Twelve years after September 11th, the United States national security debate is still shaped by both the attacks themselves, and the wars started in their wake. Today, Iraq and Afghanistan remain unstable, and the president is having a tough time convincing a war-weary American public of the threat posed by another war-torn Middle Eastern country.
Fueled in part by the violence across Syria, Iraq today is at a low point not seen since the peak of violence in 2007. A car bomb outside the capital of Baghdad killed 13 Thursday, reminding many of the routine sectarian violence during the U.S. military campaign. July's death toll of 1,057 Iraqis was worse than at any time since 2008.
After a near 12-year conflict, Afghanistan is likewise seeing an uptick in violence. In the first half of of 2013, more than 1,000 civilians were killed, an increase of 23% compared to the same period last year. The United States' increasing reliance on aerial attacks and drone strikes ahead of a planned 2014 withdrawal has yet to bear fruit. This week, 10 militants were killed in a NATO airstrike. NATO did not comment on civilian deaths, but Afghan officials said at least eight civilians, including four children, three women, and a truck driver, were killed in the strike.
Alex sat down with Iraq veterans Former Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania, and U.S. Army Vet Wes Moore, to discuss how members of the military see the possibility of a strike in Syria.