My Personal Side

By Craig Hastings
To stay or not to stay?
Where: Syria and or Afghanistan. Who: The young men and women of our own United States Military. In my mind this is the most difficult and problematic decision President Trump has had to make to date in his first two years as President of the United States. Tonight it appears the president has lost his highly touted Defense Secretary, James Mattis over the controversial decision. Mattis wasted no time drafting his letter of resignation the day after the president’s decision to bring American troops home. General Mattis was one of a few cabinet position choices that President Trump made that was acceptable by members on both sides of the isle. Because of that, the Democrats are attacking President Trump with allegations that the presidency itself is unraveling at the seams. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took television opportunities tonight to predict a national emergency is imminent due to the resignation of Mattis.

A wise man told me years ago when I was 13 years old and just starting my first real job that no matter how valuable any of us feel we are at our job, we are all replaceable. He told me the person replacing us would also probably be someone who would eventually feel they too were irreplaceable! After spending the next 48 years being employed by someone else and watching many other employees come and go from a variety of positions; so true were his words. President Trump will replace a great man with another great man and all will be well in the world of politics again except for the childish antics that separates the two different playgrounds in Washington, D.C.

If you care, here’s what I think about the United States military continuing to stay in Syria and Afghanistan. Many years ago right here in this same newspaper I asked the question: “Why is American expected to be the World Police Department?” I understand most of us are not privy to the intelligence needed to fully understand the actions of our Defense Department so therefore maybe we should keep our thoughts to ourselves. I can’t though because it sickens me to read or hear about another American young man or woman losing their lives or limbs in these conflicts. I want a better understanding of the tradeoff. If this were one of my sons I’d be screaming for an understanding. And like the parents of these American casualties I probably wouldn’t get one.

Seventeen years the American military has been stationed in Afghanistan. President Trump promised to decimate the ISIS threat and he has made good on his promise. As these butchers and murderers roamed the region with little resistance under the Obama Administration, President Trump acted with the expert guidance of General Mattis and quickly eliminated the ISIS threat in the region. If America leaves will ISIS rise again…maybe. If America stays will ISIS rise again…maybe. Will young American lives and limbs be spared if America leaves the region…for sure. Will young American lives and limbs be spared if America stays…NO! I agree with the President; it’s time to come home, it’s time to see what the people of Afghanistan are willing to do for themselves. Dismantling the American military bases in Afghanistan doesn’t mean America can’t strike when the opportunity presents itself from parts undisclosed.

What about Syria? What the heck were we ever doing in Syria? Some say it’s to keep Syrian President Bashar Al Assad from slaughtering his own people with chemical weapons. Is it that or is it because Russian forces were invited in by President Al Assad to help fend off the American military might? It appears now that American and Russian forces take turns flexing their muscles in front of one another without ever taking a punch at either. Is Syria being used as some sort of military playground for two super powers? The American people are sure not being told of any real successes by our forces in Syria. We’re there but…why…tell us the game plan here.

I’ve said for a long time now that the days have come to get out of some of the world’s business that we invited ourselves to intervene. Much of the world population that didn’t already hate Americans would soon do so. Why? Because of twenty years of policies either not to well thought out or just plain bad policies. Our Iraq invasion? At the time I was all in, convinced by television reports we had to strike now or else risk more 9/11 events. Years later I think the invasion was a mistake. Did America have to act with military might? For sure we did, but I’m not sure destroying their government without a plan how to replace it with another was a well thought out strategy. But I also think some good did come from the Iraq war. As cold as you may think my analogy; American forces were given opportunities to test weapons designed for specific duties we might never have had if not for the Iraq war. Was weapon technology advanced because of Iraq…unquestionably. Did the Pentagon learn from the mistakes in battle strategies and aftermath recoveries…how could they not?

Tonight after listening to both sides of the argument I’m of the opinion that President Trump is doing the best thing for America at the time he is doing it. I would argue with the Democrats so worried about spending an additional $5 billion for bits of southern border walls; find someone that can do the math for you and have that third grader calculate how much money will be saved by leaving Syria and Afghanistan! In a year America will probably save enough money to build a backup wall 100 yards behind the primary wall and for the entire length of the southern border! But more importantly Chuck and Nancy; there will be parents spared the horror of losing a child and other young Americans spared living without horrific handicaps suffered from random explosive devices that change nothing about a war other than an individual’s life after war. President Trump, bring as many home as you can. I think the majority of Americans support this.

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