The mil­i­tary de­bate we need to have

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The Sept. 14 ed­i­to­rial “An over­due de­bate” was right that we need a dis­cus­sion on au­tho­riz­ing for­eign mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions — but it should oc­cur with­out the pa­ram­e­ters the ed­i­to­rial im­posed. We have been in a con­tin­u­ous war in Afghanistan for 16 years with no progress to­ward an agree­ment with the Tal­iban. In Iraq, we de­stroyed the Sunni mil­i­tary and govern­ment struc­ture, re­sult­ing in their un­em­ploy­ment. We then sub­jected them to Shi­ite mili­tia con­trol, which pro­vided the ge­n­e­sis for al-Qaeda in Iraq and now the Is­lamic State. In ad­di­tion to an un­sta­ble Afghanistan and Iraq, we are in­volved in a Syr­ian civil war and in So­ma­lia, Ye­men and Libya.

In to­day’s world, there sim­ply is no good ev­i­dence sup­port­ing the pol­icy that di­rect mil­i­tary in­volve­ment does any­thing other than in­crease the size and ex­pense of the mil­i­tary. With satel­lite, drone and other so­phis­ti­cated sur­veil­lance, we’d at least be as safe and se­cure as we are now with a smaller bud­get deficit and fewer en­e­mies abroad. In­deed, if the North had won the Korean War, we might be deal­ing peace­ably with a uni­fied Korea as we are with a uni­fied Viet­nam.

Ed Houry, Fair­fax

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