The suicide bombing in Manbij, Syria which killed up to twenty people, including two U.S. soldiers, a State Department employee, and a defense contractor, adds to the tragic toll of the war in Syria, said to be in the hundreds of thousands. ISIS has taken credit for the Manbij bombing, but they have provided no proof.
Some peace activists are expressing suspicion about the timing of the bombing in northern Syria, which came just as US foreign policy hawks, including the entire mainstream media, are pushing back against Trump’s promise to withdraw US troops from Syria. The pro-intervention crowd is saying, “See, we told you that ISIS was not defeated - we need to stay in Syria until they are.”
The presence of US troops in Syria, as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia and elsewhere, provides motivation for terrorist attacks. US troops are now sitting ducks in a sea of terrorism of the US’s own making. Withdrawing the troops from Syria is the way to reduce terrorism and bring an end to the war. The US has no legal right to be in Syria in the first place.
Along with the people of the countries that the US has invaded and occupied, it is our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters in the US military who are paying the price for illegal and ill-advised wars of conquest. Their long suffering working class families are paying a huge prices as well. Every additional deployment brings with it increased risks of loss of life and limb, and the likelihood of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and Traumatic Brain Injury (from exposure to explosions).
Many veterans can also attest to the profound Moral Injury that occurs when they realize they participated in killing other human beings for no good reason, in fact for lies. This is why we have 22 active duty GI’s and veterans killing themselves every single day! This cannot be allowed to continue. We must demand that all the troops be brought home now, and given the care they so badly need.
But who even remembers that Trump said he would withdraw US troops from Syria? Now the eyes and ears of the American people are focused on the government shutdown that Trump has contrived. The national media networks gave Trump primetime TV coverage to repeat his litany of lies about immigrants and about the border. He said that migrants and asylum seekers are actually criminals. He blamed them for the flood of opiates into the US. These are vicious lies which are easily disproven. The Drug Enforcement Administration says that most of the drugs coming into the US from Mexico are transported in vehicles through legal check points. Statistics show that immigrants are less likely to commit violent crimes than people who were born in the US.
About 800,000 federal workers are going without pay, and thousands of them are veterans. According to the Office of Personnel Management, about 155,000 veterans work at agencies affected by the shutdown. Of those, nearly 50,000 are disabled veterans. And 40,000 members of the Coast Guard, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security rather than the Department of Defense, are being forced to work without pay. One Coastie wife has started a GoFundMe appeal to that her husband and thousands of others can pay their bills.
So while US troops and their families endure multiple deployments, veterans suffering from the trauma of previous wars are stressed out by missing paychecks, and active duty Coast Guard carry out dangerous missions without pay. And hundreds of US military veterans who have been inhumanely deported are unable to rejoin their families in the United States. Neither Trump nor the rest of the Establishment appear to give a damn about the men and women whom they praise so effusively when drumming up support for their endless wars.
This article has been excerpted from: ‘The Wall, The Endless War, and the Troops Who Pay’.