VanFosson: Syria and the military industrial complex: Part 1


Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump observes the crowd’s reaction as he speaks about the differences between him and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Sep. 13 in Clive, Iowa.

Kaleb Van Fosson

Innocent bystanders consumed by the hellish flames of bombs that rain down from the sky, mothers hysterically crying over the mangled blood-stained bodies of their dead children and retired soldiers screaming in agony as they wake up in the middle of the night haunted by inescapable trauma; this is the cost of war that most Americans will never truly know.

War is not the idealized and inspiring movie that many Americans view it as. War is a hell created by the greed that lies in the heart of men and the evil that we inflict on one another. It’s not a necessary evil, but the creation of individuals who seek to profit from the violence and death they inflict on the world.

During the presidential primaries and general election, something unexpected happened. Donald Trump ran his campaign for presidency as a Republican who condemned the invasion of Iraq and who claimed to want to stay out of Middle Eastern countries like Syria. Despite this side to his rhetoric, it was really never clear what he actually believed about foreign policy, because he contradicted himself constantly.

One moment he would send out a tweet saying that attacking Syria would be a terrible mistake, then the next moment he would say that he intends to “bomb the hell out of ISIS.” But last week, Trump launched an attack on Syria, making it clear where he really stands on the issue.

This attack against Syria killed 15 people and was a terrible mistake that will help ISIS gain power. Assad and the Syrian government have been crucial in leading the fight to keep ISIS from expanding, and weakening the Syrian military will give ISIS an advantage in its goal of conquering Syria.

How can leaders in America possibly claim to want to destroy ISIS while also supporting war against the government that is doing the most to fight ISIS? This is not the only way the United States has helped radical terrorist groups; we have also sold weapons to supposedly “moderate” Syrian rebels that ended up in the hands of al-Qaeda. It is absolute madness that our government is actively helping radical extremists take over Syria, and even some politicians are speaking out about it, like Hawaiian congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who has introduced a bill titled the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act.

Our attack on Syria is harming our relationship with other nations and causing a dangerous increase in international tension. Russia and Iran are both allies of Syria, and after our recent attack, both countries stated that they will “respond with force” if we cross the line again.

Neoconservative war hawks are now driving us into a state of international tension, reminiscent of the Cold War. We cannot afford to continue on the road of imperialism any further, or we will be increasing the risk of war with other nuclear powers. People may see this as fearmongering, but we must acknowledge the reality of our military actions and understand that not long ago the threat of nuclear war was a daily reality for American citizens.

Each of the 59 Tomahawk missiles launched at Syria cost the American taxpayers roughly $1.5 million per missile. How is it that in our country we can’t afford to keep children from being poisoned with lead in Flint Michigan, but we can afford to spend $90 million killing people in Syria? How can the Republicans claim to be for fiscal responsibility when they choose to spend money creating death and destruction abroad rather than creating prosperity and progress here at home?

And to be fair, the Democrats are not a party of peace and diplomacy either. Just hours before the attack on Syria, Hillary Clinton called for the United States to attack the Syrian airfields, putting her in support of the Trump administration’s foreign policy of war and violence. It should upset and enrage Americans to know that no matter who won the election, we would still have conducted this military attack and continued our legacy of imperialism in the Middle East.

This recent attack has also highlighted everything that is wrong with the corporate media conglomerates that dominate American media. Instead of a nuanced conversation about how our foreign policy is affecting international relations, we have clueless individuals like Brian Williams on MSNBC talking about how “beautiful” the missiles look. And over on Fox “News” we have Bill O’Reilly claiming that the attack was necessary to protect Syrians from Assad — as if O’Reilly cared at all about people in the Middle East.

This is the kind of coverage you can expect from a media owned by billionaires. Instead of showing the bloody cost of war, they give us a pack of morons reciting propaganda from a teleprompter.