Donald Trump will indeed seek to “Make America Great Again” through the use of thousands of additional troops in the longest war in which the U.S. has ever been engaged. It seems that the flip side of the destruction of the social fabric of this nation is this penchant for endless wars. And war has eaten away so at the definition of this nation that Trump won’t bother to even give lip service to the Constitutional authority of the Congress to declare war. And the right-wing Congress would never deny any of our recent presidents funding for the many ongoing debacles in which the government is now embroiled.
The New York Times got it right when it observed that “He (Trump) had outsourced the decision on how to proceed militarily in Afghanistan to the Pentagon…” (“As U.S. Adds Troops in Afghanistan, Trump’s Strategy Remains Undefined,” June 18, 2017). And all of this without even a single tweet!
And these troops are only a “stopgap measure”… “over what to do about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.”
Of course, this is not a “stopgap measure” for the big players in the global arms industry from the U.S. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, and Raytheon are among those whose life on easy street has become even easier under Trump et al. There are billions of dollars to be made here… lots of additional swimming pools, exotic automobiles, status, and as many houses as one can call home. They move in seamless patterns from cold wars to wars on terror to wars on the streets of this nation with big bucks as the ultimate payoff.
And since not many care about what’s going on with issues of war in the U.S., it’s not surprising that Reuters reports that “U.S. warplanes dropped more weapons on Afghanistan in April than in any other single month since 2012.” It seems that those sky pilots are priming the pump for the anticipated troop increases noted above (“Use of Air Power In Afghanistan up Sharply as Trump Troop Decision Looms,” May 24, 2017).
It’s as if Dr. Strangelove is not only the commander-in-chief, but also the secretary of defense. Is it possible that only Congresswoman Barbara Lee got it right as expressed in a recent interview on Democracy Now? “The war in Afghanistan is the longest war in American history, 16 years. And so, at what point will the country say enough is enough, and insist the president come back to Congress for authorization?” (“Rep. Barbara Lee: In Expanding Global Wars, Trump Is Creating More Havoc and Chaos & Has No Strategy,” June 15, 2017).
Politico reports that the U.S. is conducting “military operations” in places like Yemen and Somalia, to name just a few of the current U.S. wars “with little input or oversight from either the White House or Congress,“ (“Trump’s dangerous expansion of executive war powers,” April 3, 2017). Politco continues, “… Trump has quietly overseen an expansion in the administration’s war-making powers, giving the Department of Defense greater autonomy to conduct military operations…”
Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best at Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 in his speech “Beyond Vietnam”: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Without protest, we are already there.
Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).