Speech on the house floor on October 7, 2015.
The same people that got us into a very unnecessary war in Iraq are now clamoring for military action in Syria.
These same people that have opposed us getting out of Afghanistan – even though our troops have been there more than three times longer than World War II – now demand action in Syria.
These same people seem to want us to be at war in almost every country in the Middle East even though things are worse now than when we started fighting there many years ago.
Surely we have learned a very costly lesson after spending trillions of U.S. taxpayer dollars and losing thousands of American lives that we cannot run the Middle East.
President Eisenhower certainly knew the horrors of war.
He brought us home from Korea and kept us out of all the conflicts and little wars during his time in office.
He did not have to prove that he was tough or that he was a great military leader.
Too many of our leaders – or would-be leaders – seem to be falling all over themselves trying to show that they are tougher than anyone else.
With our national debt now totaling more than $18 trillion dollars, we simply cannot afford to intervene in every hot spot or conflict all around the world.
This is not isolationism, this is common sense.
We should have trade and tourism with other countries and cultural and educational exchanges, but we should not be eager to go to war, or send troops, or drones, or bombs in mainly to prove that we are great world leaders.
We have too many officials and candidates who want to be seen as new Winston Churchills.
They try to turn every two-bit dictator into new Hitlers.
President Eisenhower in his most famous speech – near the end of his presidency warned us against the military-industrial complex.
Now some people say we have a security-industrial complex as well.
Most of the threats against us have been greatly exaggerated by people and companies which make big money from all of our foreign interventions.
If we would stop trying to run the Middle East we could make our own Country stronger from both a financial and security standpoint.
While our intentions have been honorable, our foreign policies in the Middle East have created much hatred and resentment for us.
It was not an American bomb that went astray killing 131 people at the wedding in Yemen a few days ago, but all the reports said it was a U.S. led coalition, so we are getting the blame.
The air attack on the Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan that killed 22 in what the Pentagon described as inadvertent was another public relations disaster for the U.S.
We need to stop trying to run the whole world.
We have enough problems of our own right here athome, yet many of our leaders seem to feel more important if they are concentrating on foreign issues.
It is not the fault of the American people, but it is the fault of our liberal, elitist foreign policy establishment that there is so much hatred for America in the Middle East.
This liberal, elitist establishment wanted us to go to war in Syria a few years ago, but the public outcry from ordinary American citizens was so strong against it that their plans had to be abandoned.
Now these same interventionists have figured out a way to accomplish their goal by resurrecting a Russia that no longer exists.
Even the disgraced General Petraeus said at a hearing last week that Putin’s foreign reserves are less than $200 billion.
With his economy at home in shambles – in part due to low prices for oil and natural gas – he cannot afford to run Syria for long even if it were possible to do so.
If Putin wants to pursue this folly, we certainly should not try to do the same, as if it were a competitive advantage to take over a failed state.
It would be especially foolish to try to take over a messed-up place like the Syria of today.
Businessmen compete to take over very profitable businesses.
They generally don’t fight over businesses that are going under.
While the Neoconservatives hate to admit it, both Assad in Syria and the leadership in Iran are allies in the fight against ISIS.
ISIS has strength for two main reasons:
One: Resentment for our interventions in the Middle East.
And Two: Billions of dollars’ worth of U.S. equipment abandoned by security forces that we spent billions to train who cut and ran at the first sign of danger.
We should not send more young Americans to fight and die for people who are not willing to fight for themselves.
Dr. Daniel Larison, a contributing editor of the American Conservative Magazine wrote a few days ago that, “The U.S. keeps stumbling ahead with a war in Syria that it doesn’t need to be fighting,” and added that “all of this comes ultimately from our political leaders inability to recognize that there are many conflicts that the U.S. should avoid altogether.”
Eisenhower recognized this, and we desperately need a leader like him again.
Finally Mr. Speaker, columnist Pat Buchanan summed it up best: “If America’s elites continue to assert their right to intervene in the internal affairs of nations…then we are headed for endless conflict.”
“There was a time, not so long ago… when Americans accepted a diversity of regimes abroad. Indeed – a belief in nonintervention abroad was once the very cornerstone of American foreign policy.” Buchanan added: “Perhaps it is time to climb down from our ideological high horse and start respecting the vital interests of other sovereign nations – even as we protect and defend our own.”
Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) represents Tennessee’s 2nd District.