By Craig Hastings
Do we stay in the Middle East or do we go? Maybe we stay in Iraq but not Afghanistan? But if we do leave Iraq and Afghanistan is that just a smoke and mirrors exodus because we will for sure remain in Saudi Arabia? I’m all in with a decision to bring as many American soldiers back to the United States as strategically possible. Ah, but what does “strategically possible” mean? If you follow your politics you already know these two words alone have their own definitive meanings but, put them together in the same sentence and our Washington DC politicians might opine to as many as twenty or more definitions. And depending on the situation in what part of the world, each of those same politicians might have two or more of their very own definitions of the two words. They, as politicians do, apply their definition to fit the narrative of the day. Removing American soldiers might be strategic in March but not in May and so on and so forth.
More and more Americans are calling upon the President to get out of the Middle East. We interjected ourselves into the region decades ago because at the time crude oil was being discovered throughout the region. The rest of the world was fighting over who was getting how much regardless of per barrel price. I myself lived through the 70’s gas crisis, which was a hoax. It was the multiple (OPEC) Middle East governments tactic to drive crude oil prices even higher than they were at the time. Remember when every summer right before you took your family vacations gas prices mysteriously raised a dollar or more a gallon? The same thing happened again just before the Thanksgiving/Christmas traveling days. America, the most powerful country in the world, was helpless to do anything. We, as was the rest of the world, dependent on a few oil rich countries that denied their own people the most basic civil liberties. Obey or die. And America did nothing to intervene. We were hostage to the crude oil that was necessary to power our automobiles and factories. I guess it was more important that we all were able to travel anywhere we choose to entertain ourselves while millions of people suffered at the hands of these dictatorship countries. And we helped make it possible because we refused to explore our oceans and national park lands for fear of disturbing the natural environments of each.
If it’s possible to do now it was possible then to do both. Harvesting the natural gas and oil from these areas and at the same time maintaining the eco balance of the areas is happening today and look at the results. America is completely independent of the need to import any crude oil from the Middle East. So how do we gather our things and move back home? The answer is we can’t, not entirely. Because America has left our footprints all over the place, we’ve changed the culture ever so slightly but still enough that leaving the current generation of people behind would be wrong. Regardless of what you see on all of the major news media channels, there are descendants native to the region that love Americans and want to adopt our culture as their own. Why? Because we’ve interjected ourselves long enough now they’ve seen a different and better way to live their lives. This is our fault, not theirs so how do we leave them behind?
So what do we do? The truth is, there are only a handful of people in America that know the answer. The reason there’s only a handful of people that know the answer is because these same people are the only ones that have all of the facts needed to make the stay or go decision. I can sit in my chair and type these stories out every week telling you my meaningless opinion based only on what I see and read because I don’t really know the facts. I don’t know enough facts to make a sound and reasonable conclusion of what military assets need to stay and for how long. God, I wish I did because it drives me nuts not knowing why Americans have to die or be seriously injured in parts of the world I see no reason to be there.
Haven’t we enough military expertise and technology to blow up anything we choose by air or sea strikes that we don’t need our sons and daughters standing around waiting to be killed in parts of the world we shouldn’t be? Is it that important that China and Russia don’t get an opportunity to overly influence those regions with their own cultures; can they even ever accomplish that? And if they do, so what, like I said and think; can’t the American Armed Forces strike where and when they need or choose to? Sure they can. Are all of the hundreds of remote military bases still of strategic need and advantage? Probably not. Can’t we see and hear everything we need to right from America via satellites and intelligence resources from other countries? Probably so.
Mr. President: either bring our children home or station them in America friendly countries to serve their own. Surround the Middle East with a powerful military capable of striking on a moment’s notice with an overwhelming dominance use of force. There was a time when maintaining peace through power was something only Americans were ever able to manage and control. This President is returning us that time.
(The views and opinions expressed in the submitted columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Journal.)