Mission Accomplished? Donald Trump Wants to End America’s Endless Wars, but Military Says Victory Is an Illusion

By James LaPorta On 1/10/19

President Donald Trump wants to bring Americans home again. Seventeen years after the 9/11 attacks, U.S. troops are currently engaged in seven countries under outdated legislation, and the commander in chief has suggested that two of those open-ended wars may be closing.

Ignoring officials’ advice, he declared victory over the undefeated Islamic State group (ISIS) last month and ordered the withdrawal of 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria. He also significantly cut American forces in Afghanistan by instructing the Pentagon to rotate home 7,000 service members in early 2019.

Like George W. Bush declaring “Mission Accomplished,” Trump has asserted that American forces will come home under a banner of victory. He argued on Twitter that if his predecessors brought troops home and crippled militant extremists, they would have been hailed as national heroes.

Growing public fatigue with endless wars was a significant factor in Trump’s election, research suggests. Voters are frustrated with foreign policies that commit U.S. troops and money but lack a clear definition of victory—with no exit strategy, in other words. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 presidential candidate and normally a scorching Trump critic, has told reporters she agreed with him on withdrawing from Syria and Afghanistan. And the military—that 1 percent of U.S. citizens who bear the burden—doesn’t disagree. Current and former Pentagon officials tell Newsweek that Trump isn’t wrong to want an end to those wars and that the president has a point that some of the criticism he has received is unfair.



A work in progress: Members of the Syrian pro-government forces inspect the damage of a street in the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp on the southern outskirts of the capital Damascus on May 22, 2018.


Categories: America, Americas, Arab World, Asia, United States

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10 replies

  1. It seems the military does not know how to explain to the public that in fact wars need to continue endlessly, good for the military industry, good for the military’s continued employment and contractors’ continued profit-making. And … the idea is destabilization and destruction anyway and not victory and democracy. In other words: Just a media challenge…

  2. Strange ! Rafiq A. Tschannen agrees once with Donald Trump ! Yes, endless useless wars should come to an end as soon as possible ! Diplomacy is the answer ! If you do not know then ask the Swiss Diplomats, Rafiq A. Tschannen at your service as well.

  3. I agree on this stance. Trump’s isolationist policies may be prejudiced beyond all reason, as well as misinformed, though his foreign policy has been a pretty curious case of give and take. There is a healthy amount of compromise, a healthy amount of lies and a health amount of truths.

    In this event, I definitely concur that leaving Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are wise choices. My opinions on Niger and Somalia, however, are not informed or educated enough.

    Good Rafiq, might you offer some opinions on the conflicts the U.S. is involved with in Africa?

    • Thanks for your question. Some information on US forces in Africa you can find here: https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2018/04/28/605662771/the-military-doesnt-advertise-it-but-u-s-troops-are-all-over-Africa

      My personal view: The US’s first and foremost aim in Africa is not to assist in any ‘peacekeeping’ or ‘democracy building’ but rather just to be able to be there and interfere in local affairs. ‘Special Forces’ and CIA are able to use all means at their disposal, including bribery and probably assassinations as well (yes, I do not have proof to that effect, but…). I had the occasion to speak to a Ph.D. candidate (American lady) who was studying at the University of Kenya in Nairobi and in personal conversations she said she was writing her thesis on American Presence in Africa (I would love to see the thesis but am out of touch now). She hinted strongly that peacekeeping was just a pretense. A good example is the ‘Force’ looking to assist in locating the War Lord of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda / Southern Sudan / Congo. The USA has / (or had?) a team there for years and they never found the guy. Why? Because they did not want to. If they found him they would have had to leave. Well, just my opinion.

      • One interesting aspect of American involvement in military expeditions or wars is that they never seem to win. Is that not worth in itself a deeper study? The only war, after World War 2, that I recall that the Americans won was in Granada. That island was just too small for a never-ending war. It just begs the conclusion that in fact they do not want to win but want to make sure that wars continue as long as possible, enabling them to ‘stay around’ whether for destabilization and destruction like in Libya, Syria, Iraq or simply to ‘be there’ as in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and may be in Africa. – Yes, I am not really a qualified expert, just thinking logically.

      • It’s likely a stable one. The U.S. rhetoric in public discourse is that “Africans are simple-minded and lack the knowledge to build an effective state”. While not said directly, it isn’t difficult to reach that conclusion.

        As I know far better (we have a healthy amount of Nigerians in top management positions in corporations in the U.S., for example) that the issue isn’t Africans as a whole (and certainly not for such racist reasons), but rather government issues that exist as a result of a neocolonial project.

        I would say your opinion is probably 101% correct, and I found that the only country that may possibly require intervention are ones where children are being forced into servitude, but even then it is at the fault of European and North American exploiters.

        May I also say I enjoy reading the Muslim times. Love and Brotherhood from an Eastern Orthodox Christian. These acts against innocent peoples must stop, and alternate media coverage is a step in the right direction to get us there now that CNN and FOX news are at an all-time low in confidence amongst the people.

      • Thanks for your comments. Yes, it is strange that in this ‘modern age’ and ‘super technological age’ it is more difficult than ever to find out the truth. I would say that all media has become more bias even over the last decade. Al Jazeera started off well, but of course now has an anti-Saudi bias. Saudi media is of course totally full of anti-Iranian bias. The ‘client states’ that hope for cash from these countries just try to say whatever pleases the one handing out cash. That is for the Middle East Region. CNN and Fox, you know better than me. And yes, Credit Suisse has an African as Chief Executive as well! I think he is from Senegal.

      • I have mixed emotions regarding Saudi Arabia. One the one hand, I see the benefits of autocracy over liberal democracy. I am a huge opponent of liberalism on the basis that it tends to devolve into what we see today- a lack of solid evidence and challenging of established facts. As one deeply involved in philosophy (Ionian study), I find that the right to total self-determination in our species is dangerous. In the U.S., some are normalizing incest, paedophilia and worse in the name of respecting individual freedoms. The result is a breakdown of the values that created unity in our species for millennia. While we have warred over differences in the past, in a globalized age we have the power to inspect more objectively than before.

        In the Christian faith, we feel a certain passage well explains how we should interpret the world. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and render unto God that which is God’s. We don’t need a global empire. We just need to understand and respect boundaries. Liberal democracies tend to categorize in such a way that i feel isn’t productive for integration.

        The IS claims to want to establish a Caliphate. God have mercy, as i dont rightfully think we should put stock in such an Empire created through western donations…

        I suppose i sound insane to most.

      • I agree that for instance the Swiss model of democracy cannot just be copied everywhere, because it is good for ‘back home’. Some South American country once copied it (I think it was Paraguay) and after 6 months they were broke, because for every expenditure they voted YES PLEASE. (The Swiss know if they vote yet they need to pay for it). A ‘beneficial dictator’ is better for many countries, like for Pakistan for instance it was Field Marshall Ayub Khan. Saudis? Well, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman seems to be the wrong kind of ‘beneficial dictator’ (ask Khashoggi).

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