When I hear the chants from members of both parties that doing nothing in Syria will make us look weak, I can’t help but wonder what country they’re talking about. We are in a conflict of one sort or the other virtually all the time-every two years at least.
I’m still on the fence regarding the complex issue of what to do with Syria. But anyone who suggests that the primary justification for killing people in a country most Americans can’t find on a map is to show our strength, is just manipulating our macho-man cowboy insecurities for their own political benefit. Ooooh, we don’t want to look weak, so let’s kill somebody!
One question to ask yourself is, since no other country is expected to intervene every time there is a conflict somewhere in the world, do those countries look weak? Do Russia, China, Britain, Germany, Spain, France, Portugal, India, Pakistan, Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, Chile, Peru et al appear to be weak because they don’t continually send troops and supplies around the world to support this or that dictator or militant group? How the hell can an entire country with the power and heft of the United States look weak just because they prefer to not kill people who’ve never hurt them?
If we are truly, as some are continually saying, the biggest, best, strongest country in the world, why do we have such an inferiority complex? Why do we have to be the bully who everyone is already afraid of, but constantly feel the need to beat someone up, just to remind them that we can?
Here is a list of wars and conflicts around the world that have involved the US in only the last 13 years. Read it and decide how weak we look to others around the world.
• 2000 – Nigeria. Special Forces troops are sent to Nigeria to lead a training mission in the county.
• 2000 – Yemen. On October 12, 2000, after the USS Cole attack in the port of Aden, Yemen, US military personnel were deployed to Aden
• 2000 – East Timor. On February 25, 2000, U.S. military personnel were deployed to support the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).
• 2001 – War in Afghanistan. The War on Terrorism begins with Operation Enduring Freedom. On October 7, 2001, U.S. Armed Forces invade Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks and “begin combat action in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda terrorists and their Taliban supporters.
• 2002 – Yemen. On November 3, 2002, an American MQ-1 Predator fired a Hellfire missile at a car in Yemen killing Qaeda Salim Sinan al-Harethi, an al-Qaeda leader thought to be responsible for the USS Cole bombing.
• 2002 – Philippines. OEF-Philippines. January 2002 U.S. “combat-equipped and combat support forces” have been deployed to the Philippines to train with, assist and advise the Philippines’ Armed Forces in enhancing their “counterterrorist capabilities
• 2002 – Côte d’Ivoire. On September 25, 2002, in response to a rebellion in Côte d’Ivoire, U.S. military personnel went into Côte d’Ivoire to assist in the evacuation of American citizens from Bouake.
• 2003–2011 – War in Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom. March 20, 2003. The United States leads a coalition that includes Britain, Australia and Spain to invade Iraq with the stated goal being “to disarm Iraq in pursuit of peace, stability, and security both in the Gulf region and in the United States.
• 2003 – Liberia. Second Liberian Civil War. On June 9, 2003, President Bush reported that on June 8 he had sent about 35 U.S. Marines into Monrovia, Liberia, to help secure the U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott, Mauritania, and to aid in any necessary evacuation from either Liberia or Mauritania
• 2003 – Georgia and Djibouti. “US combat equipped and support forces” had been deployed to Georgia and Djibouti to help in enhancing their “counterterrorist capabilities.
• 2004 – Haiti. 2004 Haïti rebellion occurs. The US first sent 55 combat equipped military personnel to augment the U.S. Embassy security forces there and to protect American citizens and property in light. Later 200 additional US combat-equipped, military personnel were sent to prepare the way for a UN Multinational Interim Force, MINUSTAH
• 2004 – War on Terrorism: U.S. military activities were underway in Georgia, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen, and Eritrea.
• 2004–present: Drone attacks in Pakistan
• 2005–06 – Pakistan. President Bush deploys troops from US Army Air Cav Brigades to far remote villages in the Kashmir mountain ranges of Pakistan .
• 2006 – Lebanon. U.S. Marine Detachment, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit assists ground invasion by Israel and continued fighting between Hezbollah and the Israeli military.
• 2007 – Somalia. Battle of Ras Kamboni. On January 8, 2007, while the conflict between the Islamic Courts Union and the Transitional Federal Government continues, an AC-130 gunship conducts an aerial strike on a suspected al-Qaeda operative, along with other Islamist fighters, on Badmadow Island near Ras Kamboni in southern Somalia.
• 2008 – South Ossetia, Georgia. helped to transport Georgian forces from Iraq during the conflict. In the past, the US has provided training and weapons to Georgia.
• 2010-11 War in Iraq. Operation New Dawn. On February 17, 2010, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that as of September 1, 2010, the name “Operation Iraqi Freedom” would be replaced by “Operation New Dawn”. This coincides with the reduction of American troops to 50,000.
• 2011 – Libya. Operation Odyssey Dawn. Coalition forces enforcing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 with bombings of Libyan forces.
• 2011 – War on Terrorism. Osama Bin Laden is killed by U.S. military forces in Pakistan as part of Operation Neptune Spear.
• 2011 – Drone strikes on al-Shabab militants begin in Somalia. This marks the 6th nation in which such strikes have been carried out, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.
• 2011 – Uganda. US Combat troops sent in as advisers to Uganda.
• 2012 – Jordan. 150 US troops deployed to Jordan to help it contain the Syrian Civil War within Syria’s borders.
• 2012 – Turkey. 400 troops and two batteries of Patriot missiles sent to Turkey to prevent any missile strikes from Syria.
• 2012 – Chad. 50 U.S. troops have deployed to the African country of Chad to help evacuate U.S. citizens and embassy personnel from the neighboring Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui in the face of rebel advances toward the city.
• 2013 – Mali. US forces assisted the French in Operation Serval with air refueling and transport aircraft.
• 2013 – Somalia. US Air Force planes supported the French in the Bulo Marer hostage rescue attempt.