Beginning as a national protest in 2011, the Syrian conflict has evolved into a complex regional and international conflict. Local protests spread into an armed rebellion, then becoming a national civil war and, finally, a proxy war reminiscent of the Cold War. In the mold of all such conflicts, regional and global powers were involved in the crisis from the civil war’s beginning. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad sought support –– from Russia, Iran, and Lebanon –– to put down rebel forces. As the Islamic State (IS) violently took over a third of Syria and Iraq, America got involved by enlisting a coalition to defend Iraq from IS and push them back into Syria’s eastern territory.
War! What is it good for? And what does it cost? It seems that when countries go to war they consistantly lowball both the financial cost of the conflict, and also the loss of life. John Dale Grover, a Young Voices Advocate, wrote a piece in RealClearDefense that week on this very topic and joins the show today to discuss it.
During the campaign, Donald Trump positioned himself as the non-interventionist candidate. His first few months in office have debunked this idea. Trump launched his first drone strike within days of his inauguration, and has intensified action on this front. In January, he also ordered a Special Forces raid in Yemen that killed civilians, as well as a Navy Seal.
Anyone with a heart feels for the plight of Syrians trapped in what imaginatively is nothing less than hell. The images and videos emerging in the aftermath of the chemical attack are incredibly jarring. But the best policy is not for the US or other nations to further escalate the fighting.
Late last week, the Trump administration ordered a missile strike on Syria in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians. The political and diplomatic effects are still reverberating. Was this the right move?
Another potential crisis is brewing in northeast Asia. A U.S. carrier group is heading to the Sea of Japan as a show of force against recent North Korean aggression. Will this escalate the situation?
Perhaps the biggest story this week was the United Airlines passenger being dragged off a flight. Dr. David Dao was forcibly removed from a flight from Chicago to Louisville to make room for United crew members. How can this situation be avoided in the future?
Bill Buck of MyWallit.com, Jerrod Laber of Young Voices Advocates, conservative writer and editor Brian McNicoll discuss these issues & more….
On April 6, the hundred year anniversary of the United States’ entrance into World War I, President Trump ordered 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles to be fired at Syria’s Al Shayrat airfield. The strike came after Syrian President Assad’s most recent use of chemical weapons against rebel units and citizens living in opposition-controlled areas. Although officials claim this strike is a “one-off,” as we look back at another war –– one that may seem distant –– many parallels emerge to our current War on Terror, and warn of the danger of sending additional forces into Syria. Americans would do well to remember that wars usually cost more than assumed and that they invariably erode the domestic freedoms that the fighting is supposed to protect.
As any good student of history or economics will tell you, wars are expensive and have long-lasting consequences for decades or even a century. Yet, the start of a conflict is often greeted with a bizarre degree of enthusiasm, only for voters and governments to later realize the terrible price. In 1914, crowds cheered in every European capital as politicians predicted glorious victory that would see the boys home “before the leaves fall.” The war would last until 1918 and cause 41 million military and civilian casualties, about 20 million killed and 21 million injured. Moreover, the financial burden was billions of dollars, leaving the major European powers weakened and in debt. The Great War also hit Americans with a bill that would amount to $334 billion in 2014 dollars. This pattern of underestimating the price of war has repeated itself in subsequent conflicts, including our present day ones.
When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, officials said the war would be short and estimated the cost at no more than $200 billion. Yet mission creep, the phenomenon when military and political objectives of using force keep expanding, set in. With a vaguely-worded authorization for the use of military force passed by Congress, soon the goals and enemies multiplied as the conflict spread across the globe. Including U.S. military involvement in at least five wars: Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. The combined War on Terror has cost at least $3.6 trillion. That rises to $4.79 trillion when requested spending and projected costs are taken into account.
Spending an amount similar to World War II would be alarming enough on its own, but borrowing at such a level when combined with ongoing U.S. entitlement costs is unsustainable. One fact many hawks on the left and right keep ignoring is that the national debt is now greater than America’s GDP and is about to hit $20 trillion.