Since my election to Congress, our military involvement abroad has been one of my top priorities. The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force paved the way for the "War on Terror"--which has raged on for the last sixteen years. As Congress has increasingly deferred its War Powers authority to the White House, our military presence around the world has reached unprecedented levels. We appear to be seriously overextended with little to indicate whether our efforts are making any kind of impact on our strategy to win the "War on Terror." People often say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and in this regard, I very much fear for the path the United States is on.

The recent ambush in Niger that saw four US service members killed raises serious questions. Without a clearly defined strategy or objectives, the administration's contradictory foreign policy is draining US resources and putting our service members' lives on the line in Niger and different parts of the world. The public deserves to know the purpose of these military involvements, and how they relate to our broader strategy in the "War on Terror."  As our involvement grows ever more broadly, we see communities at home that do not have the money for infrastructure, education, and other vital services. We do not guarantee clean water to all of our citizens, but spend trillions of dollars fighting around the world.

There is no question that terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda must be defeated--not just militarily, but ideologically. For that reason, it makes no sense why the United States continues to support countries like Saudi Arabia, who promote an extreme ideology that is the foundation of these terrorist groups. In addition to supporting Saudi Arabia, the traditional foreign policy consensus of waging counterproductive regime change wars has proven to be a failure. Iraq, Syria, and Libya are but a few recent examples. While our support for Saudi Arabia continues, the administration's attempt to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal jeopardizes our national security. While further inflaming the Sunni-Shia sectarian war that has raged between Saudi Arabia and Iran for years, a decision to leave the Iran deal also undermines diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the nuclear crisis with North Korea. Countries simply will not trust us to keep our word if we continue along the current path.

We must have a foreign policy that is accountable to American taxpayers and does not confuse private defense interests with those of the American people. With our multiple entanglements thrust into stark relief following the Niger ambush, I hope that we can honor our service members and reconsider how best to engage ourselves in future conflicts.

Why are American Soldiers Fighting and Dying in Niger?

Hawaii Congresswoman and Iraq war combat veteran Tulsi Gabbard observed that “the Administration’s contradictory policies are draining American resources and putting U.S. service members’ lives on the line in Niger and different parts of the world to support the so-called war on terror without a clearly defined strategy or objectives.”