Hardly a week goes by lately without the US sending more ground troops to Syria. At the same time, more troops are headed to Iraq, amid record numbers of US airstrikes and soaring civilian deaths that go along with them. Officials are also pushing heavily for the Trump Administration to sign off on an escalation in direct US involvement in Yemen.
President Trump’s promise to “fight to win” is seen as driving a lot of these escalations, or at the very least giving top military officials reason to think they can push military escalations as a matter of course across the Middle East and Northern Africa, and the signs are that this escalation is far from completed.
This has led to more troops, more strikes, less restrictions, and basically more of everything, though some former officials are cautioning that the one thing that seems not to be coming with it is an escalation of planning for what to do after the fighting.
That’s been a recurring theme throughout the global war on terror: US officials have been eager to throw forces at each and every perceived opportunity, but have rarely done even cursory examination of what the endgame of these conflicts might look like. This, of course, is a big part of why so many of these wars never seem to approach an endgame, but just keep escalating forever.
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