With tensions with Iran simmering, it seems American troops who remain in the region are little more than sitting ducks. Perhaps the powerful defense industry and war profiteers, the only ones who have benefitted from America’s forever wars, like the idea of having a potential future Fort Sumter in a war with Iran.
While it may be in the interests of some policymakers to maintain an American military presence in the Middle East, it is certainly not in the interests of the American people, who have time and again expressed their opposition to further engagement. It is not in the interests of the peoples of the region, who have suffered for decades under bombs and drones. It is not in the interest of American soldiers, who are more likely to commit suicide upon returning from Middle East battlefields than they are to die in combat.
The time has come to end all of America’s forever wars — and that cannot happen as long as U.S. forces remain in the Middle East.
Edward Ahmed Mitchell is a civil rights attorney who serves as the national deputy director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. Ismail Allison is a researcher with CAIR and a recent graduate of Howard University.