We can’t afford any more wars

President Obama spoke last week on what he believes to be a viable strategy to eliminate ISIS, but for me, his speech raised more questions than solutions. I remain skeptical and concerned about our rush back to war in the Middle East.

We have seen how the unintended consequences of military action can spiral out of control, causing more suffering in the region and hurting U.S. security. U.S. bombs, and the civilian deaths they cause, all too often serve as recruitment tools for groups like ISIS and too many American-made weapons have already fallen into the hands of extremists — yeah, another failed strategy that pits our troops against our own weaponry, and no one saw that coming?!

Non-military solutions are ultimately far more effective in keeping America safe, protecting innocent lives, and crippling violent extremists.

Instead of relying on airstrikes, the U.S. should invest in humanitarian assistance, work to keep weapons from flowing into Iraq and Syria, and engage diplomatically with all parties to the regional conflict via the United Nations. The same is true of our policies in Palestine.

Additionally — and most importantly — the cost of war doesn’t end when the last soldier returns home, or missile system is sent to an enemy of our enemy who ultimately becomes our enemy. Any money Congress authorizes to expand our operations into Iraq or Syria or anywhere else should be matched by an immediate investment in the care of those who have fought our previous wars: the Veterans Administration is still in shambles and needs an influx of resources to preclude the alarming rate of suicides of our veterans.

It is unconscionable that here at home, services are being cut, cities are bankrupt, people are homeless and hungry — here in America — while billions are flowing out of our country to aid war and fill the coffers of war mongers and the war industrial complex.

Looking forward to when do we stop studying war and genuinely give peace a chance.

Lesley Ahmed

Camano Island

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