Is Donald Trump moving to restart the war Barack Obama ended?

Is Donald Trump moving to restart the war Barack Obama ended?
A US Soldier fires a weapon in Afghanistan. Pixabay Images

Press reports are that Donald Trump is sending more troops to Afghanistan. The love affair between the GOP and war continues. What happened to America First and its isolationism, and promises to eschew foreign militarism? Like everything that rolls out of Donald Trump’s mouth, that seems to be a lie.

The GOP is famous for lies. Lying is as natural as blinking to the GOP. There is the great Vietnam War lie. They lay the war at President Kennedy and Johnson’s feet.

It is true that Kennedy did not pull advisers out of Indo-China, and Johnson cooked up the Gulf of Tonkin fairytale that expanded the war. However, the Grandfather of that divisive war that America ultimately lost was the 34th President of the USA, Republican Dwight David Eisenhower who sent in the first Americans.

The Republicans have involved the USA in every war since the Korean conflict. Except for Gulf War I, they have all been disasters. When I hear the GOP beating the war drum, and run to Congress for an authorization to use force, I think, Oh no, here we go again.

Lost are the lessons of History on Republicans; that is quite obvious. The sole Republicans who learned from history are Colin Powell and the first President Bush who went into Gulf War I with a clear strategy, and a clear exit plan. They remembered the harsh lessons of Vietnam.

The Powell Doctrine, named by Journalists after General Powell who was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the run-up to Gulf War I. The Doctrine is an expansion of Reagan Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger military doctrine developed to help decide when the USA should take military action. General Powell worked closely with Secretary Weinberger during the Reagan years.

The Powell Doctrine asks eight questions:

  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
  2. Do we have a clear and obtainable objective?
  3. Have the costs and risks been thoroughly analyzed?
  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been thoroughly exhausted?
  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
  6. Have the consequences of our actions domestically and internationally been fully considered?
  7. Does the action have the support of the American People?
  8. Does the action have broad international support?

In the wake of the attacks on 9/11/2001, my opinion was sought by some policy types at the White House. They asked my advice on how to proceed with Afghanistan. By this time, I had been lobbying military and diplomatic issues for two decades. Having been active helping sell Gulf War I to the American Public, the White House was keen on getting their hands on my press lists I had developed for the conflict.

I asked the answers to the Powell Doctrine questions and was shocked at the reply. “The Vice-President and Secretary Rumsfeld are not interested in the Doctrine. We are moving forward,” the caller informed me. If their minds were made up, why were they asking? The short answer is, to gain support for their adventure. Until I had answers to the Powell questions, they were not getting it from me.

The Powell Doctrine has slipped into obscurity, and it is a tragic mistake. Republican Presidents and Republican appointees love to recall the success of Gulf War 1, yet will not apply the principles that are responsible for that stunning victory.

The news is that President Trump is sending 1000 additional troops to Afghanistan. In September of 2017, he sent 3500 more soldiers and airmen.

What is going on? There is no winning in Afghanistan. It is a war of attrition similar to Vietnam. Look at what happened to the Soviet Union when they invaded and occupied Afghanistan.

What are the objectives, what is the exit plan? The American Public is entitled to know since it is our tax dollars and our sons and daughter’s lives at risk.

Is he restarting the war Barack Obama ended? If he is, then I see no good outcome from his actions. As we saw in Vietnam, and as we see in Afghanistan and Syria, fighting ideas with guns and jets is not a winning strategy. We have to win hearts and minds, and we do not do that by killing people.

Again we see Congressional weakness in confronting President Trump. Where is the opposition and why are they not demanding to know what Trump is doing, and why are they not insisting he discloses his objectives to the American public?

Someone, please check and see if the Democrats have slipped into a mass coma and are unaware that Trump is on an expanded military lark. We have a right to know, and as the opposition party, the Democrats must demand answers.

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