That determination reflected his “America-first” campaign promise to stop the endless wars and senseless foreign adventurism of the Bush, Clinton, and Obama Administrations.
Of course, an “America-first” foreign policy is the antithesis of the globalist foreign policy of the ruling class. The globalists seek to use U.S. military power to act as a world policeman in advancing their objective of forging a sovereignty-dissolving one-world government.
Donald Trump rejects such an unAmerican agenda. Like the Founding Fathers of our Republic—Washington, Jefferson, and Adams — he is a fierce defender of America’s borders and sovereignty. He opposes foreign entanglements and interventions that sacrifice our sons and daughters on distant battlefields in wars that are none of our business.
The Middle East has been a cauldron of hate and discord for thousands of years. Ethnic and sectarian warfare has been the rule, not the exception. Nations and empires have come and gone and come again ( i.e., Israel ). Unlike in past decades when the fear of Soviet intervention or the fear of losing oil supplies might have justified a U.S. military presence, these threats no longer exist. Sadat kicked the Soviet Union out of Egypt in 1973 and the Soviet Union itself disappeared in 1992. And, thanks to President Trump’s policies, America is now energy independent and no longer dependent on Arab oil.
Yet, the globalists act as if nothing has changed. They yearn for the years of Poppy Bush when a “New World Order” was proclaimed at the 1991 State of the Union address. Bush, the high priest of globalism at that time, ushered in a Thirty Years’ War in the Middle East through “Operation Desert Storm.”
When Iraq invaded Kuwait in the summer of 1999, few people initially saw this as a reason to start World War III. Iraq and Kuwait had long-standing border disputes and the rulers of Kuwait were hardly less odious than Saddam Hussein. Our own Ambassador April Glaspie had told Saddam just weeks before the invasion that the U.S. had no position on these Arab border disputes.
Yet, with predictable prodding from the British, George H.W. Bush decided that the fate of the planet depended on kicking Saddam out of Kuwait. After all, can you imagine how horrible it would be if the Iraqi dictator grabbed Kuwait’s oil? He might just want to sell it!
So—ignoring the prescient advice of his sagacious predecessor Ronald Reagan and avoid the quicksand of the Middle East—Bush sent American boys and girls to the Middle East to save the Emir of Kuwait. The same Emir who along with the royal family sat out the war at the casino tables of Monte Carlo while Americans suffered and died.
Reagan, on the other hand, had refused to let himself get drawn into the Middle East quagmire. After he sent “peace-keeping” troops to Lebanon in 1983 and the subsequent bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut cost 240 American lives, the President wisely withdrew the Marines and they never returned. While Reagan did bomb Qaddafi in Libya in 1986 in retaliation for the attack on the Berlin nightclub, the bombing was precise and targeted. No American troops entered Tripoli and there was no plan for “regime change.” Qaddafi backed off and later became an ally in the war on terrorism until Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton decided it best that he be overthrown in 2011, which led to only more instability and chaos in the region.
Ever since Bush the Elder launched the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the U.S. has seen not a single day of peace in the Middle East. Throughout the 1990s – despite the fact that Saddam Hussein had invaded no other countries – the U.S. bombed that nation on a regular basis, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians, including children. Facing impeachment in 1998, Bill Clinton launched another “Wag the Dog” attack on Baghdad.
By the late 1990s, a shadowy organization calling itself the “Project for the New American Century” emerged from the saber-rattling fever swamps of the neo-conservative underground. This outfit openly called for redrawing the entire map of the Middle East and enlisting the armed forces of the United States to engage in perpetual “regime-change” war to impose Jeffersonian democracies on Arab capitals. Ominously, PNAC argued that it would probably take another Pearl Harbor to mobilize American public opinion behind unending war in the Middle East.
Voila and the tragedy of 9/11 occurs. Almost twenty years and $7 trillion dollars later, U.S. troops are still in Afghanistan ( a nation that did not attack the Twin Towers on that tragic day ) and Iraq, both Libya and Syria have been destabilized by civil war either initiated or aided by the Obama Administration, and the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is all but dead. The Middle East has been completely destabilized, Iran has been strengthened and empowered, and the neo-conservative objective of democratic governments flourishing throughout the region remains as much of a pipedream as it was before.
George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the greatest strategic military blunder in U.S. history, greater even than Vietnam. Iraq did not want or seek war with the United States. It had nothing to do with 9/11. America’s crippling sanctions had destroyed their economy. Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. The entire war was launched on lies and phony, half-baked evidence cherry-picked by Dick Cheney and his neo-con allies within the Bush Administration. And, 5,000 Americans died with more than 30,000 wounded. 200,000 Iraqi civilians also perished.
President Trump is right to want to put an end to this outrageous sacrifice of America’s finest young men and women and the untold agony inflicted on their families as well as those of innocent civilians. And, with America’s debt clock nearing $23 trillion, we cannot afford these “wars of choice” any longer. It is time for America to end the silly Wilsonian crusades for world democracy, regime change, or whatever other high-sounding cliché the neo-cons conjure up. America’s wars should be fought only as a last resort and only in defense of our borders or if there is a compelling and critical national interest truly at stake.
Dr. James Veltmeyer is a prominent La Jolla physician voted “Top Doctor” in San Diego County in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019. Dr. Veltmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org