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Lessons Ignored: Marching to the Drums of Another Unwinnable War

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Published on: January 5, 2020

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 brought The United States into a permanent state of war. President Trump and President Obama both promised to end the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and bring our troops home. Regrettably, both presidents not only failed to do so, they increased America’s war footing in the middle east through endless bombing campaigns in  Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. These operations took place under the administrations of Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump. We are once again facing the prospect of another unnecessary war, this time with Iran.

The endless war on terror is apparently a policy initiative that Democrats and Republicans will stop fighting each other for and show unilateral support.

The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies… is a foolish idea. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies (Carol Quigley, The Tragedy of Hope 1966).

War with Iran has been planned for decades, as have all the others we have recently engaged in. In 1997, a strategic blueprint for projecting American power and removing perceived threats to said power was established. This was called the Project New American Century. This plan called for the United States to be able to accomplish four essential missions at one time ̶ defend the American homeland, fight and win simultaneous major wars, shape the security environment in critical regions, and transform the military to exploit the revolution in military affairs. We have been fighting simultaneous wars to be sure, but we are not winning them.

The report identified the Middle East as being critical for American interests. This is of course, because of the vast oil reserves. The power of the U.S. dollar rests on the fact that it is the world’s reserve currency when it comes to purchasing oil. In other words, oil is traded only in U.S. dollars. This resulted from a secret deal that was made with Saudi Arabia during the Nixon administration. Oil prices were surging, and the U.S. economy was essentially in free fall. Richard Nixon ended the convertibility of the U.S. dollar to gold, rendering it virtually worthless. The deal made with Saudi Arabi ensured a strong U.S. dollar as Saudi Arabia guaranteed it would enforce sales of its oil in dollars only, in exchange for United States military muscle.

The basic framework was strikingly simple. The U.S. would buy oil from Saudi Arabia and provide the kingdom military aid and equipment. In return, the Saudis would plow billions of their petrodollar revenue back into Treasuries and finance America’s spending (Wong, 2016).

According to the above quote, the U.S. economy has been propped up because of this deal with Saudi Arabia. Having nothing else to give it value, the dollar would collapse if it lost its status as the world’s reserve currency. That is exactly what has been happening. Maintaining the dollar as the primary oil trading currency could be called a critical interest in critical regions.  Iraq, Syria, and Libya have all stopped selling oil for dollars, which was the primary reason for our military involvement.

When the Project New American Century speaks of projecting U.S. power, it means maintaining its status as the worlds reserve currency in order to protect our economy. The U.S. Government believed it could initiate regime change in middle eastern countries that threatened the hegemony of the U.S. dollar. In some cases, our country recruited and trained foreign militants to do the fighting. All they really accomplished was the promise of endless war and the need to maintain a constant presence in the region. Iran is the last of seven countries that have been identified as targets of PNAC objectives. They dropped the dollar as its reserve currency in 2018.

Many conservatives are beating the war drums and supporting President Trump’s posturing against Iran. They are forgetting one thing. We have been at war since 2001 and are getting nowhere in terms of declaring victory either in Afghanistan or Iraq. The entire premise of the Iraq war was a lie as it is with Iran. For eighteen years our government lied to us about the progress being made in Afghanistan. This includes the duration of the Trump presidency.

The Lessons Learned interviews contradict years of public statements by presidents, generals and diplomats. The interviews make clear that officials issued rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hid unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable. Several of those interviewed described explicit efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public and a culture of willful ignorance, where bad news and critiques were unwelcome (Whitlock, Shapiro & Emamdjomech, The Washington Post).

Despite all this, the American public is once again, through constant propaganda and chest pounding rhetoric, being lulled into supporting another unwinnable war. This could very well turn into an international crisis. Along with the developing situation in Virginia concerning gun confiscation, it looks like Trump is right about one thing. The year 2020 is going to bring big things for America.

Article posted with permission from David Risselada

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