On the 19th of December, President Trump announced that he—the Commander-in-Chief of US military forces—would withdraw American troops from Syria. The subsequent outrage from the intelligencers who enable the military industrial complex provides those who have an interest in joining the military with a strong disincentive from doing so. Blinded by petulant partisanship, the talking heads view Trump’s announcement as a threat to our national security, and regarding the lucky 2000+ American troops who are scheduled to return home by mid-January, there is no mention of them, which is why the contents of this letter will focus on them and others like them.
Immediately after the United States witnessed the devastation that occurred on the 11th of September, 2001, many Americans voluntarily enlisted in the military. Many had patriotic reasons for doing so; however, what they did not know at the time was that the following claims told by our federal government and promulgated by the useful idiots that comprise our mainstream media turned out to be baldfaced lies: Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction; Hussein partnered with Osama bin Laden in planning the 9/11 attacks, and the Taliban poses a grave threat to America. Bin Laden and most of those who weaponized the planes on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, and bin Laden was killed in Pakistan 7.5 years ago; however, we still have 14,000 troops in Afghanistan—the 12th-poorest country in the world as measured by GDP per capita, according to the International Monetary Fund. Now, put yourself in the boots of those 2000+ troops in Syria ‘advising’ alongside an offshoot of Al-Qaeda—the terrorist organization founded by bin Laden—in opposition to the Syrian government. “I thought I was going to fight terrorists, not fight alongside Al-Qaeda’s offspring.” “What did Bashar al-Assad do to Americans?” Do you think this is what our troops signed up for?
If you are a senior in high school or someone looking to drastically alter your line of work, perhaps the military is not the best place for your talents. War is an instrument of policy, a tool callously used to achieve the State’s agenda.
Imagine joining the military, with the hope of defending the country you love, only to find yourself in Syria—one of the 76 countries in which the US military has a presence. It is not possible to defend the US from invasion if one is not physically located in the US, so if members of our military are in another country, they are either on offense or are defending that country. The US military, as it currently functions, only helps to create more enemies for the US. Maybe that’s fine with you because you wish to fight ‘terrorists’ no matter where they are. But will you sleep well, knowing that you have also signed up to perpetuate the War on Drugs? According to the latest quarterly report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, “[the counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan] have cost U.S. taxpayers more than $8 billion since 2002.” Is that a mission you wish to support?
Let’s say none of that bothers you and you enlist, does this mean those with power and influence will have your wellbeing at heart? Of course not. Just read the following headlines from allegedly reputable publications: “Glee in Russia Over Trump’s Foreign Policy Largess” and “U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria is ‘a dream come true for the Iranians.’” That’s how The New York Times and The Washington Post, respectively, perceive the removal of Americans from harm’s way. What about the “glee” felt by the family and friends who are soon to be reunited with those 2000+ American troops? What about the “dream come true” for those troops? Why the concern over Russia and Iran? Do those countries pose a serious threat to the US, or are those ‘concerns’ more about making Trump look bad? Evidence supports the latter. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the US military budget in 2017 was about $610B. Russia’s military budget was about 10.9% of that, and Iran’s, 2.4%. Those countries’ economies—relative to the US—are equally pathetic, but the Putin paranoia persists. Hillary Clinton—the Secretary of State who insisted on intervening in Syria in the first place—chastised Trump on Twitter with, “Playing into Russia & Iran’s hands is foolish. This President is putting our national security at grave risk.” Senators Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio expressed a similar sentiment, proving, once again, that if any of those presidential candidates were elected, expanding the US empire’s dominance would be their top priority, damn be the costs.
Still not convinced? Maybe you think that because America is “great again,” you’d be happy to go wherever you’re told. But how great is America; is it truly the “land of the free”? According to the latest Human Freedom Index, 16 countries rank higher than the US, and according to the Prison Policy Initiative, the US incarcerates more people per capita than any other country. Instead of risking your life for some other country, is it not clear that the US has some domestic issues in need of attention—issues that you could help solve, and potentially profit from, outside of the State’s purview? Is it not yet clear that if you enlist to serve the State, policy wonks will not hesitate to sacrifice your life for their political gain? Even if you’re contemplating joining the military solely for the ‘free’ college, is being a pawn worth a rapidly depreciating degree? I look forward to the return of our troops from Syria, and I hope the rumor about Trump withdrawing only half of the troops from Afghanistan is false; as a veteran of Afghanistan, I want Trump to bring home every one of them. With the US out of Syria and Afghanistan, will Trump be able to pull us out of the other 74 countries? With a declining military force, due to your and others’ abstention, he just might do it. I concede that that line of reasoning is a bit wishful, so, realistically, if you want to defend your country, better to buy a gun.