We keep troops in Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Cuba, and the Persian Gulf region for a reason. It is not to prolong “endless wars” that are in no sense actual wars. It is to protect American interests in preventing future wars.
What about Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan?
We have roughly a thousand troops in Syria, about the same as in Cuba. It’s true that there is active combat in Syria, but it hasn’t much involved Americans. In the entire eight-year Syrian civil war, there have been a total of eight American service deaths. While even one death is tragic, more U.S. troops are killed in training accidents every year than in our entire time in Syria. This low level of U.S. participation doesn’t seem to fit the “endless war” thesis any more than our presence in Cuba does.
Beginning in 2003, we had a major war in Iraq. There have been over 4,500 U.S. military deaths in Iraq. Of those, 81, or fewer than 2 percent, occurred in the last seven years. The U.S. troop level in Iraq peaked at 166,000. Today, it’s around 5,000. So, if our presence in Iraq constitutes an “endless war,” then we are 97 percent of the way toward ending it.