In the last two weeks, two neocon warhawks have been chosen by President Trump to fill key cabinet positions. First, it was CIA Director Mike Pompeo selected to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Now, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster is out, and former UN Ambassador and unapologetic Iraq War champion John Bolton is in.
Like so many of my fellow veterans who served in Iraq, I witnessed the cost of war firsthand during my 12-month tour in 2005. This was a major motivation for me to offer to serve in Congress — so that I could do everything possible to prevent our country from making such disastrous and costly foreign policy decisions again. The cost of such wars are borne by US troops who are put into harm’s way, who make the ultimate sacrifice, and those who come home with both visible and invisible wounds. It is borne by the American people, whose taxpayer dollars are spent by the trillions on these counterproductive regime change wars, and the inevitable nation-building that follows, while our communities languish with failing infrastructure, resource-strapped schools, and too many who still lack access to quality healthcare. Yet, the Washington interventionist foreign policy establishment, which has persisted through both Democrat and Republican administrations, remains unmoved by the costly and counterproductive failures of Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and they continue increasing the drumbeat of war.
Just this week, Trump sold another $1 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia while the Senate failed to take action that would end US support for the destructive Saudi-Iran proxy war in Yemen. Congress never authorized US military support for this horrific war in Yemen. Yet, US military planes are refueling Saudi warplanes that are dropping missiles like the ones Trump just sold them to bomb Yemeni civilians, killing tens of thousands and destroying their infrastructure and access to clean water, leading to the worst cholera outbreak in modern history.
And now, the introduction of warhawk John Bolton as Trump’s National Security Advisor comes as we are on the brink of historic and necessary direct talks between President Trump and Kim Jong Un to denuclearize North Korea, Turkey’s attacks against our Kurdish allies in Syria, and threats of war with Iran.
The American people are sick of our failed regime change wars. They are sick of paying the price for counterproductive wars that have taken the lives of our sons and daughters and taken resources away from our communities, while undermining our security and increasing the threat of terrorism.
The neocon Washington establishment continues to cozy up to Saudi Arabia despite their direct and indirect support of terrorist groups, and their continued global exportation of the extreme Wahhabi Salafi ideology that fuels terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, directly undermining the safety and security of our country. Neocon warhawks Pompeo and Bolton will not only continue the status quo, they threaten to worsen the situation with more senseless wars.
We cannot allow that to happen.
We need to end our country’s counterproductive regime change war policies that have undermined our national security, destroyed so many countries, and taken so many lives. We must instead focus on investing in and rebuilding our communities right here at home.
The best way to honor our troops, the less than 1% of our country’s population who voluntarily put their lives on the line in service to our country, is by making sure that when they are sent into combat, it is the last option, not the first, and that the mission is worthy of their great sacrifice. They are not fodder to be used carelessly to live out the regime-change war addiction that has consumed Washington for far too long.
Join me in taking a stand for peace today. Our future depends on it.