We say this without sarcasm or irony: President Trump did a good thing. He did a very good thing.
What he did was fire National Security Adviser John Bolton, the correct move to make.
The president called for the removal of ultra-hawk Bolton earlier this week, just one of a few signs that Trump may be ready to make good on one of his campaign promises — to bring our men and women home from fighting in southwest Asia and the Middle East.
Wednesday marked the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attack on this nation by Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
Another 6,000 were injured, and first responders in New York and Washington continue to deal with health issues as a result of their heroic efforts to rescue as many people from the aftermath of the attacks.
As a result of those attacks, we launched the military into a “War on Terror,” a war that has never actually been declared. And we’ve been fighting that non-war war for nearly 18 years now. In fact, some students who graduate from high school this year and opt to enlist will themselves be sent overseas, fighting over a terrorist attack that occurred before they were born.
Since the War on Terror began, we’ve had more than 7,000 American servicemen and servicewomen killed in action, and another 50,000 wounded. That doesn’t include those who have left the service and are now struggling with PTSD, homelessness, substance abuse and other mental health issues.
This year, America’s involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and the Middle East has become our longest military conflict, at 17 years, 11 months. America’s involvement in Vietnam (yet another undeclared war) was the previous longest at 17 years, 4 months.
By the way, that’s more than double the amount of time it took us to fight for our independence from Great Britain.
We bring all this up because Bolton was, by all accounts, champing at the bit to not only escalate in the Middle East but also insert America’s military in other global hot spots. Trump’s firing of Bolton shows he won’t be cowed by administration hawks like his two predecessors were.
America’s reaction to enter Afghanistan following the 9/11 terror attacks was justified — although virtually all of the terrorists were Saudis not Afghanis, and yet we did nothing to or about Saudi Arabia — but we were not justified in regime change in Iraq, nor are we justified for remaining in Afghanistan 18 years later.
Great Britain, in the 19th century, and the Soviet Union, in the 20th century, both learned there is nothing but loss to come from military action in Afghanistan. After 18 years of fighting, we’re no closer to achieving victory, primarily because we have no clear objective other than, apparently, keeping our brave men and women in harm’s way.
Trump’s dismissal of Bolton is a solid first step in getting us out of the quagmire that is southwest Asia.
Good job, Mr. President.