The U.S. military role in Syria is escalating under the Trump administration. About 6,000 troops are already deployed in Iraq and Syria. Now Marines and Army Rangers are stationed in the Raqqa region.

An artillery battery from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit has set up about 20 miles from the ISIS-stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria. The Marines will be used to soften IS resistance before alliance forces attack in the Spring. U.S. troops have advised the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), for months. Trump plans to add more special operatives and U.S. attack helicopters, according to the Washington Post.

The SDF includes some Kurds from Turkey who support autonomy, which Ankara opposes.

The alliance, including the SDF and Turkish-backed rebels, are bitter enemies. Green Berets have trained the SDF for years. The Rangers seem to be positioned to keep peace between the Kurds and Turks until the Muslims can satisfy their blood lust on ISIS fighters in Raqqa.

War costs

Since the president says he wants to increase military spending by $54 billion and America has spent $8.36 million-per-hour since 2001 to the present on “war spending,” according to the National Priorities Project, now might be a good time for the country to debate if it wants be part of the continued Middle East carnage. That debate is not likely to happen if politicians and the media focus on Tweets and temper tantrums.

The Pentagon has recognized $25 billion in inefficient spending, “but has failed to curtail the waste,” NPP says. If the DOD corrected this problem, it would pay for half of President Trump’s proposed military spending increase. A 2016 report by Brown University’s Watkins Institute estimated that by the time veterans’ care, disability care, etc.

are compiled; war costs between 2001 and 2016 will amount to $8 trillion by 2053. This is only economic costs. War costs much more than money.

Congress might be able to afford healthcare plans, job training, infrastructure repair, and replacement, and more according to critics, if it didn’t prop up the industrial war complex. Who knows? Washington might even begin paying down the national debt.