The 2,977 American flags displayed on the Diag Tuesday represented the victims of the tragic terrorist attack eleven years ago. The ceremony put me in a pensive and emotional mood. As I took a moment of silence to honor the victims, I started to think how this tragedy affected America’s foreign policy in the subsequent years.
The terrorist attacks shed light on the fundamental problems of decisions made in an effort to protect our national security. To take action against the injustice done to the innocent Americans, the government decided to use invasive military measures. Hundreds of billions of dollars were spent every year on militarism, and endless troops were sent to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Arabian Peninsula. The government seemed to make sure that every last penny of our military spending possessed as much hatred and desire for revenge as we did on the day of the attacks.
These military actions were taken supposedly to promote democratic ideals in militarily weaker, politically more chaotic and less economically stable countries. To the government that made such decisions, it was only logical to instill new political ideals in a community after seizing military control of the community. This logic was flawed, yet it was brilliantly concealed by a number of excuses, creating a delusion fueled by war propaganda that outright lied to the American people. The wars in the Middle East were carried out for dubious motives. Invading countries out of revenge — which possibly caused today’s preemptive military mindset — as opposed to spending that military money on defense to strengthen the United States as a nation, is not beneficial in attempting to protect national security.
Outrageously enough, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were, in my opinion, unconstitutional. Even though Congress authorized the use of military force in the Middle East, the wars were never formally declared.
Not only are U.S. troops still in the Middle East, but the government has not reduced military spending. More money is still being used to strengthen national defense than build infrastructure, better the education system or stimulate the economy. This huge amount of money spent was borrowed from other countries — with China as the biggest lender.
We spent money we didn’t have and spent it on military invasions where American lives were lost, all so we could promote democracy in places where the people did not ask for help. There has got to be something wrong with this picture.
Kevin Tung is an LSA junior.