We’ve now been in continual, intense war in the Middle East for nearly two decades. The argument can be made that our original incursion into Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 was justifiable. But our invasion of Iraq on the basis of weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist was a travesty, and since that time we’ve been in a constant state of war in the Middle East, mostly for bad or even pointless reasons.
The politics of the Middle East are complex. But the politics of Southeast Asia were complex as well, and it was a massive anti-war movement that ended the My Lais, ended the draft, and ended the slaughter of what added up to nearly 60,000 American soldiers and 2 million civilians before the day we pulled out.
I am increasingly of the opinion that we need to bring the vast majority of our troops home from the Middle East. I can no longer stomach the fact that my tax dollars are paying for the slaughter, mutilation, and permanent displacement of millions of innocent civilians – particularly children.
Conservatives insist that extremist groups fill voids whenever we leave a region. But the opposite is true; extremist groups swell in areas of the Middle East where we insert ourselves for nation building purposes.
We’ve spent approximately $5.9 million on Middle East wars since 9/11 and we’ve lost thousands of military personnel – an impersonal phrase to describe real human beings lost forever to the families they’ve left behind. In addition to the soldiers killed in action in the Middle East, many tens of thousands more have become permanently disabled, and approximately 20 veterans and active duty service members continue to kill themselves daily.
It’s time for a new anti-war movement. It’s time to bring our soldiers home. I believe that if our service members were being drafted into this melee of vast, senseless death and destruction, a swelling anti-war movement would already be having a major impact on our Middle East policy. But without the draft, each family who loses a loved one feels alone instead of part of a government policy that snatched their young man or woman away from them and shipped them into the pit of hell.
We should not be in the business of nation-building in the Middle East, and we should not allow ourselves to be drawn into immoral wars that leave millions of civilians dead, dismembered and displaced. This is not the American way, Or at least, it’s not my American way.
I believe that we are in the nascent stages of a “bring our troops home” movement. Americans are waking up to what we are doing and have done in the Middle East and how little return we’ve received for the amount of money and lives we’ve invested. I consider myself a member of this very early stage movement to bring our troops home. I don’t want another Syrian or Yemeni baby’s blood on my taxpaying hands.