Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. They laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work digging out the truth. Please support this independent journalism today by donating to our critical Fall Campaign. We cannot do it without you. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Trump is not ending wars, but preparing for more war. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Trump is not ending wars, but preparing for more war. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Ending the Myth That Trump Is Ending the Wars

Trump has sent more new troops to the Middle East than he’s bringing home from Afghanistan.

Khury Petersen-Smith

 by OtherWords

There was this moment during the State of the Union Address that I can’t stop thinking about.

When President Trump spoke to army wife Amy Wiliams during his speech and told her he’d arranged her husband’s return home from Afghanistan as a “special surprise,” it was difficult to watch.

Sgt. Townsend Williams then descended the stairs to reunite with his family after seven months of deployment. Congress cheered. A military family’s reunion — with its complicated feelings that are typically handled in private or on a base — was used for an applause line.

There is no such window into the lives or suffering of people in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, or beyond.

That gimmick was the only glimpse many Americans will get of the human reality of our wars overseas. There is no such window into the lives or suffering of people in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, or beyond.

That’s unacceptable. And so is the myth that Trump is actually ending the wars.

The U.S. has reached a deal with the Taliban to remove 3,400 of the 12,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan, with the pledge to withdraw more if certain conditions are met. That’s a long overdue first step, as U.S. officials are finally recognizing the war is a disaster and are negotiating an exit.

But taking a step back reveals a bigger picture in which, from West Africa to Central Asia, Trump is expanding and deepening the War on Terror — and making it deadlier.

Far from ending the wars, U.S. airstrikes in Somalia and Syria have skyrocketed under Trump, leading to more civilian casualties in both countries. In Somalia, the forces U.S. operations are supposedly targeting have not been defeated after 18 years of war. It received little coverage in the U.S., but the first week of this year saw a truck bombing in Mogadishu that killed more than 80 people.

Everywhere, ordinary people, people just like us except they happen to live in other countries, pay the price of these wars. Last year saw over 10,000 Afghan civilian casualties — the sixth year in a row to reach those grim heights.

And don’t forget, 2020 opened with Trump bringing the U.S. to the brink of a potentially catastrophic war with Iran. And he continues to escalate punishing sanctions on the country, devastating women, children, the elderly, and other vulnerable people.

Trump is not ending wars, but preparing for more war. Over the past year, he has deployed 14,000 more troops in the Middle East — beyond the tens of thousands already there.

If this seems surprising, it’s in part because the problem has been bipartisan. Indeed, many congressional Democrats have actually supported these escalations.

In December, 188 House Democrats joined Republicans in passing a nearly $740 billion military budget that continues the wars. They passed the budget after abandoning anti-war measures put forward by California Representative Barbara Lee and the precious few others trying to rein in the wars.

It’s worth remembering that State of the Union visual, of Congress rising in unison and joining the president in applause for his stunt with the Williams family. Because there has been nearly that level of consensus year after year in funding, and expanding, the wars.

Ending them will not be easy. Too many powerful interests — from weapons manufacturers to politicians — are too invested. But ending the wars begins with rejecting the idea that real opposition will come from inside the White House.

As with so many other issues — like when Trump first enacted the Muslim Ban and people flocked to airports nationwide in protest, or the outpouring against caging children at the border — those of us who oppose the wars need to raise our voices, and make the leaders follow.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Khury Petersen-Smith

Khury Petersen-Smith

Khury Petersen-Smith is the Michael Ratner Middle East Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

The U.S. Senate majority leader's move comes as some key New York Democrats refuse to back the democratic socialist.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Who Will You Throw Overboard?' Manchin Targeted for Trying to Sink Democratic Agenda

West Virginians gathered at the senator's yacht to demand that he stop blocking the "popular and needed" Build Back Better package.

Jessica Corbett ·


'We Shouldn't Do It at All': Manchin Admits He's the Enemy of Democrats' Ambitions

The right-wing West Virginia Democrat and fossil fuel investor has previously confessed his intent to quash his own party's sweeping $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package.

Brett Wilkins ·


After Getting 'Stealth Bailout' During Pandemic, US Corporations Try to Kill Proposed Tax Hikes

"When it's time to finally put workers first, big businesses are spending millions to maintain their advantage and preserve the status quo," said Kyle Herrig of Accountable.US.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Disgraceful': Just 9 Republicans Join With Dems to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt

The vote "reveals just how far the Republican Party has fallen" since Trump took control as GOP's de facto leader, said one pro-democracy advocate.

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo