Is Trump exiting Afghanistan -- to attack Iran?
With the Pentagon's announcement that U.S. forces in Afghanistan will be cut in half -- to 2,500 -- by inauguration day, after 19 years, it appears the end to America's longest war may be in sight.
The Pentagon also announced a reduction of U.S. troop levels in Iraq to 2,500 by mid-January. In 2003, we invaded and occupied Iraq to remove a perceived threat from Saddam Hussein and to disarm that nation of weapons of mass destruction we discovered it did not have.
No WMD were ever found, and the war George W. Bush launched to find and destroy them has been called the greatest strategic blunder in U.S. history.
These two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, cost us some 7,000 dead, 50,000 wounded and trillions of dollars. And as they preoccupied us for two decades, China rose to become a strategic, military and economic superpower to rival the United States.
Iraq and Afghanistan were the longest wars in U.S. history, and the most costly of the Mideast wars we have fought there, but there were others.
In 2011, we attacked Col. Moammar Gadhafi's army in the early days of Libya's civil war. We intervened on the side of the rebels in Syria's civil war. We assisted Saudi airstrikes in Yemen after Houthi rebels arose up in 2015 to dump over a Saudi-backed regime.
Over two decades, Arabs and Muslims have died in the hundreds of thousands from these wars. But what have any of these wars availed the USA?
Libya is split between a Turkish-backed government in Tripoli and Russian- and Egyptian-backed rebels under Gen. Khalifa Hifter in Benghazi and the east of the country.
The Syrian regime of Bashar Assad has largely won its civil war, thanks to timely and decisive intervention by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, which came to the regime's rescue when it was on its last legs.
Today, Iran-backed militias in Iraq with ties to Tehran have far greater influence in Baghdad than Iran did before the Americans arrived in 2003.