By: Stephen A. Innamorato, III
Within days after the terrorist attacks on the U.S. of September 11, 2001, former President George W. Bush and Congress declared war on terrorism. Bush said at the time that the U.S. military would be deployed to those areas of the world which harbor terrorists in order to defeat them. He also cautioned that the war could drag on for many years.
Bush was wrong! The terrorists could’ve been defeated in a matter of days had the U.S. bombed them into submission inside their primary location of Afghanistan beginning on September 12, 2001.
Had Bush acted swiftly and decisively against the terrorists in Afghanistan, it would have been unnecessary to take the war into Iraq. A strong and swift showing of U.S. military might in Afghanistan would’ve scared Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein into surrendering the chemical weapons he had in Iraq.
Years of unnecessary war in the Middle East under the Bush administration led to the election of Barack Obama in 2008. Obama promised to end the war on terrorism, but he failed miserably.
Under Obama the U.S military largely abandoned the Middle East and the war on terror. This caused terrorists to swarm all over the region. Worse yet, the war spread into North Africa because of some bad foreign policy moves by the Obama administration.
The war on terror is now in its sixteenth year. It is the longest war in U.S. history.
President Donald Trump recently acknowledged that he inherited a mess from Obama. That aside, Trump is proceeding with his campaign promise to stop the terrorists and effectively end the war on terror.
Trump acted appropriately in ordering last week’s U.S. bombings of a Syrian airbase which housed chemical weapons. Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons from that airbase against his people in the days preceding the bombings. The U.S. bombings succeeded in destroying the chemical weapons Assad housed at the airbase. Trump was also properly credited for not getting the U.S. involved in Syria’s ongoing civil war.
The Syrian bombings were necessary to protect vital U.S. national security interests, namely the lives of U.S. military personnel in the Middle East still fighting the war on terror. If Syria’s chemical weapons fall into the hands of terrorists, the weapons will certainly be used against the U.S. Hence, the bombings prevented the spread of those weapons.
Trump also used the bombings as a means to stop the flow of refugees from the Middle East into other countries including the U.S. Terrorists are known to be hiding among the refugee population.
Thursday’s surprise bombing by the U.S. on the terrorists in Afghanistan reaffirmed Trump’s commitment to defeat terrorism. The bomb dropped by the U.S. is the single largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat. The bomb is officially referred to as the Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB), but has been nicknamed the “mother of all bombs”. The MOAB is specifically designed to destroy underground caves and tunnels, and the cowardly terrorists hiding within.
The MOAB is certainly a game-changer in the war on terror. It significantly limits the terrorists’ ability to hide in mountainous and desert regions. It also means that troops on the battlefield no longer have to be sitting ducks for sneak attacks and suicide bombings by the terrorists.
U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan has increased since Trump took office. U.S. troops are working again with Iraqi and Afghan forces to defeat the terrorists.
U.S. special operations forces are also reported to be working behind the scenes with the Syrian rebels to weed out the terrorists among them. The belief here is that once the terrorist are chased out of Syria, the U.S. will then assist the good rebels in defeating the Assad regime. Assad’s defeat would be a serious blow to Iran, an ally of Syria. Iran is also a state sponsor of terrorism.
A few U.S. officials have criticized the recent bombings in the Middle East. Some believe the U.S. should join the side of the Syrian rebels in the civil war against Syria’s government led by Assad. Others believe that Trump should’ve gotten approval from Congress before proceeding with the bombings.
Trump is doing the right thing by not getting the U.S. directly involved in the Syrian civil war. Since that war began in 2011, there have been bad people fighting on both sides. Trump is now making an effort to support the good rebels against Assad, while also ridding the area of terrorists.
Trump doesn’t have to get congressional approval for every U.S. military strike. The U.S. Constitution requires him to get congressional approval if he wants to wage war. However, a U.S. president in his constitutional role as Commander in Chief of the U.S. military has the authority to deploy troops without advance warning in order to protect U.S. national security.
If Trump decides to get the U.S. involved in any ongoing military conflicts around the world, then he’ll need authorization from Congress. No such authorization is needed for surprise military strikes like the Syrian bombings which Trump deemed necessary to protect the U.S. from an imminent threat. As for the Afghan bombing, Congress authorized the use of military force to fight the terrorists shortly after the 911 terrorist attacks.
Less than 100 days into his presidency, Trump is establishing a new world order based on peace through strength. His strategy for defeating the terrorists and finally ending the long war on terror appears to be working. A U.S. victory in that war will send a strong message to America’s other enemies in China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea.