IN 2016, CANDIDATE Donald Trump vowed to halt “endless wars.” The Democratic candidates running for president this year have made similar promises.
Yet, following the drone-strike killing of Iran’s senior military commander in early January, more troops are going to the Middle East and military tensions have increased. U.S. forces continue to drop bombs and conduct combat operations in Afghanistan and other countries, as Washington’s propensity for military intervention shows little sign of abating. The power of the Pentagon has increased and will grow further in the years ahead as the 2020 military budget doubles down on money and weapons to wage war across the globe.
When most of us hear the term endless war, we think of Afghanistan. Rightly so, as the war is now in its 19th year, with no end in sight. For years we were told by political leaders, including President Obama, that the Afghanistan conflict was a legal and justified war, as opposed to the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Our persistent efforts, we were told, were paying off in countering terrorism and advancing democracy and human rights.
Now we know this was a lie. The release of the so-called Afghanistan Papers in December revealed systematic deception and failure. Based on 2,000 pages of confidential interviews with those who fought and directed the war, the Afghanistan Papers confirm that Pentagon and White House officials made claims of success they knew to be false and refused to admit the war was unwinnable.