The lies we tell ourselves about America’s forever wars


It’s become commonplace for many Americans to remark on the frequency and flagrancy of President Trump’s lies. But that’s nothing compared to the lies Americans tell ourselves on a daily basis about our nation’s actions around the world.

Dishonesty and prevarication have become hallmarks of the forever war we’ve been waging since 9/11. We all tend to engage in this, though as usual, the Trump examples are particularly egregious. On Monday, the day the White House released its budget proposal for 2019, the president tweeted, “This will be a big week for Infrastructure. After so stupidly spending $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is now time to start investing in OUR Country!”

If only!

The truth is that Trump’s budget (which won’t be adopted by Congress in anything like its current form) actually proposes spending just $200 billion on infrastructure, while also drastically cutting discretionary and entitlement spending and increasing military expenditures by 2 percent on top of the major increase contained in the two-year budget approved last week. All told, Trump’s 2019 budget would set military spending 13 percent higher (at a grand total of $716 billion) than what President Obama proposed in his 2017 budget.

Trump can ridicule the cost of our wars in the Greater Middle East all he wants, but the spending is bound to continue on his watch, and at an even faster rate than it did under his predecessor.

It would be one thing if we had even the slightest indication that the American electorate was fully aware and approved of the fact that the country is waging war in more than half a dozen countries simultaneously, or that the U.S. maintains roughly 800 military bases in no fewer than 70 countries scattered across the globe. But alas, there is no sign at all of this awareness. We lie to ourselves about our forever wars. Ignorance is bliss.

Some of these bases, and the biggest (in Europe and Japan), are holdovers from the Cold War. Many others are a product of the forward-leaning posture of the post-9/11 world, serving as staging grounds or support stations for various overt interventions and covert operations — less euphemistically: acts of war — around the world.

This expansion of America’s global military footprint began under George W. Bush, but it continued under Barack Obama. By the time the latter left office, the U.S. was waging wars or deeply implicated in them in at least seven countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia) — all of them supposedly authorized by the open-ended non-declaration of war passed by Congress 15 years previously. And that doesn’t even count all of the … subtler military incursions in other countries.

Those include raids and training of indigenous forces in Chad, Cameroon, Uganda, Mali, and Niger — the last of which briefly flashed into the news last fall when U.S. troops were killed in an ambush there. But just as quickly it was gone. None of these actions were debated in …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics

      

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