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If the War on Terror is Over is the Next War Beginning?

January 22, 2018
Plain English Version

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis waits for the arrival of Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen to the Pentagon, Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Photo Credit: AP Photo/Cliff Owen.

The American Secretary of Defense says, “yes.”

The invasion of Iraq by America did not work out as hoped. It was easy to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. But it was not easy to build a government in Iraq that would work.

United States forces left Iraq in December 2011. Within three years ISIS was taking over cities in Iraq. ISIS members (the Islamic State) are Sunni Muslims who are a group of religious fanatics. ISIS wanted to create a “Caliphate.” It would be a world ruled by Sharia Law. They succeeded in Iraq for a few years. Finally, Iraq got its act together and with Iran defeated ISIS. The U.S. military returned in smaller numbers to aid Iraq.

Civil war broke out in Syria. U.S. forces went to Syria to support groups opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

That leaves the fighting in Afghanistan that began in 2002. A large number of American forces are still there fighting terrorists and the Taliban.

What does it all mean? It means that America has been at war in the Middle East for the last sixteen years.

The U.S. Secretary of Defense is James Mattis. He spoke about future threats to America. He said the primary threats are Russia and China. They are a different kind of adversary. They are real countries with real militaries.

Secretary Mattis said global competition is underway. Terrorism is not over. But the great threat is these powers who are flexing their muscles. It is to that danger that the U.S. must turn.

What is the big question? Have 16 years of fighting terrorists left America unprepared for a great land war with Russia or China?

Secretary Mattis has said Russia is an enemy. He said to Russia, “If you challenge us, it will be your longest and worst day.”

What are the biggest challenges ahead for the U.S.? Rebuilding our military is job one.

The Secretary said another challenge is keeping our relationships with our allies. He cited Winston Churchill. Churchill said the only thing harder than fighting with allies is fighting without them. Mattis said, “History proves that nations with allies will thrive.”

What is the other great challenge cited by Secretary Mattis? It is the United States Congress. He said the way Congress deals with the military’s budget does harm to the armed services.

Congress wastes time and taxpayer money, the secretary commented. Right now, it is the same Congress that has shut down the government.

Source: The New York Times January 19, 2018

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