Protecting America

There is a standard narrative that politicians deploy any time that our military goes into action somewhere in the world – our military men and women are putting their lives on the line to protect Americans and to preserve our freedom. Now, with our President’s commitment to fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, we are hearing this again. In Mr. Obama’s speech on the 10th of September, in which he declared his intention to lead an international military coalition to destroy ISIS, he insisted that “our own safety, our own security” depends on America waging yet another war in the Middle East.

However, as usual, there has been no discussion of how exactly this kind of military action will serve to protect the safety or security of Americans, aside from the few hundred American citizens who are in the region. Otherwise, there have only been vague worries that ISIS may someday have the capability to be a terrorist threat to America in the way that Al Qaeda once was. During an interview with NBC, President Obama said that “over time” ISIS could become “a serious threat to the homeland.” But at the same time, Mr. Obama has insisted there will be no American boots on the ground in this conflict, and that it is the responsibility of countries in the region to actually do the fighting against ISIS.

If the President is so certain that ISIS is a real threat to the safety of Americans, shouldn’t he be deploying the full force of America’s military to eliminate that threat rather than relying on a non-existent coalition of other countries to protect Americans? And if ISIS is not enough of a threat to Americans to justify fighting it directly, why be involved at all? Even if we do not have a major military presence on the ground, any of our personnel in the area will still be risking their lives.

Perhaps the President has access to some secret information that would reveal why this half-measure of military action is truly the best course, but it seems to me that there must be some other motive for getting involved in this conflict in the Middle East. This war could reasonably be compared to a family fight, and one that has been going on in one form or another for hundreds and hundreds of years. As any police officer can tell you, getting a call to become involved in a family dispute is one of the most dangerous situations for an officer to be in. In a similar way, after the conflict has been resolved, no matter what the outcome is, we Americans will be judged by the world to be the bad guy for interfering in an affair that was none of our concern.

If the President is truly concerned with protecting Americans, there are much more effective ways to go about this task than dropping bombs on people halfway around the world. As just one example, there is an epidemic of gun violence in our big cities, most of it committed by organized crime and other criminal elements. More than 30 Americans are murdered by guns every single day, and homicide is the second most common cause of death for Americans between the ages of 15-24. Controlling crime in our cities and getting the guns out of the hands of criminals would be one of the single most effective ways of protecting American lives, but of course it would also be significantly more challenging than signing an order to launch air strikes on people who might, possibly, become a threat in the future.

Perhaps it is justifiable for us to get involved in this conflict in the Middle East, but it is very hard to see what it has to do with protecting America, or why our young service men and women should be putting their lives on the line for this cause. If you are looking for a leader who will truly value and protect American lives, work with me to make a change. Cast your write in vote for Art Drew for President of the United States in 2016.