By Tom H. Hastings // A PeaceVoice article
The US has entered the Orwellian Era of permanent war—until we decide that it’s over.
Why, after nearly 15 years, do we still have 10,000 American troops fighting, killing, and dying in Afghanistan?
Why, after more than 13 years, have we nearly exited and then escalated back into Iraq with 3,500 US troops fighting, killing, and dying?
We are gaining absolutely nothing from this armed occupation of two countries for so long—instead we are losing lives, spending $billions, and creating endless ill will amongst yet another generation in the Middle East and Central Asia. Even the Military Times notes that US troops are “deeply unpopular” in Iraq. It has been a complete waste since the US invaded in March 2003 based on Bush regime lies about WMD and false claims of alliance between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
US combat mortalities since 2001: Afghanistan, 1,742; Iraq, 3,527.
Civilian mortalities in Afghanistan since US invasion: more than 25,000.
Civilian mortalities in Iraq since the US 2003 invasion: more than 160,000.
The dollar costs of war since 2001: nearly $1.7 trillion.
We can argue into the night about fault but can we turn toward solutions even more strenuously? US citizens could help convince our government, our officials, and our candidates to begin advocating for these steps that will de-escalate the conflicts and work toward sustainable peace:
These measures and more could transform so much—and the US would benefit greatly from taking these steps unilaterally. Time for a Declaration of Independence from foreign military disasters.
Tom H. Hastings is Founding Director of PeaceVoice.