The invasion of Iraq destabilized the Middle East, empowered Iran, and created the conditions that produced ISIS. The 2003 decision to go to war is one of the worst national-security choices American politicians have ever made. In Afghanistan, we’ve “turned the corner” so many times that we seem to be going in circles, and the Taliban controls more territory now than it has since we first invaded, in 2001. U.S.-enabled wars in Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere have resulted in humanitarian tragedies and created new training grounds for international terrorists. U.S. counterterrorism missions have spread to dozens of countries, largely out of sight of the American people.
There is no question that Trump’s careless actions—not only in the past month, but over the past three years—have made the situation in the Middle East demonstrably worse. Trump’s claim that he killed Soleimani to “stop a war” is breathtakingly disingenuous. He isn’t ending wars; he is making wars harder to end. And now he is taking steps that could start a new one.
We must not accept yet another unnecessary, costly, and counterproductive war. Instead, we should refocus our attention and resources on the challenges that will define our national security for the next generation: promoting prosperity and lessening inequality; addressing the climate crisis; answering resurgent right-wing demagogues who are undermining the strength of our democratic alliances; and countering globalized corruption and authoritarianism led from Moscow and Beijing. America should end its military involvement in conflicts in the Middle East and bring our troops home from these endless wars in smart, responsible ways.