“The Middle East was better off with Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi in power.”
Those words are from Republican presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
But is he right? What do the numbers show in the years since the Iraq war?
This is a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.
“We’ve seen a consistent mistake in foreign policy, we’ve seen Democrats and a lot of establishment Republicans in Washington get involved in toppling Middle Eastern governments, and it ends up benefiting the bad guys,” Cruz said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “It ends up handing them over to radical Islamic terrorists.”
In that statement, the senator explains how he believes American intervention since the start of the Iraq war has led from one disaster to another.
“Was the world in fact a better place the middle east a better place when Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein was in power and when Assad wasn’t fighting for his life in Syria?,” Cruz asked. “Of course it was. That isn’t even a close call.”
Well, without question the senator is correct. The Middle East was without question a safer and more secure place under Gaddafi, Hussein and when Assad wasn’t fighting for his life. But to really get that point, here are some numbers to consider.
According to reports from our own U.S. government, reports of deaths from terrorism in the Middle East between 2002 and 2014 have increased 4,500 percent.
But lets go a little deeper. Take for instance just the country of Iraq. Before the 2003 U.S. invasion, do you know how many suicide attacks there were in Iraq? None. In the country’s history there had never been one. But since the 2003 invasion, there have been 1,892.
In Iraq, prior to the start of the Iraq war, there were reportedly just over 1.5 million Christians living in that country. And yet shortly after the war started, more than one million of them fled to Syria. That didn’t work out well. Today fewer than half a million Christians remain and yet are being exterminated by groups like ISIS.
And what about Afghanistan? Just last year alone, insurgents killed 2,643 civilians last year—the highest number since U.N. records began.
How about Pakistan? In the 14 years prior to 9/11 there was one suicide attack on Pakistani soil. In the 14 years since, there have been 486 suicide attacks.
The same is true in the past 14 years in Somalia (88), Yemen (85), Libya (29), Nigeria (91), and Syria (165).
So what you need to know is that 14 years after this so-called war on terror began, the United States is on track to have spent $6 trillion on just the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
To put that into perspective, that means we have spent $75,000 per American household—most of it borrowed money.
What’s more, nearly 7,000 U.S. military personal have died. Tens of thousands more are being lost, as every day 22 U.S. veterans commit suicide.
If we are to be honest, the only thing the war on terror seems to have brought us and the rest of the world, is more war and more terror.
That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about that on Twitter @BenSwann_